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Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion Paperback – August 25, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Spiritual Masters
  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (August 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570757887
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570757884
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on August 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the Introduction to his Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion, Robert Ellsberg reminds us that there's no set formula for the cultivation of the spirit and that we should resist "the temptation to identify the gospel with sound doctrine, codes of behavior, liturgical rubrics, and ritual purity" (p. 2). But this doesn't mean that we can't be instructed and inspired by exemplary lives. "Observing" the spiritual journeys of others by reading their words can help orient us in our own pilgrimages.

To that end, Ellsberg has selected writings from twelve different spiritual masters: Thomas Merton, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Madeleine Delbrel, Oscar Romero, Catherine de Hueck, Howard Thurman, Maria Skobtsova, Dom Helder Camara, Thea Bowman, Henri Nouwen, and Dorothy Day. Their voices are diverse, reflecting Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Hindu backgrounds. They're all "modern," in the sense that they lived in the 20th century; but they lived during different parts of the century, in different places, and reflect different cultural, intellectual, and spiritual climates. As such, this collection offers us a wonderfully colorful and multi-faceted take on the spiritual life.

The common thread running through the writings of all these spiritual masters is their conviction that the active and the contemplative life not only aren't incompatible but actually depend on one another. Both prayer and service are acts of love that energize and enrich each other. We may be drawn to one more than the other at certain periods of our lives; temperamentally, some of us may be Marthas and others of us may be Marys.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Any spiritual library needs Robert Ellsberg's MODERN SPIRITUAL MASTERS: WRITINGS ON CONTEMPLATION AND COMPASSION. It offers a synthesis of thought on contemplation and compassion through biographical reflections and selected writings, highlighting the teachings of a dozen spiritual masters from Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton to Howard Thurman. Biography blends with teachings in an outstanding survey of compassion and spiritual reflection perfect for both spiritual and general-interest libraries.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Pettus on January 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book introduces you to many "masters" through brief readings. Makes for great discussion, and whets one's appetite to do further readings into a favorite "master." Highly recommend for use in group discussions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Cook on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Modern Spiritual Masters to be a wonderful collection of spiritual seekers. I was particularly drawn to the work of Howard Thurman. Though the entire collection should provide food for one's spiritual journey. Enjoy!
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Great book providing helpful spiritual insights. It is used by my book discussion group and
it has engendered some very lively conversations.
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