THE SPIRITUAL LIFE: Great Spiritual Truths for Everyday Life, by Evelyn Underhill.
Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1993. Pp. 96. (BV4501.U524).
Underhill (1875-1941) grew up in London. After writing her first important book, MYSTICISM, in 1911, she came to know Baron Friedrich von Hugel. Ten years later she put herself under his spiritual direction.
Some people consider the "spiritual life" to be a sort of honours course in personal religion. Some see the spiritual life as something that is for themselves and about themselves, while others see it as not for themselves. (Pp. 11-12).
As an Anglican the author confesses "…my spiritual life is not something specialized and intense; a fenced-off devotional patch rather difficult to cultivate, and needing to be sheltered from the cold winds of the outer world. Nor is it an alternative to my outward, practical life. On the contrary, it is the very source of that quality and purpose that makes my practical life worthwhile." (Pp. 20-21).
Underhill believes the spiritual life does not require a definite and exacting plan of study but it does require a definite plan of life. "New mental and emotional habits must be formed, all our interests re-arranged in new proportion round a new centre." (P. 94) How we budget our time and financial resources reflects our spiritual values. Spiritual life is related to public life and politics. We need to judge public issues from the angle of eternity, never from that of national self-interest or expediency. (P. 95). As a sub rubric to the final chapter, Underhill says: "We ourselves form part of the creative apparatus of God." Awesome!
…The Library Committee