A Daring Promise: A Spirituality of Christian Marriage by Richard R. Gaillardetz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the great benefits of this book is that it fills an obvious gap in the broader field of Christian spirituality, particularly the particularly Catholic version of that broader field.
I have read many a book on spirituality, the overwhelming majority of which have focussed on the place of prayer, the significance of monastic or religious life, the spirituality of this or that particular religious family, of this particular vocational choice (usually the priesthood). I have occasionally read a book or article that supposedly looks at marital spirituality, though often this is written from the perspective of how to introduce spiritual practices into a marriage. I have hardly ever read anything, however, that delves into the particular spiritual dimension of Christian marriage from the perspective of Christian marriage itself.
Until now, that is. And it took a married lay theologian to begin to address this dearth of resources.
In an at times intensely personal exploration, Richard Gaillardetz turns the usual model on its head. Christian marriage is not the place where Christian spouses can be spiritual. Rather Christian marriage is – of its nature – innately spiritual and Christian spouses are invited to embrace and explore this rather than believing they have to make their marriage spiritual. Drawing on the resources of the Christian tradition, Gaillardetz invites the reader into recognising what is already present in their life and thus embracing the potential for seeing Christian marriage as a vibrant expression of the fundamental spiritual enterprise, i.e. a constantly deepening relationship with God.
This is a book that would make good reading for just about everyone, regardless of whether they are married, single, or vowed celibate. It is a wonderful beginning and invitation into experiencing and understanding, imperfectly, the fullness of Christian marriage as an authentic, valuable, and thoroughly Christian way of life.
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