Page 8, 10th December 1982

10th December 1982
Page 8
Page 8, 10th December 1982 — Religious Books

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Locations: Washington, D.C., Paris


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Religious Books

The Love of Christ by Mother Teresa (Fount f1.25). This book is a collection of sayings, letters and writings of the well known nun in the white sari with the blue border. The editors Georges Gorr& and Jean Barbier unfortunately spoil this otherwise beautiful book with their weak commentary. Still worth every penny.

Blessed are you who believed by Carlo Carretto, Translated by Barbara Wall (Burns and OatesVeritas £2.25). A new book from the well loved author of Letters from the Desert and other books of contemporary spirituality is always good news. And this new book is doubly so as it tells us of Carlo Carretto's rediscovery of his love for Mary, the Mother of Jesus, 'the sister of my heart, the companion of my pilgrimage, the teacher in the faith'.

The Heart of the world by Thomas Keating (Mowbray £2.25). The contemplative dimension of life, present in all the great religions, is the common heart of the world. This book is offered to all Christians who are eager to incorporate that contemplative dimension into their lives.

It is also for those who have turned East for spiritual experience and who would now like to integrate that experience into their Christian background. Finally, it is addressed to those of other spiritual traditions who are interested in dialogue with the Christian religion.

As a member of a community of Cistercian monks since 1944, the author is steeped in the contemplative tradition of Christianity within the context of monastic practice and experience, and his exposure to Eastern methods of meditation begun in the 1960's seems to have prepared him to write this book.

Judging by his background, ideas and style, I have no hesitation in saying that he is the new Thomas Merton we have been waiting for.

What are they saying about mysticism? by Harvey D. Egan, S.J. (Paulist-Fowler Wright £3). The book covers a wide spectrum of modern thinking, ranging from William James to Bernard Lonergan. A few names in between: R C Zaehner, Evelyn Underhill, Thomas Merton, Harvey Cox, Karl Rahner, William Johnstone, Teilhard de Chardin, Hans Urs von Balthasar.

What one finds most gratifying is the emphasis placed on the ability of Rahner and Lonergan for a synthesis of mysticism and theology.

True humanity by Marcel Legaut, translated by David Smith (Paulist/Fowler Wright £7.95). The author had been a mathematics professor in Paris for 18 years when in 1942 he decided to live the life of a farmer in southern France.

Influenced by thinkers like Teilhard de Chardin and Gabriel Marcel and by mystics like Teresa of Avila and Charles de Foucauld, he set out to write a quiet manifesto for achieving a simple balance between the material and the spiritual.

Day by Day by Pope John Paul II (Paulist-Fowler Wright £4.45). A total of 365 short meditations and reflections taken from the writings and speeches of the Pope, covering also the years when he was a bishop in Poland. They touch on all aspects of human experience and range from philosophical insights to simple fatherly counsels.

Compassion. Text by Henri J. M. Nouwen, Donald P McNeill and Douglas A. Morrison. Drawings by Joel Filartiga (Darton Longman and Todd £3.50. Three teachers of pastoral theology sit in the empty subterranean dining room of a small Greek restaurant in Washington, D.C., discontented with the individualism and spiritual dryness of their academic lives. They agree to meet on nine Thursdays to study and pray together.

In a city where great political. power is sought, acquired and wielded, the question of how to live compassionately in the world becomes the most urgent one at their meetings. Their reflections are now offered to us in the present book.

And they challenge us to make God's compassion manifest through the disciplines of prayer and action in our Christian lives.

Images of my self by Jean Gill (Paulist/Fowler Wright £3). In their search for spiritual growth, more and more Christians seem to be turning to Eastern methods of meditation.

Some may be finding it difficult to adjust their Western ways to unfamiliar Eastern philosopy and imagery. This book suggests that some at least of such difficulties can be removed by the use of the imagery in the gospels.

I think there is no need to be scared by the subtitle of this book: 'Meditation and self exploration through the Jungian imagery of the gospels.'

The making of disciples by Edna McDonagh (Gill and Macmillan £8.50). The death of moral theology? The author says that there are too few moral theologians, perhaps, to keep it alive. And the interests of that few are still limited to formal questions of Christian autonomy and heteronomy or to substantive questions which range little beyond sexuality, bio-ethics and a touch of war. With such limited obsessions the verdict might well be suicide, to sighs of relief from pastors and pentients as well as from 'liberated' Christians.

This book is hence an attempt to use moral problems and traditions to develop an integrated theology of doctrine, faith and morals.

The meaning of Christianity by Peter Nemeshegyi (Paulist/Fowler Wright £2.25). A simple, and regrettably at times a simplistic, book on Jesus and the Church he founded. The sacraments, the spiritual life and our Lady are also discussed. The style and thought patterns are easy to follow, perhaps too easy to the point of oversimplification.

Salt for Society by W Phillip Keller (Kingsway £1.60). A blustering cocksure bully of a book which tells us that we are stricken with terminal illness in our 'Awesome Eighties' (even the alliteration is terminally doomed), having enjoyed ourselves in the hedonistic, pagan, sensual 'Soaring Seventies' after the 'Sizzling Sixties', etc.

What this book is all about is to help us to see and understand clearly what God looks for in his people. This book was probably written in a series of breakfast sessions with God.

Through the year with David Watson Edited by Jean Watson (Hodder and Stoughton £5.95). Jean Watson is no relation, just an avid reader and listener of David Watson's many books and recorded sermons which form the basis of this book. Each daily extract is accompanied by a Bible verse, a prayer and a suggestion for meditation or action.

Thomas Kala

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