M. Basil Pennington is a Trappist monk at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, and the author of Lectio Divina and Living in the Question. In this brief but illuminating work, Pennington sheds light on the spiritual practice of transformation, which for Christians comes under the auspices of the Holy Spirit.
The author defines the false self as "made up of what I have, what I do, what people think of me." At the beginning of his ministry Jesus squared off against this domain when he was tempted during his 40 days in the desert to create a false self "by doing, by having, by establishing himself in the estimation of others." Pennington believes that several antidotes to this self-centeredness are centering prayer, lectio divina, and the healing of memories.
What is the key to the true self? For help here, the author looks to Thomas Merton, who said: "The easiest way to come to God is to enter into our own center and then pass through that center into the center of God." We come into the true self when we accept the Divine image within and rejoice in our calling as "an expression of the Divine Creative Energies." M. Basil Pennington wants us to love ourselves for God's sake and to take seriously the transformations that the Holy Spirit is working within us.