Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Wisdom from the Western Isles – Book Review

Wisdom from the Western IslesIf you want to grow in spirituality, and learn the mystic way, then you will want to get a copy of David Torkington’s Wisdom from the Western Isles.

In this thought provoking book, we meet the main character, Peter Calvay, a mystic in his own right. He acts as a spiritual guide for a young man named James. Torkington does a masterful job at interweaving the stories of the two men’s lives, who are completely different. James is Protestant, searching for meaning in his life. Peter is a middle-aged Catholic, who experienced much spiritual growth and is considered a mystic.

Through Peter’s kindness and willingness to share his experiences and knowledge with James, we all get the benefit of Peter’s Wisdom from the Western Isles. The story is set in Torkington’s native England, thus the reference to the Western Isles.

Peter Calvay teaches us how to pray, and why we should pray daily. One of my favorite lines states, “Prayer is a process of continual inner conversion that involves gently trying to turn, open and surrender the heart to God” (p. 162). I find this one sentence sums up the entire essence of what Torkington tries to convey between the intellectual exchanges of Peter and James.

This book was a joy to read, and I believe it helped me in my own life. Some nights I found it hard to sleep. I learned a technique for falling asleep from Torkington. He suggested saying a repetitive prayer, focused on Jesus. So, on those nights when I could not fall asleep, I said the Jesus Prayer repetitively. Folks – it works! Connecting with God, through the use of the Jesus Prayer, sends me right back to sleep. No more insomnia for me. Thank you David Torkington!

Get Your Copy of Wisdom from the Western Isles

As you read Wisdom from the Western Isles, you will most likely pick up a different golden nugget, more pertinent to your life. Therefore, I guarantee that you will find much “gold” within the pages of Wisdom from the Western Isles. If you would like to get your copy, click here.

This post was shared with My Scribbler’s Heart Blog and CatholicMom.com.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.

7 Responses to Wisdom from the Western Isles – Book Review

  • Thanks for linking up with An Open Book! How wonderful that the Jesus prayer is giving you rest. I say it before falling asleep each night – but just once. I’ll keep in mind repeating it if necessary!

    • Praying the Jesus Prayer not only before going to sleep but at any time during the day is an ancient practice in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Using a chotki, a knotted prayer rope, you repeat the Jesus Prayer whenever possible until it becomes the Prayer of the Heart. This means that your heart will pray it for you even while your mind is busy elsewhere. This is the way to “pray without ceasing” St. Paul talks about. The book “The Way Of A Pilgrim” by anonymous talks about this beautifully.

  • I just finished reading this wonderful book. Torkington provides the clearest and most compelling description of the contemplative life that I have ever read. One of the important points that he makes continually in all his writing is the fact that every Christian is called to the contemplative life, and this is why he works so hard to “demystify” the mystic way. I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels called to a deeper life of prayer but doesn’t know how to go about it — and particularly for those who have tried to read great spiritual works by people like St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and found them daunting.

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