The Primacy of Loving
Publication date 9th December 2022 but pre-publication copies can be ordered by contacting David through this website.
Extract from The Primacy of Loving
Long before religious life came into being in the guise of Monasticism, thanks to St Antony (AD 252–356), Christian Spirituality was predominantly devised for and lived by lay Christians. Religious life as we know it today did not exist. That the Mass and the sacraments were administered by a predominantly married clergy in the early Church was to be expected as part of the natural evolution of Christianity from the Jewish religion from which it arose. However, the spiritual reasons why celibate clergy gradually became the norm are as valid today as they were in the past. A return to married clergy therefore as the norm, plays no part in the suggestions for renewal that are put forward in this book. Nor is my emphasis on lay spirituality intended to undermine or disempower the hierarchical structure of the Church, but rather to re-empower its authority that derives from tradition and thrives on holiness. Like Judaism, from which it derived, Christianity was primarily a domestic spirituality in which the family was paramount. Why not therefore, go back to discover what can immediately be applied to our lives, rather than trying to understand and live it through the spirituality of a religious order that was not primarily founded for lay people living in the world. We can still be inspired by religious orders and look to them for help and guidance in our spiritual search for God and in our prayer life, but it is we who must apply the principles of our faith and the way we sanctify our lives, as our first Christian ancestors did.
Reviews for The Primacy of loving
I waited over 65 years for David Torkington’s teaching on mystical theology. If only I had known at the beginning of my religious life what I have now learnt from him, it would have made me a far better person than the man I am now.
Working with David for twelve years when he was the Director of the Brentwood Diocesan Retreat and Conference Centre in London, was the happiest time in my life. After introducing me to the new biblical theology he encouraged me and others to return to the classical Dominican tradition. He did this firstly by encouraging us to attend a year-long renewal course organised and run by the Dominican fathers from the Angelicum in Rome, and then to immerse ourselves in the spirituality of the first Dominicans. Without this our reform could not have taken place.
David Torkington is spiritually generous and is a master at creatively teaching prayer with unforgettable words.
Every book David Torkington writes is about prayer, true deep prayer, but so simply expressed, so colloquial, clear as spring water and as refreshing. We can so easily read about prayer, about love, about Christian service and in the emotional happiness of our reading come to think that we are actually doing what we are only feeling. Fortunately, no one is more aware of this danger than David Torkington. He is passionately committed to stripping from the reader those veils of illusion that allow what is said to be enjoyed in theory only. His books should be mandatory reading.
I thank God because with David Torkington’s course on prayer now hopefully in book format mysticism no longer seems so mysterious. It’s not just for “weirdos!”
Thank you, David, I have come to realize that in my own protestant church the teaching of mystical theology doesn’t exist and therefore the teaching of my church has been deprived of the essential connection between ourselves and Christ. We are truly poor. I always felt that I was outside my own church because I saw Christ and heard Him speaking to me. Well, that is just me. Keep doing what you are because your teaching will one day save the church we both love.