Ruth Burrows has always been a very challenging writer on the life of prayer. When I first encountered her work in the early seventies, I was deeply struck by what she had to say about two things.
The first was about living with the disconnect between what you ”˜know’ is true and couldn’t live without and what you are actually feeling at any given moment. As with the great Carmelite teachers of prayer, St Teresa and St John of the Cross, this isn’t about ignoring, fearing or despising your feelings: it’s about not letting them dictate your deepest commitments. They are real, and they are powerful, they need to be recognized and accepted. But they are only part of the picture of how you make sense of yourself before God. Sister Ruth’s own autobiographical book, Before the Living God, recently republished, spells this out with painful clarity.
The second main theme is what puts this first one into proper perspective….