Wednesday 1 July 2020

Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow - Robert Taylerson - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow
The Healing Power Of Lament
Deeper Christianity Series
Robert Taylerson
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827785
eISBN 9781784693114
CTS Booklet SP35

Over the last few years, I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society. Most were good reads; some were great reads; and a few are exceptional. This is another excellent offering. It is the eighth in the Deeper Christianity Series that I have read, and the second by Robert Taylerson. But I have already added his other two to my wish list. I have read over 150 offerings from the CTS over the last few years. And this series is one of my favorites. This book was a surprise when I stumbled across it as I thought I had a list of all the books in this series, alas I was mistaken. This book was originally published 2012 and the eBook was released in 2017. The description of this volume is:

“Prayer of lament is prayer in moments of deep suffering or hopelessness, when God can seem absent or distant. This ebooklet introduces this difficult but vital aspect of the spiritual battle. First the author considers the dangerous alternatives to crying out to God, then he shows how scripture, the teaching of the Church and the example of the saints can guide us in our journey from anguish towards peace.”

The chapters in the book are:

Responding in prayer to anguish
When to lament
What is prayer of lament?
Harmful alternatives to lament
Grief and lament
Lamenting sin
Lamenting complex evil
Learning to lament
Lament in the Old Testament
Lament in the New Testament
What about tears?

I highlighted many passages on my first read through this volume a random selection of them are as follows:

“Lament sometimes seems an almost-forgotten element of prayer in the Catholic tradition. It is however, I believe, one which is essential in Christian life. Here we explore its fuller nature and its rich and fruitful use in our lives today.”

“So in day-to-day life I lament death and sickness of friends. I also lament break-ups of families. I lament the giving-up of the practice of the faith of many. I lament the problems of debt, of unemployment, of injustice, of sickness and stress. The call to find God in all things impels such prayer. To disregard lament would either allow so much to pileup in my heart that hope would be crushed, or I would close the door to compassion. Lament is honest. Lament admits vulnerability.”

“Lament is about such personal or community unhappiness. It is about specific things which bring pain into our lives.”

“Prayer of lament happens when I determinedly bring God into the picture.”

“Prayer of lament starts with expression of human loss or pain, but it grows to encompass a conviction of grace already given or which will be given. The rendering of thanks to God is a sign of progress on the journey. Peace comes as the lament journey runs its course.”

“I suggest four common alternative directions to lament which may be adopted when suffering if faith is abandoned or not brought to bear on the pain. These four are: despair, anger, displacement activities, and bitterness.”

“The more complex the evil, the more I have to pray about, the more I am called to realise the way in which one evil predisposes another evil to take place. This awareness prompts in me a desire and petition for deeper insight, deeper honesty, deeper compassion, more detailed personal examination of conscience and discernment of motives in my own life, more courageous action against evil, more trusting confidence in God alone.”

“St Augustine and Blessed John Paul II are good teachers to help us to recognise where evil or sadness are real. The help us to achieve a Christian perspective in discerning what is truly a cause for anguish and what is not. They lead us down good paths of prayer which establish in out hearts lament, hope and trust in God.”

“Prayers with tears are an accepted part of ancient Jewish tradition. They are found in Old Testament and New Testament scripture. From the spiritual writings of the early Greek and Syriac speaking Christian Church onwards, tears to accompany Christian prayer have also been seen as normal, and tears to accompany prayers of repentance have often been seen as a gift from God.”

I picked this book up after the passing of one of my younger brothers. We loved each other but we were never really close. Seeing the outpouring from others whom he positively impacted has impacted me. And reading this volume has helped me to start the healing process. 

The conclusion of this book states:

“Prayer of lament is a journey of the heart from anguish to peace. Though its path is not immediately obvious, it is a path of God’s love and it is a grace and a source of hope. Always ask for the courage and trust to take it.”

This is another excellent little volume from the Catholic Truth Society. It is a great read no matter what stage you are at in life. For some it will be a reminder. For others in will put into words what they have learned and lived. And for others it will help them to learn to process sorrow and suffering. An excellent resource.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Deeper Christianity Series:
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Catholic Architecture 
Christian Fasting Disciplining the Body, Awakening the Spirit
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Desire & Delight
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Fruits of the Holy Spirit Living a Happy Life
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special

Mary in the Liturgy
Mary Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Providence and Prayer
Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance
Purgatory A Mystery of Love
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
The Call to Evangelise: Founded on loving intimacy with the Lord
The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ
The Name of God The Revelation of the Merciful Presence of God
Understanding The Story Of The Bible
Union with God

Books by Robert Taylerson:
Teachings on Prayer: The Christian Tradition - CTS Deeper Christianity Series
Daily Examination of Conscience: Using Scripture Texts Suggested in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Story of Prayer Through Scripture – CTS Deeper Christianity Series

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