Beck, Edward L. 1959–
Beck, Edward L. 1959–
Born September 23, 1959.
Roman Catholic priest. Worked on Wall Street; consultant for films and television projects; guest media commentator.
God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2001.
Unlikely Ways Home: Real-Life Spiritual Detours, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2004.
Soul Provider: Spiritual Steps to Limitless Love, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2007.
Edward L. Beck is a Roman Catholic priest of the Passionist Community who leads both national and international workshops and parish retreats. He has also been involved with the production of films and television programming and has been a media commentator on faith and religion issues. Beck is the author of several books, including God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest, in which he writes of the influences on his life and faith. He uses a technique that has been successful in his retreats, repeating both humorous and poignant anecdotes that emphasize the spiritual in our everyday lives. David I. Fulton wrote in Library Journal that Beck's "work experience has served him well in honing his eloquence and his ability to tell good stories," although Fulton did fault some of Beck's observations and English usage.
Beck writes of his life on Wall Street, his aspirations to become an actor, and his decision to become a priest. He notes the temptations and difficult decisions he faced as a priest and emphasizes what he has found to be true, that God is "underneath" every place and experience and that one need not visit shrines and other "holy" places to find God. Booklist contributor Margaret Flanagan described the memoir as "an accessible, heartfelt tribute to the sanctity of the human condition."
Beck collected stories about other people's lives for Unlikely Ways Home: Real-Life Spiritual Detours. His subjects include a firefighter who was killed as a result of the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001, a man who was abused by a priest as a child, and a gay couple who found refuge in the Catholic Church. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that because some of the experiences of Beck's subjects are not closely connected to Catholic teachings, some readers might dismiss them, but added that "Beck's style is so inviting as to disengage such judgment."
In Soul Provider: Spiritual Steps to Limitless Love, Beck draws on the writings of seventh-century mystic St. John Climacus, and particularly his classic The Ladder of Divine Ascent. Beck demonstrates how the ancient steps to living life are just as valuable today. He ends his chapters with quotations and reflective questions to help readers reach their goals. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that Beck "has an extraordinary gift for diving into the Christian spiritual tradition and emerging with profound perspectives and wisdom."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Beck, Edward L., God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2001.
Booklist, July, 2001, Margaret Flanagan, review of God Underneath, p. 1954.
Christian Century, December 4, 2002, review of God Underneath, p. 30.
Library Journal, June 15, 2001, David I. Fulton, review of God Underneath, p. 78.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2004, review of Unlikely Ways Home: Real-Life Spiritual Detours, p. 59; August 27, 2007, review of Soul Provider: Spiritual Steps to Limitless Love, p. 82.
Edward L. Beck Home Page,http://www.edwardlbeck.com (March 16, 2008).