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Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness [Paperback]

By David Steindl-Rast (Author)
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Item description for Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness by David Steindl-Rast...

All prayer is essentially an act of gratitude. Even the prayer of petition that boils up from some agonizing personal need includes, if it is authentic, a stated belief the "God's will be done"- an expression of our utter dependence on God's mercy. This book is about prayer and about gratitude, It is also about awareness, and our ability to see into things discovering the grace that awaits us in everyday life.

Publishers Description
A monk reflects on the many aspects of the spiritual life with the basic attitude of gratefulness.

"A true delight." Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.14" Width: 5.48" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Paulist Press
ISBN  0809126281  
ISBN13  9780809126286  

Availability  19 units.
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More About David Steindl-Rast

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Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1926. He received his PhD from the University of Vienna in 1952 and moved to the United States. In 1953 he joined a Benedictine monastery in the Finger Lakes area of New York, where he still lives today as a senior member. Brother David has been a contributor for several volumes and periodicals, including the Encyclopedia Americana and New Age Journal. His many books include Gratefulness: The Heart of Prayer, A Listening Heart, and The Music of Silence, which was cowritten with Sharon Lebell, as well as writing the introduction to Words of Gratitude for Mind, Body, and Soul, published in fall 2001 by Templeton Press.

David Steindl-Rast currently resides in Big Sur, in the state of California.

David Steindl-Rast has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Crossroad Book
  2. Modern Spiritual Masters
  3. Paraclete Poetry

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( N ) > Nouwen, Henri > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( N ) > Nouwen, Henri > Paperback
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Devotionals
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Devotionals
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness?

Hard read but good book  Dec 28, 2007
For some reason I am finding this a hard read, it is taking me a while to get through it. I am enjoying it though.
With gentle humor, Brother David teaches us gratefulness...  Jul 1, 2005
One of the things I first noticed about this book on being grateful is that it has sold many thousands of copies. Mine says, on the cover, "65,000 in print." That's a kind of best seller on a subject by a monk, a contemplative, and promises along the way by its subtitle the inviting phrase, "An Approach to Life in Fullness." There is a demand for living a good life, and one way is living a life of being grateful to God and having a heart of prayer, the book's main theme.

There are probably many reasons for the numerous readers of this work, including the fact that Brother David Steindl-Rast is a kind of hero in the retreat and talking world, a feat not to be belittled, for I came to know him by a tape I found meaningful: "We Dare to Say Our Father." Brother David is a Benedictine, and I have a reading list and a source for Benedictine books from the monastery New Camaldoli, Big Sur, California which I follow religiously. So you can say, I am reading required material. This is a good thing, for this book is a required text for Christians interested in the ideas of blessing and giving thanks to God, and in coming to some understandings about prayer which Brother David says, as quoted on the back cover, "God's will be done" I agree with the back cover statement, we are dependent on God's mercy. That is a religious thing to say, and this is a book for people interested in religious topics and understandings.

I think that you will find this a book on prayerfulness, too; that is one chapter title, "Prayers and Prayerfulness." I can think about this quote for a while, good advice from a man with a sense of proportion and humor: "Are my prayers a genuine expression of my prayerfulness? Do they make me more prayerful?"

The danger with reviewing this book is one is taken with the author, and wants to know more. He is a monk, and that is a mysterious thing, somewhat special to many people. The reader does meet the monk and the man in this book, his personality. Though at times a seemingly surface book of suggestions, like this one, "Most of us need a good deal of encouragement for giving. The way we are built (or, rather, forced into a warped shape by our society) the taking takes care of itself. It might be a good test if you checked for half an hour how often you say 'I take' and how often 'I give.'" He writes this in the chapter "Contemplation and Leisure." But the message, by its context, becomes enlarged. One is to pay attention to living the Christian life in the ordinary, during the day and in doing so be grateful for the things of your day and the life that has been granted. He believes, convincingly, "Thanksgiving, blessing, praise, all three belong to gratefulness."

Gratefulness is an acquired taste, so he says. "The banquet of life is the challenge to cultivate and broaden our taste." Because I have heard Brother David talk on the tape I suggest, his style and his "voice" come through all the more. This is a book written in a voice, a genuine voice of the writer. You will find this a palatable book.

There is another message to the book. It is within our reach to live a grateful life, and know something of gratefulness. Brother David says this is fun, and we can become more grateful, certainly better than complaining and cursing, by finding the play in the joyful mysteries of Living by the Word. He says, also in his words, they "teach us this playfulness." I like the light way he approaches things, many profound. Maybe there is a secret here "...The point of everything? Well, that's the point at the heart of each thing where the kernel for faithfulness is playfully hidden." So he writes in the chapter "Faith and Belief."

Another chapter title, "Love A "Yes" to Belonging." In "Fullness and Emptiness", another chapter towards the end of the book, he says in a mysterious way that we are becoming, by being alive, being grateful, which means becoming alive, becoming grateful. Being grateful is then a way of life, a joy. To get there, he quotes T.S. Eliot: "In order to arrive at what you are not/You must go through the way in which you are not."

Is this a book about a pathway. I say it is. Henri Nouwen writes the introduction in my copy published by Paulist Press. Hopefully, my concurrence with the opening sentences interests the reader of this review, and I find that the introduction makes a good end for what I have said. "This book is a true delight! It delights by its surprising insights, its unexpected perspectives and its gentle humor."
To paraphrase Mr Whipple ...  Apr 11, 2001
David Steindl-Rast's spirituality is so squeezably soft, it's irresistible. This not entirely un-vapid volume offers us a contemplative spirituality that assures us that all is hunky-dory. The author suggests that we should replace the concepts of "sin" and "salvation" with the dialectic of alienation vs togetherness. (Where a figure like St Thomas More would fit in this alien/together spectrum, is anyone's guess, and it raises the question: Is it not necessary at times to be "alien" from the main stream if that stream is polluted?)

There is a love for poetry in "Gratefulness" -- Cummings, Eliot, Rilke, a Dutch wit named Piet Hein, and the haiku masters -- that most readers will find endearing; and there is an urgent plea to the reader to find some quiet time (Steindl-Rast's monastery being nowhere near a big city, the author can practice what he preaches more readily than some). But there is precious little in this volume that challenges, that provokes, that makes us shout "Wow!" It's the theological equivalent of that song at the end of Monty Python's cheerfully blasphemous "Life of Brian": Always look on the bright side of life.

We are reminded, too, of a masterpiece of 1980s alternative music: The Smiths' "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before."

Made me want to share the ideas with others  Mar 8, 2000
I've only read this book once through so far, and I can tell it will be a book to read again and again. On a first read, the chapter on faith and beliefs spoke to me most - I've shared Brother David's ideas about what it REALLY means to "live by every word that comes from the mouth of God" with several friends already. Great book!
I'm very grateful for this book...  Oct 21, 1999
You can tell from reading this book that the author is gentle and sincere, and that his life reflects the values and insights he shares here. I first read this book around 1994, and it is the most dog-eared of my books. I have almost the whole thing underlined. By refusing to get bogged down in theoretical disputes or definitions, and instead focusing on the bone of the Christian experience (love, hope, and faith), Brother David has given us a book filled with the Holy Spirit. His exploration of the spiritual significance of being open to life's little surprises is a big surprise (I've never heard that mentioned as a Christian value before), and one which points to a spiritual life in alert response to God's constant lovingkindness. There is no doctrine or dogma here, which is why I think it will endure...and also why I keep coming back to it myself.

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