Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer

Staci, one of our Internet students, has given me permission to reprint her personal review of the book, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, authored by Norris Chumley and Fr. John McGuckin. Thank you, Staci!

Staci says:

I was excited to read this book for a few reasons.  Having listened to several of Fr. John's podcasts on the Orthodox Christian Network, I knew an interesting and thoughtful man was involved in the project.  Additionally, The Orthodox Observer newspaper had recently written an article about the book and the corresponding video documentary.  And finally, the recent episode of 60 Minutes about Mt. Athos and my own reading of Mountain of Silence had kindled an interest in Orthodox monastics.

I really enjoyed this book and actually found that it ended too soon  It is a combination of a travelogue, personal narrative, and spiritual journey.  As the two authors travel, visiting monasteries, convents, caves, churches, and towns, I found myself gaining such an understanding of the area, the culture, and both the richness and remoteness of the areas and the people they encounter.  The monks and nuns and others they meet are inspirational examples of people who have devoted their lives to Christ.  Furthermore, the authors analyze the origins and the meaning of the Jesus Prayer and offer help to each of us to deepen our lives through praying this simple, but powerful and profound prayer.

The book contains many pictures, and has wonderful detail and explanation, so that as a reader of the book, I really felt that I was along for the journey with Mr. Chumley and Fr. John.  The book did not disappoint me in my excitement to read it, and in fact was even more enjoyable than I might have imagined. 

I purchased the book through Amazon.  (I got the Kindle ebook, but it is available as an actual book as well.)  There is also a website:

Book information: Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, Norris Chumley and Fr. John McGuckin, HarperOne: 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0061874178.

Students: You can receive two credits for reading this book. Simply read the book, fill out the General Worksheet for books, and e-mail the completed worksheet to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com for credit!

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