Chances are, you already know this – any Catholic who takes their faith seriously will quickly become aware of the thousand-and-one distractions, temptations, and misinformation that work constantly to inhibit our spiritual lives. To make matters worse, if you don’t know what you’re doing, prayer can feel blind and disappointing if we don’t immediately “feel” a response.
Most classic guides to the spiritual life don’t do much for the neophyte prayer warrior, either. Speaking from personal experience, diving into the works of John of the Cross or Teresa of Avila without a guide can quickly result and headaches (and more confusion), especially since many of their writings are only truly comprehensible to someone with similar spiritual experience!
This is where Ralph Martin’s brilliant spiritual manual, “The Fulfillment of All Desire,” comes in.
Martin’s accessible, though erudite, guide to the gritty details of the spiritual life is – much like any good work of Catholic spirituality – founded on millennia of works from the Church’s mystics, primarily seven Doctors of the Church whose writings contributed immensely to our knowledge of prayer and spirituality. These writings, including many by the aforementioned Carmelite mystics, are presented as comfortable excerpts framed by Martin’s commentary on how to practically apply their principles, as well as their relation to the other works covered in the book.
In short, this book gives you an accessible guide to the entire Catholic spiritual life, from the bare foundations of faith to the heights of sanctity. I was given this (initially intimidating) book as a Christmas present not long after I had really begun to discover a new love for prayer and the Catholic Church, and I immediately spent about a week devouring it as quickly as my brain could handle.“The Fulfillment of All Desire” was very much integral to my understanding of prayer and spiritual development, so I highly recommend it to anyone who’s not quite up to the monumental task of reading the original works of the Doctors of the Church, but is ready to take their prayer life to the next level.
I loved it, and it brought me closer to Christ. What more can I say? Go get thee a copy.
- The Apprentice –
This review was originally written as a guest post for my friends Ryan and Greg over at CatholicVine – their site is chock-full of handy resources and reviews, so go check it out when you get the chance!
(If you read all this, you’re a lovely person. Thanks for being interested.)