Words of Spirituality


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‘Abba, give me a word!’ So young monks and visitors to desert monasteries in the fourth century would often address an elder, hoping that a word originating outside of themselves would descend into their hearts and set their inner lives on a sure course.

Enzo Bianchi has taken biblical and patristic tradition as his guides in Words of Spirituality, his answer to those who ask him for ‘a reason for his hope.’

These ‘words’ of Br. Enzo are not listed alphabetically or by theme, but are arranged to take us on a journey. Through allusions and cross-references, one term evokes another, explains it in part, and sets aside part of its definition to be taken up further on. At the book’s heart is the conviction that our life has a meaning which it is not our task to invent, but simply to discover present and active in and around us.


‘...A really remarkable and lively dialogue between the depths of monastic tradition and the complex human reality of the new millennium. Succint, accessible and searching, it deserves to become a classic.’

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Enzo Bianchi, Words of Spirituality: Towards a Lexicon of the Inner Life, translated by Christine Landau, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London 2002.

First published in Italy as Le parole della spiritualità: per un lessico della vita interiore in 1999 by Rizzoli.