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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fire and Light - Jacques Philippe - Learning to Receive the Gift of God

Fire and Light: 
Learning to Receive the Gift of God
Jacques Philippe
Scepter
ISBN 9781594172533




To say that I am a fan of Father Jacques Philippe's writings would be an understatement. I first discovered his writings while on retreat 10 years ago. I have read most of his books that are available in English more than once. His writing is so down to earth. He exudes peace and gentleness through his writings. Though he often deals with deep subjects he presents the truths in very accessible ways. And though I have only read Father Jacques works in translation I find that they are excellent for personal spiritual growth.

But this specific book is a little different than most of his other books. It is a collection or articles and lectures. The theme that ties them together is that of accepting the gifts of God, of learning to experience and live in the grace of God. And in this book Philippe draws from many and varied sources to highlight examples of that grace. He draws from the following sources:

Bernard of Clairvaux
Catherine de Bar
Christiane Sanson
Emmanual Hatzidakis
Etty Hillesum
Faustina Kowalska
Geneviève of the Holy Face
Glenn E. Myers
J. Daoust
Jean-Claude Sagne
Joel Guibert
John Leinenweber
John of the Cross
John R. Sommerfeldt
Lorenzo Scupoli
Louis de Montfort
Marie de la Trinité
Peter of Alcántara
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Francis
Pope John Paul II
The Desert Fathers
Thérèse of Lisieux

And many of them he quotes from more than one source, or more than one time. To be honest I have added 5 books to my to be read list just from the quotes that Father Philippe had in this volume. 

The chapters in this book are:
1. Spiritual Receptivity: Learn to Receive 
2. Living in God's Sight with Thérèse of Lisieux 
3. "When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong!" 
4. True and False Freedom 
5. Interior Peace, a Spiritual Urgency 
6. In Quest of Identity 
7. Eucharist and Faith 
8. Eucharist and Hope 
9. Eucharist and Love 
10. Come, Lord Jesus! 
11. Knowing God through Mary 
12. Touching God in Prayer 
13. Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle 
14. Etty Hillesum, Witness of Hope 

The final section on Etty Hillesum had the biggest impact upon me the first time I read through this book. I encountered Etty about 17 years ago in a Religious Studies course. Father Philippe states this about Etty: "That is how the name and spiritual itinerary of Etty (Esther) Hillesum came to be known. Since then, her renown and influence have grown unceasingly, a sign of how revolutionary and meaningful the interior life to which Etty's journal (and letters) testify is for men and women of today. Her work, of great literary quality, is increasingly recognized as a major memoir of the twentieth century, destined to be a big influence on our times. Very close to us in her sensibilities, her aspirations, her freedom, and also her wandering, Etty, in less than three years, underwent a spiritual transformation that brought her to a surprising interior maturity and freedom, as well as a remarkable blossoming in the love of God and gift of self." There is something incredible about this young woman and her transformation.

But to be honest the book as a whole is wonderful. And once you have read it through you may find yourself randomly picking chapters to read again and again. It is another amazing book by a wonderful writer. So give it a try.

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
From Scepter:

Called to Life
Time For God
Interior Freedom
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love - A Retreat Guided By St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer
Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust

Fire and Light: Learning to Receive the Gift of God

St Paul's Alba House:
Searching for and Maintaining Peace
Discerning Your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults (Forward)

Pauline Books and Media:

Time For God

SingTala:
Time For God
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom)


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