Father Anthony de Mello (1931 - 1987) was an Indian Jesuit spiritual teacher who gave workshops, conferences, and seminars all over the world. He pioneered post-denominational Christianity and proclaimed a lyrical mysticism rooted in story and imagination. Best of all, he presented concrete spiritual practices and exercises designed to silence the mind and give expression to the yearnings of the heart. He died of a heart attack on June 2, 1987.
De Mello was a spiritual scout who explored the lands that were just around the bend for the rest of us. He knew that story, brevity, and wit are three foundations for a life of devotion to the Holy One.
This sterling collection of spiritual exercises has been designed for those who love the challenges and surprises of questing. The paperback is divided into sections on Reality, Restoration, Christ, Life, Love and Silence. A added-on value is a section of "Seedlings," short quotes from what has gone before it. Undergirding the adventures written by de Mello is the spiritual practice of solitude, a monkish virtue which still has plenty of devotees.
Here are some of our favorite spiritual exercises:
· De Mello imagines angels singing a song in honor of him to celebrate his birth.
· He suggests going through the day with the consciousness that your body is the home of the Divine.
· De Mello pays tribute to the discipline of a devotional life: "I find everything in prayer, which is for me fragrance and food, a home, a shield, a tonic."
· De Mello goes deep within himself to worship in the temple of his heart and stands there "Barefoot and reverent in the center of this holy place. and decide if I shall build an altar there to Mary."
· He ends a prayer by saying to the people he lives with "May my contact with you be a grace for both of us."
· He urges us to "rest in the thought of God listening through your ears."