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.