G T Burke Sir, Over the months, I have found many of David Torkington's articles on the "Inner Life" helpful — some extremely so; but in his last two "Letters to Susanna" his attitude towards what he calls the "mantra men", and his -1 general suspicion of any sort of Eastern influence in a Christian's life of prayer surprises Inc.
During 11 years of Seminary training and 54 years of priesthood, I have been greatly enriched by the "authentic tradition" of Catholic spirituality he outlined so clearly. But surely, no one tradition and no one person, however learned and saintly, has said the last word about mystical theology, and the countless different ways in which people continue to develop their prayer life.
Nearly 30 years ago, I attended a week's retreat for priests given by John Main, OSB, who introduced us to the "mantra" approach to meditation. Since then I have been stimulated to read fairly widely, part* in the literature suggested by "The World Community for Christian I Mediation", Nothing I have come across so far conflicts with the "authentic tradition" David Torkngton so rightly cherishes. Oa the contrary, my "stop-start" efforts at meditation have been greatly simplified and strengthened by the "mantra men" and particularly by a group who now meditate regularly wih me.
I find it odd that David Torkington cm say that all the "mantra people" he has met are "thoroughly good people", and yet overlook Our Lord's ,d words: "By their fruits you,di will know &ern."
If "mantra' is the offending word, conjunng up a dubious form of Eastern my sticism, why not use "prayer word" instead? In pactice they both ,, come to mud the same thing.
Why confuse and discourage thousand worldwide who have found the mantra approach to meditation the most helpfulway for them to do what David Torkington and all of us longto do — prepare our minds and hearts as best • 1 we can for tie priceless gift of God's love?
Yours faithfully, GEOFFREY BURKE Danehill, V Sussex..