DAVID LYLE JEFFREY
FRSC, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Baylor Institute for Studies in Religion
Fr Robert Crouse was one of the great spiritual mentors of the twentieth century. In this delightful series he gracefully and perceptively brings the spiritual depth and intellectual brilliance of pre-Christian classical and biblical traditions into high relief, revealing the striking mutuality in their on-going conversation to be highly worthy of Christian meditation. Here are beautiful examples of his theological workmanship; the book is a spiritual treasure.
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford, and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral
Where is our home? Robert Crouse’s answer is a firm but humble one: it is not here and will never be found in this mortal life; it is a place we have lost and which we will regain, in an even more glorious way, in the life to come. Here we are on the way; we are pilgrims, journeying in faith hope and love towards our homeland; moved and compelled by the faith, hope and love which God inspires within us. This is the God who has created us in His Word, and — when we turned away — condescended in the incarnate Word to share our dark and fragile humanity, so that we might turn back to Him, who is our beginning, our way and our end. Crouse’s meditations convey the wisdom that comes from dwelling with great souls — pagan, and Christian. He appreciates the nobility and confidence of Homer and the philosophers; but is utterly persuaded that they lack the one thing necessary: the love of God which breaths through Christian authors. Like his subjects — the authors of Scripture, Augustine and Dante — Crouse catches us up and draws us into the love of God returning to its source, enabling us to join their pilgrim souls on the journey towards the heavenly homeland. There is much in his humbly confident, profoundly direct, eloquently simple reflections, and the images of pilgrimage which he sets before us, to encourage, sustain and inspire the life of prayerful devotion by which we journey through the trials and tribulations of the wilderness towards the heavenly Jerusalem.
Irish Philosopher, Writer,
In this beautiful book, Fr Crouse leads the reader on a pilgrimage from estrangement and alienation to the homeland of the soul. Using the great canonical texts of the Western spiritual tradition, he shows us that this vale of tears is, when pondered in faith, illumined and redeemed by the Kingdom within. The Journey from the wilderness of this world to that place we call 'paradise', is one that we must make every day. It is the journey inwards to a place of peace where our earthly struggles are not surmounted but blessed and sanctified. Images of Pilgrimage is much more than a spiritual reflection on the human drama. It is to experience that drama first hand, and to find that we ourselves are its protagonists.
Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
There is a magnificent and serene simplicity in these pages. The surpassing achievement of Crouse, however, is the re-imagination of the Christian life through the re-kindling of ancient images.
Political Scientist and
Robert Crouse was, probably, the finest classical theologian in the Anglican Church of Canada (and beyond) in the 20th century. Robert's deep mining of the mother lode of The Christian Tradition meant much refined gold was brought forth and offered to the divided church. May the republication of many of Robert's layered writings alert the church to its grand and subtle heritage.
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury
Robert Crouse was in every sense a classical theologian — steeped in the literature of the ancient world, but also deeply rooted in the central traditions of Western Catholic devotion and thinking within the Anglican spectrum. These meditations — quietly authoritative in tone, unfussy and measured in style — show why he was such an important figure for so many, a touchstone of spiritual and intellectual integrity.
Senior Editor: Touchstone, Writer, and Translator of Dante
Father Crouse, whom I am deeply thankful to have known, has a gift that is only to be found in the greatest of essayists. He can, without strain, take you to a summit whence you can view from above, in all their mutual relationships, the woods and fields and farms and towns below, which otherwise you would know only singly and in part. In this concise and powerful work, he shows us both how the pilgrimage is essential to being human and how the Christian pilgrimage is yet something other, not least because it is God and not our brains or legs who carries us home, and it is to God that we journey. All paganism ends in despair, and so should we end too, but God, himself a perichoresis of love, has come down to us in Christ. He it is who spreads a table in our wilderness.
Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work
R. D. Crouse’s Images of Pilgrimage is an exemplar of deep theology presented in an accessible and moving manner. The chapter on Dante, in particular, is a mini-masterpiece of the genre.
Historian, Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Author of The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America
Few things are rarer in this life than theological writing that is at once learned, beautiful, and wise. But these painstakingly crafted and interconnected essays of Fr. Robert Crouse quietly exemplify all three traits, and much more besides. They remind us that the task of pilgrimage is the essential condition of the Christian life. It is a discipline we can never grow beyond, because its whole-souled pursuit is the only force that can keep our minds and hearts in right relation with the things of this world, as well as the world that is to come. That is why I shall gratefully return to these essays, again and again, in the years to come, and enthusiastically recommend them to others.
MICHAEL D HURLEY
Reader in English,
University of Cambridge
Fr Crouse’s learned but light-footed meditations are a joy to read as well as an education. Taking pilgrimage as the fundamental and all-encompassing theme of spiritual life, he invites us to embark on a pilgrimage of our own, through the genius of Greco-Roman literature as well the poetry and revealed truth of the Christian faith. We could not hope for a more graceful, engaging, or authoritative guide.