Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Art of Purifying the Heart (Convivium Press)

When requesting another book to review, I was also offered The Art of Purifying the Heart by Tomáš Špidlík. I admit that I was ignorant to who Špidlík was, but the book was endorsed by Fr. John Meyendorff, and that was enough for me to give it a chance. For those wondering like I was, Špidlík was a Jesuit priest who was made a Cardinal at the age of 83 by Pope John Paul II. Due to the age at which he was made a Cardinal, he never had voting rights, but he was Cardinal Deacon of Sant'Agata dei Goti Church in Rome. Cardinal Raymond Burke is now the Cardinal Deacon of that church.

The Art of Purifying the Heart is a brief (108 page) book that begins with an explanation of what evil is, It then moves on to the topics of temptation and sin. Next, we learn about vigilance and resisting temptation, discerning spirits, and the eight evil thoughts. Lastly, one learns about hesychasm and prayer of the heart. This last few chapters are probably unfamiliar to Western Christians/Roman Catholics, but to Eastern Christians, they will recognize these terms immediately.

The book is very carefully laid out and builds in a manner to help you grow in both prayer and your spiritual life. The book is simple and practical in its approach, but it presents Roman Catholics with a chance with a form of spirituality they might otherwise would not have been exposed to. As beautiful as the words in this book were, I encountered a bit of distractions due to some typos and the way some words were set apart. For example, instead of putting a word in bold, it would be surrounded by << >>. For that reason, I had to take away a star and only give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Try to get past these distractions though, and you will be richly rewarded.

This book was provided to me for free by Convivium Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!