I went hunting today. The prey in question was books; and oh! giddy with victory, I tell you that I found books.
What do you do with new finds once you bring them home? Do they go directly on the shelf, all smooth-spined and unmarked, their potential treasure undiscovered until one day while browsing your shelves you remember this day when you were so excited to have found it? Perhaps you drop into an easy chair, not to be seen from again for days while you devour the words and ideas between the covers of a book?
Sometimes I wish I could inhale a book - complete, entire, whole, in one go - rather than having to take it in a word at a time. It takes so long, and life gets in the way. At the same time, is there anything better than lingering over a really good read?
I have big hopes that each of these three will be the kind to linger over:
In the footprints of loneliness / by Catherine Doherty
The greatest pain of the world today is loneliness. Loneliness is apart of the journey of faith. When loneliness comes upon you, you want to go and hide in some corner - self-pity carries you like a big,huge wave on a beach all full of stones. You see that beach in your mind and you think you are going to be broken up on the rocks. But in the depths of every heart there is a garden enclosed. The garden is Gethsemane, and the enclosure is a meeting place of the Beloved, God. If you enter into this garden, you will hear the incredible sounds that Jesus heard, the heartbeats of God. God put loneliness in your heart so that you would hunger for Him, and learn that unity with Him brings unity with all.
John Henry Newman : his inner life / Dr. Zeno, Capuchin
This book is a culmination of Father Zeno's life work. With the cooperation of the Oratorian Fathers, he was given full access to all of Newman's letters, diaries, and complete published and unpublished sermons. From all this he has drawn together the interior struggles Newman faced from childhood until his death. Zeno allows Newman to speak through his work and writings, an exceedingly rich source. This is a landmark work considered one of the best spiritual biographies of John Henry Newman ever written. It covers Newman's young life as an Anglican, the doubts he faced in light of his historical studies, his conversion to Catholicism, the trials he faced as a result of his conversion, and his remarkable growth in holiness and the interior life.
(I must mention that Father Zeno is Dutch, and this book was first published in Dutch. Hup, Holland, Hup!)
The Reed of God / Caryll Houselander
Through beautiful prose and inspiring meditations, Caryll Houselander depicts the intimately human side of Mary, Mother of God, as an empty reed waiting for God's music to be played through her. Lovingly bringing Our Lady down off her time-honoured,ancient pedestal, Houselander shares her insightful and beautiful vision of Mary on earth, Mary among us, Mary as a confused but trusting teenager whose holiness flowered with her eternal 'yes'. With profound theological teachings and appealing imagery, The Reed of God is a spiritual classic written in the mystical tradition of Julian of Norwich.