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The Cistercian Way (Cistercian Studies) Paperback – 1 Nov 1983

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Product details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Cistercian Publications; Reprinted 1996 edition (1 Nov. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879079762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879079765
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 888,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This at once traditional and contemporary approach to asceticism, not as self-abnegation but as a system of training basic to monastic experience, helps us to comprehend the fundamental continuity of prayer and work
The British Columbia Catholic

About the Author

André Louf, OCSO, served as abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Mont-des-Cats for thirty-five years until his retirement in 1997. His previous books in English include The Cistercian Way, Tuning in to Grace, Mercy in Weakness, Grace Can Do More, and The Way of Humility, all published by Cistercian Publications.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruno on 4 Aug. 2007
A wonderful guide for any spiritual seeker. This is the most helpful and deeply spiritual text I have come across for as long as I can remember. Abbot Andre Louf is profoundly sensible and practical and I am sure this exposition of monasticism can seriously help those who seek the absolute in any religious tradition - in truth I am sure (in my view) nothing has to be bound by the expression in the Catholic tradition, which must be just one way to God. (This is not expressed in the text, but the one truth emerges).
For example, take the text on prayer - "the word of God can create all things anew in the hearer whom it touces" - the one who pauses at the word of God - "He must work to create this emptiness, this space within, so that the power of God`s word can fill it" - and we discover the heart as we have never done so before - "the place of God in us" - "If I can arrive at a point where I can free myself from every other reality, and bring the gaze of my spirit to bear on this point exclusively, I can meet God"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
An excellent overview of contemporary Cistercian life 15 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Thomas Merton is the writer who comes automatically to mind when one thinks of the Cistercian Order, and while his books perhaps show greater spiritual depth than Louf's (which is probably an unfair comparison), it must be remembered that Merton is describing Trappist life as it was before and just after Vatican 2, many years ago. Dom Andre Louf's book is a brilliant, compact and beautiful overview of contemporary Cistercian life and will serve as an outstanding introduction to this way of life and devotion to God. Although each Cistercian monastery has its own character and differences, Louf is a very insightful writer and has a gift for describing what is a rather alien way of life to the modern world in simple, beautiful language. I read it in a Trappist monastery, which only made it better. Highly recommended!
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Inspired Introduction to the Trappist Vocation 29 Oct. 1999
By Julian Kerrell-Vaughan - Published on
Dom Andre Louf, former Abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Mont-des-Cats on the Franco-Belgian border, is a well-known spiritual writer, and especially within his own religious order.
The Cistercian Way is a seductive book, as indeed all books that talk of vocation to the religious life should be. "I shall seduce his heart and lead him into the desert" we read in the Old Testament. Movingly evoking the specifically Trappist vocation to follow God, Dom Andre redresses the several false notions that persist, even within the Church, about life as a Trappist. He writes with great truth that 'there is no reason why simplicity should mean ugliness...' Both for the man or woman who is considering life as a Cistercian, and for anyone seeking to understand more about Cistercian spirituality and direction, Dom Andre's book is an excellent starting point, and one to which one will always feel drawn to return.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An Essential Guide 5 Oct. 2005
By Billyjack D'Urberville - Published on
Abbot Louf's book is a succinct, clearly written exposition of all major aspects of Cistercian life and spirituality as it presently exists. Lucid and thoughtful, Louf deliberately and in an orderly fashion imparts the 1,000 year old tradition of the order founded by Saint Bernard in the 11th century, without getting bogged down in historical details or side issues. Absolutely authoritative without being at all polemical, richly informative without being colorful or showy, Louf's writing in itself conveys the root of his order's austere and durable charism. It is an essential guide and the best single volume available on its subject. A short but relevant set of photographs gives his teaching a resonant and striking contemporary dimensionality. If one is visiting the Cistercians for the first time or has visited them for decades, your experience will be solidly enriched and reinforced by this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Extremely Informative and insightful 16 Oct. 2010
By priv23 - Published on
Verified Purchase
I read this book while staying at a Cistercian-Trappist Monastery in South Carolina. Through this book i was able to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the monastic life. Andre Louf has a great handle on the history the Cistercian Monks. The chapters on Lectio Divina and Laborious Leisure alone were well worth the read. If you want to know more about the Cistercian way of life then this book is a must have. If you want to incorporate monastic rhythms into your everyday life then this would aid you along your journey along with other readings such as Bartons "Sacred Rhythms", Jamison's "Finding Sanctuary" and Brother Lawrence "Practicing the Presence of God." I am not a Roman Catholic so i had to get through certain theological differences but it was well worth it. The revelation and knowledge i received through this reading is invaluable. The spirit of the living God spoke to me through this reading and through the life of the brothers at Mepkin Abbey. Take a trip through this book and if you are able take a trip to a Cistercian/Trappist Monastery so you can learn of this lifestyle firsthand. Peace be with you.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful Introduction to Cistercian Life and Spirituality 3 July 2009
By M. L. Asselin - Published on
The literary style of Abbot André Louf's THE CISTERCIAN WAY is very much consonant with its topic: simple, incisive, and lyrical. I was pleasantly surprised to find this short book on the Cistercians--a Roman Catholic monastic order reaching back to the 11th century and with roots in the 6th century RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT--so captivating and moving. (This excellent English version was translated from the original French by Nivard Kinsella.)

The book includes a short history of monasticism in the West and the reforms which led to the Cistercian houses, a description of a day in the life of a monk, meditations on the core values in Cistercian life (especially the central role of prayer), and a brief treatment of the theological underpinnings of Cistercian spirituality. Included is a long excerpt of a 12th century anonymous Cistercian work titled, "Treatise on the Interior Mansion," and several pages of black-and-white photos depicting Cistercian life today.

THE CISTERCIAN WAY may very well have been written as an introduction to Cistercian life for the aspirant, much like William J. O'Malley's THE FIFTH WEEK is aimed at one considering a vocation to the Jesuits. However that may be, I think anyone with an interest in Cistercian (or Trappist, as Cistercians of the Strict Observance are sometimes called) spirituality, particularly one without a lot of background in that area, will have much to gain by reading Louf's work.
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