Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hammer & Fire, back in print

I just received in the mail, courtesy of John H. O'Leary at Zaccheus Press, a copy of a reprint of Hammer & Fire by Father Raphael Simon, O.C.S.O., M.D. (The new cover, by the way, for which there is no online image yet available, is more colorfully attractive than the one shown here from the 1987 St. Bebe's edition.) In his cover letter to me, O'Leary writes: "This book proved to be a real blessing when I first discovered it about 15 years ago, and I am hoping that it will be able to find an audience among Catholic book readers today. With its focus on the interior life, it's a bit of a departure from the more theologically oriented titles we've published to date." He goes on to state that currently, on the Zaccheus Press webpage, Hammer is only available to ZP email list subscribers, but will be made available to the general public on August 1st.

The publisher's statement about the book includes the following remarks:
"There is a way to happiness that is meant for all, but the path is known by few. It is a tradition that has existed in Judeo-Christianity from the beginning, founded on the Scriptures, and nurtured by the Church. It is the way of prayer and contemplation, and its goal is to become fully human and alive, integrated and mature, through a transforming union with Jesus Christ through which we become truly ourselves. This book is about that transforming union -- God's plan for our happiness."
Another blurb, by Roy Schoeman, author of Salvation is From the Jews, reads:
It seems that God raises up, for each era, a spiritual master to write a guidebook for those who desire to make progress in the spiritual life. Past eras have had Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ, St. Teresa of Avila's Way of Perfection, and St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. Today we have Father Raphael Simon's Hammer & Fire, whose author, a Jewish psychiatrist turned Trappist monk, integrates the wisdom of past spiritual classics, his own experience as contemplative monk, and a deep knowledge of contemporary psychology, to produce a spiritual guide uniquely suited to our time. This eminently practical guide is an invaluable resource for the man or woman of today who is seeking to find the one true happiness in this life -- union with God."
Suzanne M. Baars, M.A., of In His Image Counseling, writes:
"With its message of God's fatherly love and affection, Hammer & Fire is a blessing for every reader. The author's compassionate advice for those who suffer emotional ills addresses the necessary integration of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of the human person. As a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of emotional-spiritual afflictions from a Catholic perspective, I highly recommend this timeless work."
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., of Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic, writes:
"In its discussion of sin, virtues, happiness, and prayer we return to basic Catholic teachings which are the underpinnings of mental health. As such, this classic may be even more relevant today than when it was first published."

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