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Students of theology are in debt to the Newman Book Shop for its enterprise in reprinting a number of manuals and texts no longer available in the United States. The same laudable enterprise has gone into the reprinting of these ascetical works. The latter two are classic sources of spirituality; the others are works of enduring value. All deserve a wide circulation.
The general warmth of Monseigneur Gay's writings, and their quality of expansiveness have won for them a distinguished place in ascetic literature. This book is a translation of three chapters from his larger work, De la vie et des vertus chrétiennes (2 vol., 1874).With the Venerable Libermann, Gay headed the revival of the great seventeenth-century French School; many contemporary readers will find themselves in sympathy with his thought.
The second book, by an anonymous Jesuit, is chiefly notable for the penetrating thoroughness with which it pursues a psychological study of the virtue of humility. The material is cast in the form of meditations. As an aid to self-study they will be useful. One slip in doctrine should be noted: "without special graces, to which we have no real claim, we could not resist certain temptations" (p. 78; cf. p. 79 f.). There may be ambiguity in the term "real claim"; at any rate, one who is a child of God by grace is assured of God's paternal providence, both external and internal, in virtue of which he will be empowered to overcome in any conflict; it remains for him to correspond with God's initiatives.
Dom Thomas Verner Moore's book, first published in 1930, has a special pertinence for the laity, but religious will likewise find it valuable. The discussion of vocal prayer, meditation (especially in the Benedictine tradition), affective prayer, and contemplation is characterized by much spiritual insight, solid practical wisdom, and clarity of style.
The last two books need no recommendation. David Lewis' translation of St. Teresa's Life is well known; and Fr. Boyle has done the De Sacerdotio into pleasing English.