The best clerical formation today prepares men to be divinely loved in their humanity. In Configured to Christ: On Spiritual Direction and Clergy Formation, Deacon James Keating shares what makes a priest or deacon peaceful, personally happy, and—to the extent he keeps receiving the love of God in prayer as a man of interiority and sacrament—a minister of God’s love to his people.

This volume includes the following essays:

Part I: The Interior Life of the Cleric

  • Theology as Thinking in Prayer
  • Newman: Theologian of Prayer
  • I Will Not Leave You Orphans
  • Spiritual Direction: Navigate Your Life Toward God

Part II: The Formation of the Cleric

  • The Seminary and Western Culture: Relationships That Promote Recovery and Holiness
  • From Fantasy to Contemplation: Seminarians and Formation in a Paschal Imagination
  • Christ Is the Sure Foundation: Priestly Human Formation Completed in and by Spiritual Formation
  • Human Formation and Communion with Christ
  • Seminary Formation and Interior Silence
  • Beyond Schooling: Seminaries, Integral Formation, and the Role of Academics
  • Teaching Seminary Theology
  • Real Celibacy Is an Invitation from Divine Beauty
  • The Deacon: Identity and Holiness

Part III: The Pastoral Mission of the Cleric

  • Contemplative Homiletics
  • Contemplative Homiletics: Being Carried into Reality
  • Growing in Love of the Lay Life: Evangelizing Martyrs
  • Teaching Parishioners to Pray
  • The Eucharistic and the Healing of Affection for Sin



Perry J. Cahall

“Few people are more qualified to write on the topic of clergy formation than James Keating. . . . Anyone involved in the formation of clergy should read this book, as they will most certainly benefit from Keating’s wisdom and insights.”Perry J. Cahall, Pontifical College Josephinum


Christopher Ruddy

“These essays center on a paradox: the more open and receptive we are to God in prayer, the more active and whole we become in our service to Christ and his Church. Offering astute cultural analysis and discernment, Deacon Keating summons us to see contemplation as the deepest, surest, most fruitful source of mission.”Christopher Ruddy, The Catholic University of America


Fr. Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R.

“This fine collection of essays emphasizes the importance of integrating prayer and contemplation into every aspect of diaconal and priestly formation: the human, the spiritual, the intellectual, and the pastoral.”Fr. Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R., St. Mary’s Seminary & University


Deacon James Keating, PhD has nearly thirty years of experience in the area of clerical formation in the Catholic Church. He is currently Professor of Spiritual Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St Louis, MO. Previously, he was Director of Theological Formation in the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) at Creighton University in Omaha, NE from 2006-2020. He also served as Director of Deacon Formation for the Archdiocese of Omaha. Before ministering at IPF he was Professor of Moral and Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio from 1993-2006. He is the author or editor of twenty-eight books on spirituality, morality, and clerical formation. Among these is his latest book, Remain in Me: Holy Orders, Prayer and Ministry. He is married to Marianne and has four children.

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Configured to Christ: On Spiritual Direction and Clergy Formation