by SISTER LORETTO Hungry Fur God by Ralph Martin (Collin's Press £2.50) Mysticism and Theology by Illtyd Trethowan (Geoffrey Chapman £3.75)
The Charismatic movement has made enormous impact on religious communities and laity. It is a clear path to union with God, and an open response to the Divine Spirit; to participate in Divinity. This surge of the Holy Spirit offers divine infusion to men, who have became satiated with materialism.
Jesus came to earth not only to save the souls of men but to teach them a new approach to Divinity by communion with God and man. Christ failed to fit into any of the political or religious structures of His day. He taught men to remove selfinterest from their hearts and to be guided by the spirit of God.
The challenge lies here; there is only one alternative, either independence in every thought, motive, plan or allow the heart, mind, and soul to he Godcentred. This simply means resistance or surrender.
The inevitable moment of crisis comes to all men of good will, when the claims of the Almighty become irreconcilable with status, views, apprehensions, life style. Ralph Martin is not the only baptised Christian who has faced and accepted this challenge — God versus pride. at a Cur ilk) experience, This commitment to the Spirit may mean the loss of certain material frivolities and vanities, but this is far outweighed by the amazing joy, peace, confidence, and absolute security in truth.
The fear of not being wanted, won't trouble you any more, for you have the only friend that matters and cares about you.
Within all the modern muddle of theological, doctrinal and
pastoral diversity, the Charismatic movement has come to stay. Everyone needs. this revitalising spirit. This
book, which is sub-titled "Practical help in personal prayer", will be a great help to all Christians: "Enter through the door He provides, not through the door you prefer."
The Spirit of God is certainly on the move, and mysticism has become popular, helped no doubt by the flood of recent literature based on man's awakening awareness of God's presence on earth.
Dom Illtyd's book, sub-titled "An essay in Christian metaphysics" first sorts out the complex structure of man's make-up, his consciousness that makes him aware of his own identity as contrasted with matter; how his senses affect his sensations, which in turn are compared with animal instincts and their inability to make a moral choice.
The complex structure of the mind and freedom of will power; the freedom to develop one's abilities; the freedom to be completely oneself, which will only he finalised in union with God, when the spirit is released from its anchorage to the body.
Like many other writers on mysticism, Dom Illtyd supports the view that present-day theology has emerged from a period in which God's transcendence was commonly thought of in abstract terms, to be learnt about, but not shared. Reaction against this is part of the present theological revival.
A *created human person
must make a choice of God; this Is the root of his moral responsibility. Christ took on our human condition in every respect', except that he was not capable of sin. He had every other freedom enjoyed by creatures, but no freedom to sin, One of the outstanding points in Christian experience is to learn that it is by our relations with one another that God makes Himself known to us, in the revelation of Himself in Christ. Unless Christians actually gather together to receive the power won for them by Christ, they cannot constitute a Church.
Their common meal expresses their unity with one another; this participation transforms them into "other Christs". This transformation is offered, but it is up to the receiver to accept the invitation. This mutual participation lies at the heart of Christian mysticism.
So relations with our neighbours become of grave concern, and God speaks to us in our contacts with them. Our loving attention to God and neighhour is the royal road to the habitual consciousness that we and they, were made for Him, and one another.
Nothing else matters. This is the only information worth learning. There are deeper and deeper theories about the Trinity for the theologians to squabble about, but we'll leave that to them.