Friday 4 May 2018

Moving in the Spirit - Richard J. Hauser

Moving in the Spirit
Richard J. Hauser

Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266258
eISBN 9781929266555

This is not a large book. The print edition comes in at under 115 pages. But it is a book that can have significant impact. A few years ago, Hauser's book Moving in the Spirit was recommended to me. I did pick it up, but it has sat in my to be read pile. I just do not get around to reading physical books. But after how much I loved this I am going to put in the extra effort and read that one. Richard J. Hauser, SJ was a professor of theology. He was also a directory of graduate programs n theology, spirituality, and ministry. He only published 3 books and if the other two are as good as this one as readers we will be blessed.

This book was originally published in 1983 by Paulist Press, this new edition is from Beacon Publishing and was released in 2017. And it is available in paperback, eBook, and Kindle editions that are currently in print. Thankfully Beacon Publishing is making this book available through Dynamic Catholic. It is one of the best Catholic books I have read in the last few years. The five chapters in this book are:

Awakening to the Holy Spirit
Recognizing the Holy Spirit
Obstacles to the Spirit
Seeking God's Will
Keeping a Spiritual Journal

And there is a section of notes and a selected bibliography in this book. This book is written from Hauser's personal experience. Spanning his years from Jesuit novice to a more mature Jesuit who 's experience of God and specifically the Holy spirit shifted over the years. He states:

"I now know that all growth in union with God flows from the Holy Spirit; my efforts, therefore, ought to be focused on responding to the Spirit. I also know that my human nature is fundamentally trustworthy because redeemed by Christ and that the grace of Christ in me is stronger than sin in me. Finally, I know that the cutting edge of my growth in union with Christ flows from the generosity of my service to others day by day and not from the length of time I spend in explicitly spiritual activities."
And he attributes his growth and change to three main sources. First The thought of Thomas Merton. Secondly a growing appreciation of the Holy Spirit's life in the Christian life. And finally, his growing understanding of the life and spirituality of St. Ignatius. In the first chapter Hauser states:
"Each of us is led by God toward an understanding of Christian spirituality that best meets the needs of our temperament and life situation."
He then looks at three main trends for Christians living in the spirit, historically and today. But he draws readers to understand that each approach is good, but they are better when lived in reference to each other.

At the end of each chapter is several questions for reflection. These questions are great for person use, either just thinking on them or journaling out full answers. These questions would also be excellent for using this book for use in a book club or group study.

One of the things that impacted me most in this book was Hauser's honesty about his own struggles. His faith in action. How he was open and honest about some of his own weaknesses. I really appreciated his openness about his first response to be to turn down new opportunities. And the process he has created to reflect and see the spirit's guidance in those situations.

Of note 14 of the 16 references in the bibliography are from fellow Jesuits. And I have already added 8 if them to my wish list to read in the future. This book is an excellent read. It is one I know I will come back to again, and one I look forward to sharing with my children when they are older. This is the type of book I wish I had read in my late teens or early 20's. It would have helped my journey not have been so rough. This is a book I believe will benefit any Christian who reads it and prays to be receptive to the Holy Spirit while doing so.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Richard J. Hauser:
In His Spirit
Moving in the Spirit
Finding god in troubled Times

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