'The Third Spiritual Alphabet' by Francisco de Osuna
I should like to commend this book to anyone who practices contemplative prayer. As a Christian in the Carmelite tradition, I have found much encouragement and guidance from the life and writing of Teresa de Avila, but early in her journey it was this book by Osuna which had a huge impact on her. Picking up on Augustine's earlier teaching, he believes that God lives even deeper inside us than we live ourselves. God knows us, loves us, waits for us. Like the father of the prodigal son, God looks out for our coming, and comes to meet us as we come home... to God, to ourselves, and to God's eternal household. As the Bible says, "In God we live and move and have our being." God is within us, but all too often we are 'without'... scattered and fragmented, and exiled from who we really are. Even after you come to Christian faith, it is easy to get distracted, but Osuna encourages determination to turn to God again and again, and in doing so, to come home to who God made us to be. The book is long, and best read like a 'lectio' slowly, in small sections and several times, for reflection. However, personally I find Osuna really positive, practical and sensitive to the grace of God.