Archive for the ‘Books’ category
When the highly esteemed Jesuit scholar and commentator on modern culture, Fr James V. Schall SJ, writes a positive review of a book by a professional athlete, I sit up and pay attention. Earlier this month, Fr Schall wrote such a review on The Catholic Thing website. His subject was John Stockton, former point guard for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, an NBA hall-of-famer, and a Gonzaga alumnus. John recounts his life for us in Assisted: An Autobiography, which was published two months ago. You can read Fr Schall’s article here.
During this month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I’m reading an old classic (1953) on the Heart of Christ: Our Best Friend by Christian Pesch, a German Jesuit (inexpensive used copies are available at both Amazon and AbeBooks). From the manner in which Pesch writes, one detects a special intimacy in his relationship with Our Lord, which is inspiring to me, and frequently causes me to stop reading in order to reflect.
In the first chapter, he describes an encounter of St Gertrude the Great with St John the Evangelist:
Twelve centuries after his death, he appeared on the day of his feast to the renowned mystic, the great St Gertrude, and said to her: “Come with me to rest a while on the bosom of our Saviour where are hid all the treasures of beatitude.” There the Saint became conscious of the pulsations of the divine Heart, from which she drew unspeakable consolation. She then asked St John: “Did you not experience the bliss of these divine pulsations when you rested on our Saviour’s breast at the last supper?” “I did perceive them,” he answered, “and was deeply moved by them.” Then St Gertrude replied: “Why, then, did you keep this a secret, and not record it for our progress?” John answered: “It was my duty to write for the nascent Church facts of the uncreated Word of the Father which no man could discover even to the end of time. But this language of the pulsations of the divine Heart was reserved for later times in order that the aging world, growing cold in love, might again become enkindled at the recitation of such mysteries.”
Bob Margetts is a real American hero and a faithful Catholic layman. He was having a successful military career in the US Air Force. In the 1960’s he was responsible for launching nuclear weapons from silos in North Dakota. In 1969 the United States announced that it would start targeting Soviet cities for nuclear attack. Inspired by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council Bob decided he would not launch the missiles to kill innocent civilians and he asked to be relieved of command. The Air Force sent him to a psychiatrist. When he refused to change his mind he was forced into early retirement. This and more is recounted in Bob’s book “Witness for Atonement.” Meet Bob after the Mass of Reparation on the Feast of Holy Innocents, December 28th at 7:00 a.m. at St Monica’s Church, West Wyoming, when we will remember the Holy Innocent children who were murdered by King Herod. Also, we will remember all of the innocents killed by abortion & euthanasia, and those innocents killed in warfare & the use of weapons of mass destruction. In this Christmas Season, we remember Christ come as the Prince of Peace and the Author of Life.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the the poignantly disquieting ‘murder of the Holy Innocents’ scene from “Jesus of Nazareth,” it runs from 5:25 to 8:20 in this clip:
As an inspiration for our GOTR CMF brothers who will be participating in the “Into the Wild” weekend in two weeks, I wanted to excerpt a bit from “Saint Among Savages,” the classic book on the life of St Isaac Jogues. Perhaps these paragraphs from the chapter entitled “Along the Trail of Torture” will serve as motivation for them if their time in the wild starts to seem too uncomfortable.
When the Mohawks (a tribe of the Iroquois confederation) captured Fr Jogues and his companions (consisting of his fellow priests, a few French laymen, and the Hurons who had converted to Christianity), they took them to the various villages along the rivers and lakes. At each Indian village, the Mohawks encouraged their local brethren to “caress” their trophy prisoners, which began with having them run a gauntlet. Having traveled from the point of their capture for several days already with no food, they arrived at the first such village:
The prisoners were stripped totally naked, and whipped into file. The old men were placed at the head, for they would set a slower pace. The stronger Hurons were interspersed with the weaker. Couture was in the forefront; Goupil in the middle; and Jogues, as the greatest in dignity was held as the last, so that his punishment might be the greatest. The signal was given. The first of the Hurons was driven between the lines of Iroquois. He ran blindly, while the executioners pounded down blows [using clubs and switches of thorny rods] on his head and body and legs. Another Huron was fed in; the shrieks grew diabolical; Couture rushed into the midst of the whirling clubs; then other Hurons; then Goupil; the outcries were blood-curdling; the hill was a mass of wild passions.
