Books in Lent
The Falling of Dusk by Paul Dominiak
Dominiak's concern is to explore how religious conviction remains possible without certainty, and how faith and doubt necessarily co-exist, avoiding both religious dogmatism and doctrinaire atheism. He converses both with the great doubters of Christianity and with the meaning of Jesus’s final words on the cross, those messages of repair spoken as “darkness covered the earth.”
Dominiak is open, wise, and thoughtful. It is a book full of theological ideas, but the tone is that of a retreat address rather than a treatise. It is a book for those who have lost faith in faith, or those who feel that they haven’t properly integrated honesty of experience with theological truth. His creative curation of the Seven Last Words is rewarding and, though some may find it a tiny bit too heady at times, many more will be grateful for its heart, and for its grace and ability to help in translating belief into the habits of relating to God, others, and oneself. I am still gratefully reflecting on his insight that: “we can’t hate our way through hurt without becoming trapped by it.”
The Way of Thomas Merton: A prayer journey through Lent by Robert Inchausti
ISBN 10: 028108582X ;
Nineteen short chapters, each followed by some questions for reflection, introduce us to Merton’s work, particularly his emphasis on being liberated from the “false self”. The author knows his subject, but presents Merton accessibly, without letting the material become trite or thin.
The question “Whose life am I actually living?” is resonant at a time when so many voices are shouting at us from the wings about what we should be doing on stage. Merton’s relentless commitment to seeing beyond what he is good at, to seeing where the mask has eaten into his face, and the destructive ways in which we are made to fit in with expectations, is an important provocation to us.
Meeting God in Matthew by Elaine Storkey
ISBN-10 : 0281081956 :
With a self-effacing scholarship that wants to share its discoveries to deepen faith rather than win admiration, Storkey introduces us to St Matthew and his Gospel in some fresh and insightful ways.
This presence of love, no matter what, is at the heart of Storkey’s reading of Matthew. It is a Gospel that reminds us that the early Christian community obviously had fiery issues and differences among themselves, and holding these two truths together, human difference and divine fidelity, we understand how vital it is to acquaint ourselves with Matthew’s faith in our own attempts as a Church to stay together and so to reflect the God who never walks away from us. Storkey resists shirking from textual conundrums, but neither does she unweave the rainbow of the Gospel’s beauty.