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Praying With Thomas Aquinas (Companions for the Journey) [Paperback]

By Mary Mercy Houle (Author), Michael Monshau (Author) & Patrick F. Norris (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   123
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.16" Height: 0.24"
Weight:   0.47 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2004
Publisher   Word Among Us Press
ISBN  1593250282  
EAN  9781593250287  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Praying With Thomas Aquinas (Companions for the Journey) by Mary Mercy Houle

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Inspirational   [3852  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology   [1535  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer   [2750  similar products]

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More Contemporary Catholicism than Thomas Aquinas  Feb 28, 2010
The book bears an organization of 14 meditations (chapters). At the beginning of each meditation, the theme is given, followed by an opening prayer. The subsequent sections of each chapter are in the following order: About Thomas (a biographical relation pertinent to the theme and clinched with a question for the reader), Thomas's Words (from his Summa), a Reflection (which interprets Thomas's words and applies them to contemporary life), God's Word (from the Scriptures), and a Closing Prayer.

Like the Summa, Praying with Thomas Aquinas is meant for beginners, for laypersons who do not have much theological experience but desire spiritual guidance. The work is instructive in several regards. For example, it highlights how, during Thomas Aquinas's day, the moral life and spiritual life were integrated and not imagined separate departments as they are today. It also demonstrates the importance of cultivating the theological and cardinal virtues. Interestingly, one of the passages from Thomas Aquinas represented in the work directly touches on deification (a Patristic belief that does not receive as much attention in the West as in the East).

While the work offers some sound spiritual advice, there are several areas for which I believe concern is due. At least twice, the work recommends the repetition of a short Christian prayer or word. It calls this prayer a "mantra." Any Christian who is familiar with the Jesus Prayer and other ancient prayers, knows that there is significant difference between the Christian repetition of short prayer and the Hindu or Buddhist practice of repeating specific names or sounds.

The other concern I have with the work is the attitude expressed regarding religions other than Christianity. The work lauds Thomas Aquinas for his respect of viewpoints that conflict with his own. In this light, the work urges Christians of today to adopt the same openmindedness towards other religions, with the aim of working together towards discovering the truth (as if the truth were yet to be found).

While it is true that, within the Christian theological circle, Thomas Aquinas respected others' views enough to offer a polite and logical rejoinder, he did not go so far as to, say, respect the Albigensian movement and suggest that devout Christians could learn a lot from them. As the work indicates, Christ is present in some form in other religions. Yet, it is equally important, from the Christian perspective, to remember that Christ is not the only one present in other religions. The good is mixed in with the bad in many cases, and it takes discernment to implement practices from other religions.

Overall, a decent read, but well surpassed by other books on Aquinas and on Christian prayer in general.


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