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Book Reviews

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

Jorge Begoglio, known to the world as Pope Francis, is a man simultaneously simple and complex. He is simple in his lifestyle, radiant joy and off the cuff remarks, complex in his bicultural Argentine-Italian background, depth of learning, and multiple gifts.  His birth in 1936 would send him through tumultuous times in his Jesuit community and Argentine politics, which honed →


Fire of Mercy; Heart of the Word Meditations On The Gospel According To St. Matthew

  [Christ’s secrets] are so well concealed that however numerous are the mysteries and marvels which holy doctors have discovered and saintly souls understood in this earthly life, all the more is yet to be said and understood. There is much to fathom in Christ, for He is like an abundant mine with many recesses of treasures, so that however deep →


The Carmelite Way: A Book Review

The Carmelite Way An Ancient Path for Today’s Pilgrim   Page for page, this is the best book around on Carmelite history and spirituality. The length and scope of The Carmeilte Way is perfect for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the tradition in a shorter format. This one quick read covers all the basics plus Fr. Welch’s psychological insights into how →


April Book Review – A Portrait of Jesus

Jesus: A Portrait by Gerald O’Collins, Dartman, Longman and Todd, 2008. Gerald O’Collins is a Jesuit scripture scholar, but this book is not academic. It is a picture of the Jesus that O’Collins has gotten to know through his lifetime of both study and prayer, and so it is both scholarly and inspiring.  His chapters on the Passion and Resurrection are →


Johannes Tauler Sermons: A Book Review

Johannes Tauler was a pupil of Meister Eckhart. Both died in the 1300's in Germany; both were Dominican priests. Eckhart died while being tried for heresy; Tauler escaped being so branded, and he remains a sound and practical spiritual teacher for denizens of the 21st century. This volume of The Classics of Western Spirituality has 23 of the Rhineland mystic's eighty →


Any Bitter Thing: A Novel by Monica Wood

Both the story and the author reside in Maine, my home state.  Though the novel delves deeply into the French culture and I’m accustomed to contrasting my own Protestant roots to this tiny but robust Catholic subculture, I’m forced to take a longer and more loving look:  we humans are so much more alike than different, though we might honestly →


New Year Book Review

The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart by Peter J. Gomes So many of us want to be individuated and make responsible decisions, to become uniquely ourselves, yet to belong to others. We crave community. In our search to realise these desires, what value should we give to the Bible? Peter J. Gomes is a Harvard professor, and an →


Advent Book Recommendation

If you have not read The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander, it’s an excellent choice for Advent. It is a meditation on Mary’s abandonment to the will of God that was a pivotal influence in my life. The most recent book that has influenced me is Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder. It is the story of Deogracias, a →