Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Book Recommendation...

I've been working slowly at this book for over a month, and today I finally finished it in a long reading session that pushed through chapters on Joseph, the Ugandan Martyrs, Aloysius Gonzaga, and Mary, plus a concluding chapter.

Fr. Martin weaves historical lives of holy people (not all are "official" saints of the Catholic Church) with his own spiritual experiences as a Jesuit in Jamaica, Africa, Italy, and inner-city Chicago and Boston, in the latter which he worked with inner-city gangs, as a prison chaplain, and in AIDS and other hospices. He relates his own autoimmune issues that have limited his physical ministry but have deepened his faith and his contemplation of the goodness and sovereignty of God.

He looks upon these saints as "companions," or "fellow-pilgrims" on the Christian Way. They have inspired him, provoked him to "love and good deeds," surprised him, and comforted him as He continues to serve and please God. He tells their stories with affection and with delineation between established fact and legend, weaving his own transparent and oh-so-human experiences with each saint he discusses.

My Life with the Saints is a book to read slowly, meditatively, and creates quite a reading list by its end. I now want to follow up with readings by Thomas Merton, Vita Sackville-West's biography of Joan of Arc, Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, and Chesterton's biography of Thomas Aquinas. So, thank you very much again, Carmen, for sending me this book. It's a treasure-trove of spiritual insight and encouragement: just what I needed!

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