Invitation to Love


Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation. New York: Continuum, 1995. 151 pages
A Synopis

An Appreciation by Hal Dendurent

It is said that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Writing about the subject works equally well. The more humble task of creating a summary, synopsis, or abstract of a work serves the same purpose.

I have enjoyed writing these synopses of the chapters of Invitation to Love. It is a well-written book, thoughtful, deep, and compassionate. Fr. Keating writes from long experience on the spiritual journey and with knowledge of scripture, tradition, and contemporary practices.

In a way, the subject of Invitation to Love is one of the utmost simplicity; yet, because this view of oneself, others, the world, and God is so far removed from our ordinary ways of thinking, this is a difficult book. I hope I have succeeded in making it more accessible to some.


  1. The Emotional Programs for Happiness
  2. The False Self in Action
  3. The Afflictive Emotions
  4. The Human Condition
  5. Mythic Membership Consciousness
  6. Mental Egoic Consciousness
  7. The Four Consents
  8. Bernie
  9. Anthony as a Paradigm of the Spiritual Journey
  10. The Night of Sense: Freedom from the False Self
  11. Special Trials in the Night of Sense
  12. Anthony in the Tombs: Freedom from Cultural Conditioning
  13. The Fruits of the Night of Sense
  14. The Stages of Contemplative Prayer
  15. The Night of Spirit
  16. The Transforming Union
  17. The First Four Beatitudes
  18. The Last Four Beatitudes
  19. The Essence of Contemplative Prayer
  20. From Contemplation to Action
  21. Contemplation in Action
  22. Spirituality in Everyday Life

The book also contains Appendix I, "The False Self in Action"; Appendix II, "The Human Condition"; Appendix III, "Comparison of Christian Spiritual Journey and Evolutionary Model"; Notes; Glossary of Terms; and Bibliography.