Several months ago, Mr. Thomas Flowers, SJ, sent me a copy of his latest book entitled God's Invitation: Meditations on a Covenant Relationship. As we prepare to embark on the 2012 year, and as we prepare to make our annual resolutions to pray more, or to pray at all, allow me to suggest this text to you.
The text is structured around five of the "great covenants" God made with Israel throughout the Old Testament. Each of the five chapters is broken up into a mixture of poetry, scripture, and meditations wrought from personal experience and the scriptures. They are accessible, short, and provide an easy entry point into to praying with the Old Testament with the companionship of a fellow traveler.
Truth to tell, many of the experiences fall within the ambit of a Jesuit in formation. If you're reading my blog, this should not be a foreign experience: I am a Jesuit (is 32 young?) in formation and I share my experiences here, although without the poetic artistry demonstrated by Flowers. So know, going in, that the experiences definitely do find their well-spring in a particular nexus of experiences. Nevertheless, I find it refreshing to read, and pray with, a person whose experiences are similar to my own, whose spiritual journey has asked much of him, and whose weaving of scripture and poetry and prayer result in a rich tableau.
This is the sort of book one could commit to as the "in the top desk drawer" book that is used each day at lunchtime. You could read it on the train, in an off period, or sometime before bed. Flowers writes in lucid prose and his poetry is often touching. I commend this book to those interested in jump-starting their prayer lives this new year and hope others will come to know the God of covenantal love and fidelity.