On the occasion of the Wellington launch of Craig Larkin’s An Inner Music, Sr Stephanie Kitching rsm spoke of her experience of the book.
She spoke to those assembled for the Wellington launch of An Inner Music and told of she found it both a comfort and challenge.
Tena koutou katoa. It is special to be here tonight.
I have known Craig Larkin since he was a secondary school student appearing in a lead role in the Mikado, a Gilbert and Sullivan musical being mounted at St Pat’s College by Fr Gerard Mills.
My mother was one of the seamstresses and wardrobe mistresses so Craig would be at our home with other students and clergy. Sunday nights were always exciting….Enough….
This book, An Inner Music: Living a Life in God, sits both comfortably and challengingly.
The physical feel of the cover and the easy lie of the pages make it an easy read. The layout of each chapter in clearly defined sections with the benefit of a very readable type face and spacing between the lines is reader friendly.
The language used and the writing style make it seem as though we are sitting with Craig and he is sharing with us in the moment.
There are minimal illustrations used but these, along with the illuminated capitals at the beginning of each section fit the topic of the book.
The choice of mystics…female and male, religious and lay provides variation. There are not as many female as male but this is more a sign of the times. I note that Craig tells us that Julian of Norwich in the 14th century was the first woman to write in English.
Some of the mystics are familiar, eg, Hildegard of Bingen. Others are not so, eg, Jean-Joseph Surin whom I really enjoyed discovering. As Craig writes… he showed us God acts in the cracks of human life! And Surin loved music, both the inner and outward kind.
The approach in each chapter draws the reader in. First we hear about the person of the mystic, then about their spirituality and writings. This is followed by a small section of writing of that mystic which acts as a snapshot for the reader. Then the challenge is thrown down…how does this interact with the reader’s life journey in God?
Craig pulls together all his life’s study and reflection and prayer in this section, leading us form the human to the divine and back again.
Right through this book there is a groundedness. It is very real and related to us at this time
I am sure readers will discover their own gems. There will be something for everyone.
One example is Carryl Houselander – an old friend from the mid 80s when I read The Reed of God – a series of meditations on the life of Mary. Yes 30 years on, Craig provided me with yet another insight though his unpacking of this 20th century woman’s life and spirituality; it is in the connection between daily living and spirituality that we discover God.
This volume depths my understanding of the mystics and what makes them tick; and maybe I might find that the same thing makes me tick…what then?
I see the message of the book as: Am I ready to be caught by God? And, am I prepared to live from the inside out, rather than the outside in?
These are big questions for any of us, ones I find quite confronting at this stage of my life.
I can see myself in the coming months both renewing my acquaintance with mystics I have met before, and discovering new treasures in other mystics enclosed in the pages of this book which is written by one who in his own way, through failures, successes, joys, sorrows, plain sailing and trials was a mystic too.