A little Brother Lawrence…

Finished off the manuscript that has brought me to Oxford with enough time to browse a used bookshop. Found this:

The book, that is, not me.
The book, that is, not me.

Unfortunately, that blurry photo taken with my webcam in Starbucks tells you only the amazing size of my 99p book find. It is The Practice of the Presence of God.

I’m quite chuffed about this purchase. For one thing, it’s a practical size of book. One of my rants (yet to be blogged) is the move from pocket books to trade paperbacks by series such as Penguin Classics and Oxford World’s Classics as well as a great many Christian publishers. But back in 1961, they knew how to print pocketbooks.

This one would actually fit in your pocket, after all.

Of course, I don’t just buy small, cheap books willy-nilly.*

The Practice of the Presence of God is one of those books that people who talk about Christian mysticism talk about. Written by a Carmelite lay brother in the late 1600s, this little book turns up in many places, including the bookshelves of Protestants who doubt that Catholics are ‘saved’, and with the recommendation of Richard J Foster of Celebration of Discipline fame as well as Jim Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer, and Dallas Willard (mind drawing a blank on which book of his references this one).

I have never read it, since my spiritual reading tends to be contemporary or ancient/mediaeval (more late ancient than mediaeval), so I’m looking forward to this.

You can read it online here.

*Insert Corner Gas reference: ‘How stupid are you? You can’t go shooting off your gun willy-nilly.’ ‘It wasn’t willy-nilly. It was at crows.’

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