In Good Company by James Martin, SJ tells a modern day tale reminiscent of Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain. A young man fast on his way up the corporate ladder finds himself asking “is this all there is” and wanders into the Jesuit order. I say wander because the path he takes often makes one wonder how he or anyone else in his situation could awaken to the answer to this basic question from such a “enviable” life position. He faces the question of our age with grace.
Radical Hospitality by Daniel Homan, OSB and Lonni Collins Pratt is a powerful book. It opens up the understanding of monastic hospitality to everyone who is willing and able to open their heart to listening. On the last page we find: “It is a courageous thing to keep getting up every day, and it is a much more courageous thing to rouse your heart and incline it to love. To care for each other, to open the door to the stranger, to open your heart to the stranger, lifts you up into the great dance of life.” Savoring this book gives you insights on how to do this marvelous dance.
Failing America’s Faithful by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend would make for good reading. The first helps to focus on our founders in faith. It might be especially helpful as we try to muddle our way through the confusing spin we are surrounded by as we try to make sense out of what is going on in the world.
If you want to explore the impact of those events that are highly improbable but have tremendous effects on our lives and culture I recommend Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan. The author only mentions one passage in Matthew’s gospel, but anyone studying scripture can identify many examples of a black swan event that forever changed history. The book left me with a stronger affinity for what I have been calling Sneaky Spirit events for many years.
Hans Kung has given us, what in effect is his life testament in The Beginning of all Things: Science and Religion. In it he concludes: “This is my enlightened, well – founded hope: dying is a farewell inward, and entry and homecoming into the ground and origin of the world, our true home, a farewell perhaps not without pain and anxiety, but hopefully in composure and surrender, at any rate without weeping and wailing, and without bitterness and despair, but rather in hopeful expectation, quiet certainty, and (after everything that has to be settled is settled) ashamed gratitude for all the good things and less good things that now finally and definitively lie behind us – thank God.” He gathers up a life time of study and reflection and brings us up to date on the dialogue between science and religion so that we can be both/and people like Jesus of Nazareth.
A student of mine recently gave me a “must read” book. As I like to be able to discuss books that “everyone” is reading I put it on my book stand. Eckart Tolle in “A New Earth“, seems to have touched something that people all over the earth are resonating to in a powerful way. In these days of people calling themselves “spiritual” but not “religious” Tolle has tapped into a well of energy that seems to have a lot of potential. You may want to buy or borrow this book to get in on the discussion.
William P. Young has written a best selling book that invites you to open your mind and heart to a totally innovative way of relating to God and the Trinity in The Shack. A father, whose image of God was distorted by an abusive father, comes to a revelation by way of a tragedy. The miracle of transformation is brought about by his suffering and being brought to freedom through forgiveness. Be prepared to come away from this book with new and exciting questions.
Beatrice Bruteau has once again given us a transformational work in The Grand Option: Personal Transformation and a New Creation. The last words of this challenging work are: “If I am asked, then, “Who do you say I am?” my answer is: “You are the new and ever renewing act of creation. You are all of us, as we are united in You. You are all of us as we live in one another. You are all of us in the whole cosmos as we join in Your exuberant act of creation. You are the Living One who improvises at the frontier of the future; and it has not yet appeared what You shall be.” This Trinitarian insight permeates the entire work and gives us a clue to what the next step in our human evolution is to be. As I read this book I was reminded of the scenes in Washington DC the day of the inauguration
A friend of Fr. Nouwen, Jurjen Beumer, in his: Henri Nouwen: A Restless Seeking for God, explors the life and growth of this restless seeker of God whose many books have drawn countless people with him in their own searches. I remember a conference I attended where Henri introduced all of us to Adam, and witnessed his devotion to this beloved handicapped person he lovingly cared for.
In 1976 I took a course on Teilhard de Chardin taught by Fr. Don Goergen, O.P. at Aquinas Institute of Theology. This began a quest that has evolved into what many of you now know as my encounter with the Sneaky Spirit. In Fr. Goergen’s latest book, Fire of Love we plunge into this mysterious reality in earnest. I wonder if today’s world will someday be seen as the age of the Spirit by those who ponder the many changes we are wrestling with assist guided by this same Spirit?