‘Fulfillment of All Desire’ Marks Ten Years

FAD 10 Years
Background Image Credit

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Ralph Martin’s book The Fulfillment of All Desire. This book draws on the teaching of seven doctors of the Church to present an in-depth study of the journey to God. One Amazon.com reviewer noted that the best summary of the book is found on page 229: “We’re all in desperate need of God, of His forgiveness, of His love, of His Holy Spirit, and all of us need to abandon our pride, admit our need, and come to the foot of the Cross to receive mercy and forgiveness. And we need to stay there.”

During the past decade, the book has found success not only in numbers of sales—on Amazon.com the book has 134 reviews and a nearly perfect rating—but also in hearts touched and lives changed. In fact, the book is now used in more than twenty-four seminaries, novitiates, and universities. Ralph noted that “one of the first reviewers of the book, the president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, predicted that the book would become a ‘classic’ and become the standard spirituality text in seminaries and universities.”

Ralph described the process of writing the book as “a labor of love—lots of labor and lots of love.” He said, “it overall took about ten years to write the book, from when I was first strongly awakened by the grace of God to the depths of wisdom in John of the Cross’ Spiritual Canticle—at an airport in Zurich, Switzerland—to when I finished reading all the major writings included in the book and integrating the insights of those doctors of the Church into the book.”

It was very important to Ralph that his work shared the saints’ teachings in a manner that was accessible to many people: “The depth and practicality of their wisdom meant a great deal to me and still does,” he said. “I very much wanted to help those who have been attracted to this wisdom in these saints over the years to gain access to it in a more comprehensible form. I am profoundly grateful to God that He helped me to do this in a way that has benefitted so many people from so many walks of life and levels of education. In fact, one of the responses that has most moved me came from someone who volunteered that he had only an eighth grade education and that he was finding the book immensely helpful. Thanks be to God!”

Reviewers on Amazon.com agree that the ease with which they can understand the book is a big part of why they love it. One reviewer wrote, “In a very accessible style, Ralph Martin presents the teachings of six of the greatest saints in Church history, who by their lives and writings have bequeathed to us a treasury of wisdom. It’s amazing how clearly Mr. Martin plumbs the spiritual depths of the likes of St. John of the Cross, St Augustine, and St. Teresa of Avila, among others, in such a way as to make their writings both compelling and comforting at the same time.” Another reviewer noted, “The strength of this work is its accessible language; it is well written and opens up topics and authors that are not always approachable.” Another agreed, “You broke down the writings of these great saints without watering them down.”

Reviewers also seem to agree with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, who declared when the book was first published that “this is a book to keep at your place of prayer for years to come.” One reviewer said, “It is a ‘keeper’ to be read again and again. To ignore this book is to do yourself a great injustice. It is simply wonderful beyond words.” Another said, “If you are serious in your spiritual journey, you will keep this around, and read this one again and again. I’ve owned this book for three years now, read it as many times, and it is still an amazing reference. Its permanent home is not on my bookshelf, but on the table near where I pray, underneath my Bible. It truly aids in one’s faith journey by giving the thoughts and practices of some of the most holy saints and allows one to feel he/she too can travel in their paths to a richer and more joy-filled relation with God.”

Reviewers also commented that they appreciate The Fulfillment of All Desire because it can act as a spiritual director, when one cannot be found. “This is a ‘must-have’ for spiritual direction,” noted one reviewer. Another remarked that, “it is not easy to find spiritual direction today. Most of us will have to make do with books. There are some excellent classics, of course. But Dr. Martin has written a modern classic. This is a true gem that takes you gently by the hand and leads you along the classic way of the saints.”

Ralph concluded his reflections on the book’s anniversary by noting, “I am really grateful to God for allowing me and this book to be used by Him to help so many souls to make progress on the spiritual journey.”

The Fulfillment of All Desire can be found in Renewal Ministries’ Online Bookstore!

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries August 2016 newsletter. Click here to view the entire August newsletter!