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Exploring the basics of biblical spirituality


By Pat Collins CM, Columba Press, $29.95

Reviewed by Br Brian Grenier CFC

PAT Collins is an Irish Vincentian priest who lectures in the fields of spirituality and the psychology and philosophy of religion.

Preparing to Pray is a companion volume to his earlier and well received book, Prayer in Practice (published in 2001).

It will be welcomed, I believe, by those who see devout listening to and attentive study of the Word of God as foundational to their growth in the life of grace.

In this new work, Fr Collins collects 101 two-page scriptural reflections that first appeared in the weekly publication, The Irish Catholic.

They cover a wide range of subjects which include forgiveness, faith and good works, sport and spirituality, hospitality, panic attacks, praying for others, simplicity, accentuating the positive, sex and the Spirit, sacred time, depression, gentleness, friendship, and slander – to mention but a few.

Some essays present the author’s response to such questions as: “Did Jesus become a Catholic?”, “Why go to confession?”, and “Was Jesus a Hassidim?”

The writer is conscious of the need to relate the material he offers to the events and circumstances of our everyday life.

However, for the most part, he leaves it up to us to make the connection.

In a very useful introduction, Fr Collins outlines a suggested seven-step method of Nigerian origin for sharing scriptural prayer and reflection in a group.

He also highlights the role of biblical study in avoiding fundamentalism and offers good advice on choosing a Bible and practising lectio divina.

Rich in content and not burdensomely academic in its approach, Preparing to Pray has been written, as the cover blurb states, “in the firm belief that there will be no genuine renewal in the Church without a return to biblical spirituality”.

Read slowly and meditatively, it would be an excellent resource for daily prayer over three months.

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