Moving from Stress to Joy: Nicholas Amato

I am delighted to share Nicholas Amato’s second book, Moving from Stress to Joy is now available.

A Catholic priest since 1970, Amato has served more than 20 years as a pastor. He is a graduate of the Shalem Institute in Washington, where he served as adjunct faculty member and is also an Associate of Mepkin Trappist Abbey in South Carolina leading contemplative retreats there. Over the years, he has served on the Spiritual Formation staff of Saint Luke Institute in Maryland and is the co-creator of the Mepkin Priest Wellness Program.

He has studied in Rome and Jerusalem. His full-time ministry includes leading days of recollection, retreats, and parish missions. He has Masters degrees in Counseling and in Theology, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration. His prior work on spirituality is Living in God: Contemplative Prayer and Contemplative Action published by WestBow Press, 2016.

Endorsements of Moving from Stress to Joy

“At the very least, we should be able to presume that the Gospel creates healthy and happy people, especially among those who speak in God’s name. Yet we know this is not the norm and even the opposite is often the case. Nicholas Amato describes what is often the heart of the problem and shows us the way through and forward.”

Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico


“Msgr. Nicholas Amato’s second book guides those in ministry and others from stress to joy. His spiritual mastery honed over nearly five decades of priesthood encourages the reader to seek God’s voice within; to find God in all; and, to build bridges in all seasons despite set-backs or failure. Like Simone Weil in her Notebooks, he grasps that ‘waiting patiently, in expectation, is the foundation of the spiritual life.’ He embraces joy, humor and laughter as constitutive elements of spiritual growth. Msgr. Amato emerges as a true spiritual father whose contemplative bent and rich pastoral history yield a vision gentle in manner and resolute in approach.”

James Martin, Editor-at-Large, America Magazine, author, Jesus: A Pilgrimage


“The second Abbot of Mepkin, Father Christian Aidan Carr, was fond of saying: ‘Where there is more truth, there is more joy.’ What better words could be found to describe Father Amato’s newest book? Wedding psychology and contemplative prayer can bring us into the realms of both more truth and more joy. As an Associate of Mepkin Abbey, he has opened us monks to the joy which resides at the deepest levels of our hearts, a joy which is only released when we bring our daily lives with all its pains before the loving presence of the One God.”

Rev. Stan Gumula, O.C.S.O, Abbot of Mepkin Abbey


“This isn’t just a book; it’s a two year course in contemplative prayer. It’s a very thorough and erudite discussion and explanation of prayer life.”

Dr. Robert McAllister, Retired Psychiatrist, Professor, Author


“Do you want to reclaim the inner joy that God has planted within you? Pleasure is in the body; happiness is in the mind, but joy is a deeper reality at the center of who we are. God unconditionally loves us and wishes that we will discover this inner joy that bubbles below the surface of our lives. Nicholas shares practical tools that will help us identify and manage our daily experience of stress so we can more easily move into contemplative prayer and reclaim God’s gracious gift of inner joy.”

Rich Lewis, Author and founder of SilenceTeaches.


“Like his earlier book, Living in God: Contemplative Prayer and Contemplative Action, Monsignor Nicholas Amato’s latest offering, Moving from Stress to Joy, rewards the reader with a feast of reason and a ow of soul. Amato’s four decades of parish ministry, retreat work, parish missions, spiritual direction and counseling result in this warm and inviting book, reminiscent of such spiritual guides as Morton Kelsey, Henri J.M. Nouwen, Anthony deMello, S.J., Joan Chittister, O.S.B., John Sanford, Rose Mary Dougherty, Gerald May, M.D., Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. and James Martin, S.J. Amato writes with a flair, popular in the best sense. He invests his work with insights and awareness born from the experience of a pastor ‘who knows the smell of the sheep.’ His close contemplative ties with a Trappist monastery and long-time staff affiliation with a clinical psychiatric center yield rich insights, awareness and applications. In this stress-filled era, like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. Amato reminds us: ‘Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.’”

Rev. Gerald S. Twomey, Editor. Thomas Merton: Prophet in the Belly of a Paradox (Paulist Press), Remembering Henri: The Life and Times of Henri J.M. Nouwen (Orbis Books)


“Father Nicholas has written a well-researched look at the reality of stress in the lives of modern people, as well as reflection on contemplative presence as a way to hold stress and go deeper to a place of true joy. He offers a practical approach to developing contemplative prayer, as well as practicing contemplative experience as awareness of God’s joy-producing Presence in the midst of daily life.”

Sr. Mary Therese White, O.S.F. Former Provincial, Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore


Moving from Stress to Joy is a book I have been waiting for, (even without naming) for quite a while. Seeing the words stress and joy together is comforting knowing that God is in the midst of both. Contemplative presence and stress reduction are tangible tools – gifts from God. God is not only in the joy but as we open ourselves and take the necessary steps will lead us beyond the stress. As Fr. Amato, reminds us “we were created out of joy!” We need to claim that gift.”

Sr. Patricia Kirk, O.S.B., Prioress of Emmanuel Monastery in Baltimore, MD


From the Foreword

Nicholas Amato has given us inspired and extensive, very practical help in this book for: 1) understanding and managing our physical and psychological stress; 2) moving through and beyond it to a practice of contemplative prayer, where we let go the stressed ego level of our identity and dispose ourselves to realizing our true personal identity and freedom in God’s love; 3) letting that love over flow through us into our hurting world; and finally 4) opening to the profound joy that grace raises up in us. I found it to be a hopeful book, raising up practical possibilities for moving toward a better life that we may have given up trying to find.

Rev. Tilden Edwards Founder & Senior Fellow, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation


I encourage you to check out this wonderful book!

Enjoy my past interview with Nicholas and my review of his first book, Living in God.


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Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.

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