How to Pray
A practical handbook
SPCK, London, 2002, £9.99
(price at publication of review)
Reviewed May 2003; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2003
As a senior citizen, I can’t say that I was instantly attracted by the cover (to me, suggestive of something popular, and therefore superficial). However…. I looked inside, and (as a senior citizen) my eye was caught by a chapter heading in the contents - HOW TO STAY FRESH. The eye moved to the page opposite – Foreword, by the Archbishop of York, no less –‘approachable, down-to-earth, refreshing, informative, humorous and moving’.
Chapter 24 – How to stay fresh – lived up to all these adjectives, and the lovely Jewish joke at the end perhaps wasn’t strictly about staying fresh, but a splendid joke just the same.
As a Franciscan I turned to Chapter 14. In four pages I found the gist, the essence, of Francis conveyed in contemporary language. The author goes in for lots of quotes, and yes, the Canticle of the Sun. Also, Dostoevsky and ‘Mister God, this is Anna’ (Do you remember Anna?). There is much in this book – popular it certainly is in style, but its content is anything but superficial. Well worth a tenner.
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