- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: IVP Books; Revised edition (October 3, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830846352
- ISBN-13: 978-0830846351
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life Paperback – October 3, 2017
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"Contemplation is the meditation of the soul. Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life urges contemplation as part of a healthy spirituality, connecting the conscious to the subconscious. With plenty of discussion on faith and thought, Pilgrimage of a Soul is an intriguing and intellectual read for any Christian studies collection." (James A. Cox, Library Book Watch, September 2010)
"Two decades ago an agonizing crisis of faith lead me―in desperation―on the contemplative journey that Phileena so beautifully describes in Pilgrimage of a Soul. The depth of divine love I discovered on that healing journey led naturally into a very active and global life. Since then, my daily challenge has been to establish the practices and rhythms that allow me to meld those two meandering paths into a single, sustainable life. Because she shares that challenge, Phileena's words seep deeply into my soul. I am so grateful for this book!" (Lynne Hybels, advocate for global engagement, Willow Creek Community Church, author, Nice Girls Don’t Change the World)
"If you want to read a book that will be good for your soul, this is it. In telling her own story honestly and poignantly, Phileena invites you into your own story―and into the deep story of God. I am a better person and a better Christian for reading this beautiful, beautiful book." (Brian D. McLaren, author and activist)
"As a co-director of Word Made Flesh, an international community of Christians who live and serve among the poor, Phileena Heuertz understands active faith. In Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life, Heuertz describes her transforming journey into another aspect of faith--learning to rest in and surrender to God." (Sojourners, September-October 2010)
"For some reason we imagined that just the 'thinking life' would elicit and feed the Christian spirit. The soul is fed much more by the 'symbolic life' too, where action and contemplation meet, where the inner and the outer learn to operate as one, where words become flesh, where God is no longer just an idea but the heartbeat of life itself. This marvelous book gives you many avenues by which to live such a full and enfleshed life. Phileena tells you to stop 'thinking about it' and to try it! That is when it works." (Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico)
"A courageous and groundbreaking effort to build a bridge between those two communities of Christians, still largely unknown to each other, where the heart of Christ burns so brightly: the evangelical and the contemplative." (The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D., Episcopal priest, author and retreat leader)
"Pilgrimage of a Soul is a delightful book that engaged me every step of the way. I was engrossed with Phileena's journey as she entwined her personal story with the account of a pilgrimage in Spain and theological insights she gained along the way. I heartily recommend it to all who are searching for a deeper commitment to God and to the contemplative way of life." (Christine Sine, author, contemplative, activist and executive director of Mustard Seed Associates)
"Part memoir, part guidebook for the contemplative activist, Pilgrimage of a Soul reads like a good conversation with an old friend. Heuertz's honesty about her own struggles created a space for me to see how wisdom from a host of spiritual guides speaks to my life. It's a gift to all of us, but especially to a guy like me who needs the graciousness of prophetic women like Phileena. I finished the book and felt refreshed, eager to enjoy a walk around my neighborhood." (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of New Monasticism and God's Economy)
"In Pilgrimage of a Soul, Phileena Heuertz does something quite countercultural: she goes on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spain and then on sabbatical in Durham, North Carolina. However, this is a travelogue like no other. Her journey becomes ours as she accompanies us through important landmarks of the spiritual journey: awakening, darkness, transformation, union and points in-between. In doing so, she provides a wise and helpful guidebook for the spiritual life. I've heard it said that the best writing is so individual that it has a universal appeal. And Phileena's book has just that!" (Albert Haase, O.F.M., author of Coming Home to Your True Self and Living the Lord's Prayer)
"Weakness, inferiority, absence and death are turned upside down in these pages, as Phileena Heuertz engages the reader's holy imagination with Christ's good gifts of strength, mutuality, presence and life. Prepare to be transformed." (Margot Starbuck, author of The Girl in the Orange Dress and Unsqueezed)
About the Author
Phileena Heuertz is a founding partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. For nearly twenty years she and her husband Chris co-directed an international non-profit in more than seventy countries, building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children, and child soldiers and war brides. Spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker, retreat guide, and author, Phileena is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place. She has led contemplative retreats for a number of faith communities including Word Made Flesh, World Vision International, and Compassion International. In addition, she is sought after as a speaker at universities, seminaries, and conferences such as Q, Catalyst, Urbana, and the Center for Action and Contemplation. Phileena was also named an “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership.”
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Although I could tell as much early on in her book, about midway Phileena identifies herself as a "feeler" on the Myers-Briggs personality scale. As an INFP myself, much of what she has to say connects with me, how I see and understand the world, and how I hope and try to see myself in the midst of it.
Phileena doesn't cling to dogma or doctrine, although she alludes to it at times. She shares openly and honestly about her journey on El Camino de Santiago and her sabbatical time spent at Rose Cottage in North Carolina. She outlines seven stages: awakening, longing, darkness, death, transformation, intimacy, and union. She shares what each stage of the spiritual journey was like for her.
Phileena does something I personally appreciate: when speaking of God, she avoids excessive use of masculine, patriarchal language. I can't even think of a time within the book where she uses it at all. Furthermore, when giving examples, she leans towards feminine pronouns rather than masculine, something even I as a man can appreciate. She claims her own feminine voice and does so without apology.
Two challenges I find with the book (that clearly aren't big enough to warrant docking it a star: lack of practical advice on how to journey through the stages in one's normal, everyday life, and lack of alternatives for those for whom a 5-month retreat from the world would not be possible.
Often, I found myself wanting to be the one to walk the Camino. I wanted to be the one sitting by the fireplace at Rose Cottage. For me and many others, these experiences may never be feasible options.
Regardless, numerous times throughout the book, I had to stop. I had to think about what I'd just read and how it resonated within me. I was faced with my own "program of happiness" and how I rely on it to feel "loved," accepted," and "affirmed." It has me thinking about where I'm at within these seven stages. It has me wanting to let go of my own attachments and compulsions, worries and anxieties. It has me wanting to sort out where my false self stops and my true self emerges.
For anyone wanting to think differently about faith and spirituality differently, or for anyone who feels remotely drawn to the contemplative patch, Pilgrimage of a Soul is a must read. Seriously. Get it. Now. You won't regret it.
"Stillness, solitude and silence are not valued today like they may have been for our ancestors whose days were filled with these qualities simply by the nature of their life’s labor and limitations. We tend to see restrictions to activity and engagement as something to be avoided. But limitations and restrictions can be a grace for us. Within the context of our limitations, God can do for us what we cannot… Remember, we cannot make ourselves grow; but we can choose to submit to or resist the process. And though much growth takes place in our active lives, all elements of creation are subject to contemplative stillness as an integral part of our growth and transformation…”
During my days on the Camino Primitivo, I was challenged and graced with more hours of stillness, and silence than I had ever known. Phileena helped me prepare for that pilgrimage and for its continuation today as I step ahead in silence, solitude, and stillness even while carrying on in the midst of the slums of Bangkok.