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Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition Paperback – March 1, 2002
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"Father Gabriel has the rare gift of combining exquisite scholarship with spiritual depth and simple language. Earthen Vessels is a masterpiece of tradition-rooted guidance to the practice of prayer."
—Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn,Archbishop of Vienna Author,Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church
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Top Customer Reviews
Fr. Bunge, for example, explores in detail the question of just which direction should we face when praying, and reveals that there is a whole theology implicit in this seemingly trivial matter. He also explores such things as the question of why prayer should sometimes be said aloud, and when it should be silent; why physical posture when praying is extremely important and which postures we should adopt; what happens during prayer, the interior processes, and much else besides.
The book is well-printed on excellent paper, is sewn and in a durable paper cover, is fully annotated and has a detailed bibliography, and is enlivened with many interesting pen and ink illustrations. This is a book that will repay careful study and re-reading, and, unlike so many of the 'books' we are being given today, it will not fall apart when being re-read. Ignatius Press is to be congratulated on having given us such a well-produced book at such a modest price.
Fr. Gabriel also explains how "theory" and "practice" blend with each other and often one cannot stop with "practice" alone. If people were contented with only service and being good to all, then they should not be thirsting for contemplative mode of prayers. So obviously, the soul craves for more. He argues, that there are innate traits within a human-being that drive him or her to contemplative mode of prayers. Prayer is a dialogue between the soul of a person and God. Deriving the inspiration from the ancient Church Fathers, is a sure way to enhance one's own relationship with God.
One jacket endorsement by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, states that insights in the book "...are a good beginning for someone who wants to know not only the Church of the Bible but also the Church of the Fathers." Indeed, it is "a good beginning" for beginners and seasoned veterans in my view. This book speaks about God "...not on the basis of scientific study, but as the fruit of the most intimate familiarity" , because the book explores theology "in the original sense" .
A characteristic simplicity of language conveys depth and good sense in the author's own prayer life. Those who are even slightly experienced in Prayer of the Heart and related disciplines will spot this feature about the author from the very first page. Yet no one should say that the author has not done his scholarly homework in primary sources of Patristic literature.
It is clear that Evagrius' of Ponticus--a fourth-century ascetical authority-- writings occupy an important part of the book. Some 46 pages [of 203 total pages] bear references to Evagrius' teachings.Read more ›
J. Patrick Wilkens
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Last year, I heard Archimandrite Gabriel speak at Sretenskiy Monastery in Moscow about his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy in 2010 after so many decades as a Benedictine monk. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Matthew M. Casserly
This book provides a concise and engaging summary of prayer in the patristic tradition, while giving practical advice for the Christian today to be able to follow these practices.Published 2 months ago by Michael Fabrizio
This book changes my prayer. This is a practical and deep introduction to pray for lay people according to orthodox christian tradition, according to Holly Fathers.Published 13 months ago by Horacio Bolo
Gabriel Bunge's thoughtful work draws on early Christian sources such as Evagrius, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and John Cassian. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Dougal Fraser
Five stars. The western church, Roman Catholic church, has lost its many prayer forms after the great schism one thousand years ago. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by S. olson
A very clear and indepth description of the details of Christian prayer. No problem with the book. The problem is with my motivation and energy devoted to prayer. Read morePublished on December 17, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Far from a dry treatise of ancient prayer, Fr. Bunge offers a refreshingly new look at the tradition of prayer in the Church. Read morePublished on November 28, 2012 by Jonathan F. Sullivan