Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 30, 2012

Earthen Vessels

“Teach us to pray.” That was what His disciples asked Jesus to do. So, He taught them the Lord’s Prayer, probably the most widely known prayer throughout the Christian world. I have a friend who has what she calls her “Prayer corner”. Other friends have favorite chairs they sit in when praying. My grandmother always sat in one of them when she said the rosary at the same time every day using the set of beads she had, I always thought, since the Rosary was first prayed a million years ago. For as many of those people, there are far more folks who want to know how to do it; how to pray. They want to know the form, the technique, the manner, the time. It is for many people a problem and a worry. We have been urged to love God with our whole hearts and minds and strength. The problem arises then in our trying to accomplish that in the middle of busy lives.

We are that peculiar mixture of matter and spirit, body and soul, that must pray, and pray effectively. We are Earthen Vessels whether we are on our knees or not, whether or not we are saying daily prayers or praying for some inspirational insight. If we are serious about our relationship with God prayer becomes a way of life. How to pray to God, then, becomes a question which, sooner or later, arises in every Christian, every Catholic mind.

Oh, there are many books of prayer, simple prayers, prayers for the weather, the seasons, prayers of thanks, healing prayers and prayers for teachers, students, parents, children. Earthen Vessels, by Father Gabriel Bunge develops answers for us by exploring the prayer practices used with such great effect by the Church Fathers who were deeply-rooted in the Scriptures. They have left us a rich treasure as inheritance, not only of texts, but also of manners, forms and gestures of prayer.

Today, western Christianity in a special way, needs to rediscover the intimate union which must exist—in prayer just as in any aspect of Christian life—between theory and practice, contemplation and practical exercise. One learns how to pray by praying, and the whole of our being is called to participate in this work: the mind, the heart, but also the body, the gaze, the senses; to link ourselves completely with the Holy Spirit who prays within us. Fr. Bunge, a hermit with great spiritual discernment and profound knowledge of the Fathers of the desert, presents with masterly coherence this important unity between what one believes and what one expresses in the practice of prayer: a fascinating rediscovery of the valuable treasure contained in the teachings of the Church Fathers on the practice of personal prayer.

Earthen Vessels is a book you will want to read and learn from to enrich your own prayer life. Available from The Christian Book Corner (t-CBC) at our normal discounted price, this good book is only one of many such products “Chosen with care, chosen with Prayer” ( no pun intended:) )


  1. Y’know, dear, i think you could just eliminate the final paragraph when posting your excellent book reviews over here …

    • From now on…


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