Experience by Peter Donovan (Sheldon Press £1.95)
Religious experiences are widespread. But how can we be sure of their validity? These experiences sometimes manifest themselves in mystical states, ecstasy, speaking in tongues and in a whole variety of other ways.
But are these necessarily religious phenomena? Could they not arise from some purely natural causes? Cannot drugs, hormones, the chemistry of the body be the answer?
Questions such as these are discussed in this book and many others. One interesting point raised is: "Do natural explanations necessarily destroy religious significance?" This book is a philosophical approach to these questions. It is not a discussion on the nature of faith. The pros and cons of the debate are very clearly and impartially presented.
God's Way to be Man by Geoffrey Preston, OP (Darton, Longman & Todd £2.40) This book has for a sub-title "Meditations on following Christ through Scriptures and Sacrament". Its author died in 1977 and these posthumous text have been prepared with a memoir by Aiden Nichols, OP.
They are gathered from the many retreats the author used to conduct. They are Gospelorientated and deal both with the sacraments and the Life of Christ, especially his birth and infancy, his being templed and his Passion and Death. This is a book for spiritual reading and should prove a great help for meditation and prayer.
Profiles in Hope by Cornelia Jessey (Veritas £1.70) There are certain people who, though they do not have the name saint as a prefix, have by their lives inspired and spiritually awakened their fellow human beings. This book provides portraits of some of them who have lived in modern times.
Their names will no doubt be familiar to the reader, but for many they will only be names and little will be known about their lives. This book remedies this and tells of their ideals, their way of life and their impact upon society.
They are people of different occupations and character — Martin Luther King, Dom Helder Camara, Dorothy Day, Martin Buber. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others. The profiles are depicted in vivid but true colours. A worthwhile read.
The Depth of God by Yves Raguin, SJ (Anthony Clarke £2.50) The author, in his preface, says that the purpose of his book is to show that it is in self-discovery that a man finds God: "The one who knows man, comes to find God".
God, for modern man, is not "up there", he is found in the self and in relationships with his fellows. Fr Raguin writes: "The West has always insisted upon transcendence that leads to
ecstasy whereas the East follows the road of imminence".
He describes the influence that Eastern religions bear on Christianity and the impact that the latter has in its turn upon them.
The book is made up of two, parts. The first deals with inwardness and comtemplation in one's approach to God and with different Eastern religious traditions. The second is the approach to the Godhead in its trinitanan unity and with Christ as a revelation of the Father. This is an excellent book well worth reading meditatively.
The Religious Experience of Jesus and His Disciples by Jacques Guillet Anthony Clarke. (£1.75).
What is the secret of the personality of Christ? Can it be analysed? Can a psychology of his inner spirit by built up? Is faith the only possible contact with God, as Bultmann asserts'? How does the believer experience Christ?
Fr Guillet describes the religious experience of Jesus and his disciples in the Acts of the Apostles, in St Paul, in the Synoptics and St John. His final chapter deals with modern interpretations of the relationship of Jesus with his followers both from the liberal Protestant point of view and principal Catholic exegetes.
For All God's People (SPCK and CTS) This is an ecumenical prayer cycle drawn up published by the