"The best manual of spiritual theology which has appeared to date--the most ordered and complete--a true summa of spirituality. This is a work of extraordinary informative value and yet possessing a notable doctrinal solidaity." This encomium of M. M. Philipon, laudatory as it is, does less than justice to this modern classic, now at last appearing in English in a smooth, readable translation and adaptation by Fr. Aumann. For in reality this is three books in one volume.
First of all, this is a textbook, a manual whose lucid and orderly presentation of the basic principles of the spiritual life, of the supernatural organism, and of its progressive development recommends it unreservedly for seminarians and other serious students of spiritual theology. As Garrigou-Lagrange points out, the author's order has permitted him to treat all the important questions relative to perfection and to show clearly the basic unity of the Christian life. Thorough and solid as it is, however--firmly based on the chief masters of the spiritual life, St. Thomas, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila--this truly theological synthesis is set forth in clear and accessible form, as its widespread popularity in Spain (four editions in six years) attests.
But The Theology of Christian Perfection is perhaps even more valuable as a work of spiritual formation. It is an eminently practical manual of sound advice, counsel, and direction with respect to the increasingly fruitful use of the means, negative and positive, for advancing in perfection. As such, it will be immediately valuable for spiritual directors, an indispensable aid for self-formation, and a work of precious merit for all souls desirous of spiritual advancement.