The title Christian Transition could strike one as non-committal, generalenough to be applicable to a great many subjects. But the urgent messageof the Introduction highlights a very glaring gap for the present generationboth in the contents and the manner of presentation of our Catholic faith.To fill that gap Fr Joseph Shiels suggests a way forward, sharing with ushis awareness of Christian transition, as St Teresa of Avila had described it, taking place within himself.Fr Joseph Shiels is an Irish Columban priest who spent his working yearsas a missionary in the Southern Philippines. Fundamentally, this bookwitnesses to two graces experienced by the author during that time.The first grace, which came early in his career, was a refreshed awarenessof a traditional teaching of the Church. This is the teaching that the real, essential Christianity within us is that we are in this world to be divinised.Christian transition is the name of the process of divinisation. The authorreminds us of this doctrine by presenting it in an unashamedly attentiongettingphrase, namely 'becoming-God-along-with-God'. Such a phrase isno more than the kind of advertisement that comes out of countless publicrelationsoffices. But no less: in terms of its summing-up of the implicationsof what our Christian faith really was, and still is, offering to all itsmembers.His second, supplemental grace is that, in mid-life, after an apparentlychance introduction to a book outlining the teaching of St Teresa, ourauthor tried the contents for size - and found they fitted The contents gavehim a Teresian understanding that a progression and development - tosome extent verifiable - was possible in the spiritual life of the ordinaryChristian. Still in the style of an advertising executive, Teresian teaching ispresented in simplified form, originally to make it accessible those towhom he had ministered, now, to inform and encourage his readers.Starting from two parables of Jesus, Fr Shiels' fresh and intriguingapproach supplies a strongly scriptural basis for his account of his newawarenesses, and his witness to their potential to transform our lives too.In conclusion he shows that these graces are are really the essence ofChristianity for all Christians; his experience is simply a case study of whatis no more than the humble beginnings of a Christian transition, in accordance with, and by application of, theteachings of St Teresa of Avila.Fr Joseph Shiels opens up the riches of the Christian tradition to a new generation, showing how we too are invited to share in this very transition which will change our lives forever.
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