Spiritual Reading - a great find!

Browsing in the CTS bookshop the other day, I found "The Spiritual Combat" by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli published by the most excellent TAN books.

In this edition (a reprint of the 1945 edition), the preface is by Fr B F Marcetteau, SS, the spiritual director of the theological college of the Catholic University of America. He tells us that the authorship of the book is in fact disputed; there were several 17th century editions published under the name of John of Castanzia, a Spanish Benedictine. Some Jesuits claimed that it was written by one of their own, Achilles Gagliardi. However, "most critics" now consider the book to have been written by Scupoli who was a Theatine.

This is significant since the Jesuits were modelled to some degree on the Theatines who came to regard the Jesuits as a rival group. One of their co-founders was Giovanni Pietro Carafa. When Carafa became Pope Paul IV, St Ignatius was distraught and went to spend his famous 15 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament to reconcile himself to what he thought was the certain suppression of the Company of Jesus.

I am mortified that I have never heard of this book before. It is a practical, down to earth, and uncompromising manual for the spiritual life and was the favourite book of St Francis de Sales who carried a copy in his pocket for 18 years. It was this recommendation on the back cover which made me decide to buy it. I heartily recommend it.

In fact, I am so taken with the book that I have interrupted my re-reading of Trochu's life of the Curé D'Ars (also published by TAN). St Ignatius (and doubtless Scupoli, would probably regard this as a fault.

Another book I picked up at the CTS was "The Prayer of Love and Silence" by that most prolific contemplative "A Carthusian." It was first published in French in 1948 and in English translation in 1951. The slim volume (145 pages) comprises three parts: the work "An Introduction to the Interior Life", a collection of sermons delivered in chapter, and a work called "The Blessed Trinity and the Supernatural Life". This one will have to wait until I have finished Dom Guillerand. (There is also a quote in this post.)


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