When one reaches the highest degree of human maturity, one has only one question left: How can I be helpful?—TERESA OF ÁVILA
Beloved author Ronald Rolheiser continues his search for an accessible and penetrating Christian spirituality in this highly anticipated follow-up to the contemporary classic, The Holy Longing. With his trademark acuity, wit, and thoughtfulness, Rolheiser shows how identifying and embracing discipleship will lead to new heights of spiritual awareness and maturity. In this new book, Rolheiser takes us on a journey through the dark night of the senses and of the spirit. Here, we experience the full gamut of human life, pleasure and fervor, disillusionment and boredom. But, as Rolheiser explains, when we embrace the struggle and yearning to know God we can experience too a profound re-understanding to our daily lives.
“What lies beyond the essentials, the basics?” Rolheiser writes. “Where do we go once some of the basic questions in our lives have been answered, or at least brought to enough peace that our focus can shift away from ourselves to others? Where do we go once the basic questions in our lives are no longer the restless questions of youthful insecurity and loneliness? Who am I? Who loves me? How will my life turn out? Where do we go once the basic question in life becomes: How can I give my life away more purely, and more meaningfully? How do I live beyond my own heartaches, headaches, and obsessions so as to help make other peoples’ lives more meaningful? The intent of this book is to try to address exactly those questions: How can we live less self- centered, more mature lives? What constitutes deep maturity and how do we reach that place? And, not unimportantly, what constitutes a more adult, Christian discipleship? What constitutes a truly mature following of Jesus?”
One of the things that was pretty eyeopening, for me, was the correlations that Ronald Rolheiser made between the crucifixion of Jesus and how he transformed all the hatred being sent his way into love. It was interesting because I had never really considered the passivity that he showed and how he gave back love from such a humiliating situation. It definitely gave me pause, and made me inspect my own life to see if I could/have been able to do that (verdicts still out on that). It has also left me thinking that in the conflicts that we/I face between our different beliefs is an opportunity for everyone to listen and show compassion, even when we don't see eye-to-eye.
Just this one aspect of Sacred Fire, has me wanting to try even harder to not perpetrate hate and discord in our already strife filled world.
While that is just one of the things I enjoyed and found something of important, there were many other reasons to enjoy this book as a whole for what it offered. There were also a few other things that definitely had me thinking and pondering whether or not I could try to be better (which, I'll be the first to say how imperfect I am).
The other thing that stuck with me after finishing Sacred Fire, would have to be the chapter of Its Crowning Glory, Blessing Others. Why, because how many times have we inadvertently "cursed" another because they were better at something them we ourselves were. Personally, I had never really considered my annoyance at someone for being to loud to in fact be a form a cursing them, rather than blessing them. It just gave me so much to think upon, especially as I embarked on reading this during the first few days of Lent.
As to why I believe I be needing to re-read this at later point in life, well, that's easy. I just feel that this was perhaps aimed at someone who is more established in life and looking to continue giving of their life. While that's not to say that I'm not giving (I try), I still feel like I am still working towards that point. So, yeah, you could say I read this prematurely, but there was still so much to glean from this one.
Final Verdict: Sacred Fire- An excellent read for those looking to deepen their spirituality in both a Christian and human centered way.
Sacred Fire: A Vision for A Deeper Human and Christian Maturity earns 4 out of 5 griffins
Thanks to Blogging for Books and Image books, one lucky winner will receive both Sacred Fire and The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser.
Open to residents of the US (I'm afraid that I can only afford to ship within the US, sorry to all the amazing CA and INT people)
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This book was received in exchange for an honest review.