Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Asri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God

Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Asri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God

Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Asri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God

Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Asri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God

Synopsis

Beyond Compare is a remarkable work that offers a commentary on spiritual learning for the twenty-first century rooted in two classic texts from the Hindu and Christian traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by Sri Vedanta Desika and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.

In his commentary, Clooney achieves multiple goals -- the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving surrender into God's hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India's most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Sri Vedanta Desika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. The good advice found through this deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the 21st century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.

Not merely a book about loving surrender to God, Beyond Compare offers us the opportunity to advance along that path ourselves, learning from the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika, meditating on their two paths together, deepening our own love and willingness to surrender in love to God.

Excerpt

This book seeks to be a commentary on two works rooted in different traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by Śrī Vedānta Deśika and the Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales. Several of the personal things that I might say in a preface are in chapter 1, specifically with respect to this book's genesis in my earlier writing, in questions that lingered after that writing, and in personal choices I have made over the years. I deliberately write from a personal perspective in chapter 1 because I do not want it to appear that more personal and confessional observations on the genesis of this project should be kept at a distance from the project itself, as if the personal is merely a catalyst for and prelude to objective scholarly work. Personal insights and motivations do and should deeply affect scholarly writing, particularly in a project such as this, in which how we read and write are topics of keen interest. Indeed, the whole point of the classic texts written by St. Francis de Sales and Śrī Vedānta Deśika, and of their reception over the centuries by anticipated and unexpected readers, is that the intellectual, imaginative, and affective are inseparable, each intensifying the other in a way that in the end must really be personal. and so it is in chapter 1, and not in this preface, that I draw my reader into my project as a kind of personal quest that begins in memories and in unanswered questions regarding my work from a decade ago, and in acknowledgment of testimonies of loving surrender, literary and personal. So this preface can be brief, a place to note some occasions on which I tested the ideas in this book and to offer thanks.

I was happy to test the theme and method of this book in a variety of settings, including an October 2005 lunchtime seminar of the Project on Religion, Political Economy, and Society at the Weatherhead Center at . . .

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