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July 2005 Vol 44 no 3


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Jesus and Prayer

A renowned spiritual director in Latin America explores how Jesus prayed. Jesus largely bypassed the religious institutions of his day, and prayed out of an experience of the Father in the whole range of human experience.

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Scientific Research as Adoration: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (1881-1955)

An article marking the fiftieth anniversary of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's death on Easter Sunday, 1955. For Teilhard, God was to be found in the sheer matter of the universe, in the costly, creative processes of scientific discovery, and in an evolutionary process converging towards unity in Christ.

Retreat Notes, Beijing: October 1945

A chapter from Teilhard's retreat notes, newly published in France. After spending the World War II years in China, Teilhard is preparing to return to France and probably to a renewal of the conflicts with authority that had dogged his work.

Godtalk with the Religiously Tone-Deaf

Forty years of Communism, as well as general secularisation, have radically dechristianised the former East Germany. Bernd Knüfer describes how Christians might undertake a ministry of sensitive dialogue there.

St Ignatius of Loyola and Severe Depression

Ignatius' writings in places suggest that he may have suffered at times from severe depression. Joseph A. Munitiz here presents the evidence, and reflects on its implications.

From Illusions Towards Truth: Thomas Merton's 'True Self' and Gay Spirituality

How can gay people grow to spiritual maturity in a society which still marginalises them? How can they avoid internalising a homophobia that often borrows religious language? Thomas Merton's account, developed in a monastic context, of the inner self provides some helpful leads.

Dorothee Sölle: Radical Christian, Mystic in our Midst

An introduction to the work of the Protestant theologian and mystic Dorothee Sölle (1929-2003), who drew on traditions going back to Eckhart in developing a spirituality of Christian resistance.

Discerning the Spirits Works: A Recent Example in Early Morning

The first article in a new series of spiiritual reflections on everyday life. John Smith, a priest working on a Canadian offshore island, tells us about how he discerned the spirits when his water supply broke down.

Book Reviews

on a new introduction to René Girard
on the suppression and restoration of the English Jesuits
on consecrated life and humane Christianity
on Orthodox spirituality
on a new study of Mary
on the debate surrounding suicide and euthanasia
on Mark Searle and Christian initiation
on Keith Ward's case for religion
on two approaches to the Church in the world today
on two theologians and Karl Rahner
on the Church, uncertainty and marginality
on sacraments and sacramentality
on Mark McIntosh's important new study of discernment


From the Foreword

The articles in this issue of The Way can, each in their own way, be seen as continuing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s vision of God coming into our bleak, unfinished reality, filling us with strength and power until the life of God-with-us becomes all in all. They explore God’s action in human lives beyond the conventionally religious sphere. We learn from Miguel Elizondo, the spiritual guide of many notable figures in the Latin American liberation movement, about the prayer of Jesus, informed as this was by a vision of God at work in human reality in ways that the religious establishment of Jesus’ time could only find scandalizing. We mark not only the sixtieth anniversary of Bonhoeffer’s death, but also the fiftieth of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s-the Jesuit mystic who developed a theology and spirituality of evolution at a time when conventional Christian authority preferred to remain obscurantist. We learn of Dorothee Sölle, a feminist theologian who drew on medieval traditions of German mysticism in developing a powerful theology of protest and resistance; and we hear about the experience of a group of people quietly trying to make Christianity intelligible in Leipzig-a city which is struggling with the inheritance both of Nazism and of state Communism. We explore, too, the spiritual challenges arising from the human realities which piety can easily lead us to deny: depression and gay sexuality. We also inaugurate a new series, ‘Spirituality and Living’, devoted to people’s everyday experiences and their spiritual reflection upon them. Bonhoeffer’s vision is expressed with a prophetic passion and an intellectual power that are unique. But in different ways, each of these articles explores the agenda he indicated so powerfully, an agenda which should be the permanent concern of any journal of Christian spirituality. The path towards God, God who is always God-with-us, is also the path through the unfinished business of our culture. A God graciously present in all things is always leading us beyond religious convention, always drawing us into the unfamiliar grace of our ‘this-worldliness’.

Philip Endean SJ



Please click here to subscribe to The Way,
here to order this issue alone,
and here to order a free sample copy.