Saturday, February 18, 2023

Silent Presence by Ernest E Larkin, O. Carm.

One aspect of becoming more Christlike and a discipline in the journey of spiritual transformation is discernment. This short book is a look at the work of St. Ignatius on the subject but in a more modern context and encompassing the broader idea of discerning God's will. It is also an encouragement to be more aware of what God is doing in our lives in general.

I was surprised that self-knowledge is part of it. We are to know our self in the deepest part of us, where the Spirit speaks to us. Larkin says discernment involves the examined life, the steps being self-knowledge, self-acceptance, integration, and validation. He gives practical insights into the process and possible problems. I really appreciated his exploration of the three practices, cognitive, mystical, and affective. That helped me understand the role of the mind, spirit, and emotions in the process.

This is a small book on a complicated discipline, a discipline that is ongoing in a believer's life. This book is not a technical how to in getting to know what to do in a specific situation. It is more of a way to deepen our awareness of how God is working in our lives and our response.

While this book was written for a Catholic audience, this Protestant found a great deal of wisdom contained in it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ernest E Larkin O. Carm. (1922 – 2006) was a well known and much loved teacher, lecturer and retreat master. He entered the Carmelite Seminary at an early age and was ordained a Priest in 1946. He received his Doctorate in Spiritual Theology from the Angelicum University in Rome in 1950. He taught at the Major Seminary of Carmelites in Washington, D.C. and was a member of the Faculty of Catholic University for ten years. In 1972 he co-founded the Kino Institute in Phoenix which provides adult education and formation in the Catholic faith. After retirement he continued to lecture throughout the United States until his death. His last book Contemplative Prayer for Today: Christian Meditation was published posthumously in 2007.

Carmelite Media, 88 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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