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The Spirit

The Spirit
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... Yet More Biblical Meditations
Kaufmann Publishing, hardcover, 184 pages.
7.2 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches

Related Product:
Four Volume Poetry Gift Set - your choice of 4 volumes from Kaufmann Publishing

Also by Fr. Milward:  
A Commentary on the Sonnets of G.M. Hopkins - paperback
A Lifetime with Hopkins - paperback
A Poem of the New Creation - hardcover

God - hardcover  
The Lord - hardcover    
Mary - hardcover  
Ways of Prayer - paperback  
The Enclosed Garden - hardcover

Buzzing in my ear, like a fly in summer, I keep hearing the Latin motto, Omne trinum perfectum, Three is the perfect number.  Yes, I admit, I have a devotion to the number three, especially in the form of triplets.... In sport we say, Hop, skip, and jump! and Ready, steady, go! and On your mark, get set, go! Even in Japanese I find the same linguistic instinct, with Ichi, ni no san! corresponding to our One, two and three! Nor does this instinct prevail only in sport. It is also true of the body, whether of human beings or animals or even insects. It is of the latter that I first learnt in our biology classes at school of the distinction between head, thorax and abdomen, and then on reflection (in a mirror) I found it also applying to myself as a human being, and not only to myself but to all animals. That is, it seems, the way we are made. We even think in triplets, as in the Aristotelian logic with two premises leading on to a conclusion, in the Hegelian logic with thesis and antithesis forming a compromising synthesis, and above all in the Ciceronian deployment of the triplet in elaborate, periodical sentences.

But why, I may be asked, do I say all this about triplets? Why do I keep on and on, like the proverbial fly in summer, about the number three? What is there in three to draw my fascinated attention at the beginning of this book? Well, for one thing, this is not the third but the fourth in a series of Biblical meditations, and I have to face the problem why, as author, I wasn t content with the series of three? Why do I feel it incumbent on me to pass on from the third to the fourth? Why must I add this one to the mystical number three, so as to change it from three to four? Well, my answer is No! I m not changing three into four, I m not passing from the third to a fourth, I'm quite content with a series of three...

I need only point to the titles of the preceding books, beginning with The Enclosed Garden, continuing with God, and culminating (seemingly) in The Lord. There already one may perceive a certain perfection, in the dedication of the enclosed garden (as an image from the Song of Solomon) to Our Lady, whose own song, the Magnificat, is devoted to the praise of God as Father and of her son as Lord. Thus through her eyes we may see everything in the Bible, in the Law and the Prophets, as divided between Elohim for God and Yahweh for Lord.

Yes, but I have to ask is that all she sees in the Old Testament, standing as she does at the very entrance to the New Testament? Does she only have eyes for the Lord God, for the Father and the Son? What about the inspiration of the Spirit, promised her by the angel at the annunciation? ...Here I take my stand with Dante in the final Canto of his Paradiso. Here I listen to the strains of Bernard's inspired hymn to the Virgin Mother, Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio , Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son! (See, I have repeated Virgin Mother three times!) There she stands at the heart and centre of the mystic rose, as in so many rose windows of Gothic cathedrals. But not for herself alone. She is too humble to stand for herself or by herself, but she bows her knees, she genuflects, she kneels before the divine name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, presented before her and before the readers of that Canto in the form of a triple rainbow. That is the sign of the eternal covenant of peace between God and men, revealed by the Virgin Mary as the Ark of Salvation, combining in herself the attributes of daughter to the Father, mother to the Son, and spouse to the Spirit. Yes, The Enclosed Garden, dedicated to her, is but a Preface, a Prelude, a Proem, to a triplet of Biblical meditations devoted to each of the three persons of the Holy Trinity.  (from the Preface)

What They're Saying ...

This beautifully realized work of Christian spirituality is an innovative and inviting way to pray with the Old and New Testaments. By providing brief but moving commentaries for important Scripture passages, Peter Milward, SJ, will help to unlock for you the treasures of the Bible, and, like a trusted friend and wise teacher, will accompany you through the story of our salvation history. --James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.

I first came across the redoubtable Jesuit critic and scholar Peter Milward years ago when I d stumbled upon a splendid study he'd done on Shakespeare. Not long after there were works on Hopkins and Eliot that, equally elegant and incisive, convinced me that here was the real deal. And now that I'm told he's in retirement, I should like to see some proof since the amazing output appears entirely unabated by either age or condition. How does he do it? His latest, the last in a series of Biblical meditations on each of the Divine Persons, is on the Holy Spirit, the warmth of whose Pentecostal fire illumines every page of this marvelous and learned book. Read it and see if the juices of your own spirit do not begin to stir. --Regis Martin, S.T.D., Professor of Theology, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio

About the Author

Born in London on October 12, 1925, the Year of the Ox, Peter Milward SJ attended the Jesuit school of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1943. After studies of the Classics and English at Oxford, he arrived in Japan in 1954, and from 1962 onwards has been teaching English with special attention to Shakespeare at Sophia University, Tokyo. Fr. Milward has authored some 350 books, most of them published in Japan. His academic books on Shakespeare and Hopkins have attracted readers in England and America. He now lives in retirement at the age of 88.
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