Welcome to Prayer to Contemplation

Some time ago the Founder of Essentialist Press came across the website and works of David Torkington, a renowned (and properly titled) ‘Mystical Theologian’. With a love and fascination of the spiritual life found in the Early Church, he was so impressed by David’s teaching on prayer, meditation and contemplation that he knew it was imperative to share his findings with others. Knowing that it is prayer, more than anything else, needed in the Church today, David was asked to produce a series entitled ‘Prayer to Contemplation’ with which to inaugurate the new multi-media Publishing House Essentialist Press. While always deeply prepared for each session, it should be noted that David always speaks without notes and from the heart. We believe the gift of truth and hope he brings comes directly from the Holy Spirit. At the same time, because David is speaking in such an organic manner, he (and we) ask for your indulgence if he makes a few small unintentional verbal slips and omissions.

Episode 1: Contemplation and the fruits of Contemplation

“There is only one way to perfection and that is to pray; if anyone points in another direction then they are deceiving you.” – Saint Teresa of Avila

In these times of chaos, uncertainty, and never-ending noise, we must look to the wisdom of our elders as a means for reorienting our mind, body, soul and strength to focus on that which is true, good, and beautiful. In this first session, David Torkington leads us into the fundamental teachings and practices of our faith, helping us to reorder ourselves and our lives as a means for rediscovering our purpose and ultimately find union with God.

Episode 2: The Morning Offering

In order to lay the foundation for a life of prayer David begins his practical teaching by stressing the need for morning and evening prayers. In this episode he deals with the practice of saying the Morning Offering, taking us back to early Christianity to show its origins and its importance in the early Church as well as its importance, therefore, for us today.

Episode 3: A Blue Print for Morning Prayer

After a few further preliminary remarks about the Morning Offering, David outlines his Blueprint for morning prayer and then details how this prayer can be used to sanctify each day, making it into a holy place where all we say and do is done for the greater glory of God.

Episode 4: Daily Prayer

Just as we need time for a cup of coffee in the morning, a cup of tea in the afternoon and a longer break for lunch to sustain us physically, David encourages us to find time for prayer too to sustain us spiritually.

Episode 5: Evening Prayer

In this Episode David completes his ‘Blueprint for Prayer’ and introduces us to his latest book Never Too Late to Love, published by Essentialist Press, in which his blueprint is further detailed together with nine prayers to help a beginner get started. It ends by referring to the present moral morass at the highest level in the Church and the urgent need therefore to turn back to the prayer that he will further detail on this course.

Episode 6: Repentance, Prayer and Sacrifice

Early Christianity had three inseparable ingredients: Repentance, Prayer and Sacrifice which, when harnessed together under the inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit generated a supernatural quality of love never experienced before. This love enabled those first Christians to love God, as he was on earth embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, through meditation. Then, it enables us to love him as he is now in Heaven through Mystical contemplation.

Episode 7: From Meditation to Contemplation

After a plea to stop fruitless criticism and infighting. this next episode makes an important distinction between Theology and Mystical Theology. The viewers are encouraged to take the next step in the spiritual life by turning to God’s love as it is embodied in Jesus Christ through meditation. We are then shown how this ancient aid to prayer leads to an ever deepening desire for union with God that can only be satisfied in mystical contemplation.

Episode 8: How to Meditate

In Episode 8 David tells us about his personal call to the religious life and how he first learnt how to meditate in depth in the Franciscan Novitiate. He then tells how, ‘like a bolt from the blue’, what had become a sweet and satisfying form of prayer, suddenly left him. It ultimately left him spiritually flat and he would have packed up prayer, and his religious calling, if it had not been for a moment of sublime inspiration received while meditating on Christ’s Passion and death.

Episode 9: A Personal Journey

David’s own personal journey in prayer continues in the Franciscan student house. Then, after eighteen month of travelling in darkness, light suddenly breaks into the gloom. Thanks to the discovery of the book ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ by St John of the Cross, ‘The Interior Castle’ by St Teresa of Avila and the advice of a Theologian, David was encouraged to journey on. But, what he comes to realize above all else is that the mystic way is the only place to encounter and experience the type of love that can unite us with God.

Episode 10: Back to the Future

After briefly detailing the profound mystical spirituality that surrounded the Mass in the hundred years after the Council of Trent, David shows how it all ended thanks to a new heresy. Molinos, who introduced this heresy was condemned by the Church for falling into Protestantism and gross sexual indecency together with his followers. The vicious and lasting attack on authentic mystical spirituality threw the baby out with the bathwater and finally led to the sad and sick predicament in which the Church finds herself today. We can only be saved by going back to the faith of our Fathers – thence back to the future.

Bonus Episode 11: A Contemplative and Historical Summary

In this talk David makes it quite clear that the profound contemplative prayer, practiced by Christ himself, Our Lady, the first Apostles, and the first Catholic laity was the foundational heart and soul of early Christian Spirituality. When this prayer began to wane, mystical writers arose to lead them back to their origins until Quietism took it all away again. Without the fruits of contemplation, a new highbred form of moral teaching which prevailed eventually became unlivable. When this moralism deteriorates into immoralism only an immediate return to our spiritual origins becomes mandatory, for the new remnant, who seek to return to the one and only Christ-given Spirituality.

How to Pray Audiobook

More than a decade ago, David Torkington was asked by Radio Maria England to read his own book, “How to Pray” as a way to help the faithful re-engage with God and truly learn the path of a Saint through meditation and contemplation. Through the generosity of David, those recordings have been made available to Essentialist Press so that our community may benefit not only from his writing, but from his voice in reading this classic and timeless work.

Thanks to David, these audio lessons are also available to be downloaded for free for those that sign up for it. If you’re interested in receiving these mp3 files sign up for our newsletter below.