Sacred Darkness: Encountering Divine Love in Life's Darkest Places

Loyola Press
Free sample

Before there was light, God was. In fact, darkness is the medium God worked in to create the world, the universe, and all material things. Certainly, God lives in the warmth of sunlight and within our happiest days--but God also dwells in darkness.

In Sacred Darkness, Paul Coutinho, SJ, examines how many Christians are fearful of dark times and struggles, yet it is often darkness that sheds light on our world and helps us live more effectively and more fully in the painful situations of our lives. Throughout the book, Coutinho shares powerful stories of how darkness can empower us--from a self-destructive alcoholic, to St. Ignatius, to the author himself.

Ultimately, Sacred Darkness encourages us to overcome our "fear" or the dark by exploring the legitimate role of darkness on the spiritual journey. By learning to embrace darkness rather than run from it, we can experience God's love in ways and in places where we would least expect it.
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About the author

Fr. Paul Coutinho, SJ is an internationally recognized Ignatian scholar, author, and speaker who brings an Eastern flavor to Western spirituality. A native of India, he frequently leads retreats, gives spiritual direction, and trains people to lead the Spiritual Exercises.

He holds master’s degrees in both clinical psychology and religious studies, and he has a doctorate in historical theology from Saint Louis University, where he specialized in Ignatian spirituality and is now a visiting theology professor.

Coutinho currently creates and runs programs in Ignatian identity and mission for Saint Louis University’s Mission and Ministry office, he is the editor of Ignis—the South Asian Ignatian spirituality journal—and also shares his gifts as the director of Ignatian Spirituality Programs for South Asia. He resides in St. Louis and divides his time between India and the United States.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Loyola Press
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Published on
May 1, 2012
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Pages
184
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ISBN
9780829436594
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational
Religion / Christianity / Catholic
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A bold faith requires a big God. How big is your God? In other words, what limits have you placed upon God in your life? If your experience of the Divine has become static and predictable, or if you have a relationship with God that is small and confined, Paul Coutinho invites you to believe that God is bigger-much bigger! How Big Is Your God? is Coutinho's challenge to every person to grow deeper and stronger in his or her faith by embracing a God whose love truly knows no bounds. To help us rethink our limited ideas of God, Coutinho, a Jesuit and a native of India, introduces us to his Hindu friends who put him on the path to mysticism; to his Buddhist teachers who broke open his limited views of the Divine; to Viktor Frankl, Desmond Tutu, and other enlightened guides who led him to a far more meaningful spiritual life; and to St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose Spiritual Exercises continue to shape his reflection and prayer life. As Fr. Coutinho encourages us to open our hearts and minds so that we can personally experience the infinite breadth of God, we begin to see that an ever-deepening relationship with the Divine is the true purpose of religion. Deepen your experience of God by moving from religion to relationship Do you have a relationship with God, or do you just have a religion? Do you know God, or do you just know about God? Do you believe in a God without limits, or have you placed God in a box and sealed the lid? In How Big Is Your God? Indian Jesuit priest Paul Coutinho asks each of us to carefully consider questions such as these. With his warm sense of humor and a talent for telling just the right story to drive home a point, Coutinho guides us to reconsider who God is and how we can have fellowship with God beyond anything we have imagined. The immensely powerful yet eminently readable wisdom in How Big Is Your God? will move us past religion as we know it and toward a relationship with God that can change the way we think, love, and live! "Coutinho draws on Eastern religious traditions, blending them with his own Catholic practice to challenge and deepen readers' understandings of God." Publishers Weekly "If you have ever suspected that 'religion' is way too small a container for the mystery we call God, this book is for you!" Margaret Silf, author of Inner Compass "Paul Coutinho, SJ, challenges and delights the reader in his ever provocative ways of inviting us into our religious experience." David L. Fleming, SJ author of Draw Me into Your Friendship
Stop spinning your spiritual hamster wheel. Start living in the limitless love of God. Many of us go through life thinking and acting as though we can somehow, in some way, earn God's love and favor. If only we do this, or that, or both, or more, God just might offer us at least a small bit of Divine approval or acceptance. Eventually realizing the impossibility of "getting right" with God through our own efforts, and tired of futilely going 'round and 'round in spiritual circles, we may even be inclined to permanently turn away from the Divine. In Just as You Are, Paul Coutinho, SJ, helps us move forward in the confidence that God already loves us and simply asks that we embrace this amazing love and live in it on a daily basis. A native of India, Fr. Coutinho combines Eastern sensibilities with Ignatian principles and practices to show us how to open our lives-now and always-to the infinite, unfathomable love of God. Filled with thought-provoking stories, inspiring anecdotes, and memorable metaphors, Just as You Are makes clear that experiencing the joy and freedom of the Divine journey is the only "work" we need to do. Being in love with the Divine is God's gift that is always available to anyone who is looking for it. We have all had a taste of Divine love and our spirits hunger for more. But then other voices muffle the unconditional gift of Divine love-voices that speak of fear, guilt, anxiety, and unworthiness. Falling in love with God begins with an infatuation that penetrates those negative voices, and we respond to this either by being more and more attracted to the Divine or we are repulsed by the experience. We come closer or we fight to get away. In either case our focus is the Divine energy that is drawing us to itself. The Divine seducer never gives up but continues to draw us in many different ways to a deeper union and communion with the Ultimate. But when all is said and done, the falling in love will be up to you. So if you really have the will to experience life as one who is in love with the Divine, it will happen. If you want it, you'll find it. In fact, love will find you. Are you willing? Are you ready?
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