Becoming What I Am by H. A. Williams, CR (Darton, Longman and Todd £1.50) The Gift of Inner Healing by Ruth Carter Stapleton (Hodder and Stoughton 75p) For All Mankind by Stuart Blanch (Bible Reading Fellowship and John Murray 95p)
Embers: From the Fires of Ulster by Barbara Gallagher (Christian Journals 90p)
Masks of the Soul by Jolande Jacobi (Darton, Longman and Todd £2.25) The Church and the Homosexual by John McNeil, SJ (Darton, Longman and Todd £2.60) The author of Becoming What I Am is an accomplished writer with more than half a dozen spiritual books to his credit. He belongs to the Community of the Resurrection, the well-known Anglican religious order, whose outstanding member is the Bishop of Stepney. In this book he gives guidance on prayer. His honest disclaimer on Page 3, where he says how difficult he finds it to pray, is an encouragement to read the rest of the book.
In the preface he says that prayer is "the opening of my heart and mind to God for me." He then explains that causes such as Christian campaigns can begin to matter more than people, and love fostered by prayer is the remedy for this. The title may be based on the thought of Pascal that we would not be seeking God unless we had .already found Him. He is generous enough to recommend another man's hook on prayer "Yes, to God" by A. Ecclestone. This is not surprising, the whole atmosphere of our book is one of practicality, realy down to earth, but leading to Heaven.
It is a pleasure mixed with true spiritual refreshment to read it. We will pray better.
The Gift of Inner Healing has a special topicality, because the author is a sister of President Carter of the United States. Like the first book it deals with prayer, and could have been issued with the same title, It has to do with the peaceful effects of prayer based on a knowledge of the Bible and true pysehological attitudes. It looks like a paperback novel, and is full of anecdotes.
It discusses exorcism in one chapter and quotes the views of Fr NcNutt, OP, who considers this book most moving and instructive.
It is a consoling book. Ruth Carter Stapleton was responsible for Jimmy Carter becoming a committed Christian,
The Archbishop of York has produced a second edition of For All Mankind. It is a new approach to the Old I estament. It is a book for the ordinary reader. not for theologians and scholars.
He wants us to see the Bible as a book for all mankind. He has chapters. conversationally written, on Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Job. the Psalms and the other books, in an order chosen as helpful to the reader. Dr Blanch's book might have been listed its "The Bible Made Simple."
Last Sunday (as I was typing this) was Peace Sunday. For my sermon I quoted a poem, "Paving For Peace. from Embers. The book Contains 30 moving poems by a woman who had jotted down her thoughts and feelings since last summer. The royalties for the book are donated to the work for peace and reconciliation.
From the publisher's name gather that the author is not a Catholic: but her Christian love for all is evident as expressed in the first of the poems: "Ought we not to pray and play and live together?"
The poems are on the right hand pages and piercing comment. in quotations (one from Bishop Cabal Daly) on the left. It exudes the spirit of Christian peace and hope.
Masks of the Soul is translated by Ean Begg. Dr Jolande Jacobi was born of Jewish parents in Budapest in 1890. She became acquainted personally with Jung, and at her death in 1973, she was an acknowledged authority on his psychology. (It may be remembered that Jung was welcomed to England by Archbishop Downey of Liverpool in the thirties.)
Mrs Jolande became a Catholic. Jung himself wrote a foreword to her hook "The Psychology of G. G. Jung." (English edition, 1942). The four essays on the subject in this book are not intended to impart specialised knowledge, but to inject sonic light into our lives.
One is "What is Psychology For?" followed by "Man in His Mask," "People Without Love," and "Man Between Good and Evil." Although the author is a Doctor of Philosophy, the book is easily readable by the reader lacking any knowledge of the subject. It will help and inspire. Fr McNeil hopes that his book, The Church and the Homosexual, will serve the spiritual good of all who read it. The title tells us it is on a controversial subject. It began as three articles for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. and eventually received Jesuit approval as a book.
The author suffered much from misrepresentation to his own Jesuit superiors in Rome. The story is given in the preface. There are chapters on the relation between the problem in the light of moral theology, scripture, tradition and a study of human nature.
In the second part is a positive approach from the moral standpoint, in the third a practical guide from a pastoral point of view. It is an understanding book, which does not condone evil, but is written in the spirit of the adage: "To condemn sin, but love the sinner." We are all sinners.
Leo Smith, SDS