Saturday, April 28, 2007

Great Books

Happy Easter!

This Easter, I am re-reading a favourite book. It's called "Father Elijah", and it's written by Michael D. O'brien.

This book is unique in my library in that I've read it several times. I cannot think of another book I have read as I've read this one! I think this reading is the fifth for me.

Fr. Elijah is a large book. It is subtitled "An Apocalypse". It is the artist's vision of the end of the world.

Having read this book as often as I have, I'm quite familiar with the plot. This is allowing me to pick up deeper meanings, I think.

It has struck me a bit funny that there are things I'm noticing now that did not have the same impact before. When O'brien talks about Jakov "the giant" I can form a much better picture now that I've been to the Balkans and have seen what men in the area tend to look like.

Reading the description, early on in the book, of the prior of Elijah's monastery, I think he's somehow talking about Pope Benedict!

Mr. O'brien is a very descriptive writer. Mental images abound. I have been told by those who have been there, that his descriptions of the Vatican are those of one who has experienced it and observed keenly.

This is a book entirely influenced by Roman Catholicism. The view of the end times, the importance of prayer and religious events to the plot, as well as the majority of characters being can't help but learn something about the Church and its functioning.

It is a hopeful book. We see tribulation but we also see the strength of those who believe in a life beyond it all.

It is highly recommended!

God Bless

Wednesday, April 04, 2007



Here we are, nearly at the end of Lent and I'm just getting to writing something on it. Definitely a missed opportunity.

We have moved during this Lent. Not too far, but after so long in our last place it was quite a process.

Catholics like to talk about giving something up for Lent. I'll bet we beat you all. We gave up a ton of stuff! Literally...a dumpster full of collected junk, which weighed in at very near one metric tonne. Wow.

And as we settle into our new, smaller, place, we are still finding things that could have been tossed. Mind you, there really was no more room in that dumpster!

Over the years, I've noticed that Lent has gotten more challenging as I became more serious about and involved in my Faith. As Lent arrives, I have frequently wondered what earth-shattering occurrence or revelation would show up. One year it was a sudden call to end my association with a particular ministry in which I'd been deeply involved. Another year, a distant memory surfaced and demanded my attention.

This year? Simply the uprooting of nearly a decade of 'stuff'...some boxes hadn't even been unpacked from when we moved in! It is, in a way, a time to examine our lives now. Do we still need this ___ (fill in the blank with book, appliance, blanket, piece of furniture...). We decided that a tonne of stuff we'd collected was not worth moving on.

So we're travelling a bit lighter these days. Lent is good for that. Whether we are uprooting bad habits, old sins, new sins, or just examining our lives, we can all come out of Lent a bit lighter and with less to interfere with our spiritual journey.


As we were unpacking in our new residence, I found a book loaned to me by a friend who is currently working away from home.

The book is by Catherine Doherty and is called "The Season of Mercy". It is the author's reflections on Lent and Easter as given in many talks she had delivered to residents of Madonna House over the years.

What a blessing this book has been! Yesterday, her treating of the word 'compassion' really impacted on me.

My kids don't like it when I break down words and translate the parts in order to define them. In truth, the word compassion had never really given me a reason to do that...until last night.

The prefix 'com' means "with". Passion means...well...passion. In this case it is not passion in the sense of wild emotion, but passion in the sense of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.

When we have compassion on someone, we are sharing their suffering. I'd never thought of that before. What really brought this home was that I'd just had a chat with a priest a couple of days earlier in which I'd asked how to deal with some painful recollections I was having about an event (which didn't directly effect me at all) from several years ago. His advice was very good, but I think it was topped off very well by my re-thinking of the word compassion. I think perhaps I have been sharing someone's suffering.

Mar, thanks for leaving your books with me!

Blessed Triduum to you all!