Monday, June 2, 2008

A good read

On Saturday, after two days of meetings in Melbourne, I had a couple of hours to spare before heading out to the airport. So, I visited two bookshops - a secular one as well as the Central Catholic Bookshop. It was good to browse through some of the new titles and note that the surge of orthodox scholarship is still gathering pace, especially in the areas of theology and Biblical studies. I bought a couple of books I'd been after for some time, and then, on impulse, threw in a shorter one to read on the plane.

What an amazing book!!! I'm talking about Lorraine V. Murray's Confessions of an Ex-Feminist. I began reading it in the departure lounge, and finished the last page just as we touched down in Brisbane. It is the searingly honest account of a woman who lost her faith through 1960's radical feminism and the destructive lifestyle on which she embarked. Armed with her PhD on the writings of Simone de Beauvoir, Murray went on to teach feminist philosophy for many years, passionately attacking God and the Church, and persuading students to do likewise. The second half of the book tells the story of Murray's return to the Faith. I'm not going to spoil it for you by saying any more, but you MUST get Confessions of an Ex-Feminist and read it for yourself.

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, author The Privilege of Being a Woman, says: "Confessions of an Ex-Feminist is the gripping story of millions of women who lost their religious and intellectual anchors during the tsunami of the fatal sixties and seventies. It is a movingly honest confession of how pride, arrogance, immaturity, ambition, craving to be “liberated”, blinds the female soul. Abortion kills babies and wounds a woman’s soul to its very core. But a prodigal daughter found her way back home, crushed by guilt, driven by repentance, and discovers that God’s mercy is boundless. She is now given the crucial mission of shouting on roof’s tops: feminism is the arch enemy of women. This book should become a vade mecum of young girls".

Speaking about books, it is pleasing to note that some real classics of the Anglican Catholic tradition are being reprinted. Of particular interest to us is that great Anglican/Papalist classic by Spencer Jones, England And The Holy See: An Essay Towards Reunion (1902).

Another is Darwell Stone's The Eucharistic Sacrifice (1920), an invaluable summary of the doctrine which contains a galaxy of footnotes and references to primary sources. Of course, the greatest history of the doctrine of the Eucharist in the English Language was also written by Darwell Stone, and is now available in paperback HERE.

And while we're on the subject of theology . . .

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-88) was a Swiss theologian, widely considered to be one of the most important Christian intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century. Pope Benedict XVI has said, ". . . I encourage all of you to continue, with interest and enthusiasm, your study of the writings of von Balthasar . . ."

Several dozen links to articles about Balthasar’s life and work can be found HERE.

Heart of the World
, the English translation of which was published in 1979 is the source of the following essay, CONQUEST OF THE BRIDE:

"My kingdom is invisible, but I want to establish you, my Bride, before the eyes of men so visibly that no one will be able to overlook you. I want to raise you up like the brazen serpent in the desert, like the rock against which hell itself is dashed to pieces, like Mount Tabor over whose peak the shining cloud hovers, and like the Cross that casts its shadow over all lands — the blazon of my victory in failure.

"I want to establish you upon iron foundations, and your structure is to be a true and distinctive sign that I am setting up a memorial to myself upon the earth. You will be my witness to the very edge of the world, a witness that I was in the world, and I will not forsake you until the end of time. You will be a sign of contradiction among the peoples, and no one will even as much as whisper your name, O my Church, without shuddering. Over you men will have to part their ways, for many will love you and squander everything for you, but very many will hate you, and these will swear an oath not to rest until they have exterminated you from the land of men. And you will be despised like no man or thing, except myself, has ever been despised on earth. They will stand in line for the privilege of spitting in your face, of wiping off on your garments the mud from their shoes.

To read the rest of CONQUEST OF THE BRIDE go HERE.

Almighty God,
Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us,
and to all men;
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all, for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace,
and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
and that we shew forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives;
by giving up ourselves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost
be all honour and glory,
world without end. Amen.

From the Book of Common Prayer


FrEdBakker said...

Dear +David,
I regularly read your blog, but I comment on this one. After reading this particular one, I cannot help coming to the conclusion that in this world of 2008, we do in fact read so little. As you have indicated in your blog , there is such a lot of sound Orthodox material available and because of all the pressures of life we do miss a lot. I recall the name of Simone de Beauvoir, reading about her in one of the papers I had to prepare towards my ordination. Perhaps we need to set ourselves a daily discipline and set aside some definate time to sit down and read.

With every good wish in Christ,
Revd.Deacon Ed Bakker.SSM

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