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Monday, January 19, 2009

Special Day, Special Week

Today we have a holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King; tomorrow many will take a holiday or stop work to watch Obama become the first black president of the United States. It is a special moment in history. With the economy causing problems in all our land and with wars in the world, we need to pray hard for our new government. May the poor be protected and peace procured.

I want to share with you three books I have recently bought and find interesting. The first is a small book called Before the Living God by Ruth Burrows, OCD. It was published by HiddenSpring, 2008, but had first been published by Sheed and Ward in 1975 with a 2nd edition in 1979, and a third in 1983. Because of her two more recent books, Essence of Prayer (I recommended this one last year) and Interior Castle Explored, her autobiography now is helpful to understand this Carmelite whose interior suffering reminds one of Mother Theresa. Ruth Burrows had a tremendous trust in God and surrendered herself to him.

The second book is by Pope Benedict XVI, The Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine and is a delightful portrayal of these important figures of early Christianity. I will certainly want students in the International On-line Certificate Program in Spirituality Studies to read this book. Benedict makes the Fathers come alive and shows how essential their teachings are for us even today. Each chapter was a talk given for his General Audiences from March 207 through February 2008.

The third book is one that I have just begun but think I will be reading slowly and using even for prayer. It is Jesus, A Portrait by Gerald O'Collins, S.J., an Australian Jesuit who was professor of systematic theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and who has authored many books, including "Jesus Our Redeemer" in 2007 and now this one in 2008 published by Orbis Books.

I do not ask others to go get books I mention here, but I do encourage all to do some good spiritual reading each day. I wish I had followed the advice of a wise woman who told me years ago to spend at least 10 or fifteen minutes reading the Old Testament and the same amount of time for the New Testament each day. Maybe I will get back to this but for now I am at least trying to do some serious spiritual reading daily. It is tempting to say that I do not have time, but that is not true. No day is that busy. It may mean skipping television completely (I do not watch much) or staying up a bit later, but spiritual reading nourishes the soul.
These three books merit being added to the list of Spiritual Books on the right side of my blog.


Unknown said...

Good morning Helen,
As usual you have read my mind!. Ruth Burrows is one of my favorite people and I have used her writings for my retreat at least once and possibly twice I believe. Also the Spirit has been knocking at my mind and reminding me to get back to Spiritual Reading on a daily basis and I have been procrastinating. A dear mutual friend of ours Carmen Smith rscj, RIP, used to harangue me about this when I would get lax! So thanks for stepping in:)
Hope you are warm and well.
Love and peace,

Anonymous said...

Hello Hellen:
I came across your site, and hoped you might be interested in my Christ-based book. I'm a college English professor and ordained deacon who has authored a soon-to-be released book called Teach and Reach for Classroom Miracles! Lessons on Teaching with Love. It's being published through CSS/Faithwalk Publishing and aimed primarily at teachers, youth leaders, and others who have the opportunity to empower others through love. If you are interested, you may visit my site at My book is available for pre ordering through and
Thank you for letting me share.
God bless!
Wendy Byard

Helen said...

Dear Cathy,
It was good to hear from you and I do think it is good to call all of us to find time for some good spiritual reading.
Love and prayer, Helen

Helen said...

Thank you, Wendy. Helen