To Pray and to Love

We recently completed reading To Pray and to Love, a work of Roberta Bondi.  This book was published in l991 (Fortress Press) and thus has been around for a while.  It is a deeply reflective study of the practice of prayer as inspired by the teaching of the desert fathers and mothers.  Raised in the Protestant Christian tradition, she was surprised to discover the wisdom and realism contained in their writings.  The initial part of this work is aimed at introducing the roots of monastic living to an audience wary of the value of sequestered spirituality.

Bondi shares her own experience of expanding her understanding of prayer through contact with the desert tradition.  She moves outside the formal and verbal practices of liturgical prayer and underlines the silent and wordless forms that prayer can assume.  As any relationship changes, the relationship with God will evolve and change through the events and experiences of one's life.  She insightfully connects the ascetic formulations of desert teaching with the interpersonal and psychologically-filtered struggles of contemporary experience.  She place discussions of humility, discernment and virtue in familiar contexts which can connect the latter with a personalized spirituality.

The chapters of the book move through a progressive development of thought, beginning with the scriptural mandate to "Pray Without Ceasing" to the final "The Desire for God."  Midway through the book is a helpful treatment of "Only Myself and God" which underlines the solitary and unique dimension of living with God in an unstable and fragmented world.  She addresses questions that are often piously ignored. Her style is personal and clear, and the book offers thoughtful material for examining one's own assumptions and practices in responding to the call to unceasing prayer. 

Recent Articles
By Category

Around the Abbey



Refectory Book


The Annual Mass of Remembrance

By Month

December 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

October 2020

August 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016