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A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation Hardcover – July 28, 2011
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"...useful to anyone on the contemplative path, this book deals profoundly yet simply with matters treated only superficially, if at all, in many other guides to contemplation."
"A Sunlit Absence, by Martin Laird, a professor of theology at Villanova University and a priest in the Order of St. Augustine, is filled with sympathy, grace and encouragement... Laird's writing is refreshingly concise, occasionally amusing and vividly memorable. Both beginning and longtime contemplatives will discover treasures in this little gem of a book."
--Todd Friesen, Christian Century
"Books that talk about 'contemplation' often seem to have been written on Jupiter. This one is a sterling exception." --John Wilson, Christianity Today
PRAISE FOR INTO THE SILENT LAND:
"This book is different. There are plenty of books on contemplation that feel rather tired--either wordy and labored or unhelpfully smooth and idealistic. But this is sharp, deep, with no cliches, no psychobabble and no short cuts. Its honesty is bracing, its vision utterly clear; it is a rare treasure."--Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury
"Often they say 'you learn how to swim by swimming' but a good coach or swimming manual is essential. Equally, we could say 'you learn how to be contemplative by contemplating' and a good guide or mentor is necessary. Into the Silent Land is just that. I tried it and it works. Try it."--Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
"Into the Silent Land is a beautiful and deeply consoling book, a reminder that prayer is both real and fundamentally simple. Not since Thomas Merton's Contemplative Prayer have I encountered a guide to contemplation this wise and compelling."--Douglas Burton-Christie, author of The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism
"Laird's book defines how to sink back in God's ground physically with breathing, mentally with 'prayer words,' and spiritually with interior surrender. Through anecdote, Scripture, and classic wisdom, Laird illuminates a Christian path into the silent land. An able guide, he makes the trip more than worth the journey." --Christianity Today
About the Author
Martin Laird, O.S.A is Associate Professor of Theology at Villanova University. He has extensive training in contemplative disciplines and gives retreats throughout the United States and Great Britain. The author of Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith and Into the Silent Land (both by OUP), he lives in Villanova, PA.
Top Customer Reviews
Rev. Robert J. Powell
Through physical silence in prayer, as our awareness is deepened, compassion for others grows. One meets noise with stillness. Again Laird quotes St. Hesychios, "Awareness is a spiritual method which, sedulously practiced over a long period, completely frees us with God's help from compulsive thoughts."
After long practice and many failures, silent prayer allows us to receive "with awareness all that is, just as it is, as a large screened-in porch receives whatever breeze that blows."
Finally "We learn to see whatever difficulties we experience in meditation - boredom, lethargy, arrogance, depression, grief, anxiety - not as obstacles to be overcome but as opportunities to practice surrender."
If you practice Contemplative Prayer, "A Sunlit Absence" will be a welcome addition to your library.
I was grateful that the difficulties of contemplation were investigated at some depth. Some points of practice about which I was unsure after reading "Into the Silent Land" became much clearer for me, producing shifts and growth that were palpable in my own life. "A Sunlit Absence" is best read after "Into the Silent Land" because there is a clear development and deepening from one text to the next. I shall read this book much more than once.
It was hard work at one level. It was easy to read, and the author is a kindly man, but there was nowhere to hide. He managed to get into the corners of one's experience, and expose all one's human weakness. I used it as my Lent study, and it was ideal for that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a richly and wisely informed exploration of the value and place that "awareness" has in the practice of Contemplative Prayer. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donald E. Moore
This book is as practical as it is deeply spiritual. An excellent companion to Laird's Into The Silent Land. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a great read for anyone seeking to understand the path of contemplation, irrespective of religious group etc. Helpful hints for a variety of issues included along the way.Published 9 months ago by mjveck
wonderful for anyone really interested in contemplative prayer. I found the case histories interesting and helpful for me.Published 11 months ago by S. Palmer
I love it. The content has depth and is eminently practical. Kudos to Fr. Laird.Published 16 months ago by James R. Flynn
This is a helpful companion for those who are drawn to the contemplative life. Martin Laird writes from his experience and in a way that is clear - which is a true gift when... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mar
There is some helpful stuff here, but not sufficient to warrant an additional book to follow a very fine "Into the Silent Land."Published 17 months ago by Pi