Julia's book is an ideal gift
for anyone contemplating becoming a Christian.
REVIEWS ... The Southern Cross
'How God's Spirit is with us all the time
Beacroft draws from many sources — the bibliography is extensive — but also invests much of her own personality in her reflections. A common hazard with that technique is that the author might come across as something of a pontificating know-it-all. Beacroft dodges that bullet by acknowledging that she doesn’t have all the answers.
For example, she notes how she observes people kneeling in deep prayer and wishes she could be in their heads “to hear how they pray”, because it seems to her “that those around me pray more effectively and with fewer distractions than myself”. Such moments of honesty are disarming. There are many such potential “Me too!” moments in this book. In this way, reader and author are travelling companions on a spiritual treasure hunt.
Beacroft’s observations are astute: having noted that she often loses focus while praying, she observes that we can find God’s presence even in our distractions, and offers anecdotal examples to show how.
Sanctifying the Spirit reassures us that even when we think we are failing in our discipleship, as long as we are sincere in our task of following Christ, we are on the right path, and serve him even when we think we are not.
Being a true follower of Christ is not easy, nor is it supposed to be. This insightful and energising book reminds us of this, repeatedly, but also provides useful tools in making our discipleship easier — and in doing so it conveys in a credible way the joy of our faith.
The Southern Cross - South Africa's Catholic weekly newspaper.
REGULAR READERS of The Southern Cross will have read Julia Beacroft’s occasional columns which tie feast days of the Church to everyday life experiences. These columns are brief. Beacroft’s reflections in Sanctifying the Spirit are more comprehensive, taking various turns as they journey towards their conclusion.
In this book, intended as “a personal guide to catechesis and the New Evangelisation”, Beacroft reflects on themes such as faith, evangelisation, vocations (for laity too), prayer, healing, love, change, sin, freedom, the search for happiness and more. Each chapter is structured so that it can be read on its own, which means that this book can be approached out of sequence.
In her reflections, Beacroft, who has a masters in pastoral theology and serves as a catechist in her southern England parish, draws from her own life experience and those of others. In doing so she aims to show how God is at work in our lives in surprising ways.
God, Beacroft writes, is never apart from us, even if we don’t notice his presence. But being aware of his presence facilitates our encounters with the divine — sometimes most unexpectedly.
Our communication with God is called prayer, she notes, and the way people pray comes in all sorts of different forms. Sometimes formulated prayers and guided spiritual reflections help to keep us on the right path.
Other times and for other people, spontaneous, freestyling prayer and reflection is the best way to communicate with God,
She is particularly good at chronicling how the latter type of prayer and reflection can produce great rewards.
Reader and author are travelling companions
on a spiritual treasure hunt.
SOUTH AFRICA'S CATHOLIC WEEKLY
The estimated number of Catholics in South Africa is 3.8 million of which 2.7 million are from various black South African ethnic groups.
This national Catholic newspaper was first published in 1920 and has now been produced every
week for 96 years.
The Southern Cross is one of the world's few newspapers to have been edited by a cardinal. In 1986, Cardinal Owen McCann, then retired, returned to edit the paper for five years.
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