Being in Love: The Practice of Christian Prayer

By William Johnston | Go to book overview

NINTEEN
Discernment

Human life is a process of growth and development, and today, more than ever before, we have become aware of the phenomenon of psychic growth. Now we know that men and women keep growing psychically through childhood and adolescence to midlife and old age. We know that midlife and old age offer wonderful opportunities for the flowering of the personality and the discovery of one's authentic self. We believe that death is the last stage in growth, leading to a life which goes on and on into Infinite Love.

Human growth is not like that of the acorn becoming an oak. We grow to maturity through free decisions and choices which make us to be what we are and what we will be. There are small decisions made quickly and spontaneously. There are big decisions which demand thought and time and prolonged prayer. It is through these decisions, both small and big, that we chose our path in life.

By small decisions I mean when to work and when to play, when to study and when to watch TV, when to eat and when to fast, when to sleep and when to watch, when to visit the sick and when to play the guitar, when to have fun with friends and when to go to the chapel and pray, whether to vote for this political party or for that, whether to walk in peace marches or to stay home and study economics. Many of these decisions are concerned with timing: there is a time for everything under the sun.

By big decisions I mean the taking of a new path or a

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Being in Love: The Practice of Christian Prayer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents 1
  • Preface to the Second Edition 5
  • One - Being in Love 9
  • Two - Prayer and the Body (1) 18
  • Three - Prayer and the Body (2) 27
  • Four - Ways of Praying 35
  • Five - Grades of Prayer 44
  • Six - Prayer in Nature 51
  • Seven - Existential Prayer 56
  • Eight - Quietism 63
  • Nine - Ego, Self, God 69
  • Ten - The Mystery of Jesus 76
  • Eleven - Crisis 82
  • Twelve - Second Journey 90
  • Thirteen - Return to Paradise 100
  • Fourteen - Existential Dread 108
  • Fifteen - Night 115
  • Sixteen - Prayer of Suffering 122
  • Seventeen - Being-In-Love 129
  • Eighteen - Dialogue 140
  • Ninteen - Discernment 148
  • Twenty - Social Consciousness 161
  • Index 167
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