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The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of the Ancient Christians [Paperback]

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Item description for The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of the Ancient Christians by Frederica Mathewes-Green...

Early Christians practiced the disciplines of prayer, spiritual direction, fasting, and repentance and believed they were on the path toward an illumined heart. Drawing on early writings, Mathewes-Green offers insight for how 21st-century Christians can incorporate those spiritual practices.

Publishers Description
Why are modern Christians so indistinguishable from everyone else?
How come Christians who lived in times of bloody persecution were so heroic, while we who live in safety are not?
How could the first Christians fast valiantly, but we feel deprived without dessert?
How did New Testament believers pray without ceasing?
How could the early Christian martyrs actually forgive their torturers?
What did the Christians of the first centuries know that we don't?
That's what this book is about.
From the author:
When I look back at the process of writing "The Illumined Heart," I'm amazed all over again at how God directed it. I wrote the whole thing in a week, the week before Christmas, in fact, which is so typically congested with last-minute errands, unpredicatable weather, aches and sniffles. For Orthodox Christians, it's also a week that we fast from meat and dairy, adding another ball to the juggling act. Yet somehow I started writing the book on Monday morning and completed it Sunday night, just fourteen minutes after the Christmas Eve service began. (I kept wondering where in the week I'd dawdled and lost that fourteen minutes.)
It's no wonder that I look at "The Illumined Heart" as the one out of all of my books that felt the most God-directed. Mostly, he told me when to shut up. For a cup-runneth-over writer like me, starting a book is like moving into mid-pregnancy and putting on those stretch-front trousers for the first time; they're like a license to eat. And knowing that I have room to write on and on, whatever comes to mind, makes for abundant, wandering prose. Yet "The Illumined Heart" is quiet, proportional, just-enough; it's like a jewel. It's no wonder that this is a personal favorite among my own books, and the one I must urge people to read. I'm pleased by the amount of good work it's done so far, and hope that it will continue to do much more.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paraclete Press
Pages   111
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.7" Width: 4.5" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 31, 2007
Publisher   Paraclete Press (MA)
Age  16
ISBN  1557255539  
ISBN13  9781557255532  

Availability  9 units.
Availability accurate as of Sep 22, 2017 04:52.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Frederica Mathewes-Green

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Frederica Mathewes-Green is one of today's most respected voices on Orthodoxy in America. She has been interviewed in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Time, among other publications, and is the author of eight books, including The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of Early Christians, and The Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayers. Visit her at

Frederica Mathewes-Green currently resides in Baltimore, in the state of Maryland.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of the Ancient Christians?

Opened my eyes to Orthodox Christianity  Oct 22, 2008
This was my first real taste of Orthodoxy, and although I will probably never become Orthodox, Frederica is one of my favorite writers. She has the ability to make this ancient and current tradition come alive and be incredibly attractive. I have since read and learned much more about Orthodoxy, but I thank Frederica and this little gift of a book for getting me started. I particularly liked the section on the Jesus Prayer, something I had heard about and even practiced a bit before but had never understood. This is a pocket book of practical, daily Christian living.
Rethink you Christian Worldview  Jul 17, 2008
For the Western thinking Christian, who through no fault of his/her own, knows nothing of ancient Eastern thought and understanding, this book is an eye opener. I especially recommend it to Christians, who are wondering what is missing in their walk, to Christians who are searching for the New Testament Church, and to Christians who are seeking to understand the concept of being a "true worshiper."
Simply Illuminating  Jul 7, 2008
This book is a gem that simply and elegantly explains the Orthodox approach to spirituality, discreetly contrasting that to the western church.
Ancient Christianity Provides Help In Modern Times  Jul 14, 2007
This little book gives us a glimpse into what life was like for those living in the beginnings of the Church era and has much to say to those who seek a spiritual path relevant to today. Early followers of Christ were not looking for a quick fix to their lives, nor were they trying to find simple answers. This book shows the depth and richness of the Christian life when lived in it's fullness and is a recommended read for anyone looking to understand this ancient way of transformation.

Thought-Provoking  May 17, 2007
Mathewes-Green imaginatively compares the spirituality of a 21st century woman and a 7th century Christian woman. The comparisons are historically valid and thought-provoking. As soon as I finished reading it, I gave my copy to a retired college president who is wrestling with these issues as well.

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