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This is intended to be a very simple book, an elementary treatment of a few basic ideas in Christian spirituality. Hence it should be useful to any Christian, and indeed to anyone who wants to acquaint himself with some principles of the interior life as it is understood in the Catholic Church. Nothing is here said of such subjects as “contemplation” or even “mental prayer.” And yet the book emphasizes what is at once the most common and the most mysterious aspect in the Christian life: grace, the power and the light of God in us, purifying our hearts, transforming us in Christ, making us true sons of God, enabling us to act in the world as his instruments for the good of all men and for his glory.
This is therefore a meditation on some fundamental themes appropriate to the active life. It must be said at once that the active life is essential to every Christian. Clearly the active life must mean more than the life which is led in religious institutes of men and women who teach, care for the sick, and so on. (When one is talking of the “active life” as opposed to the “contemplative life,” this is the usual reference.) Here action is not looked at in opposition to contemplation, but as an expression of charity and as a necessary consequence of union with God by baptism.