Blessed are those who mourn… Compunction"the gift of tears"

Posted on May 26, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Some Carthusian reading recommendations:

Penthos: The Doctrine of Compunction in the Christian East,
by Irenee Hausherr, S.J.

“Blessed are those who mourn…” In meditating on this Beatitude, the Desert Fathers often spoke of its connection with sorrow for sin, and their own experience of what came to be called the “gift of tears.” They were insistent that entering into Christian joy was inseparable from this primary experience of compunction. Irenee Hausherr has traced this recurrent theme through the first millennium of the monastic tradition and made it accessible to those outside the monastic calling. In the almost half century since it was first published, and to the modern mind set constantly immersed in the language of “self-esteem” and “self-fulfilment,” Penthos is a jarring reminder of a pristine practice of self-knowledge and repentance. 200 pp. paper $11.95

The Name of Jesus, by Irenee Hausherr,S.J.

Hausherr has shown himself both in this work and in his earlier, closely related book Penthos, to be one wholly concerned with the most intimate aspects of Christian spirituality. What he has accomplished here is not merely an investigation of the ways Christians have addressed Jesus from New Testament times down through the first millennium, nor simply a history of the Jesus Prayer (although he succeeds in both tasks admirably), but a relentless quest for the underlying orientation of Christian people toward their Lord. With a rare familiarity with countless Eastern and especially Syrian liturgical and monastic texts, Hausherr reveals the close connection between compunction, or sorrow for sin, and the desire to find methods of unceasing prayer. In the course of his investigation, he has much of importance to say about the essence of prayer, authentic piety and authentic holiness. 358 pp. paper $13.95.


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