Sunday, January 25, 2015

Catholic Review: Talking with God

Talking with God by François Fénelon, March 1, 2009 (originally published May 1, 1997). 136 pages. Published by Paraclete Press. Source: publisher.
François Fénelon was a seventeenth-century French Catholic archbishop who rose to a position of influence in the court of Louis XIV. He became a wise mentor to members of the king’s court, his writings preserved by the many people whom he counseled. These words have inspired Christians of all backgrounds for centuries with their frank honesty, spiritual wisdom, and unflinching response to truth.   This beautiful, accessible, contemporary English translation, introduces you to the essential Fenelon.   “All who seek fellowship with God amid the rush and racket of modern life will find that Fenelon's searching gentleness is a wonderful pick-me-up for the heart. This selection from his letters is pure gold.” —Dr. J. I. Packer, author of Growing in Christ

“Here is a book of spiritual reading that will guide you into an encounter with God
through heart-felt prayer and meditation, solidly rooted in scripture and the
Catholic tradition. It represents the best of the ancient future evangelical and
ecumenical spiritual literature, with insights that have the power to transform our lives.”
—Dr. Robert Webber, author of Ancient-Future Worship
First Sentence:

Talk with God with the thoughts that your heart is full of.

I am surprised that Talking with God is the first time I've heard about the seventeenth century French archbishop François Fénelon because his writing is incredible. I was attracted to reading this one as the title caught my attention-because who couldn't use a little spiritual direction when it comes to talking with God (*raises hand*). While it was the title that caught my eye, it was François Fénelon's writing that drew me and gave me pause as I reflected upon what he was saying.

So, Talking with God, for me, has been an interesting read because François Fénelon said some things I kind of needed to hear (even though I didn't know I needed to hear them). Personally, I felt that this book was calling me into a deeper relationship with God through prayer and asking me to bring everything to Him, even those times when you're praying and feeling like you're speaking and no one's listening. I guess you could say that this book is trying to tell me that maybe I should try to listen more than I speak within my prayers so that I might hear what He's trying to say.

While I did found myself seeing points in which I could improve in my own prayer life, I want to talk more about the book and how well it is suited for the upcoming Liturgical season-Lent. With the Lenten season kicking off next month, I believe Talking with God could be a great book to help one prepare for this very prayerful time of year. Why, because this book gently, and, yet without beating around the bush, asks you to look within yourself and how you talk with God.
Having never read François Fénelon's original writings in French, I thought Paraclete Press did a wonderful job of making Talking with God accessible to modern readers. While I'm not sure how much was updated to make this English edition contemporary, I can say that the flow of his writing just pulls the reader in.
   Even though I really love reading the writings of early, well earlier than our current time, Church writers, they can be somewhat daunting sometimes. Though, that is not always the case as I've discovered by taking a chance on books that call out to me.

Final Verdict: Talking with God- Even now, François Fénelon's writing is just as powerful today as it was back in the seventeenth century. With highly accessible writing, this is definitely one that would be great for anyone in need of a spiritual tune-up.

Talking with God earns

This book was received from Paraclete Press in exchange for an honest review.

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