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Posted March 31, 2005

Book: Romano Guardini: Spiritual Writings
Author: Robert A. Krieg
Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, pp. 158

An Excerpt from the Preface:

This book is a guide into Romano Guardini’s reflections on Christian faith and contemporary life. It contains selections from the theologian’s spiritual and theological writings; it does not include his work on such topics as world literature, Western society, or modernity. This anthology organizes Guardini’s tests around five religious themes: human life in God’s presence, the mystery of God, Christian belief, the living Christ, an types of prayer. The book’s structure would probably trouble Guardini because he deliberately avoided putting his ideas into a grand theological system. Yet, similar to Guardini’s approach, the chapters locate his thought in relation to his experience and his prayer.

An Excerpt from the book:

Being in the World (1928)

“The world” consists not of things in themselves alone, but of that which comes about as we encounter these things. When we see things and experience them, when we approach things and come in contact with them, we become involved with them, dwell and live with them. What comes about then is the authentic world. The world is not only outside of us and also not only within us; it is that reality which is interiorly unfolding outside of us and which is also reaching out from within us. It is this world that God intends since God creates both things and human beings.

There are not “things” and “human beings” in general. There is this particular cypress tree that has grown up here — at this spot on the slope where the breeze strikes it every evening. And there is this specific human being, me, who walks near the cypress. There is also my life as it has unfolded until now and as it includes what I have inherited and somehow carry in me. I now walk along the slope. I see the cypress, and an encounter occurs between the cypress and me. If I approach the cypress appropriately, who knows how the cypress may respond? Is it only “make believe” when in folk tales a tree sees people and speaks to them? In any case, the “world” comes about, at this moment, in the encounter between the cypress and me. When human beings truly encounter things, the world emerges as God intends it, This world is always new.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: A Christian humanist

1. Living in relationship with God
God’s word to each of us
Finding one’s center
Becoming a person
Being in the world
Observations about human life
The inviolable self
The relational self
Created in God’s image
In dialogue with God
A prayer on our relationship with God

2. The Living God
A journey toward God
God and conscience
God’s activity in our lives
The darkness and light of God
Divine providence
Reflections on the mystery of God
God’s distance and nearness
A letter about God
The God of the bible
God’s wisdom
God’s goodness
A prayer to the living God

3. Christian Faith
Losing one’s life
Faith and the church
a personal commitment
The life of faith
Faith in Jesus Christ
Obedience to God
A doubting faith
Religious experience today
Acting with God
A prayer for a living faith

4. Jesus Christ
Meeting the risen Christ
A conversation about Christ
Christ in the gospels and in the liturgy
The living Christ
The one who has passed through
Jesus’ death
Jesus’ resurrection
The Father’s epiphany in Christ
The good shepherd
A prayer on Jesus’ self-emptying

5. Christian Prayer
Prayerful moments
Worship and private prayer
The sign of the cross
Observations about prayer
Prayer as personal recollection
The rosary
Speaking with God
A prayer on prayer
A letter on trust in God
A prayer during a time of suffering