by SISTER LORETTO Paul the Traveller by Ernie Bradford (Allen Lane Penguin Books £3.75)
Thinking About Christianity by Richard St L. Broadberry (Lutterworth Press 85p)
'To-day's Gospel: Suggestions for homilies at Mass on Sundays and major Feasts by Lionel Swain (A. R. Mowbray & Co, Pitman Press and Alden Press £2.50) Ten Thousand Saints by Hubert Butler (Wellbrook Press, Kilkenny £3)
Episodes in St Paul's life are excitingly portrayed in this historical biography of the greatest of all converts. We get a spectacular panorama of the multi-racial society of the Roman-occupied Levant from the first century — each sect interested in its own gods, customs, business, and secrets but alive to all their neighbour's doings.
Saul, a Jew and Roman citizen, was born in Tarsus, the romantic town where Anthony and Cleopatra met. For orthodox education, however, he was sent to Jerusalem, where he grew up brave, impulsive, hot-tempered and slight of build, well versed in the Torah, under the discerning eye of the liberal Rabbi Gamaliel.
Influences of pagan practices, counterbalanced by the philosophies of stoic's -and cynics, must have influenced him when he returned to his father's trade, this was shown in his conduct. When going to Damascus, as a detective agent for the Sanhedrin. the reader had hetter he ready for the blinding flashes of light, instead of Paul, because it is stated that our hero probably had an epileptic fit.
Whether this episode was mystical or otherwise, Paul blossomed out to be the greatest defender of the Christians and God's most arduous ambassador everywhere in the Roman world. The cover maps trace out his journeys.
Thinking about Christianity is one of a series on the different religions order represented in this country. It presents a comprehensive picture of the main religion in England. chiefly for
devotees of other denominations.
The cultural panel responsible for these edifying books on religious thenics desire to improve community relations and foster mutual tolerance between the various cultural groups, apart from their educational value.
Understanding other people's convictions ought to promote tolerance and eradicate some of the violence that besets our modern society.
The Rev R. Broadberry outlines the life of Jesus, explains his timeless remarks like the Golden Rule, the meaning of love, the joy of giving, all well documented, Church history, Christian worship, the Sacraments, festivals, customs, prayer and ecumenism are all well explained with simplicity, depth and sincerity.
The intelligentsiaand parish priests will be cheered at the arrival of To-day's Gospel.
Priests must always be on the lookout for appropriate material for their Sunday sermons, so here it is ready at hand in this book.
It says year one, and the liturgical cycle involves three years, but as the major feasts come round every year, this book could be in constant use.
The author intends his outlines to be a framework for the priest's own reflections; in short, it is meant to be a help for busy parish priests.
The life and sayings of Jesus, Church history and personal commitment are all involved, But the preacher would have to liven the sermons up a bit, for they are rather long and theological for simple laity.
Hubert Butler must have written Ten Thousand Saints on moonlight nights with the help of the leprechauns, fort is most fantastic and intriguing.
This well-travelled enthusiast would surely awake the desire of all would-be archaeologists, archivists, geomantics, genealogists and hermits to take up the challenge and prove him right about his theories of amalgamated ancestors.
Everyone is interested in ancestry, so it would be a worth-while task. Be sure and kiss the blarney stone before starting, wait for moonlight nights and invoke the help of the leprechauns, a knowledge of fossorial and incantations to fairies, plus a little know-how of excavation, great courage and determination. A few prayers would help.
How I greatly wish I could personify such an extraordinary person. Compliments on the author's research efforts.