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Lost in Wonder: Rediscovering the Spiritual Art of Attentiveness Hardcover – November 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


The author's limpid prose is a joy to read. She draws out of the Rule each of the crucial elements in Benedict's teaching: the use of Scripture in the practice of the lectio divina is set out in its four stages and the three vows are also elucidated and their implications outlined.
Stephen Platten, Norwich Cathedral, England

Esther de Waal was one of the pioneers in applying Benedictine spirituality to life outside of monasteries. Since she wrote Seeking God there has been a deluge of popular interpretations of Benedictine life, prompted in large part by her work. Though the pool of resources has grown mightily in the last twenty years, I still regard Seeking God as one of the very best introductions for those seeking, as she does, to bring Benedict's wisdom into the concrete experiences of daily life.
Fr. Columba Stewart, O.S.B., Professor of Theology, Curator of Research Collections, St. John's Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota

As for the Rule itself, while it had attracted me from the beginning, I needed considerable help in interpreting it. I found that Esther de Waal's Seeking God was especially useful as it opened the way for me to see the Benedictine spirituality as accessible to lay people as well as monastics. The book helped me to decide to become an oblate.
Kathleen Norris, American Benedictine Review

This present edition of Esther de Waal's informative and insightful book, already acclaimed as a best-selling spiritual classic since its first publication in 1984, will continue to engage readers in ways of appropriating for their own lives the inestimable spiritual values of Benedict's sixth-century Rule. The book is enhanced by the addition of a supportive foreword by Kathleen Norris, and the author's evocative preface and updated, expanded annotated list of readings. The book has no equal as a challenging and practical guide for monastic and non-monastic alike who are searching for ways of incorporating the basic Christian Gospel values into their daily lived-out experiences.
Rosemary Rader, O.S.B., Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor, Carleton College

About the Author

Esther de Waal is one of today's most celebrated spiritual writers. Seeking God, her classic book on the relevance of the Rule of Saint Benedict, has opened up the riches of the monastic tradition to readers throughout the world for almost twenty-five years. Greatly in demand as a speaker and retreat leader, she lives in Herefordshire, UK.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081462992X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814629925
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By John T. Farrell on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
According to Esther de Waal, in the words of William Wordsworth, many of us have become "dull of sight," or as Wordsworth's original draft framed it, "dull of soul." To help counter this spiritual malaise of unawareness and inattentiveness, a dullness of sight and soul which manifests itself in the paradoxical symptoms of busy-ness and lethargy, de Waal has written her latest book, Lost in Wonder: Rediscovering the Spiritual Art of Attentiveness.
The author is well prepared for her task. A prolific Anglican writer who is married to the former rector of Canterbury, de Waal is best known for her books about the Benedictine and Celtic traditions, and the spirit of those two Anglican lynchpins pervades Lost in Wonder. Using the image of the Celtic peregrini, who set off in their small fragile boats to go where the wind of the spirit took them, de Waal offers Lost in Wonder as a retreat for those living either in the midst of relentless activity or in a void. To that end, she focuses on the themes of harmony and balance, the light of the Transfiguration, the discipline of seeing, the relationship between our inner and outer lives, and the creation of an interior space, a cloister, in which to be silent and pray.
Lost in Wonder is filled with insight, wisdom, gentle humor, and good advice. I especially appreciated de Waal's suggestion early on to carry a magnifying glass at all times to help recover the gift of vision and to add an extra dimension to the way we look at the world. And like all spiritual masters, de Waal provides opportunities for the lectio divina by ending each of her nine chapters with selections from the early Fathers, the Celtic saints, holy men and women of the Middle Ages, seventeenth-century Anglican mystics, the Psalms, and writers as diverse as Bonnie Thurston, Basil Hume, Brother Roger of Taize, Thomas Merton, Ann Lewin, Alice Walker, and Edwin Muir.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The author Esther de Waal says in the introduction that much of this book is about seeing - recovering the ability for vision, and becoming generally more aware. There has been a veritable explosion of retreat-going in North America, with monastic communities and imitators of such offering evermore hospitable facilities for those seeking. But do those seeking know what they are seeking in these retreats?
'Lost in Wonder: Rediscovering the Art of Attentiveness' is fully in keeping with a Benedictine sense of spirituality. The very first word of Benedict's rule is Listen! - a call to attentiveness. In examining the connection between the inner and outer life, de Waal recounts many of her own experiences, as well as the poetic and spiritual writings of others related to the subject. From such authors as Pablo Naruda, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, and many others, the practices of prayer, reading, and meditation are brought into relationship to mysteries such as light and darkness, silence, and mystery itself.
Each section has both narrative and prayer/reflection pieces. The narratives include stories, ideas, and examples, deepening the understanding but also leading the reader to more meditative states in the ambiguity and unresolved nature that is inherent in mystery. The prayers and reflections come from a wide variety of sources, including psalms and other biblical passages, saints, poets and mystics past and present.
De Waal introduces familiar practices, such as journaling, in a new light, showing how many of the daily practices and potential practices we already have can be modified to yield new value. De Waal also introduces a sense of sacred to everyday architecture and space, transforming the simple act of walking around into a worshipful and special experience.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By janey reynolds on December 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Esther de Waal has the uncanny ability to create in the reader the experiences she is writing about. In LOST IN WONDER she is writing about ways of living our lives with heightened awareness of the world around us, the presence of God in that world and in ourselves. She makes the book itself a retreat in which we enjoy a feast of poetry, reflections, prayers, and mediations drawn from a rich variety of sources. This is De Waal's most personal book, a rare treat for her many followers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was so marvelous, I didn't want it to end! I savored every word!

With a combination of poetry, prayer, and reflection, the reader is led through a retreat that is eye-opening to the gifts we enjoy everyday and usually take for granted. The glow I received from reading this book will stay with me and warm my soul for many a day. It is a means of opening your eyes to the miracles in our lives and lifting our spirits to respond in prayer. In fact, reading this book is a prayer.

My deep thanks to Esther de Waal for blessing my life by writing this book.
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