As the world goes quietly (or noisily) mad, there is an increasing thirst detectable, especially among the young, for a spirituality that makes sense. This remarkable book, The Virgin Eye, which should be read slowly and contemplatively, offers just the thing. Several chapters need to be read more than once, not because they are difficult but because they run deep. This book, published after the author’s death, is a distillation of a life-long pursuit of wisdom. Although Robin Daniels was a Christian and he became a Catholic at almost the very end, his book can be read by anyone engaged in the search for spiritual integrity. Though he speaks of “mindfulness,” there is nothing here of being trendy for the sake of being with the trend. Rather, he acknowledges and shares spiritual wisdom wherever he finds it. One instance is the author’s ability to use poetry over an impressively wide range, aiming not to impress us with his erudition but using these lines to make exactly the point he wishes to make.
Some of the chapters are challenging indeed; each ends with prayers to be savored, the distillation of a grasp of life (and suffering) lived under the presence of God. Daniels is not afraid to stress the importance of jettisoning as unwanted baggage all our false and destructive views of God. The tone is never condemnatory, though there is a useful chapter on “stress” in contemporary society, which makes for decidedly grim reading. Our shifting values and increased affluence have not made for greater happiness, and it is good to say so, and to ask why. One gentle criticism: Daniels makes the occasional claims about Hebrew and Greek meanings that are not quite accurate; but that does not detract from the very considerable merits of a book that needs to be widely read in our time.