Happy new year to you all! A favourite resolution of mine is to read more. I thought I would, therefore, make room for a new year’s blog concentrating on books which might accompany us (and even sustain us) on our pilgrimage of faith. These are all books of my choosing and I don’t expect that all my choices will be your ‘cup of tea.’ However, I thought that I might help start a deeper enquiry into theological reading. The only caveat to this exercise is that I would like to know your thoughts and reactions to the books which you have opened. So, please feel free to communicate!
The books that I have chosen are all accessible and readable. They are all fairly contemporary. You don’t have to have a first class honours degree to navigate their pages. They are nearly all devotional and practical. They are not ordered in any preference or date – just how they have been pl my bookshelves. I wish you well in your choosing!
Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer (1973). This was the last offering from Merton who died before it’s publication in the United States. It contains a lifetimes wealth of wisdom. One of my ‘go to books’ when I am seeking inspiration and a monk’s
Gerard W. Hughes, God of Surprises (1985). My former spiritual director who had a lot to do with my formation as a person as well as a priest. This was a book that was a ‘must read’ before starting theological college. He speaks with a truth that is both attractive and arresting.
Jean Vanier, Community and Growth (1979). Like so many of my choices, I have struggled to pick just one book by certain authors. Jean Vanier is someone who has experienced living with people as ‘wonder-filled.’ His L’Arche communities are a parable for modern life.
Timothy Radcliffe, What is the Point of Being a Christian? (2005). I wanted to pick his Seven Last Words of Jesus but couldn’t find it on my shelves. But this is an excellent exploration into our psychological self as much as our ‘religious’ self. The two are ultimately combined.
Rowan Williams, Silence and Honey Cakes (2004). This might not be his greatest work but it inspires me as he takes us back to the 4th century rush to the desert and the ongoing spirit of asceticism. Rowan manages to illustrate our modern need with examples of Christian devotion from the desert mothers and fathers.
John Main, Monastery Without Walls (2006). This book plots the course of the development of The World Community for Christian Meditation in which lay people from across the world have entered into the Benedictine rule of life nurturing the principles of lectio divina and contemplation.
Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (2006). Inspired by Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus’ parable, Nouwen writes with sensitivity and skill about the tender areas of Christian life and human love. His is a deeply personal reflection about transformation and liberation.
Christopher Jamison, Finding Sanctuary (2006). Christopher Jamison is able to make totally relevant the Benedictine Rule for our everyday. The book was published at about the same time as the TV series, The Monastery. It serves as a wonderful guide to why community is so vital for Christians.
Michael Mayne, Pray, Love, Remember (1998). Michael Mayne took the retreat for my ordination retreat. I was in awe and I still have his notes. This book is a reflection on his time as Dean of Westminster Abbey. It also shows how it is possible to successfully blend pastoral care with liturgy.
Br. Roger, His Love is a Fire (1990). The Taizé Community has been one, if not, the biggest sources of change in my life. Br Roger’s writings have an immediacy and a energy that quickens the heart – God is with us! This book is a compilation of Br Roger’s journals.
Sunday services: 8am Holy Eucharist; 10am Parish Eucharist; 6.30pm Contemplative Prayer.
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