Think of the moment you last experienced God.
Do you know him that closely in this moment?
Truly experiencing the love of God gives us a taste of his goodness and his love for us, but often those moments are fleeting. We get distracted by life. Our awareness and understanding fade while our longing to experience him that way again increases.
In these pages you can begin to fill that longing by developing your capacity to receive and respond to God's love. Spiritual formation is the process through which one's inner self is opened to the work of the Holy Spirit, who forms us into the image of the Son. Here Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe, both experienced leaders in spiritual formation, introduce you to people from the past who have known God deeply. Each person helps you to grasp one of the seven primary paths to intimacy with God that have been developed throughout Christian history. Chapters are divided into sections, each segment surrounding a key figure and concluding with a reflection and prayer.
This rich resource can guide you into the same deep intimacy with God, opening you to the Spirit's work of transformation.
"This marvelous source book by Foster and Beebe invites us to a pilgrimage toward God. It takes us deeply and slowly into the old trusts of our fathers and mothers in faith. The book will be a valuable detailed reminder that the journey is not an easy one, and that we are not the first ones who have walked that way. The book meditates on the old habits whereby one may break from the present rush in order to be refreshed and transformed by a holiness that is beyond every quick fix and every surface offer."
Introduction: Recovering the Seven Paths of Christian Devotion
1. Path One: The Right Ordering of Our Love for God
Origen of Alexandria: The Quest for Perpetual Communion with God
Augustine of Hippo: Loving God with Our Body, Mind and Heart
Bernard of Clairvaux: The Desire for God and the Ascent of Pure Love
Blaise Pascal: The Right Ordering of Body, Mind and Heart
2. Path Two: The Spiritual Life as Journey
Evagrius of Ponticus: From Deadly Thoughts to Godly Virtues
George Herbert: Weaving Life into a Meaningful Whole
John Bunyan: The Pilgrim?s Path to God
Thomas Merton: Finding Our Home with God
3. Path Three: The Recovery of Knowledge of God Lost in the Fall
Thomas Aquinas: Learning to Love and Know God Fully
Martin Luther: Growing in the Freedom of God?s Love
John Calvin: Knowing God and Knowing Ourselves
4. Path Four: Intimacy with Jesus Christ
Francis of Assisi: The World as Our Cloister
St. Bonaventure: The Fullness of Life in Christ
Thomas à Kempis: Imitating Christ
Ignatius of Loyola: Guided by the Mysteries of Christ
5. Path Five: The Right Ordering of Our Experiences of God
Julian of Norwich: Enfolded in the Goodness of God
George Fox: Learning to Follow the Light of Christ Within
John Wesley: The Role of Our Religious Experiences in Knowing God
Friedrich Schleiermacher: Making Sense of Our Experiences of God
6. Path Six: Action and Contemplation
John Cassian: Balancing the Active and Contemplative Life
Benedict of Nursia: Learning to Live by a Rule
Gregory the Great: Living the Active Life Contemplatively
7. Path Seven: Divine Ascent
Pseudo-Dionysius: Loving God through the Threefold Way
The Cloud of Unknowing: The Sharp Darts of Longing Love
Teresa of Avila: Entering Christ?s Mansion
John of the Cross: Illuminating the Dark Night
Appendix 1: Pre-Christian Influences on Our Life with God
Appendix 2: Christian Women and Spirituality
Appendix 3: The Contribution of the Eastern Orthodox Church