Rowan Williams in Conversation—Talking of Books 1

Talking of Books Series 1

In the first instalment of our interview series, Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, tells Juan Acevedo about readings and authors who have been influential in his life of prayer and contemplation.

Somewhere at the heart of any contemplative prayer… you are not trying to be something different, you are not trying to achieve some alien goal, but the struggle and the battle, sometimes, of reaching into silence, is to be what in God’s sight you are… simply a creature of God’s love.

• Click play to listen online

or right-click here to download the audio recording – 37:57 (27.3MB)

Some of the titles mentioned during the interview

• St Teresa’s Autobiography.
• Christopher Butler, Prayer: An Adventure in Living.
• Thomas Merton.
Spiritual Letters of John Chapman.
• Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.”

The Night

by Henry Vaughan

[John 3.2]

Through that pure virgin shrine,
That sacred veil drawn o’er Thy glorious noon,
That men might look and live, as glowworms shine,
And face the moon,
Wise Nicodemus saw such light
As made him know his God by night.

Most blest believer he!
Who in that land of darkness and blind eyes
Thy long-expected healing wings could see,
When Thou didst rise!
And, what can never more be done,
Did at midnight speak with the Sun!

There is in God, some say,
A deep but dazzling darkness, as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
See not all clear.
O for that night! where I in Him
Might live invisible and dim!

Recorded at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in December 2017. Follow this link to a 1995 interview with Dr Williams, “Time and Transformation”, which complements our recording (with thanks to Joel C. Daniels).