In this occasional series of posts, I recommend resources for you and your family in 100 words or less. More detailed reviews may come later.

Fire WithinBy Fr. Thomas Dubay. Thorough, understandable explanation of Carmelite spirituality. Contains short biographies of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. Helps you discern where you are in Teresa’s Mansions. What to do at each stage to grow more. Defines contemplation and detachment. Challenges everyone to become a contemplative. Distinguishes true mysticism from locutions and visions. Deals with difficulties in prayer, friendship, and spiritual direction. Destined to be a classic.

One “criticism:” Deep and long. Don’t expect to be able to read it in 5-minute spurts.

Connie Rossini

Share with us: Have your read this book? What did you glean from it? What other books by Fr. Dubay would you recommend?

See other posts in this series: The Golden Children’s Bible, Time for Prayer

Introduction to the Devout Life

Written by crossini4774


  1. 8kidsandabusiness February 8, 2013 at 8:40 am Reply

    Honestly, I’ve always found St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila difficult to read so this book might help. However, I reach for Introduction to the Devout Life all the time.

  2. Connie Rossini February 8, 2013 at 10:44 am Reply

    I read Interior Castle before I was a Carmelite and misinterpreted a lot of it, because I didn’t understand Teresa’s terms. Plus, contemplation is supernatural, and as such, not totally describable or understandable. Fr. Dubay really makes it all concrete. Fire Within is my basic reference when I have a question about Carmelite spirituality.

  3. Nancy February 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm Reply

    If I could take only two books to a desert island, they would be the Bible (for sure) and this one (probably). The chapter on the Teresian mansions is priceless to me…. reading Father Dubay’s explanations, I not only understood the journey in more concrete and digestible terms, I also longed to make the trip. Yes, this book is indeed deep and long (someone I know quipped: “this book has a lot of words in it !”), but I could almost not recommend any book more highly. I don’t find it to be a dry read, but rather a book filled with the holy fire of God’s love. And would I recommend other books by Father Dubay. Yes! Every single one!!! I remember being particularly helped by ‘Seeking Spiritual Direction’ when I read that. But ‘Fire Within’ is my favorite, by a lot.

  4. Connie Rossini February 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm Reply

    I think I’d take Intro. to the Devout Life, but if that wasn’t available, this might be my second choice. Did you ever get the chance to hear Fr, Dubay in person? Or see him on EWTN? He was such a humorous man, besides being knowledgeable and most likely holy. A real joy to listen to.

    • Nancy February 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm Reply

      Yes, I was blessed greatly by Father Dubay, and he did have a delightful sense of humor, didn’t he? He seemed so joy-filled!

  5. lisanicholasphd December 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm Reply

    A friend of mine, who was a lay Carmelite, lent me this book shortly before she died. I rediscovered it recently in a pile of books, but hadn’t yet dipped into it. Now I will. I read St Teresa’s Way of Perfection and the Interior Castle many years ago but, I’m sure, probably didn’t understand much of it. I look forward to reading Fr. Dubay’s book.

    • Connie Rossini December 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm Reply

      I know I sure didn’t understand Teresa the first time i read her. So many of the terms she used were foreign to me at that time, and who can understand contemplation–especially those who have never experienced it? I go back to Fire Within often as a reference.

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