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Hammer and Fire: Way to Contemplative Happiness and Mental Health in Accordance with the Judeo-Christian Tradition

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0972598125
ISBN-10: 097259812X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fr. Raphael Simon received his M.D. from the University of Michigan. He interned at Bellevue Hospital, and practiced as a psychiatrist in New York. Following his conversion, he became a priest in the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance and a monk of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, where he was subsequently elected Abbot. He gave retreats to the monks of his Order in the United States and Ireland, and was a spiritual director for monks, priests and lay people. His autobiography, The Glory of Thy People, tells the story of his conversion, as introduced by Fulton J. Sheen.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Zaccheus Press (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097259812X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972598125
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,332,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I came across this book about 15 years ago while browsing in a Catholic bookstore. It was sitting on a high shelf -- the top was so dusty, it looked like it had been there for years. Waiting for me, I think. Providentially. For the book proved a true blessing in my life, at a time of great spiritual confusion and psychological depression -- a time when I was trying to rise up, with great difficulty, from years of sowing to the flesh, in order to reclaim, if possible, my Catholic heritage. This was just the book I needed.

Its pages are filled with great wisdom and kindness. Strict orthodoxy presented without undue harshness, but rather with true warmth -- as indeed orthodox Catholicism *is* a warm and good thing, and most consoling to the soul. As I say, it was just the book I needed, in the frazzled, broken frame of mind I was in. Fr. Simon takes the reader back to first principles, guides him or her into the temple of Catholic thought, and shows them the way. He wrote the book for those who do not have access to a spiritual director, and that is how - remarkably enough - the book functions. Reading through it, one is led to diagnose one's spiritual ills, weak points, and shortcomings -- and one is further led to the cure for these things, in thoughtful, illuminating expositions on prayer and the sacraments. Valuable pages, too, are given to the problem of choosing a state in life -- priest, religious, married, single. And the particular problems, advantages and general character of each state, as well as the process of discernment. Finally, there is a summary chapter near the end that provides a succinct, helpful guide to ordering one's spiritual life, starting with the basics.

Fr. Simon was a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith.
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Format: Paperback
This ia an amazing book that unites spiritual and emotional health to live fully human and fully alive. It is so easy to seperate our spirital well being from emotional and physical health...a BIG mistake. This book connects all the dots and provides the necessary material to live in harmony and in peace within no matter what situation we may encounter. Jesus desires us to be fully human. Contemplation makes us one in Christ and with one another. This is not a pious work to make us feel good but an invitation to growth in holiness that will reap joy unto life everlasting.
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This is a modern book on spirituality grounded in the Catholic spiritual tradition of Aquinas, John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila, and others. "Hammer" refers to the scriptures while "Fire" refers to prayer. Grounded in these two fundamentals, the author builds up the spiritual life, discussing such topics as man's final ends, happiness, different kinds of prayer, etc. It is quite practical and offers a variety of actual concrete steps to take in order to improve your prayer life. Again, much like the writings of Father Dubay, this book was written in the 20th century by an American but solidly grounded in the Catholic spiritual tradition as taught by the saints. It is a good, readable, and safe book for anyone beginning their spiritual journey or attempting to up their spiritual game.
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Great book for someone like myself who battles depression and searching for some spiritual help. I have thought about the rewards of having a Spiritual Director. Hammer and Fire is written for the layman desirous of quality spiritual direction and because it is such a good book repeated readings will yield answers for the moment I am living.
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