good words about my book

"In this significant monograph, Matthew Lewis Sutton brings expositional clarity and conceptual rigour to the extensive textual legacy of Adrienne von Speyr. It is a real accomplishment that this is achieved without any unnecessary sacrifice of the vibrancy and immediacy of her Trinitarian mystical theology. But perhaps the greatest achievement of this volume is to demonstrate that von Speyr's contemplative work is worthy of attention and study, not simply as an adjunct of the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, but in its own impressive right."

— Paul T. Nimmo University of Aberdeen

Please preorder Heaven Opens.

God's glory illuminated her and her lamp was the lamb

Lord of omnipotence and lord of impotence, you reveal both at once in your holiness: your omnipotence, which can overcome and direct each one of us, and your impotence, which has to wait upon the love and surrender of each one of us.

Whenever someone is ready to take the way that you yourself are and that you prepare for him, you place at his disposition your entire holiness as the light in which he can walk.

Without this light that you provide, there would be no portal for him to find and no way before him. Without your light, none of those who believe in you would attain even a slight degree of holiness.

For our holiness is the meeting of your light with the faith in us-- the faith we have always received from your light in the first place. And you allow us to reflect its beams together with you.

In the midst of the city, you have set up the sign of your Son's Cross as the sign of the highest holiness. And when you let your people walk the way of holiness, you give them, in the mode and manner that pleases you, this Cross for the journey, so that they may accept it, bear it, and bring it back to you, the almighty God, in your Son's company.

You allow your Son, accompanied by your saints, to give back the Cross he bore, but you also receive it jointly with the Son, so that he may see that you, Father, recognize in every one of your servants the countenance and the work of your Son.

You have given these servants the gift of holiness that you Son won for them on the Cross. In order that he may learn in perfect love for you that you have accepted his perfect offer, you allow the imprint of the Cross to be seen in the sacrifice your saints only attempt to after you.

All of us who have received from John the message of the perfect city want to serve you with renewed love, with renewed faith and renewed hope. We all want to use all our failing strength to help in the realization of your Son's work, so that his glorification of you, Father, may be manifested also in us and in all who are entrusted to us in your whole Church. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, pgs. 61-63

to surrender what we do not possess

Lord, so often I have given you what I possessed in abundance; let me now offer you everything that I do not have, that has always been denied me, that I have sought half-suspecting it was unattainable: peace, rest, shelter.

And if I know now that all this belongs to you, that it remains in your safekeeping and is your possession, I will no longer clamor for it. The constant, vain running of my restlessness no longer troubles me: rest is in you, you have taken possession of it, even from me; you can dispense it again without loss; in you is shelter-- who else would have it?-- you can deal out this gift.

Be praised: what we seek is found in you, and what we fancied we were giving you generously was in you from the beginning. And yet we thank you that in spite of this you accept it from us as well.

Lord, do not just take what we do not have: keep it.

Planting is the Lord's alone, to us he might leave the gathering of a few ears of his sprouting seed; that which was already his is what we bring before him.

A living fire does not cease to burn until all is consumed and reduced to ash; no one regards the ash; strewn lifeless on the ground, it cannot fructify, hidden as it is, but it can be trampled completely into the earth, serving a task of which it knows nothing.

Lord, burn us to ash, and scatter us according to your will. If I should ever say again what I will, do not grant that prayer: believe, even against every appearance, that from now on I am yours alone and know no other will than yours. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 57-58

in your passion

Lord, in your Passion your glory disappears more and more; as the Son of man, you become pure man, so infinitely like us in your misery and nakedness.

And if we contemplate these things-- whenever you grant us to behold them in truth-- we remain before them as if out of time, and what we experience is terrifying in its duration, but even more terrifying because of its content. All that we are enters this state of being only man, which is solitude, yes, abandonment.

You suffered for us immersed so deeply in the night that we no longer even know that there is a Resurrection.

Lord, the burden of our sins on your shoulders is becoming unbearable to us. Design the way, give it the form you wish, the form of a cross, if need be. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, pg. 56

prayer for usability

Father, let our whole life become a prayer that rises up to you like fire and sweeps along in its flame everything evil and impure, all that belongs to us and to others, so that you may fill it up with your Spirit and may make it good enough to become yours and to be used by you.

Do not leave the evil in us either, Lord, but turn it back; open us to your action, even when it is painful; allow our conversion, allow it in your own name. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 55

prayer for liberation from oneself

Lord, set me free and take me to yourself. You have shown me the chains that hold me back from my way, and if they still exist to hinder me, it is for no other reason than that in my heart of hearts I am not yet willing to detach myself from them.

