A guidebook for all who are called to the path of conscious love. This powerful book, written by an Episcopal priest, tells of her intense relationship with Brother Raphael Robin, a seventy-year-old Trappist monk and hermit. Deeply enriched by Bourgeault's knowledge of the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff and of Christian mysticism, their vibrant, provocative, beautifully written story adds a profound new dimension to our understanding of human love and the possibility of survival beyond the grave.
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Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault was a 50-year-old priest when she met her soul mate, a hermit named Brother Raphael Robin (Rafe). They had only three years on earth together before Rafe died suddenly of a heart attack. Accounts of these earthly days together are as intense and emotionally wrenching as any love affair could be. And yet their relationship was always graced with a higher goal--creating spiritual love over romantic possession. After Rafe died, Bourgeault was content to let him rest in peace as she began her journey of grief. But weeping outdoors on a snowy night, she felt certain that Rafe's spirit was beside her. "Although I was still crying, the emotional sting started to lose its force, and a new and tingling presence began to work its way up in me, literally starting from the tips of my toes," she recalls. "I knew in that moment I was sustained by an invisible and intensely joyous partner." From then on, Bourgeault continued her love affair with Rafe. Building on this unusual, interactive love-after-death experience, Reverend Bourgeault has assembled some exquisitely reassuring thoughts and anecdotes on eternal love and the impermanence of death. This memoir could be inspirational for grieving lovers or anyone who wants to further explore the mysteries of love, death, spirit, and reincarnation. --Gail HudsonFrom the Publisher:
I've always harbored a healthy skepticism about connections with those who have departed this life, since I felt that, surely, they would now have better things to do (or perhaps not do) than stay in touch with us. However, as soon as I read Cynthia Bourgeault's account of her electrifying meeting with Brother Raphael Robin and what ensued in the three years they spent together, and then transpired after his death, I was converted. This is a love story like no other. And it is instructive for other people who feel joined to their loved ones for all eternity and yet have no model for how to stay in touch.
The world has had an increasing number of accounts recently of what happens beyond the grave but this is the first one to my knowledge that comes out of the Church and, as such, it is sure to be controversial. Still, the Reverend Bourgeault is a medieval scholar and she has done her homework well. Her book is theologically sound, as Brother David Steindl-Rast points out in his amazing foreword, "Its spirituality, far from violating monastic tradition, pushes the understanding of traditional values higher and deeper."
-- Toinette Lippe, editorial director of Bell Tower.
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