13 March 2019, The Tablet

Lenten Journey: ‘My soul began to melt and my heart began to lift’

Lenten Journey: ‘My soul began to melt and my heart began to lift’

Stephen Hough


In the second of our series in which writers recommend a book that refreshed their faith at a time of darkness, the pianist, composer and writer chooses ‘The Way to Love’, by Anthony de Mello.

I was in close contact with, and then for a number of years a member of, one of the Catholic lay ecclesial movements. I would wake each day to a list: an hour of mental prayer, 15 minutes of spiritual reading, the Rosary (15 decades encouraged), daily Mass, 10 minutes Thanksgiving meditation after Communion, daily additional visit to the Blessed Sacrament, Angelus – not to mention weekly Confession, meeting with a spiritual director, a group meeting with other members, a monthly evening of recollection. And every day beginning with a cold shower.

Perhaps in a monastery such a regime is workable, but as I was playing close to a hundred concerts a year all over the world I found myself one inch away from a perpetual internal scream. The alarm clock would ring and I would flinch as I remembered the mountain to climb.

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