Sunday 27 November 2016

Christian Self-Mastery - Basil W. Maturin

Christian Self-Mastery:
How to Govern Your Thoughts, Discipline Your Will, and Achieve Balance in Your Spiritual Life
Basil W. Maturin
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781928832218

It should be noted at the onset that this book is reprint of Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline published in 1909. And this edition is both revised and abridged. Having compared both and read both now I can state that I do not notice anything lost through this process. The biggest advantage of this edition is the formatting, especially of the eBook version, and also slight modernization of the text where needed. There are a number of versions of this book available as either physical books or eBooks, but they are all available under the original title.

The chapter titles in this edition are:
1. Develop self-knowledge
2. Discipline yourself
3. Abide by the laws of the spirit
4. Train your will
5. Control your thoughts
6. Strive for balance
7. Govern your body
8. Sacrifice the good for what is better
9. Persevere
Biographical Note: Basil W. Maturin

The Chapters in the original edition are:
The Principle of Self-Discipline
The Seat of Conflict
The Discipline if the Will
The Discipline of the Mind
The Discipline of the Affections
The Discipline of the Body
Mortification and the Supernatural Life
The Law A Preparation for the Revelation of Love

I was first attracted to this book based on the title. Growth in discipline has been a goal of mine for a number of years, and to be honest not just spiritually but also physically and mentally. And this book touches on all three areas of life; mind, body and spirit. This book was written in a very different time than our own. And because of that many people will chafe at how rigorous the teaching is. Being honest Catholics and all Christians could use a little more looking back at where we came from and using the examples to find a renewed focus and discipline for today. And in reading this book I have discovered how much work I still need to do. Especially in the area of patience. Basil states “We are often scarcely conscious of this until we wake up to find that we have lost control of ourselves — that one after another of our senses and faculties (our “members,” as St. Paul calls them) refuses to obey us and is living its own separate life; more than that, that they often make factions and combine to dethrone conscience and place some base passion, it may be, to rule its place. There is a well-organized revolution taking place, so quiet that conscience is scarcely alarmed until it finds its power is well-nigh gone.”.

This book was a great read. And I can highly recommend it. But only read it if you are willing to be challenged and willing to strive to make changes and to grow. If that describes you this book can be a tool for your spiritual growth.

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

Books by Basil W. Maturin:
Christian Self-Mastery
Some Principles and Practices of the Spiritual Life
Practical Studies On The Parables Of Our Lord
Laws of the Spiritual Life
Sermons and Sermon Notes
Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline

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