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Summa of The Christian Life by Ven. Louis of Grenada

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This work consists of passages from Ven. Louis' works--principally his four masterpieces of spiritual theology: Book of Prayer and Meditation; The Sinner's Guide; Memorial of the Christian Life and Introduction to the Creed; plus his Compendium of Christian Doctrine. Selections are arranged by topic according the plan of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Includes a brief biography of Ven. Louis.

In the words of St Teresa of Avila, Venerable Louis of Granada was “a man given to the world by God for the great and universal good of souls.” A Dominican priest, he could have pursued the role of theologian (so eminent was his mind) or become a member of the hierarchy (he was appointed archbishop of Lisbon and declined), but he preferred the simple status of preacher and writer. And he filled these two roles so admirably that he became Spain’s most popular spiritual writer in the 16th century and was constantly in great demand everywhere as a preacher. His books were eventually translated into 25 foreign languages, such that he became the favorite spiritual writer of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Rose of Lima, and others. About Granada, St. Charles Borromeo wrote, “Of all those who up to our time have written on spiritual matters... it can be stated that no one has written books either in greater number or of greater selection and profit than Fray L/ouzo of Granada... In fact I do not know if in matters of this type there is today a man more beneficial to the Church than he is.”

His writing on all subjects is so clear that he was accused of :writing for the wives of carpenters” and his zeal so apostolic that he was criticized for wanting “to make all Christians perfect.” He quoted Scripture so often he seems to have known it by heart. Louis of Granada is truly “ a theologian of the people” who wrote for the simple and unlettered. Yet so sublime is his writing that he was read by “princes and kings, saints and literary figures, pontiffs and ordinary laity, Protestants and pagans.”

Summa of the Christian L/ice is a compilation from his many writings, assembled by topic, according to the plan of the Summa Theological by St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus, the reader is introduced to a wonderful cross-section of Granada’s though on every point of spirituality. Basically, he relies heavily on seven approaches: 1) The direct way of prayer; 2) the positive and joyous way of virtue; 3) contempt of the world; 4) contemplation of God’s works in the natural order; 5) the royal and painful way of the cross; 6) the simple way of the commandments and sacraments; and 7) the example of the lives of the saints.

The reader will find in Granada a rare combination of beauty, simplicity and fervent penetration that will inspire him at every page. His metaphors are so clear, so luminous, and so easy that their meaning cannot be misconstrued. The short chapters with complete topical breakdown make Summa of the Christian Life ideal for today’s busy Catholic, who though enmeshed in our hectic modern existence, can easily dip from the well of a timeless thinker some of the profoundest thoughts ever penned by a Catholic writer.

 


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