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Prayer Paperback – May 1986

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Product details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (May 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898700744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898700749
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aquinas on 1 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous and mind blowing book. I was enthralled by its mysticism and theology. Trully, I felt I was in the presence of a man, who really had one foot in heaven. On a practical litrugical note, one of his most insightful comments is on the positioning of the tabernacle in church - he dismisses the argument that the central positioning of the tabernacle detracts from the cosmic mystery of the mass - his comment made in 1955 before churches began to sideline the tabernacle was trully prescient as many churches have made that error. This is a book for anyone who wants to deepen his/her faith. It should be kept as a pearl withour price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By WOOD on 26 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is written by a theologian so it might not be an easy read for most people. But, it is well worth the effort because there are some real gems to be found. For the contemplative this book is a guide and a source of experienced wisdom. Balthasar's deep knowledge comes from his accute spiritual hearing. He makes it clear that all prayer belongs to the Church who benefits from it. He says:
"Created being as a totality can only be conceived as dependent on and inhabited by eternal, absolute Being, and the same applies to the created 'I'. Just as the part loves the whole more than itself, and loves itself most when it does so in the whole and not in its particularity, the created 'I' loves and affirms itself at the deepest level by loving God's absolute, free 'I'..." [p.23].This book proves that we are created for God.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
A richly textured treatment of prayer 9 Oct. 2003
By Liangtu - Published on
Format: Paperback
For American Christians lazily accustomed to psychospiritual pap, this book might seem overwrought and inaccessible. But don't get the wrong idea: this is not a book for arm-chair intellectuals either. Rather in this book we witness how a "kneeling theologian" savors the theological bouquet that is released in the vital practice of prayer. Doctrinally meticulous the way a lover is attentive to his beloved's every move, von Balthasar masterfully grounds Christian spirituality in Scripture and Patristic witness. Some familiarity with the Catholic tradition would help, but this book will be deeply edifying for anyone who believes that in Christ, heart and mind must interpenetrate each other--a compelling corrective to modern faith's flaky preoccupation with spirituality full of feelings and me-centeredness but void of Christological substance.
55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Way over my head! 15 Sept. 2002
By Donald S. Meador - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was very much looking forward to Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar. While I grew up in the Christian tradition, my particular flavor did not practice contemplative prayer. So, I was looking to expand my horizons. This book came to me highly recommended. However, I must tell the readers of this review that this in no introductory text on prayer. It is nowhere near easy reading.
The book is well written, that is certain. It is as much a systematic theology as it is a book on prayer. I graduated from seminary with a Master of Divinity and still found this book to be dense reading. Balthasar is no foreigner to philosophy and uses the language of philosophy generously. In fact, I found him hard to follow at times.
I am glad that I read this book. I value any insight I can gain to grow in my own prayer pilgrimage. But, be forewarned, this is no easy read on prayer. I hope to find a better introduction to contemplative prayer.
47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
a masterpiece. 30 Oct. 2000
By A. Hogan - Published on
Format: Paperback
The late h.u. von balthazar, the theologian du juer of the vatican was a brilliant,cultured theological giant,and also a man of deep and profound prayer.{do not let the fact that von balthazar has been co-opted by reactionaries daunt you. he is infinitely rewarding.}This book, divided into 3 sections;the act of contemplation;the object of contemplation andthe tensions of contemplation.though von balthazar can be dense and at times obtuse,this book is rich, the prose clear and at times,poetic,befitting its subject.This book is qiute literally a lifetime companion, for i believe it contains all of von Balthazar's wisdom, eriudition, and holiness[which is ,of course, a subjective thing.]Well, well worth the effort.As an aside, the publishers have done a commendable job with the presentation of this book. The binding is excellent, the pages themselves of fine qulaity. well done all around
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Christian Theology on her knees! 28 Jan. 2009
By Donner C. S. Tan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found this book to be a challenging but rewarding read. Read it through once to get an overview, second time to get her message and subsequently to chew on selected passages for their affective value. Balthasar writes in a quasi-poetic style, reminiscent of writers like Alexander Schmemann and Abraham Heschel, on the subject of prayer and contemplation. He uses the word 'contemplation' in the broad sense of lifting one's heart and mind to God. He contends that the possibility of prayer is materialised through God's self-revelation in salvation history and particularly through the Word made flesh. It is the particularity of God's engagement with the world through the historical covenants that defines and gives shape to Christian prayer. This is different from attempts to connect with the Other through self-contemplation or absorption into the absolute being. Contemplation in the Christian tradition is therefore a concrete response to the Word of God that has entered into space and time through the particularities of human lives and supremely in the life of the Son of God. The fine example of Mary in her words, 'Let it be to me according to your word' is the embodiment of Christian contemplation that allows the Word to be born in us and take us where it will.

"Contemplation's ladder, reaching up to heaven, begins with the word of scripture, and whatever rung we are on, we are never beyond this hearing of the word.... neither can we get beyond the word in its human form. It is in the humanity that we find God, in the world of sense that we find the Spirit." (preface, p.9)

It is out of this Word-centred view of contemplation that Balthasar takes us through the various aspects of the prayer life that is rooted in the the total self-offering of the worshippers, liturgy, personal freedom and eschatology as well as the odd tensions within which one finds himself praying on this side of the eschaton. What we find here is a deep and comprehensive exposition of the full contours of Christian prayer that is characteristically trinitarian, rooted in salvation history and mediated by the Church. Written in the spirit of prayer, this spiritual masterpiece can be deeply nourishing when we take in a small portion at a time and ponder it deeply in our hearts.
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Like drinking cool, spring water on a hot day. 8 April 2001
By A. Doug Floyd - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is refreshing. Deep down refreshing. Balthasar is one of those rare theologians that could write beautifully. Every sentence is like a rare jewel. I read this book slowly and savored every single thought.
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