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Spiritual Excellence

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Product Description

80 years ago, the most practical advice on improving your spiritual life came from this one little gem of a book.

Alban Goodier, SJ, is best remembered for his classic collection of saints’ biographies, Saints for Sinners. But this lesser-known volume is arguably his greater achievement; certainly it is his most helpful to ordinary Catholics struggling to make progress in their moral, spiritual, even their emotional, lives.

Published in 1920, while Goodier was Archbishop of Bombay, the book was assembled from a popular series of articles he wrote for The Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Each chapter shows how to cope with some all-too-common challenge or obstacle on the road to sanctity, diagnosing problems and proposing remedies:

* Loneliness: to most of us, it is “a doom.” For Our Lord, it is a “school of training” for His chosen ones. Archbishop Goodier shows you how it can be turned to great spiritual advantage, with examples from the great figures in Scripture
* The “one characteristic common to all great souls” -- and how it fuels the highest achievements, both worldly and spiritual
* Unraveled: the “seeming paradox that the more we know about prayer, the more difficult it tends to become”
* Precautions we should take to maintain the habit of -- and relish for -- prayer
* The three most common problems of prayer (#1: wandering thoughts): their causes and cures
* Elementary truths that, once accepted, “will at once clear away many obstacles for any soul that wishes to progress in prayer”
* Five times in Scripture we are told of Our Lord that He was “troubled”; twice of Our Lady
* What can we learn from their troubles to help us in ours?
* The one spiritual gift that most “depends on our desire for it, our efforts to attain it, and the dispositions that we prepare for its reception”
* The three “schools” of suffering, “each with its own special blessing to bestow”
* What to do if prayer time is a time of weariness and agony
* Three things that can “stunt” prayer at the outset
* Four simple disciplines that foster a healthy prayer life
* The three parts of the Act of Contrition -- and how each functions as a test of our sincerity
* What it means to live “in the present” -- and why it’s so important. Dangers of dwelling on the past or future
* Three mental habits which will save us from rash judgments, harsh words and hasty actions
* The one quality that would be most striking about any saint if we ever met one
* What we can learn from the great teachers of prayer, such as St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga
* How our way of praying can be our chief hindrance to progress in prayer
* Why fixed forms of prayer are necessary. When “self-expression” in prayer is even better
* True piety vs. “pietism.” Why we must be careful to recognize the difference, and not to confuse one with the other
* The “true secret of a woman’s dignity, the root from which all true beauty and charm and personal fascination grow”
* The lay apostolate: Ways each of us can serve God, His Church, and our fellow man according to our gifts and station in life
* How to cultivate a loving nature
* Distractions in prayer: how to cope. The one distraction that is “fatal,” but easily avoided

“Food for pious and instructive reading ... deals with subjects such as loneliness, cravings, prayer, trouble, friendship, and the like most attractively and in a manner to move the heart nearer to God.” -- Catholic World

By: Alban Goodier, SJ
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1928832695

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