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Liturgical Press

Diving for Pearls

Exploring the Depths of Prayer with Isaac the Syrian

Andrew D. Mayes

Diving for Pearls SEE INSIDE
Diving for Pearls

ISBN: 9780879071639, MW063P

Details: 184 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 1/2
Publication Date: 07/20/2021
Cistercian Publications
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2022 Catholic Media Association first place award in mysticism

This book invites the reader to a spiritual odyssey. It opens before the reader an itinerary for venturing forth with God, aided by the astonishing writings of seventh-century Isaac the Syrian. Long-lost manuscripts have recently been discovered, translated, and published in scholarly works; this book aims to make them accessible to readers who want to experience their wisdom personally and so progress in a spiritual adventure. Isaac’s writings are explored through the lens of his beloved metaphor of diving for pearls, which opens many avenues for reflection and spiritual practice.

This is a book to inspire preachers and teachers on prayer. It will stimulate and offer a resource to spiritual directors and retreat givers, and it provides material ideally suited to quiet days and retreats. A practical resource, it includes questions for individual or group reflection at the end of every chapter and a range of prayer exercises. Above all, it is offered to those who want to leave the shallows and launch out into the deep in their spiritual journey.

Andrew D. Mayes is an international teacher and retreat giver, based in Herefordshire, UK. He has lived for some years in Jerusalem, first as a theological researcher and later as director of courses at St George’s College, where he is an associate professor. Mayes has served as spirituality adviser to the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and to the Diocese of Chichester, training spiritual directors and resourcing churches. He is an Episcopal priest, a Franciscan, and the author of several books, including the widely acclaimed Beyond the Edge: Spiritual Transitions for Adventurous Souls and Learning the Language of the Soul: A Spiritual Lexicon (Liturgical Press).

ISBN: 9780879071639, MW063P

Details: 184 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 1/2
Publication Date: 07/20/2021
Cistercian Publications


I was introduced to the works of Isaac the Syrian by Dr. Mayes and this material, and it led me into a deeper experience of prayer and of God than I had ever known before. I come back to exploring and resting in the ocean depths of God time and again, and am enlivened every time I apply Isaac’s insights to my prayers. This book invites constant study, and constant application—I am immeasurably richer for it.
Revd. Roy Shaw; Bishop’s External Spiritual Director for the Archdeaconry of Cyprus

The treasures to be found in these pages are many. Andrew’s deep thought-provoking ‘questions for reflection’ and imaginative ‘prayer exercises’ are suitable for individual readers, an excellent resource for spiritual directors, and helpful for supervision. For retreat leaders there is the gift of outlines for use of this material in quiet day and retreat settings. Dive away!
Maggie Le-Roy, Retreats Facilitator, Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf

This book began with the author’s teaching in Bahrain, where for centuries the country’s economy was based on pearl fishing. Isaac’s pearling imagery resonates with us in our modern and postmodern world with wisdom, freshness, and depth. Canon Andrew Mayes makes the writings of this Gulf saint beautifully accessible for the wider contemporary Church, both for individual reflection and for group study.
Christopher Butt, formerly Dean, St. Christopher’s Cathedral Bahrain

Isaac the Syrian, who lived in the seventh century, is a writer who has the remarkable gift of being able to speak directly and relevantly over the centuries. In this splendidly imaginative presentation, Dr. Andrew Mayes offers an excellent guided tour to different aspects of his teaching on the spiritual life.
Sebastian Brock, Oriental Institute, Oxford University

"In the company of Isaac, and Mayes’s sensitive interpretation of his work, readers are invited to 'quit the shoreline' and be drawn out into the depths where an authentic and honest encounter with God becomes possible."
Cistercian Studies Quarterly

"An interesting and inspiring book."
The Way