The re-discovery of Contemplative Spirituality has been on the rise within mainstream, orthodox christianity over the past decade. There are many books which explain what contemplative spirituality / prayer looks like and how it can be done. Not many share about the deep, and sometimes hard experiences of what takes place in the process of contemplative spirituality; of putting yourself into a place where you give yourself, all of yourself, over to God, being willing to shed the junk that has cluttered up your life and your relationship to God and others and then being wiling to receive from him whatever He chooses to give you. This is what Phileena Heuertz does in this book. You feel that she does not hold anything back in this semi biographical / examination of the contemplative pilgrimage. The book revolves around a sabbatical she and her husband took which involved a pilgrimage through Spain on the Camino, walking 20 miles a day. The feelings, experiences, struggles, emotions and joys that she shares will resonate with everyone. Despite differing circumstances we all have experienced the emotions that this author has experienced – even the darkness – the dark night of the soul. What really struck me was that for most of us, we turn back when we start to experience the darkness – when in fact, it is essential for us to go through it to experience what God has for us.
Each chapter of the book is laid out as part of the journey – Awakening, Longing, Darkness, Death, Transformation, Intimacy and Union.
What Phileena Heuertz does is to take us through her journey allowing us to see it in it’s fullness so that we can then embark on our own, confident that when we reach that dark night of the soul we must press on knowing that God is working.
20 June 2011