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Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life
Inter-varsity Press / 2010 / Paperback
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Part memoir and part contemplative guide, Pilgrimage of a Soul by Phileena Heurertz follows her journey and honest spiritual struggles. For her contemplative prayer and practices awakened her soul to a deeper intimacy with God. Focusing on the seven ancient disciplines of Christianity, she guides readers into a deeper revelation of themselves and a truer knowledge of God. Featured in Paperback with foreword by Phyllis Tickle.
You can only go so far for so long before you find the limits of yourself. For Phileena Heuertz that moment arrived, mercifully, around the same time as a sabbatical to mark her twelfth year of service with Word Made Flesh, a ministry to some of the poorest people in the world. With six months' respite from the daily task of serving those who have nothing, Phileena rediscovered the genius of contemplative spirituality. Activists often see contemplation as a luxury, the sort of thing that must necessarily be laid aside in the quest to see the world set aright. But in Pilgrimage of a Soul we see that contemplation is essential--not only to a life of sustained commitment to the justice and righteousness of God, but to the growth in faith and discipleship that the Holy Spirit beckons each of us to. Tracing seven movements from a kind of sleepfulness to a kind of wakefulness, Heuertz shows us that life is a journey that repeats itself as we are led by Christ deeper and deeper into our true selves and a truer knowledge of God.
Phileena Heuertz is one of the leading directors of Word Made Flesh (WMF)an international community serving Christ among the most vulnerable of the world's poor. Over the years, Phileena has traveled through nearly 70 countries working with marginalized and oppressed people&eabandoned children, victims of HIV and AIDS, sexually exploited women and children, people recovering from drug addictions, children who live on the streets, refugees and children of combat and war. Since 1995, Phileena has served WMF through child advocacy, community care and leadership development. In 2004 she founded the Community Care Center-one of the internal support offices for the international movement. Phileena believes that union of action and contemplation is crucial to ongoing personal transformation, healthy community life, and sustainable, authentic social justice efforts. Phileena's responsibilities require her attention in the international office in Omaha, Nebraska, as well as in the WMF communities across the globe. Phyllis Tickle is the founding editor of the Religion Department of , the international journal of the book industry, and is frequently quoted in print sources like , the , the as well as in electronic media like PBS, NPR, the Hallmark Channel, and numerous blogs and web sites. Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer.
"For some reason we imagined that just the 'thinking life' would elicit and feed the Christian spirit. The soul is fed much more by the 'symbolic life' too, where action and contemplation meet, where the inner and the outer learn to operate as one, where words become flesh, where God is no longer just an idea but the heartbeat of life itself. This marvelous book gives you many avenues by which to live such a full and enfleshed life. Phileena tells you to stop 'thinking about it' and to try it! That is when it works."
"A courageous and groundbreaking effort to build a bridge between those two communities of Christians, still largely unknown to each other, where the heart of Christ burns so brightly: the evangelical and the contemplative."
" Pilgrimage of a Soul is a delightful book that engaged me every step of the way. I was engrossed with Phileena's journey as she entwined her personal story with the account of a pilgrimage in Spain and theological insights she gained along the way. I heartily recommend it to all who are searching for a deeper commitment to God and to the contemplative way of life."
"Part memoir, part guidebook for the contemplative activist, Pilgrimage of a Soul reads like a good conversation with an old friend. Heuertz's honesty about her own struggles created a space for me to see how wisdom from a host of spiritual guides speaks to my life. It's a gift to all of us, but especially to a guy like me who needs the graciousness of prophetic women like Phileena. I finished the book and felt refreshed, eager to enjoy a walk around my neighborhood."
"In Pilgrimage of a Soul, Phileena Heuertz does something quite countercultural: she goes on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spain and then on sabbatical in Durham, North Carolina. However, this is a travelogue like no other. Her journey becomes ours as she accompanies us through important landmarks of the spiritual journey: awakening, darkness, transformation, union and points in-between. In doing so, she provides a wise and helpful guidebook for the spiritual life. I've heard it said that the best writing is so individual that it has a universal appeal. And Phileena's book has just that!"
"Weakness, inferiority, absence and death are turned upside down in these pages, as Phileena Heuertz engages the reader's holy imagination with Christ's good gifts of strength, mutuality, presence and life. Prepare to be transformed."
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