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Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction (Spiritual Directors International) Paperback – Large Print

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Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction (Spiritual Directors International) + The Practice of Spiritual Direction + Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: MOREHOUSE PUBLISHING (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819222976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819222978
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Susan Phillips's thoughtful, listening intelligence incandesces in this account of her practice of spiritual direction. The process comes to vivid life in her personal narratives of sessions with directees in God's presence. I was moved at the way Susan's insights grew in relationship with those she met with over months and years. I felt holiness creeping into my own life." --Luci Shaw, author, Breath for the Bones: Imagination, Art, & Spirit and Writer in Residence, Regent College


"Reading Candlelight is like watching spiritual direction sessions through a two-way mirror while simultaneously privy to the thoughts and feelings of the author. Invaluable for people doing spiritual direction or contemplating it. Provides discerning insights into the difference in form and focus between psychotherapy and spiritual direction. Likely to be absorbing reading for Jungian or transpersonal psychologists."

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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One of the best books I have read so far in my training.
Susan Brislin
I can't imagine a better companion on the spiritual path than Susan Phillips and the stories she tells in this book full of love and wisdom.
Diane Deutsch
The case studies and principals for good spiritual direction are beneficial to me as a spiritual director.
Dorothy L. Zehr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Katarina Stenstedt on May 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Candlelight is a great read, probably even for those who don't practice spiritual direction. What's so terrific about this book?

* Great stories make great books, and this book is structured around nine readable, captivating stories. Will Charles find a mate? Is Jim's health going to hold? Will I, when the time comes, be able to die as beautifully as did ... well, I won't ruin the ending. But it is beautiful.

* Held gracefully within the context of these stories are short but excellent discussions of suffering, theodicy, Sabbath, death, decision-making, evil, Keats's "negative capability," the prayer of examen, the "middle voice" as a metaphor for the life of engaged faith, ... etc. etc. The book's one fault is its lack of an index. When I reread the book I plan to create my own rough index as I go along.

* Candlelight gives a view into what normally cannot be observed. As a spiritual director, it is extremely difficult for me to know whether my practice is like or unlike that of my colleagues. Just what ARE those spiritual directors doing behind those closed doors?? Well, read Candlelight and sit in on sessions with a master. Your style might differ, or you might disagree with Phillips's approach at points, but merely finding out exactly what she does during direction sessions is fascinating.

* Candlelight offers helpful definitions of spiritual direction, as do many other books and web sites. What is special here is that Candlelight offers definitions of spiritual direction as practiced by the erudite, mature, faithful, humorous Susan Phillips. Seen through her eyes, spiritual direction takes on a whole new glow.

* Phillips uses words beautifully and seems to know precisely what they all mean. She's not just flinging them around.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Deb Steinkamp on May 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Susan S. Phillips' Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction, is the book I wish I'd had when I first became interested in spiritual direction and it is a book I wish I'd had when I was learning to be a spiritual director. By following nine people from their entry into a spiritual direction relationship until the conclusion of the relationship, it is easy to see what spiritual direction looks like; the difference between spiritual direction and therapy or pastoral counseling; and the ways the person receiving direction grows in relationship with God. At every step, Susan makes explicit the assumptions and methods that are important in spiritual direction. In addition, this book also clearly shows the way the director's own internal experience in each session informs his or her responses to the person being directed. During my training and in the first days of my own direction practice, this internal listening was the most difficult and elusive part of spiritual direction for me. In all my reading, until this fine book, I had never read or heard such a helpful description of the director's decision making within a session.

Susan was my director for several years while I lived in California. Much of what I know about doing spiritual direction, I learned from Susan as she helped me orient myself toward God. Now, reading her explicit description of doing direction, I find my understanding of my own work as a director is enlarged.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Diane Deutsch on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
It used to be that sex, politics and religion were the unspeakable topics of discussion, the shadow side of our cultural conversation. We are much more comfortable with these topics now, but how often do you tell or are you asked about your prayer life- "What is happening in your prayers these days?" CANDLELIGHT tells the story of nine lives, stories that read like a novel, whose main thread is the life of the spirit, the life of prayer in each unique person's experience. The power of contemplative listening to call into verbal presence the often difficult to speak moments of the spirit in prayer is described in the immediacy of the moment, with such power and clarity that you feel you are in the room with this person seeking direction for their awareness of the life of the divine within them. In reading this book, I experienced direction in my own life, both as a deepening awareness of God's life in me and in my ability to listen to that relationship.

I was especially touched by the unfolding story of John, a man who lived in a cramped apartment, desiring to serve in a church using the gifts he was trained for in seminary but instead, he works in a factory. Susan asks him about places of spaciousness. In the mornings, he says, he goes to the roof of his building. As he stays with that experience, Susan says: "Your morning sounds transformed by going to the roof." He says that it helps me extend my antennae upward to God. Later on he says that he is suddenly aware of God when feeling irritated and cramped during the day. He doesn't beat himself up with the feelings, suppress the feelings of irritation but he just offers the feelings up and sits with them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. Stillman on September 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had essentially no knowledge of "spiritual direction" before reading this book and picked it up because I was curious about the subject. What a great find! The author has done a magnificent job of explaining the principles and methods of spiritual direction through both narration and example. She shares her experiences with us through her interaction with nine "directees" who have come to her with various spiritual issues, many in the midst of life-changing events. You feel like you are in the room with them as these people relate their fascinating stories from many walks of life and religious perspectives. The author shares so much of herself that you get to know her, too. I was so impressed with the many spiritual insights I gleaned from reading this book and was astonished to see how God worked in these people's lives. This book is superbly and sensitively written, very well researched and yet a very down to earth look at a deeply spiritual endeavor.
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