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2: I Am a Daughter of the Church: A Practical Synthesis of Carmelite Spirituality Paperback – November 1, 1998
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Both St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul and Pere (now Blessed) Marie-Eugene's I Am a Daughter of the Church cover the whole range of the more “hidden” stages of contemplative prayer, from its peaceful though obscure beginnings in the first “night of the senses” through the deeply harrowing divine purgations of the second “night of the spirit”. Pere Marie-Eugene, writing in the mid-20th century, gives us the added benefit of some modern psychological insights which can help in distinguishing the supernatural action of God in the trials of the second night from ordinary depression and mental illness. He also gives excellent, right-on-the-mark counsels (both practical and spiritual) on how the person undergoing this supernatural action can cooperate with what God is doing. (However he goes on a few lengthy digressions into unusual terrain that I've skipped on subsequent re-readings, such as demonic possession and the stigmata.)
Certainly St. John of the Cross' classics stand well on their own, as do the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, but if you want to read them together with a more contemporary interpretation, I know of none better than Pere Marie-Eugene's. I have reread sections of this book many times, and found them to be a great help. (I did not get nearly as much out of Fire Within by Fr. Thomas Dubay, another popular synthesis of the writings of the great Carmelite Saints, although it’s a good book, too.)
I've read all of St. John's and St. Teresa's works a number of times and this is an excellent synthesis of their thought. He is a master of explaining and synthesising their spirituality.
I would also recommend his work "Under the Torrent of His Love"- It's the best synthesis about the sprituality of St. Therese of Lisieux that I have read.
Fr. Marie Eugene's writing is easy to understand and he beautifully explains the Saints' writings.
I also recommend Fr. Dubay's The Fire Within -- which is a quick overview of contemplative prayer, but is not as detailed as these two books.