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Introduction to the Spiritual Life

Introduction to the Spiritual Life

Author: Louis Bouyer

Introduction by: Michael Heintz

Foreword by: David Fagerberg

Price: $19.95

Format: Paperback

Pages: 416

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 978-0-87061-281-7

Imprint: Christian Classics

On-sale date: October 28, 2013

More Spirituality, Theology


A French convert to Catholicism in 1939, Louis Bouyer is a renowned theologian who was an influential presence at Vatican II. His classic work, Introduction to the Spiritual Life—first published in English in 1961 and now brought back into print—provides readers with an inspiring and comprehensive vision of Christian spirituality that is unmatched in its warmth, lucidity, and accessibility.

Introduction to the Spiritual Life is, by author Louis Bouyer’s own description, a manual for practical use. Much more than just a work of “spirituality” or “apologetics,” it is a hybrid of both, produced with an expertise and confidence borne of a lifetime of prayer and study. It aims to cultivate interior growth through a thoughtful, reasoned meditation on the spiritual meaning of the Gospel as proclaimed by the Catholic Church. Catholics who read Introduction to the Spiritual Life will better appreciate how a life of prayer can be shaped and enriched by sound Christian doctrine.


"A gift to the whole Church."

“Students of Catholic renewal often gravitate to the work of men like De Lubac, Congar, Chenu and Balthasar. But it's impossible to understand the richness of Catholic thought in the last century without including Louis Bouyer. An early member of the International Theological Commission and cofounder of the theological review Communio, Father Bouyer was a vital contributor to the content of the Second Vatican Council; a friend of Jean-Marie Lustiger, Joseph Ratzinger, J.R.R. Tolkien and Hans Urs von Balthasar; a brilliant scholar; and an engaging author on issues of liturgy and the spiritual life. The republication of his superb Introduction to the Spiritual Life by Ave Maria Press is a gift to the whole Church and a wonderful, needed addition to every believer's library.”

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia

"A wondrous treasury of wisdom.”

“How should we live? This is the question that animates Bouyer's Introduction to the Spiritual Life. His answers range over the entire field of our moral and spiritual lives, rooted in God's coming to meet us personally in the mystery of Christ Jesus through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Animated by a profoundly ecclesial faith, Bouyer provides an integrated and accessible reflection on the ways in which God invites us into the Trinitarian life of love: through scriptural reading, the liturgy, prayer, the Divine Office, contemplation, the Sacraments, asceticism, dispossession of self, spiritual combat, the virtues, the knowledge of God, providence, and mysticism. This is a book for all readers, a wondrous treasury of wisdom.”

Matthew Levering
Professor of Theology
University of Dayton

"A precious guide."

“Vatican II forcefully sounded a 'universal call to holiness' for all Christians. In Introduction to the Spiritual Life, Louis Bouyer, one of the twentieth century’s foremost theologians, anticipated that call. With clarity and wisdom Bouyer illuminates the journey to holiness as both priceless gift and challenging task. His book remains a precious guide as we seek to enter more deeply into the inexhaustible mystery of Christ.”

Robert Imbelli
Associate Professor of Theology
Boston College

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