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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Read A Book...This Easter

This book presents the spiritual journal of a Trappist monk, Father Basil Pennington, as he travels across the Holy Land.  This was to be Father Basil’s last book before he died in a tragic car accident; the manuscripts of this book were subsequently discovered on his desk.

Father Basil was one of the three original proponents of Centering Prayer, teaching this ancient form of prayer to a world hungry for God - the ‘fruits’ of this centering is most evident throughout his writings.

Join Father Basil as he shares his deep and prayerful experiences visiting the Holy Land, from the hill country of Nazareth and Cana, down to Lake Capernaum and Tabor, through desert shrines and the mystical Qumran, in the holy city of Jerusalem, on Mount Sinai and back to the beginnings of the Christian story, to Bethlehem.

This very personal spiritual journal highlights the precious solitary times where Father Basil would sit quietly to reflect, to listen, to practice lectio divina on appropriate Scriptures at each of the sacred pilgrimage site; these reflections forming the context of all his narrations.  He carries along with him, his faithful companion, The Jerusalem Bible, with which he hears, contemplates and translates scriptures, at any point of the pilgrimage, so that the original words speak more directly to the experience of his visit to Cana, Capernaum, including Tabor - the Mount of Transfiguration, the Sea of Galilee, Bethany and the Via Dolorosa – Stations of the Cross in the Holy City of Jerusalem, not forgetting questions he posed to himself as a contemplative monk; with regards to flight delays, the waiting in transit, service at the mosque, the observance of Ramadan, the various sites, including belly dancing!

Father Basil simply writes of his personal encounters with God – the sight, the smell, the taste and the feel of the sacred land.  He shares his ‘awareness’ in the land where the three Abrahamic faiths dwell.  Arriving in Nazareth, he wrote, “We sat in silence for a long time…losing ourselves in reality of the Presence here and now within us…nothing greater we can do with our lives than be another life for the Word, bring his presence and redeeming grace to our lives today.”

The monastic side shared by Father Basil is very down-to-earth, human and ever present to the surroundings.  He always finds the time to read, think, meditate, pray and write.  He also shares honestly of his fears, whether negative or judgmental, his longing and unworthiness, including the quiet times he took to ‘center’.

Through this 170+ pages book, Father Basil models for us the need to give ourselves over completely to God’s will.  In his own words towards the end of this pilgrimage, he writes, “…The only thing that makes sense is to do what God wants of me….”  This last book of Father Basil is a recommended read for the Easter season. It also includes the exclusive funeral homily by Father Thomas Keating.

Books are available from Thriftbooks (free shipping) or

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