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old red bookMany years ago a very holy old Anglican priest of the old school died and left his “occasional book” to me. This book was a collection of quotations and words of wisdom that he had compiled over the years.

He was a very cultured and well educated man, like so many of the old Anglican priests were. They were the venerable father figures when I was a young priest, and sadly I don’t think there are very many of them left. They had been through the second world war and come home chastened and strengthened.

Many of them had been educated at Oxford and Cambridge and served humbly in the church in simple country parishes. I wished to be like them until the Church of England  went the way of the modern world.

The Big Red Book is his collection arranged according to the church calendar with readings for every day of the year.

I’ll be sharing some of them here on this blog with you. Here’s one from the great spiritual writer Evelyn Underhill

If we ask of the saints how they achieved spiritual effectiveness, they are only able to reply that, in so far as they did it themselves, they did it by love and prayer.

A love that is very humble and holy, a prayer that is full of adoration and confidence. Love and prayer on their lips, are not mere nice words. They are the names of tremendous power, able to transform in a literal sense, human personality and make it more and more what it was meant to be–the agent  of the Holy Spirit in the world.