Abba, give me a word!’ So young monks and visitors to desert monasteries would often address an ‘elder’ at the beginning of the fourth century. These seekers believed that a word originating outside the self would descend into the heart and give direction to one’s inner life.
Enzo Bianchi has tried to let himself be guided by the biblical and patristic tradition in Words of Spirituality, his response to the requests of those who ask him for ‘a reason for his hope’. These ‘words’ of Fr Bianchi are not listed alphabetically or by theme. Rather they are arranged to take us on a journey. Through the use of allusions and cross-references, one term evokes another, explains it in part, and sets aside some elements of its definition to be taken up further on. At the heart of the book is the conviction that our life has meaning: it is not our task to invent or determine that meaning, but simply to discover it – present and active – in and around us.
In 1965 Enzo Bianchi founded an ecumenical monastic community – the Bose community – of which he is still prior. Words of Spirituality is the first in a series of books by the author.
Enzo Bianchi is one of the most significant Christian voices in Europe ... His is a perspective that the English-speaking Christian world should welcome enthusiastically.
- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury