About David


david for website David Torkington is a journalist, author and speaker, who specializes in Prayer, Christian Spirituality and Mystical Theology. He was educated at the Franciscan Study Centre, England and the National Catholic Radio and Television Centre, Hatch End, London where he was later appointed to the post of Dean of Studies. He was extra mural lecturer in Mystical Theology at the Dominican University in Rome (The Angelicum). In addition to giving Retreats and lecturing all over Europe, he undertook five prolonged lecture tours  to Africa, mainly Equatorial Africa, speaking on Prayer and Spirituality to Religious, Monks, Diocesan Priests and lay people.

His personal spirituality is predominantly Franciscan, his Mystical Theology Carmelite, all welded together with a solid blend of Benedictine moderation. He has sold over 200,000 books in more than twelve different languages. He is at present working on his latest book, Wisdom from the Christian Mystics which will be followed by his autobiography Injured Innocence. When he is not writing, he spends time on his boat on the peaceful Beaulieu river in the New Forest, Hampshire, or in Poole Harbour, Dorset and exploring the Jurassic coast.  http://www.davidtorkington.com            http://dtorkington.blogspot.co.uk

Christian Prayer

There is only one way forward for the serious searcher who wishes to be transformed into Christ in this life, and to share  in something of the life and love that continually flows between  Christ and his Father. The way forward, in the words of St Teresa of Avila, is to pray, and to enter into the profound mystical experience of love unlimited, that alone can bring this union about. “Never be deceived by anyone who tries to point you in another direction,” she insists. Never be deceived by anyone who suggests this can be achieved by instant man-made methods or techniques. The true Christian way takes a lifetime, involving both sorrow and joy, the agony and the ecstasy, the experience of carrying the Cross, as well as experiencing the fruits of the resurrection. There is no other way.


Righteous anger?




What use to me is an Ism?

When face to face with life’s chasm

Your just anger, just a spasm

Turning boundary to schism


What use to me is your Cause?

With its darkness-tight’ning claws

Its axles greased with our flaws

Splinter’d death by legal clause


For joy is formed of love my dear, whose timeless energy

Our will’s embodied mass my dear, bound up by constant-c

For fire and rose unite my dear, maternal reverie

Which legacy of love my dear, is truth to set us free.

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For the Feast of St Francis of Assisi

The very moment a person is sufficiently purified of the selfishness that keeps the pureStFrancis_part unadulterated love of God out then that love comes flooding in instantly, not just into the mind, where it had already been partially experienced before, but into every part of the personality. The receiver swoons with the sheer delight of experiencing what Jesus Christ had experienced throughout his life on earth. Before, mystical experiences had come and gone, but now in the ‘Transforming Union’ the experience of being possessed by the love of God is all but permanent. That’s why it is often called the ‘Mystical Marriage’. Now marriage is not the end, but the beginning of a love that grows deeper and deeper, as with years of mutual self-giving, lovers are irrevocably bonded together. It would be all but impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when this happened to St Francis. However the sources enable us to see quite clearly the immediate effects of this profound transformation within him….. read on

The Beginning of Contemplative prayer

In my last blog I tried to distinguish between true contemplative prayer and its 451px-Doménikos_Theotokópulos_(called_El_Greco)_-_Christ_in_Prayer_-_Google_Art_Projectcounterfeit, but now I want to show how authentic contemplative prayer begins, by describing the prayer that usually precedes it. But before proceeding let me make two important points. Firstly I want to make it clear that contemplation is a pure gift of God. In short it cannot be attained by man-made methods or techniques that promise instant states of transcendental awareness. The whole of the authentic Christian tradition is unanimous about this truth. Secondly that God gives it to those who have proved that they are ready to receive it by the serious way they have persevered in what has been described as ‘ordinary prayer’ for many years.  read on…

True Contemplation and its Counterfeit – Part two

I have never come across Christians, who belonged to ‘The World Community for Хрыстос_Уседзяржыцель__Веткаўскі_музейChristian Meditation Movement’, inspired by Fr John Main, who have not been thoroughly good people. They don’t just take the external practice of their faith seriously, but also put aside regular time for daily going into ‘the inner room’ to pray. I identified so closely with their personal sincerity and the sincerity of their search that I have until now found it difficult to make any criticism of them. Sadly they have been misled into thinking that methods of Eastern mysticism involving the continual repetition of mantras is not only in conformity with the Christian mystical tradition, but the high point at which Eastern and Western religion meet. However contemplative prayer is so important for the future reform in the Church, as it has been in the past that it must be protected from its counterfeit.  read on…..


