Thursday 10 February 2022

Desire and Delight Intimacy with God through the Scripture - Robert Taylerson - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

Desire and Delight: 
Intimacy with God through the Scripture
Father Robert Taylerson
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860828690
eISBN 9781784693282
CTS Booklet SP40

This is the fourth volume by Father Robert Taylerson that I have read. It is also the tenth from the CTS Deeper Christianity Series that I have read and most of them I have read more than once. Over the last several years, I have read over 250 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series, and many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies including biographies from the Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. The other book by Father Taylerson in the CTS Deeper Christianity Series I have read was Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow. While researching for this review I discovered another 2 volumes by Father Taylerson and also a few pamphlets he wrote for the CTS that I was previously unaware of. The description of the booklet is:

“Examines the joys and pleasures of the Christian life through the Song of Songs and the Psalms, revealing how the Bible reveals our desire for God and his for us.

How the Bible reveals our desire for God and his desire for us. Christianity is sometimes presented as a very glum affair, and the saints as killjoy ascetics who renounce all pleasure for the sake of virtue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Union with God gives happiness and delight, and God wills only our joy. This book examines the joys and pleasures of the Christian life through the Song of Songs and the Psalms. These two ancient books, contain some of the most poetic and gorgeous imagery of the whole bible, and are simply explained in this text.”

The chapters in the book are:

The Song of Songs
The Beatific Vision

This book was first published in 2013 and the eBook was released in 2017. I enjoyed this book, but it was a stretch for me. I know that I am going to have to circle back and read it again. I highlighted several passages my first time through, some of them are:

“From my current perspective as a parish priest, I am eager that more people take a personal spiritual journey, deepening awareness of desire and delight in their spiritual lives. The power and strength it has to offer and the union, as Church and as individuals, with God, is much needed. Too often we fight shy of taking a journey to deeper intimacy. As with all Christian spiritual journeys, spiritual lives do not flourish if one aspect is pursued in isolation. Prayer, the scriptures, the sacraments, and teaching of the Church through the ages, personal discernment, discernment with others, and having a good spiritual director, all help our progress.”

“This booklet is about a “rawness”, almost at gut-level, brought about by a deepening love for God and awareness of God’s love for us. It is about the dynamics and the tensions of a relationship with God. It is about the integral beauty and force of experience of that loving relationship.”

“This booklet looks at our relationship with God, daring to use similar imagery of spousal love. On a personal level such love involves my awareness of God’s overwhelming desire for me and the growth of my desire for God. Raw love discovers, uncovers and develops my emotions and powerful attraction for God. I perceive God’s love for me with a force that shocks. The shock is both personal, realising how God loves me individually, and it is also collective, realising how God loves us, his people, his children, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, his Church.”

“The Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon) is a scripture book of love poems. As with all scripture today we are encouraged first to read it literally, then to look for meanings in allegory, moral teachings, teachings of promises to be fulfilled, etc. The tradition in our Church’s spiritual history, however, has been very much to see the deepest meanings of the book in its allegory.”

“This booklet is about our relationship in love with God. It attempts to deepen spiritual perception and to support growth in holiness. Desire and delight are the specific focus. We are invited to experience desire and delight on the following four levels and to respond in our own lives: 

i. My own awareness of God’s delight in me and his desire to grow in unity with me personally. 

ii. My awareness of God’s delight in us as the Church, the bride of Christ, his perception of us as a body which is beautiful and his desire for deepest union with that body. 

iii. The growth of my desire to be increasingly deeply united with God, to “see his face”, to “behold the Beatific Vision” or to “live in the presence of the Trinity, with full awareness and deepest relationship.” 

iv. The growth of my “delighting to live as a part of the Church, whom Christ takes as his bride,” and as a body of people who see ourselves as the subject of God’s delight and desire, as a beautiful body cherished by God the lover.” 

This book caused me to really think about God in a different way, and about my relationship with him. The texts and imagery that Father Taylerson explores and expounds upon are ones that I have read many times over. But examining them with him through the lens he uses brings them to life in a new way. The book is easy to read and engage with, but it is also one that will really make you pause and think. 

This booklet is an excellent read in a wonderful series. I recommend that you pick it up and give it a read or two.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Deeper Christianity Series:
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special
Providence and Prayer
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
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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