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I bit the bullet and bought the entire Jacques Philippe Scepter Publishing collection.

For years, I've eschewed contemporary spiritual writers. Mostly because I'm just arrogant. I figured that only the great ones can teach me anything, and you don't know who's great until they've been dead for at least 25 years.

I also avoided contemporary spiritual writers because when I think “contemporary spiritual writing” I think Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul and I'm an efficiency-holic. I want to go straight to the good stuff. If you screw around with authors who may not be that good, you're wasting effort. Go straight to the proven great.

But Thomas Merton first made me see that my approach might be wrong. And then I read Dorothy Day and Catherine Doherty.

I started to see that modern spiritual writers speak to the modern man in a way the classical writers can't.

Great literature of any genre always remains relevant: it speaks to the human condition, which doesn't change.

But contemporary literature speaks to the current circumstances, which are always changing.

So you need both: the classic as well as the contemporary. Together, they give you the full perspective you need to survive . . . and keep your soul from getting squished.

And if you can find a contemporary writer who is destined to become a classical author in the spiritual tradition?

Well, in that case, you've hit the jackpot.

That writer might be Jacques Philippe. He has resonated with millions. When I was in the Catholic arms of Denver, I saw his books all over the place.

I've dipped heavily into three of his books so far. I'm not convinced he'll be deemed a classic spiritual writer someday.

But he's good. Very good.

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