Book Review: 1012 Monastery Road
Author: William Meninger
Publisher: Lantern Books ISBN: 9781590560631
Three weeks ago I was sitting in the library of a monastery located in the high desert of Pecos, New Mexico. I was listening intently to a series of lectures from Father William Meninger who was teaching our class about the stages of spirituality. The lectures covered the seasons of the soul, developing maturity through the stages of the spiritual journey, and one of the most blessed forms of prayer as experienced through the union with God and contemplative prayer. At the close of one of the lectures I approached Fr. Meninger to ask him which of his books he would recommend to me if I could only purchase two (there were around six or more on a table available for purchase). He gave me his recommendations, one of which included 1012 Monastery Road: A Spiritual Journey.
I’m fortunate to have followed his recommendations because I was listening so intently to his speaking that I missed some of the points of his lecture in my note-taking. As I was reading 1012 Monastery Road I was overjoyed to find many of the points from Fr. Meninger’s talks detailed to the letter in his book.
The book is not very long at just under one hundred forty pages; there are eighteen chapters, none of them very long and this makes the book move fast…quick, and interesting. My attention was held from the moment I picked it up and I think I read it through in maybe three short sittings. I enjoyed reading it a lot as I relived the talks I had heard from Fr. Meninger just a few days earlier.
There were a number of highlights from the 1012 Monastery Road that appealed to me more than the story of the Snowmass Monastery itself (for which the book is named). One notable point, or points, came in the form of reminder about the aspects of prayer. This was simple and profound in light of how quickly we forget some of the most important aspects of prayer.
- Prayer begins with God, not with us.
- God not need prayer, we do.
- The listening element in prayer is usually the most important.
- Perseverance in prayer can consist in simply starting over once again, today!
Another great highlight came in chapter ten and the story of “John and Mary.” This is a metaphorical story that tracks the spiritual journey in the form of prayerful relationship between a human being and God. I thought this was a great example and copied as many notes as I could remember from the lecture I had first heard it…I’m grateful to have the full recounting in this book to compliment what I heard with my own ears.
A few other notable points from the book were Father Meninger’s teaching on Lectio Divina, contemplative prayer (as taught through the Cloud of Unknowing, and the importance of the Psalms as a means of prayer.
This was a great choice from a lot of books written by William Meninger; I’m glad he recommended it to me as one of his personal favorites. I learned a lot, remembered a lot, and will use it a lot in my future. Thank you Fr. Meninger for sharing your journey and your insights in 1012 Monastery Road: A Spiritual Journey.