God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul by Chris Manion

 

By all accounts, Chris Manion had the perfect life.  Caring parents, well-schooled in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as public school experience, great marriage, beautiful children – she had a life many would deem perfect. But for this Type-A achiever, there had to be more. Chris quickly excelled as a direct sales contractor, but still felt something was missing. In her quest to find the “sacred in the everyday,” Chris sang in the church choir and found “the choir hymns became my active prayers throughout the day….that carried my soul across a bridge toward the greatest commandment to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul is ultimately about sharing the fulfillment of that quest by joining Contemplative Outreach. There the author learned to give God the first half hour of each day by meditating around a “centering prayer” which led to the joyful realization that “the Holy Trinity lives within us.”

In God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul, Chris Manion uses similes and metaphors wonderfully and she reminds us again and again to look for Jesus in the everyday. Chris teaches the perfect formula of prayer – Greeting to Praise to Petition to Thanksgiving, and she tells us “if you don’t think God answers your prayers, I dare you to keep a prayer journal,” for you will see that God does want to hear from His children, and will answer our prayers. Chris found great help for her spiritual journey through the writings and mentoring of Sister Mary Margaret “Meg” Funk, who writes “when we awaken to the real presence of Jesus, we participate in that presence by sharing our thoughts with Him. We listen ‘as if’ we hear him, ‘as if’ through our imagination comes a ‘voice.’ At that moment we don’t consider ourselves in a ‘for-real’ conversation. But we are in a ‘for-real’ practice of faith.”

I found several quotes that I will keep in my own journal, including those from Norman Vincent Peale, Thomas Merton, Gabrielle de Bossis and Father Thomas Keating. I loved the reminder from Pierre Tellhard de Charles that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Chris truly follows the maxim from Matthew: “What I say to you in the dark tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers proclaim from the housetops” because once you achieve this marvelous connection, the “Holy Spirit will teach you how to see God’s beauty everywhere.”

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