Page 3, 19th July 1957

19th July 1957
Page 3
Page 3, 19th July 1957 — ALCUIN on the Latest Books

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ALCUIN on the Latest Books


STARS OF COMFORT by Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P. (Burns and Oates, 15s.).

"SAYINGS (of Our Lord) we h./ have thought over for many years must he remembered again and again, and we will find that they will never come into our mind without bringing their attendant stars of comfort with them.

Well. there is the great man's context for the phrase which has been taken as the title of this hook, and which it is quite certain he would not have used of his own sayings.

Four other himks which owe their existence to the skill, diligence and perscrverance of Miss Weld Finlayson in making notes of, and in transcribing, Fr. Vincent's retreat conferences were published during his lifetime and with his permission; this fifth lbook comes from the same sources. Though there is a plan in the notes of these conferences, the plan is the transcriber's, not Fr. McNabb's. Yet we may feel very certain that this plan does not depart materially from what he himself would have wished: God's Call; The Way; The Means; The Way of Union. But in fact the

conferences drawn upon range in time from 1935 to 1940 and were given at retreats at Graashott, Hampstead and Kensington.

Fr. Vincent's deep and sincere humility is one of the outstanding qualities of these conferences. No one with a real sense of humour takes himself too seriously before God. Then as one would expect of one of the most successful tubthumpers the C.E.G. ever boasted, so often one is halted by the amazing practicality of Fr. McNabb's remarks. The third outstanding quality of these talks is their fine scriptural quality, their being composed of the stuff and substance of Holy Writ, which again was one of Fr. McNabb's other great claims to originality and greatness. his bringing the study of Scripture within the range of ordinary folk.


GOD'S THRESHOLD, by Marie Rene Bazin (Clonmore and Reynolds, 8s. 6d.).

THIS is a most excellent little book on the sadly neglected. and too often seriously misunderstood doctrine of Purgatory.

Too often Purgatory is spoken of, and thought of. as a kind of temporary Hell. a place or state, which differs from Hell only in the fact that it does come to an end; and that the end can be hastened by the prayers and good works of the living.

Well, as so often with these theological questions, it is possible to make the almost diametrically opposite point; Purgatory is the state of supreme happiness in the knowledge that one is on the I hreshold of Seeing and Knowing God. "I do not believe that it eould he possible to find any joy comparable to that of a soul in Purgatory ... except the joy of the Blessed," said St. Catherine of Genoa.

This edition. a translation from the French by C. C. Morewood. has a most interesting and convincing introduction by Mgr. R. Knox. The author, Marie Rene.Bazitt, is the daughter of the great French author of that name, and it is not taking too much for granted to say that she lives up to the fame of her name, and on this book alone carves for herself a worthy place in letters.

The book is imaginatively conceived and is a mixture of poetry, picture, reflection and apt quotation. but all the time prayerfully imaginative.

" The Threshold is Purgatory; the Approaches to it are the trials of life and death which is their last stage. Purgatory is the great Vigil, the watch kept in the twilight be, fore the feast of feasts."

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