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Book review: For This I Came: Spiritual wisdom for priesthood and ministry by Wyn Beynon

23 June 2023

This is a companion to keep on returning to, Peter McGeary finds

IN THE far distant past, when proper bookshops were more common, and customers could browse away to their hearts’ content and find things that they did not know they wanted, Mowbrays, in the West End of London, was one of the most pleasurable locations for things ecclesiastical. As a keen schoolboy, I spent the huge sum of £1.50 on a book, The Priest’s Companion, which I use to this day. It is a fascinating volume of private prayers for priests, prefaced by essays on what it might mean to live the priestly life. It was, I suppose, meant to be food for the journey. It fascinated me then. It feeds me still.

There was a period when this sort of volume was out of fashion, and the misunderstandings of the nature of priesthood and ordination which underpinned this attitude endure; but it is good to see that things are moving on slightly. Although anyone would benefit from its contents, For This I Came is unashamedly a book intended primarily to feed priests and those who exercise some kind of ministry in the Church. Wyn Beynon is a parish priest and spiritual director of many years’ experience. This set of reflections is inspired by three English priest-poets: Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert, and R. S. Thomas. A poem from each provides a springboard for 60 beautiful short reflections. Brief thoughts are thrown at the reader; some will hit home; some will wait on the page for next time.

I have been critical in the past of the paper quality of Canterbury Press books: not so here. This small volume has been very durably produced, and this is important. This is not a book to be read through once and then filed away. It is to be kept in the prayer stall, to be savoured daily, slowly, one page at a time, over and over again.

The Revd Peter McGeary is the Vicar of St Mary’s, Cable Street, in east London, and a Priest-Vicar of Westminster Abbey.


For This I Came: Spiritual wisdom for priesthood and ministry
Wyn Beynon
Canterbury Press £14.99
Church Times Bookshop special price £11.99

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