Hammer & Fire
Hammer & Fire is a guide to Christian prayer and contemplation. In simple but evocative prose, the author - a contemplative monk, retreat master, and spiritual director - guides the reader towards discovering a deeper prayer life, and a closer union with God.
Fr. Raphael describes his approach in the book's Introduction:
"The human personality is not fulfilled by the inauthentic, the false, the incomplete. On the contrary, these are the sources of dissatisfaction, frustration, warping of the mind and heart, anxiety, depression, neuroses, impulse and personality disorders.... To become fully human and alive, to be integrated and mature, to be effective in our service and undertakings, we need to be transformed into Jesus Christ through a transforming union, through which we become truly ourselves. This book is about that transforming union."
About Fr. Raphael Simon
Fr. Raphael Simon received his M.D. at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He did psychiatric internships at Bellevue Hospital and Brooklyn State Hospital in New York City, and was psychiatrist at an institution for delinquent boys, Lincoln Hall, Lincolndale, New York.
He became a priest in the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance and is a monk of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts. He has given retreats to the monks of his Order in the United States and Ireland and has been a retreat master and director for monks, priests and lay people. The story of his conversion from Judaism is told in his book The Glory of Thy People.
Praise for Hammer & Fire
"It seems that God raises up, for each era, a spiritual master to write a guidebook for those who desire to make progress in the spiritual life.
Past eras have had Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ, St. Teresa of Avila's Way of Perfection, and St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life.
Today we have Fr. Raphael Simon's Hammer & Fire, whose author, a Jewish psychiatrist turned Trappist monk, integrates the wisdom of past spiritual classics, his own experience as a contemplative monk, and a deep knowledge of contemporary psychology, to produce a spiritual guide uniquely suited to our time.
This eminently practical guide is an invaluable resource for the man or woman of today who is seeking to find the one true happiness in this life — union with God."
—Roy Schoeman, author Salvation is from the Jews
"Hammer & Fire is an accessible and inspiring guide to the riches of the Catholic faith. Those who have had the good fortune of having known Fr. Raphael as a spiritual director will appreciate that now many others can experience the clear, simple, and beautiful wisdom of his guidance. A son of Abraham and a psychiatrist, by God’s grace Fr. Raphael became a most faithful monk and son of the Church. I highly recommend this excellent and very orthodox book."
—Fr. Matthew Lamb
Chairman and Professor
Department of Theology
Ave Maria University