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To Bless the Space Between Us – A Book of Invocations and Blessings

RRP: $39.95

Every now and then you come across a real gem of a book – this book is one of those for me; although I am not sure that it is everyone’s ‘cup-of-tea’. John O’Donohue is an Irish teacher and poet who draws on Celtic spiritual traditions for his writing and prayers.

To Bless the Space Between Us is a beautiful and poetic collection of blessings and is divided into sections – Beginnings, Desires, Thresholds, Homecomings, States of Heart, Callings, and Beyond Endings.

O’Donohue begins and ends the book with a call to reclaim blessings as part of everyday life. He laments the commercial culture that is all “gloss and pace on the outside” but lost on the inside, so his blessings are very relational, earthy and full of ‘heart’. Each section is also introduced helping the reader to explore the theme in question.

O’Donohue’s use of language evokes images – he writes of being “ambushed by grief” or being “formed from the depths beneath a mother’s heart”. This is a language of love, loss and life – unbounded, deep and unashamedly emotive. As one sometimes finds with Celtic spirituality, God is rarely mentioned but always present.

I love this book and have already used it to bless others. So why do I think it may not be for everyone?

The language is very intuitive and full of mystery – some may find it too verbose at times and not concrete enough. Having read some of O’Donohue’s other work, I found the style very similar – you have to sit with his writing and not rush the reading.

But if his writing is to your taste, you will find as I did, many treasures in To Bless the Space Between Us.

Reviewed by Mel Perkins, Families Minister, Aspley Uniting Church.