The Hermit, The Prophet, and The Mystic

In “The Hermit”, “The Prophet” and “The Mystic” David Torkington details how the life of prayer develops from its first beginnings to the Mystical heights, as the searcher is progressively filled with the transforming love of Christ. A wealth of practical help and advice is given in the context of a fast moving novel that tells the story of a young man in search of holiness and the hermit who helps him. It has already sold over 120,000 copies and has been translated into 12 different languages including, Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian, Polish Dutch, Croat, Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish Korean and Italian.
the hermit
David Torkington “The Hermit: A Personal Discovery of Prayer” [Alba House, 1999]
“As a master of the spiritual life, in “The Hermit: A Personal Discovery of Prayer”, David Torkington shows how, in our restless desire for love, happiness and peace, prayer is the principal way of drawing closer to God who is the source and goal of all our longing. In this initial volume of his trilogy on prayer, Torkington instructs the beginner in the first stages of their prayer life. Through his profound and authoritative message he challenges the reader to reexamine the authenticity of his or her own prayer life in the light of the moving and fascinating story of one man’s search for holiness set against the background of the Scottish islands where he seeks out the hermit who agrees to assist him in his quest. In the course of their conversations, the hermit reveals and explains the great traditions of Christian prayer and offers concrete suggestions for overcoming the distractions and difficulties beginners often encounter.”
The prophet
David Torkington “The Prophet: The Inner Meaning of Prayer” [Alba House, 1999]
In “The Prophet: The Inner Meaning of Prayer”, the second volume of his trilogy, David Torkington presents a brilliant exposition of the inner meaning of prayer and the truths that underpin the life of the spirit. He does this by narrating two parallel stories, one from the past which details the spiritual adventures of a young man in search of the spiritual wisdom that finally leads him to embrace the lifestyle of a hermit on the island of Calvay; and the other from the present which tells of the hermit’s mysterious disappearance. In the course of his narrative, he takes the reader beyond the first stages of the life of prayer to an understanding of the role of the cross, sacrifice and self-denial in one’s growth in the spirit. The spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi plays an important part in illustrating this vital truth and Padre Pio exemplifies the charity which is its goal.
The mystic
“The Mystic: From Charismatic to Mystical Prayer” [Alba House, 1999]
This third volume concludes David Torkington’s very popular trilogy on prayer. Here he draws upon the writings and experiences of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila to illustrate the various stages of the spiritual life from charismatic prayer to the mystical prayer of union with God. Using the lives of the parents of Peter Calvay, the protagonist of the first two volumes, he likens the various stages in our search for God to those found in a successful marriage, revealing clearly how mystical prayer is meant for all. Torkington shows how mysticism is at the heart of each and every Christian life and gives a wealth of practical help and encouragement to support those interested in deepening their life of prayer as they pursue their spiritual odyssey to union with the Lord. As with his earlier books, “The Mystic” is a rich and compelling tale that reveals great perennial truths to aid readers in their daily prayer time with God.

“David Torkington’s trilogy on prayer immediately reminds one of that rich tradition which stretches back to the first days of the church and Origen, moves on through the Middle Ages with masters like William of Saint Thierry and reaches into our own century in such works as the masterful “Three Ages of the Spiritual Life” of Garrigou-LaGrange. Indeed ‘three ages of the spiritual life’ might be the best way to sum up Torkington’s volumes. The first, “The Hermit”, gets us started on the journey, inculcating basic openness to God through humility, listening to the Scriptures and practicing the other virtues. The second, “The Prophet”, drawing from monastic and Franciscan spirituality, moves us along from conversion and repentance to openness to the mystical life. And it is the third, “The Mystic”, which gives the reader a quick over-view of the teaching of St. John of the Cross with some helpful practical applications. But Torkington’s three-part presentation is no ponderous tome. Rather these slim volumes — which form a whole and are to be read in order — delightfully use the vehicle of story so dear to the Lord himself and increasingly popular in our time. And David Torkington, an experienced lecturer and retreat master, is a good storyteller…. [This] threefold journey is a refreshing experience, enlightening and promising, and calls us to the living, for the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” –M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. in “America”, August 28, 1999
David Torkington is a Spiritual Theologian, Author and Speaker, who specializes in Prayer, Christian Spirituality and Mystical Theology. His personal spirituality is predominantly Franciscan, his Mystical Theology Carmelite, all welded together with a solid blend of Benedictine moderation. He has sold over 200,000 books in more than twelve different languages. He was educated at the Franciscan Study Centre, England and the National Catholic Radio and Television Centre, Hatch End, London where he was later appointed to the post of Dean of Studies.
He was extra mural lecturer in Mystical Theology at the Dominican University in Rome (The Angelicum). In addition to giving Retreats and lecturing all over Europe, he undertook five prolonged lecture tours to Africa, mainly Equatorial Africa, speaking on Prayer and Spirituality to Religious, Monks, Diocesan Priests and lay people.

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