Review: Praying with the Glenstal Icons

 Review: Praying with the Glenstal Icons

Praying with the Glenstal Icons, Gregory Collins OSB
ISBN 1-85607-362-9, £14.99 - £9.99
Publication date: September 2002
The Columba Press

This is a useful handbook whose purpose is the same as that of icons themselves: 'to open the heart of the believer in contemplative prayer to the transforming vision of God's glory.'

The book is clearly structured around this aim and uses prayers and meditations from Eastern and Western traditions for a selection of the icons found in the Glenstal Abbey icon collection.

Fr Collins draws upon the ancient monastic practice of 'lectio divina' and treats these icons as sacred texts. With slow consideration, the icons and their accompanying prayers lead the Christian through several stages of experience. First the texts give rise in the heart to a meditation on the Christian mystery, and this meditation can in turn lead to a more profound and peaceful experience of prayer.

The Jesus prayer is given special emphasis in the book and it is discussed in some detail in the introduction. The prayer in turn can excite adoration, supplication and moments or periods of contemplation.

Prayer with icons has been increasingly appreciated, and this is a practical book to read, capable of different applications with a variety of pastoral possibilities. Fr Collin's book gives encouragement to the reader to embark upon a more vivid life of prayer. It could be used while alone with the book itself or another icon, in prayer groups, in missions or in catechetical preparation for the sacraments. It should be, and I am sure will be, widely used.

Fr James Leachman OSB
Ealing Abbey, London

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