True Contemplation and its Counterfeit – Part one

Normally the word contemplation is used to describe the mystical awareness of God’s action in a person, working through the Holy Spirit as they are being gradually 422px-12th-century_painters_-_The_Monk_Eadwine_-_WGA15731transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. It begins not when we so choose, but when he chooses. Although we can prepare for it, it is essentially God’s gift. To begin with it is often called ‘obscure contemplation’, or ‘the prayer of faith’ or a ‘ray of darkness’. This is because at first, the action of the Holy Spirit only highlights all that separates us from the transformation into Christ that he is working to achieve. The ‘ray of darkness‘ suddenly becomes a ‘ray of light’ when God chooses, giving the believer ever deeper experiences of the presence of God within, as the journey into Christ deepens. read more…

The Transforming Union or the Mystical Marriage

The final stage in the mystic way is usually called the Transforming Union or the Mystical Marriage. 609px-Miniature_depiction_of_Andrei_Rublev_TrinityNow it doesn’t suddenly begin because God does something other than what he’s been doing all along – it begins because what he’s been doing all along finally destroys everything in us that’s been keeping him out. Many years ago I met a very holy Cistercian monk in his eighties. He told me that for over twenty years he had undergone a profound purification in the Dark Night. read on…

Praying in the Dark Night

For the last post I made a few suggestions from my own experience about how to pray 1280px-Amaldus_Nielsen-Aftenstemning_over_havetin the Dark Night when the prayer once used can no longer help. I chose the prayer Jesus himself made upon the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’? When I felt in the pits I turned to the De Profundis‘Out of the depths I cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer’. However what I found, and what you’ll find, is that in time the full sentence will be too long, and you’ll feel the need to reduce it to, say, just ‘My God, my God’ or ‘Out of the depths’. Then the time will come when a single word will be all you need, like ‘God’, or ‘Jesus’, or ‘mercy’. I can’t give you rules when to change down from many to few, you’ll know for yourself. It’s like changing gears in a car, once you get used to using them you know automatically when to change down. read on ….

The Cloud of Unknowing

Everybody who prays seriously and consistently for any length of time will eventually 512px-Anton_Faistauer_Studie_betender_Mann_1909find themselves on the other side of first fervour, at the threshold of the mystic way. This is the moment when the vast majority who come this far in prayer, usually pack it all in – I know I nearly did. All my attempts at prayer were a complete failure. Each time I tried to pray in the way I once could before simply got nowhere. The Scriptures, the devotions, the meditations that moved me before, moved me no more. Two tormentors always accompanied me to prayer. The first was a raking desire for God; the second was a mind full of distractions that drove me crazy, because I couldn’t do anything about them. So my heart was restless inside and outside the prayer that I thought was pointless. I was continually tempted to pack it all in and do something more constructive with my time. I couldn’t even get any pleasure out of the hobbies and the enthusiasms that used to excite me before.  read on…..

Into the Dark Night

For many of us the first brief glimpses of God came through His creation. 485px-Marie_Ellenrieder_Kniendes_betendes_MädchenIt might have been through a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking stretch of countryside. It might have come through gazing upon a single blade of grass, an insect crawling through the undergrowth, or a caterpillar climbing up a rose bush. When your contemplation of creation enabled you to experience the Creator, you found yourself drawn inward. It was as if some soothing sedative stilled your mind and heart and made you mourn for your Maker, as for a lost friend. And yet this strange melancholy was as sweet as it was sad and you wanted it to go on and on to envelop you more and more completely….. read on

From Mystical Premonition to Contemplation

Sometime ago I was speaking about what I called Mystical premonition or touches of Nørre_Alslev_kirke_-_Apsis_-_StifterGod when one of the audience asked “Are we talking about something that is a particularly Christian experience, or does everyone experience God’s touch?”

“It’s for everyone,” I replied emphatically. “God loves everyone, not just Christians, but Christians do respond in a unique way.” Let me explain what I mean. Long before he became a saint, when he was still a pagan, St Augustine experienced those ‘touches of God’. In writing about the way he reacted to them in his Confessions he gives us a perfect example of how we should react too, in order to deepen our spiritual life. read on….