WAY TO LOVE, THE by Anthony de Mello ($7)

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Subtitled: The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello.

"Years ago, when I first heard of Tony de Mello, S.J., I didn't believe what I heard. The story I am about to tell has bearing on the book you are about to read. I was told that Tony gave a retreat to sixty fellow Jesuit priests and spoke to them six hours a day for eight days. I remember saying, "No Jesuit listens to another Jesuit six hours a day for eight days." When the fact was insisted on, I remember asking, "Who made that retreat?" The names of some very impressive Jesuits (impressive, at least, to me) were mentioned. It was then, like doubting Thomas in the Scriptures, I said, "This I have to see and hear for myself."

Thus began the journey with the man who would affect my life so profoundly that, years later, I wouldn't even recognize the person I was those years past. And not I alone, but thousands of others like me.

The occasion of my first meeting Tony de Mello now seems rather prosaic. He was asked to give a weekend retreat to a group of lay people. He agreed to do this on his way back to India from Rome. I asked to be put on that retreat just to meet and experience the man. It was an unforgettable weekend up in Saddle River, New Jersey, amid the snows of February.

I will never forget the feeling of liberation; the sense he made of spirituality, of prayer, of the meaning of life; his humor; his marvelous story-telling. And it was all done in such a personal style. Years later, when he was speaking by television satellite to more than three thousand college students, he maintained that personal style, "About twelve years ago," he remarked, "I discovered something that revolutionized my life." He had met a rickshaw driver in Calcutta named Rinsai, who, although he was dying of a painful disease and was so poor that he had to sell his skeleton before he died, still was a man filled with faith and interior joy. "I suddenly realized," Tony continued, "I was in the presence of a mystic who had rediscovered life. He was alive; I was dead. He was a man who had reincarnated himself during this life."

The reason I say that the story of my meeting Tony has bearing on the book you are about to read is because when I came upon this manuscript, although I was very familiar with all that he had written (and spoken), I was amazed at how these small but powerful "meditations" evoked in me the same feelings I experienced when I first encountered him. Just reading through these pages brought back the wonderful sense of challenge, the spiritual provocation that Tony was such a master at providing. There was a basic honesty in Tony de Mello's character with which he reevaluated everything in his own life. And it was this honesty that he communicated so effectively to all who would listen. His analogies, his stories, his telling criticism of sacred cows--all brilliantly peppered throughout this book inspired in me a like reevaluation of my own life, and I have never regretted it.

Take each one of these meditations and carry it with you throughout your day. Challenge his ideas, mull over his thoughts, and then be silent. You will notice an effortless transformation taking place in your heart, the awakening experience of insight, the wonderful peace you experience when you gaze at the stars or watch a beautiful sunrise or glimpse a soft look of love in the eyes of your beloved. This is the effect these spiritual gems will have. All you need bring to them is a full heart and an inquiring mind." - J. Francis Stroud, S.J.; The Center for Spiritual Exchange; Fordham University; Bronx, N.Y.

Meditations include:
Profit and Loss;
The Extra Mile;
He Went Away Sad;
The Eye of a Needle;
Nowhere to Go;
Bring in the Poor;
The Blind See;
Heaven at Hand;
What Must I Do?;
No Stone Will Be Left;
How to Give?;
Serpents and Doves;
Men of Violence;
Show No Partiality;
One Teacher;
Become Like Children;
Love One Another;
No Looking Back;
Love Your Enemies;
Tax Collectors and Sinners;
Be Awake;
The Mountain of Prayer;
Judge Not;
Pluck Out the Eye;
Suffering and Glory;
Fire on the Earth;
Consider the Lilies;
Lost and Found;
The Lamp of the Body; and,
Be Ready

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