How often I moan and groan and regret having so little freedom, whereas all I really mean are the obligations that daily life and my profession entail; but these obligations do not really block my path, they do not affect its essential course, at most its outer form; if anything, they are perhaps just little tests.

What weighs so heavily does not come from outside; it lives and takes shape in my own self-- I mean everything to which I am attached, which I am not disposed to renounce, which serves me as a crutch and a convenience, everything to which I believe I have a right.

Take, Lord--I am trying to ask you for this sincerely-- everything that in my eyes is part of my rightful spiritual property, but that paralyzes my love for you, that makes your love for my neighbor stop flowing and freeze solid.

Let me disappear in the flow of your love to all men, so that it can pour itself out unhindered. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 54-55

prayer for those who have turned away

We can understand death and sickness and even poverty, Lord; but how can anyone turn away from you after having known your grace? That is an unfathomable mystery to us.

After all, it would be quite easy for you to make the signs of your grace so obvious that no one could have any more doubts about them or to bring back those who are leaving with a gentle call: and you do not do it, in your wisdom, you do not do it.

Lord, allow us just the same to beg you with our whole soul that our cry might pierce through the lukewarmness of those who are drawing back; let our members suffer for them, accept every sacrifice for them, only, we implore you, enable them to return, make it easy for them, and in exchange let us pay the price that you deem just. We will try to give you what you take, but grant them anew your faith, your grace.

And at the same time we know that we ourselves take our faith too lightly and are given over and over again to promises that seem hard when it comes time to keep them.

Lord, grant us all your mercy and strengthen our weakness. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 52-53

prayer for constancy

Lord our God, give your children ready perseverance in loving you. You know all too well what we are like: moved by your goodness when it comes to us unexpectedly, dismayed by your severity when it reveals itself to us with its demands.

When we live through happy or hard days, we think of you, seeing what comes from you; but in the monotony of every day we grow lukewarm, we forget you, we keep you far from our thoughts and from our action, as if we needed you only on the eventful days, as if we wanted to have you at our disposal.

We beg you, change this, let us turn back while there is time, act decisively, tear out our tepidity, replace it with fire or cold or with both at once, only, allow your Spirit to blow in us.

Destroy everything that is not yours, and let us think no thought whose center is not you, so that by this destruction we are compelled to a livelier love.

We do not demand of this love that it be painful or delightful, only that it be yours, forevermore.

Lord, give us the grace to offer you again and again what you have given us. Only in this way will we unprofitable servants not remain fruitless.

Bless your love in us, so that it may yield the fruits that you desire. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 51-52

suscipe commentary - 8 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"Then I am rich enough."

Rich and enabled to serve you, for your love contains everything needed by one who believes and hopes. Thanks to this love I am as rich as you yourself in your return to the Father after the accomplishment of your mission. As rich as the Father when he welcomed you back, as rich as the Spirit when he reunited you two, because your triune love is so infinite that there is room in it for everything and is enriching only as a creature can be filled to overflowing with goods when it lives by the love and grace of God. For faith can wish for nothing with greater longing than to take part in eternal love, and love can eternally love only itself in its triune fulfillment.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 49

suscipe commentary - 7 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"Give me only your love and your grace"

Your love was always the love of the triune God, in which you allowed us to participate and which we have idly spurned by sinning. Give me this love now on the condition that I deem it the highest good and do not prove myself unworthy of it time and again. I need it more urgently than the air I breathe; therefore, let it be such an urgent imperative for me that it becomes a spur prodding me to serve you better. Let it be offered to you along with everything else; let me treasure it as you yourself love the Father whom you obey.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 49

suscipe commentary - 6 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"I commit it to you for your entire disposition"

Let it be so completely entrusted to you that you can utilize it without regard for the giver, like anything you please, which you are free to use or not; I pray you, consider it your property, just as I, alas, considered it my property as long as it was in my hands. I would like to leave it in your hands without counting the cost and without ulterior motives and from now on see in all reality, in things and days and nights, northing but your property, which is yours to do with as you please and which by that very fact alone acquires new meaning.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Man: Prayers, 48

suscipe commentary - 5 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"to you I return it all"

Not by scorning it and casting it away, for I would like to offer it to you just as I received it, as little damaged as possible, with no other meaning and value than those you intended when you gave it to me. I would also like to offer it to you in as living a way as I received it from you.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 48

suscipe commentary - 4 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"you have given me all that I have and possess"

