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Home / Transcendence


A book review by Alfred Agius.

The get-up of this book is the fruit of the endeavour of a group of friends and admirers of the late Brother Daniel Faivre (1929–2007), a French member of the Brothers of St Gabriel, a Roman Catholic Religious Congregation. Brother Daniel lived for several years as a missionary in Thailand and almost the rest of his life in Southall, the large suburban colourful multifaith town in West London. The publishers have embarked on this project not only to celebrate Brother Daniel’s life and work but also to enrich his legacy by including new contributions by people of faith from different world religions.

This book is the fourth edition of what is perhaps the best known of Br Daniel’s many publications. It is after a due discerning process that the friends of Br Daniel decided to keep the title as it was originally chosen by Br Daniel himself in this book’s three earlier editions. The title Transcendence may leave some prospective readers wondering what this book is all about. But as they familiarise themselves with its content, its riches will gradually open them up to the experience of who they really are called to become. Transcendence suggests the innate human desire to experiences that go beyond our conceptual grasp. An introductory essay by Prof Michael Barnes SJ explains how transcendence-related notions like Inspiration, Faith and the Sacred are understood in the different world religions. Also helpful, especially for Christian readers, is his statement: ‘No one may put an arbitrary limit on the extent of the Spirit of God… the Church serves the Spirit, not the other way round.’

Unlike the third edition which has the book divided into eleven chapters each focussed on some aspect of ‘The Lord’, the present edition which has an added chapter on ‘Love and Devotion’ focusses more on themes like Presence, Peace, Creation, One Earth etc. It does, however, firmly remain what the previous version of Transcendence purported it to be, as its subtitle says: ‘Prayer of People of Faith’. A short explanatory note by Prof Barnes at the head of each entry, provides it with a helpful context.

Before delving into the contents of this book, a careful reading of the Preface by Dr Tony McCaffry is a must. It gives you the tools you need to discover its richness. Transcendence offers a wide range of approaches to the Absolute, call this reality God if you like. You may talk to the essentially Transcendent or just listen or be aware of your mutual presence in silence. The text is a take-off point. Leave it as soon as you start experiencing something akin to an enlightenment or if your heart starts warming up. Let the Transcendent draw you into inexpressible peace and joy.

  • Transcendence

    Daniel Faivre
    This book is a careful selection of prayers and sacred texts on various themes from a wide range of religious and cultural traditions. Its editor, Brother Daniel, devoted most of his life to building bridges between the different faiths.
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By |2023-07-13T13:37:03+00:00January 13th, 2023|NC Book Review|0 Comments

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