Father Jogues saw it all as he waited for his own ordeal of running the gauntlet. He was shoved between the columns. Blows beat down on his head and neck and arms, thudding blows, stinging strokes of switches and thorns, on his sides, on his legs. Madly he tried to race up the hill. They tripped and impeded him. He fought forward. He stumbled, and fell to the ground ere he had gone a hundred steps. They showered more blows on him to make him rise. He tried to escape; but he was hurled back. He was numbed, paralyzed. He felt nothing. The Mohawks kicked and beat him the more; but he did not move. They dragged him unconscious to the top of the hill.
When he opened his eyes, Jogues found himself lying on the rocky ledge at the top of the hill. In the center of the open space he saw a platform, half the height of a man, roughly strung together from branches and wattle. His comrades were being driven to mount it, while the Iroquois giddily whirled around and showered them with blows. He was discovered revived; then he, too, was lifted roughly and thrown on the stage. They hauled him up to a standing position, but he sank down to the wood, utterly unable to support himself. The savages dug into his flesh with their finger nails and thrust burning fagots against his arms and thighs. He could not move to protect himself. One of them took his thumb and bit it, crunching and macerating it until the flesh was torn to bits and the bone exposed. Another held a live coal against his other fingers. Under the onslaught, once more he swooned off, lifeless.
The Mohawks were finished with the French and threw them off the staging. They turned with newer vigor on the Hurons. Ahatsistari was the center of their rage. Jogues watched his sufferings with growing terror. He saw them slash the flesh with their long knives, from head to feet, saw them staunch the blood with burning torches. Eustace stood unmoved, never flinching, taunting and maddening them by his words of courage. They lifted his arms, and severed both of his thumbs in revenge for the arrows he had directed into the hearts of their kinsmen. He remained unmoved. One of the Mohawks took a tough stake, cleared of the bark and well pointed; he rammed it into the socket from which the thumb of the left hand had been amputated. He forced the wood up through the flesh until it protruded at the elbow. Eustace held his composure. He would not disgrace his people by twitching a muscle; he would not show himself a coward and thus give satisfaction to his enemies. He drew himself up more proudly, invincible.
The Ignatius Press Knox-Oakley translation of “The Imitation of Christ” is currently on sale at Amazon for $8.94 which is a 40% discount. In my opinion, this is a super value. It’s a smallish size well-constructed hardcover, a size which makes it convenient to carry along with my New Testament. I far-and-away prefer this translation to the other two that I have (one older, one more modern). I’ve never seen it priced this low. If you’ve never read the Imitation, I strongly encourage it. Book Four (the last section of the book) concerns Holy Communion and our reception of it. I often take it to church and read a portion to prepare for Mass.
As noted in the press release below, the recent interview of author and GOTR CMF Advisory Board member Jerry Gilmartin with Johnnette Benkovic about his book will air on EWTN TV Friday, December 17, at 11:00 a.m.
Jerry will also be available to sign his book for you on Monday, December 20, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Guild Studio bookstore at 400 Wyoming Ave, Scranton.
Book signing, EWTN TV appearance by local author:
Jerome D. Gilmartin, author of the book, The 7-Step Reason to be Catholic: Science, the Bible and History point to Catholicism and host of the “In Love of Christ” program on local Catholic Radio, JMJ 750 AM, will sign his book at the Guild Studio bookstore Monday, December 20, 2010, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Gilmartin was interviewed recently by Johnnette Benkovic at the studio of EWTN Global Catholic Television in Irondale, Alabama for a “Women of Grace” TV program which will air Friday, December 17, at 11:00 a.m. on EWTN TV.
His book has been featured on Dan Patrick’s “The Son Rise Morning Show” on EWTN radio. He has been a guest on the “Our Faith, Our Diocese” program hosted by Dan Gallagher on CTV and has given presentations at catechetical convocations in the Scranton and Harrisburg dioceses and several local parishes.