Lord, you have given me the things I need in order to live--daily nourishment, life with all its small, often unnecessary comforts. You have also given me time out of your own store of time, the days to wrk and the nights to rest. you have given me thoughts, prayer, and, finally, everything I myself am and have and become. All this is your gift, and I have no right to anything. I have earned none of it for myself and have received nothing from anyone but you.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 47-48

suscipe commentary - 3 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"my memory, my understanding, and my entire will"

Take my memory, so that it may no longer be filled up with things that belong to me but may be cleared out and made ready for you again, ready to hold only what you store in it. Take it as you would take an object that until now has served a particular end but that has just been freed up for any sort of employment you have in mind for it. And take my understanding, which clung to so many things and tried to grasp so many things that were not of you. May it become an understanding of your service, which is at your disposal, so that it takes in only what you want to enrich it with and what can be of service to you. Therefore, let everything it contains that is incompatible with you and your intentions sink into oblivion. Take also my will, which was so often just self-will, which over and over again distanced itself from you. Take it away from me at last and fashion from it a particle, as it were, of your will, which is always filled with doing the Father's will.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayer, 47

suscipe commentary - 2 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"my entire liberty"

The freedom of my days, the freedom of my thoughts, the freedom of my work, even the freedom of my prayer. Make out of all this freedom a pure service of your freedom; dispose freely of my freedom; see in it nothing beyond my wish to serve you. This is the choice I now make: to commit my entire freedom to you.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 46

suscipe commentary - 1 of 8

Suscipe of Saint Ignatius

"Take, Lord, receive"

Take my whole life, take it, I pray you, just as it is now, with everything that goes into it, with my powers, my desires and efforts, but also with everything in me that still tends away from you, everything I have laid in reserve for myself; take all of this, along with everything else, which I now offer you. Take everything and make it entirely yours.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 46

prayer at the approach of death

Lord, because we take your death so lightly that we rarely even think about it, the thought of our own death is also strange and distant. Even when stern messengers forewarn us, we manage to stifle the thought of our death and to go on living as if our earthly existence would never end.

And yet one day we realize that we have to die; grant, Lord, that we will not be wholly unprepared. Let us understand our death in relation to your death: let us know that you died for us all and that when we die we have no choice but to be with you.

You have transformed the punishment of our death into the grace of the eternal life to come. You permit us to rejoice in this gift of yours. Even when the passage proves difficult, even when the pains become overpowering, while the anguish increases and uncertainty masters us, let all this agony happen if you will it so, so that you may get something from our life, a late fruit that is a last at your disposal.

Let us die just as you will, whether in fear or in absolute pain or in sleep or perceiving death approach hour by hour. But however it may turn out, let us not abandon the thought of you but rather know that every death, even death in darkness, is your property and has already been experienced in you on the Cross.

Let us die as believers whose faith also shines upon the others who assist at our death, brings them help now, and perhaps later, when their own hour comes, gives them consolation.

Lord, make known your presence to all who survive us; help them to weather their grief, be with them to the end of their days. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 44-46

prayer of an old nun

Dear God, you know that I became a nun in order to serve you and that my decision was not exactly easy.

You gave me confidence back then; I knew that you had chosen this way for me yourself. And you have given me from day to day my whole life long new courage to try to offer you everything.

But you know how it goes in a life that is supposed to be consecrated to you: both the small and the relatively big sacrifices recur in a sort of regular rhythm, so that one gets a little used to them.

And now you are asking for a really big sacrifice: I am supposed to put back in your hands my life as a nun just as you gave it to me. I cannot walk any longer, I cannot work, I cannot choose myself what to offer to you throughout the day. Sacrifice has now taken on a different form: I must simply accept everything and can only offer you again and again the prayer that all may be done according to your will.

Show me, I ask you, how to do this, so that you may be pleased, so that you can recognize in me your own service, so that it is no longer I, but you in me, who perform it, you with your Mother and with all the saints.

This doing will thus become fruitful and partake of the fruitfulness of every hour of your life.

I pray you, do not let me grow weary, even in my weariness, of offering up everything to you. And bless this suffering, for your whole Church and for all who seek the way to you. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 42-44

prayer for times of weariness

Dear God, I am too weary to pray, And you learned on the Cross how great weariness can be.

I beg you, let all your angels and all your saints so adore you that nothing is missing from adoration. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 42