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Raised in the Catholic Church, author Ed Cyzewski experienced what he considered to be “the suffocating teaching of controlling Catholic priests.” When a priest told Cyzewski not to read the Bible anymore, the teen suffered a crisis of faith and left the Catholic Church.

Initially, Cyzewski found freedom in evangelicalism. But soon he felt immense spiritual anxiety in a tradition, he claims, where many Christians wonder, “Can we ever do enough for Jesus?” Later, as Cyzewski struggled through seminary and shared his experiences with his peers, he realized that many felt as he did.

As Cyzewski floundered through his spiritual anxiety, ironically, he found himself gravitating to the writing and teachings of Catholic men and women, as far back as the desert fathers and mothers—the very tradition he had left behind. He found a pathway forward as he discovered the ancient church practices of contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, practicing the Examen, solitude, and silence. Though adopting the practices didn’t come easily, Cyzewski experienced the Holy Spirit’s help to let go of his spiritual anxiety and to, instead, abide in the loving presence of God.

Cyzewski points out that these practices, which assume a posture of waiting on the Lord, are not meant to lead Christians into a life of seclusion and self-absorption. Rather, they are means by which God prepares his children for ministry and service to a hurting world.

In Flee, Be Silent, Pray, readers will find in Cyzewski’s rediscovery of ancient practices and prayers the challenge to seek an oasis of rest in God’s presence. (Herald Press)

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