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Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition [Paperback]

By Gabriel Bunge & Michael J. Miller (Translator)
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Item Number 126377  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   222
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2002
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898708370  
EAN  9780898708370  
UPC  008987083702  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Fathers of the Church, deeply-rooted in the Scriptures, have left us a rich treasure as inheritance, not only of texts, but also of manners, forms and gestures of prayer. Today, western Christianity in a special way, needs to rediscover the intimate union which must exist-in prayer just as in any aspect of Christian life-between theory and practice, between contemplation and practical exercise. One learns how to pray by praying, and the whole of our being is called to participate in this work: the mind, the heart, but also the body, the gaze, the senses. Fr. Gabriel Bunge, a hermit with great spiritual discernment and profound knowledge of the Fathers of the desert, presents with masterly coherence this important unity between what one believes and what one expresses in the practice of prayer: a fascinating rediscovery of the valuable treasure contained in the teachings of the Church Fathers on the practice of personal prayer.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Praxis Not Patrology  Aug 29, 2006
This small volume provides a glimpse of the invaluable patristic traditions related to prayer--personal and corporate. One must agree with the eremitic Gabriel Bunge when he states that '...for a Christian, the study of the holy Fathers can never remain merely academic patrology, which does not necessarily influence the life of the one who is studying.' The organization and erudition of this work are superior and effective in conveying the wealth of our common, though sadly now mostly abandoned, heritage as followers of Christ Jesus. As one interested in things-patristic, Bunge's Earthen Vessels has taken its place as a precious addition to my library. May God bless his voice even as he blesses the Church!
Scholarly, fascinating, and useful  May 19, 2005
Anyone who is at all interested in prayer, or in the Early Fathers in general, should read this book. It is extremely well-researched and well-written, and the reader will be surprised again and again at the many aspects of prayer which the world has forgotten, but which for the early Christians were of vital importance.

Fr. Bunge, for example, explores in detail the question of just which direction should we face when praying, and reveals that there is a whole theology implicit in this seemingly trivial matter. He also explores such things as the question of why prayer should sometimes be said aloud, and when it should be silent; why physical posture when praying is extremely important and which postures we should adopt; what happens during prayer, the interior processes, and much else besides.

The book is well-printed on excellent paper, is sewn and in a durable paper cover, is fully annotated and has a detailed bibliography, and is enlivened with many interesting pen and ink illustrations. This is a book that will repay careful study and re-reading, and, unlike so many of the 'books' we are being given today, it will not fall apart when being re-read. Ignatius Press is to be congratulated on having given us such a well-produced book at such a modest price.

Serious for every Christian, more so for every Catholic  Nov 17, 2003
Patrology (Study of Church Fathers) guides Fr. Gabriel Bunge O.S.B., a Benedictine Priest and Monk, as to how a person can actually pray! If you are interested in "Personal Prayers," this book is for you. These days, many priests reduce spirituality to nothing more than "social activism." While, the fundamental pedestal of charity and love is what is expected of in each Christian, nevertheless, prayer is the summit of one's own spirituality. Fr. Gabriel beautifully argues this point. In fact, his opening ponderances on how while the debate of faith "evaporating" in the Western World is gaining ground, a paradoxical surge in books on Spirituality is on the rise too. So he ponders if faith is actually "evaporating."

Fr. Gabriel also explains how "theory" and "practice" blend with each other and often one cannot stop with "practice" alone. If people were contended with only serving their neighbors and were good to all, then why is there an increase need in these people for contemplative mode of prayers, he asks? Why then is there a thirst for "spirituality" and "individual prayer?", he asks. He argues, that these are innate traits within a human-being. Prayer is a dialogue between the soul of a person and its God. Deriving the inspiration from the ancient Church Fathers, is a sure way to enhance one's own relationship with God.

I would recommend that you get this book within the next three days if you are a Christian, and get it right now, if you are a Catholic.

Perhaps the Greatest Book on Personal Prayer out there  Feb 12, 2003
This is one of those rare gems that you find once in a great while. For the person who in serious about their personal prayer life this book is a must have. Father Bunge critiques the problems of modern Catholic prayer and lays out a plan for individual prayer and shows the basis on the early church fathers. This is an informative and practical book! I highly recommend it.

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