Feast of St Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki
The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life by Paula Huston
AS A UNIVERSITY professor, writer, wife, and mother of four, Paula Huston makes an interesting, if painful, discovery: “the path to simplicity runs right through the middle of me.” Rather than managing to shore up and better manage the complexities of her environment, she discovers her clutter to be more internal than external, more a collection of habitual attitudes than a heap of complicated circumstances. By observing the basic tenets of simplicity at a nearby Camaldolese monastery and leaning heavily on Christian exemplars throughout history, Huston begins to search out the seed of divinity at her core by recognizing her own particular anxieties and “tyrannous desires.” With St. Isaac the Syrian, she comes to steadily understand that “he who sees himself as he is, is greater than one who raises the dead.” The Holy Way is a library of Huston’s discoveries, documenting not only her journey but also concrete spiritual exercises, the corresponding vices they can begin to heal, and representative monastics who-by the grace of God-finished the course. Huston has very few illusions about herself or her progress. The book ends with a chapter titled “Beginning,” including a quote from Dostoevsky worth committing to memory: “We are all divorced from life. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard labor, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books.” Huston’s response? Be patient with yourself, but get to work.
358 pp. paper $15.95
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