Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Reading For the Soul-"God's Mercy Revealed".........

I've just finished leading and participating in a Summer Book Club in my parish. All the participants gained a lot from the two books we read this summer, as part of our summer reading.  The first book I've mentioned in another blog entry - a biography of St. Catherine of Siena. The next book we read was also worth reading, "God's Mercy Revealed-Healing for a Broken World" by Msgr. Peter Magee. Though it was difficult to get the book, ( I imagine a lot of parish groups must be reading it), we finally managed to get some copies at Barnes and Nobles Marketplace online, at a reduced rate, which was good.
There was so much good information about Jesus, forgiveness and mercy and ideas to discuss in the book that it would be hard to summarize it but this will give you an idea of why you should consider reading this book, at some point....
"All living faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is the only answer to the question of death, to the fear of death, to the culture of death. Faith is the only exit from the prospect of eternal nothingness, from idolatry in all its forms, from the enslaving demands of artificial self-sufficiency." (p.148)
The last line of the book is a quote from the Psalms.
"In Him mercy and truth have kissed."  (Psalm 85:10)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Immersed in St. Catherine of Siena in the Summertime

For some "light" summer reading, my parish Summer Book Club read the highly regarded and reviewed biography titled, "St. Catherine of Siena," by Sigrid Undset. Sigrid Undset was an expert on the Middle Ages as well as a Third Order Dominican.  The author is considered one of the "greatest novelists of the twentieth century." She won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1928 for her epic work, "Kristin Lavransdatter."
So during the month of June, a group of us, read, studied and discussed St. Catherine of Siena as portrayed by Undset. I had studied St. Catherine before but that was many years ago and I wanted to revisit the fascinating life and writings of this extraordinary saint and Doctor of the Church.
Catherine as you may know was instrumental in convincing the French Pope- Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon, France where he was living. She implored him through letters and eventually visited him to convince him the papacy belonged in Rome. It seems he feared he would go to hell (she was very convincing!) if he didn't listen to this bold Dominican, who was revered in her own day for her saintliness and inspired judgment. 
The book was excellent but this was one of my favorite paragraphs in the book,
"On September 13, a day or two after Catherine had started on her journey to Italy, Gregory left Avignon--forever. He had taken Catherine's advice and left suddenly, taking all the Cardinals, except six. The French Cardinals in his retinue wept and his relations who remained behind wailed and lamented. The Pope's old father, knelt at the city gates, in despair at the departure of his son. Pope Gregory passed him without a word......." (page 212).
Pope Gregory must of believed that it was much better to head back to Rome and try to heal that city and the Church,  then to spend eternity in Hell as Catherine had hinted to.
Catherine was an amazing woman saint, for any age, and I highly suggest this book.