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Spiritual Childhood: The Spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux [Paperback]

By Vernon Johnson (Author)
Our Price $ 11.86  
Retail Value $ 13.95  
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Item Number 126386  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   230
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.08" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.68"
Weight:   0.69 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 24, 2001
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898708265  
EAN  9780898708264  
UPC  008987082651  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
St. Therese of Lisieux, now a Doctor of the Church, summarized her spirituality in these simple but profound words, "My Little Way is all love". Her complete and unshakable trust in the love of God our Father was the foundation of her spiritual life, a childlike relationship with our Creator that raised her to the heights of sanctity in only 24 years of life.

St. Therese's spirituality, her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, is one that can be imitated and practiced by all souls, no matter what their state in life. Her spirituality has been recognized by the Church as a special gift from God for ordinary people everywhere to reach heroic sanctity.

Msgr. Vernon Johson, a famous convert and apostle of St. Therese, presents in this book the most clear, practical and yet profound explanation of this "little way", a way to perfection that changed his life and the lives of countless others. Johnson summarizes the spiritual approach of St. Therese in these three words: Love, Humility, Confidence.

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More About Vernon Johnson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! VERNON JOHNSON has wide experience as an author, theater director, and professor of world literature. He is co-author of "Understanding The Crucible". He now resides in Berkeley, California, where he continues to write and teach.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Outstanding and Inspiring Book  May 12, 2008
Vernon Johnson is today one of the least well known of a fabulously gifted circle of English Catholic writers of the 1920s through the 1940s which included G.K. Chesterton, Hillaire Belloc, Ronald Knox, and Abbot Vonier. Johnson was not as prolific as any of those men, but what he did write is choice.

"Spiritual Childhood" is the product of some 20 years of meditation on the subject of St. Therese of Lisieux, whose spiritual legacy inspired Johnson's conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism (as chronicled in his wonderful book One Lord, One Faith, recently reissued by Ignatius Press).

Written in a beautifully lucid and simple style, "Spiritual Childhood" reflects the distilled wisdom gathered over a lifetime by a faithful priest and pastor of souls. Where the book is most helpful and profound is on the question of suffering. Not everyone suffers to the same extent. But some have been given to know all too well what Jeremiah meant when he wrote: "The Lord our God has doomed us; He has made us drink a bitter draft... we looked for relief, but instead there is terror" (9:14-23). Or the words of the Psalmist: "All day long my disgrace is before me, my face is covered with shame... you have crushed us in a place of sorrows, and covered us with the shadow of death... Why do you hide your face and forget our oppression and misery?" (43:16, 20, 25).

To taste of this is to know how crushing, how soul-shattering suffering can be -- and how inviting the option of despair becomes, and how tempting the dark alternative encompassed in Hamlet's question.

It is very hard to find spiritual writing that can provide consolation in the midst of the spiritual desolation brought on by profound suffering... but "Spiritual Childhood" is one such book. Ultimately, the logic of despair can only be escaped by dint of a new perspective. But the power of despair lies in its capacity to destroy such alternative perspectives, to see through them, with a kind of demonic ingenuity, as meaningless charades or sophistry. For the heart, too, turns hard and cold, bitter both towards grace and the Savior who would bring it. One may hear a knocking, but the response is: Go away. Leave me alone. Or worse.

I do not know what Johnson experienced in his life, but this book reflects a very deep and sympathetic understanding of the problem of suffering, and with it a capacity to offer a fresh perspective that can allow one to see one's suffering in a new light, like the sun rising in the darkness. And too, there is some special grace associated with Therese of Lisieux, and her doctrine of spiritual childhood, that has a way of penetrating the heart, even the heart embittered by despair, and allowing grace to enter in.

There is much wisdom in this book for all Christians -- it is very fine, and should be more widely known. Any Catholic book reader will find much to cherish on these pages.

But "Spiritual Childhood" has a special value for those who may happen to be in a state of intense suffering or despair -- for such souls, I truly believe that reading this book can be a form of spiritual therapy, a real channel of healing grace -- a living embodiment of Fr. Johnson's kind, wise, and generous priestly ministry.
St. Therese is wonderful  Oct 18, 2003
St. Therese of Lisieux is one of my favorite saints. You will love reading about her life. She is truly inspiring.
If God is Your Father, You are His Child!  Jul 18, 2003
This book is essential to anyone seeking to follow Christ's call to be like "little children." Vernon Johnson, a convert from the Anglican church, magnificently distills Therese's sublime insights without distorting her.

One cannot read this book without coming away with a greater understanding of what being a child of God means. Yet, this is not a book about the intellect but rather a book about the heart. It will certainly inspire every reader to want to love God like Therese did.


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