Practical Spirituality: Mystical Roses of Peace Makes Spirituality Possible

Spirituality and practicality often don’t go together. The former is awe-inspiring, mystical and deep. The latter is grounded, tangible and hands-on. The two are not easily balanced. But somehow, Mother Clare Watts’ new book, Mystical Roses of Peace, manages to marry these two seemingly opposing worlds. The book is a collection of powerful lectures she has delivered in the past decade as a Christian Master Teacher, and the common thread that runs through it is that a spiritual life is entirely possible, even within the constraints of work, family and other 21st century concerns.

The chapters have straightforward titles and reflect Mother Clare’s trademark clarity: “Spiritual Growth and Development,” “Will and Desire,” “Finding the Right Spiritual Teacher for You” are just a few examples of this. In many of these chapters, teachings show readers how to live the timeless spiritual teachings while still functioning in the modern world and realities of family, work and everyday life. It’s a subject that Mother Clare is intimately acquainted with – she has balanced children, post-graduate training, a full-time midwifery practice and the spiritual life for many years. The beauty of the writing is that it isn’t poetic or flowery but entirely clear and practical, and readers can treat the book like a real, definitive how-to guide to spirituality.

What shines through Mystical Roses of Peace is Mother Clare’s extraordinary experience on different spiritual paths prior to finding the Christian mystical tradition. “I personally had serious yogic training of several kinds, followed by Sufi training,” she writes, “and though I had some wonderful growth through these trainings, I did not clear much of the crust off my soul and was not brought to where I could experience God directly.”

This is not a feathery read. Authority comes with experience, and that is the invaluable asset in Mystical Roses of Peace. Mother Clare’s mastery is clearly displayed, no matter what the subject, and for those unfamiliar with the Order of Christ/Sophia, some chapters give a glimpse into the student/teacher relationship that the OCS is known for:

“When I work with someone during this process, I hone in on every place a person wants to hide and preserve him or herself. I leave no stone unturned to find what people are holding onto that is keeping them from giving themselves completely in service to God. I find every prison cell in them that is locked by shame or pride, attachment or fear and open that prison cell to let those feelings that are bound up inside them be set free” (Chapter 8, p. 69).

Mystical Roses of Peace is very much an introduction to this student/teacher relationship, and it’s clear that Mother Clare holds nothing back. Readers will be changed by the book — the truth in it and the consciousness it carries makes it inevitable. Like Mother Mary, the inspiration for the book, Mystical Roses of Peace has a mysterious way of penetrating into hearts.

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