Religion Booknotes

My copy of Columba Marmion’s Christ, the Life of the Soul-heavily underlined and annotated from use on retreats during my youth-is on somebody else’s bookshelf. Years ago I lent it to a friend, never got it back, and now I would love to reread my juvenile spiritual effusions. Marmion’s classic work was one of the most widely read spiritual books in the period before Vatican II. In retrospect, it stands as both a solid book of “spiritual reading” and a serious theological work.


Christ, the Life of the Soul

Blessed Columba Marmion

Zaccheus Press, $24.95, 532 pp.


At the heart of Marmion’s book is a long reflection on the theological idea that we are by adoption what Christ is by nature: a child of God. Put in other words, this is a book-length meditation on that crucial insight expressed by St. Paul in Galatians 4:4-6.

Marmion was, by birth, an Irishman. After his ordination in 1881, he spent five years as a priest in Dublin. With the permission of his bishop, he went to Belgium in 1886 and entered the Benedictine Abbey of...

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About the Author

Lawrence Cunningham is John O'Brien professor of Theology (Emeritus) at the University of Notre Dame.