The Weekend Read

With Palm Sunday today we begin Holy Week, and so my thoughts for The Weekend Read turn to works that will aid contemplation during these most sacred days of the Church year…

My wife just finished reading Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.’s He Leadeth Me, the moving story of Fr. Ciszek’s 23 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps. This book witnesses to the joy and the hope and the love found in persevering in the will of God even in the direst circumstances–so says my wife. I am now eager to read it myself. Earlier this Lent Daria Sockey, my co-blogger here on Catholic Exchange, posted this nice article which mentions her relationship to Fr. Ciszek, who died in 1984.

The arrival in today’s mail of Scepter Publisher’s 2012 Catalog reminded me how much I admire the spiritual writings of the French priest, Fr. Jacques Philippe. Fr. Philippe has authored six beautiful books on various aspects of the spiritual life, each one characterized by an admirable brevity and lucidity, as well as a plainspokenness that I regard as a fruit of Fr. Philippe’s holiness and wisdom. I cannot recommend Fr. Philippe’s books highly enough. Earlier this Lent I re-read Time for God, which I would recommend as the book of Fr. Philippe’s to begin with if you’re encountering his work for the first time. But my favorite works of his are the triumvirate: Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Interior Freedom, and Called to Life. I am glad to see also that Fr. Philippe has a new work out: The Way of Trust and Love, a retreat guide based on the teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, to whom Fr. Philippe has a great devotion.

Finally I would like to mention the work of another holy priest: the 1944 translation of the New Testament by the renowned preacher, translator, and detective story writer, Monsignor Ronald Knox (1888-1957). It is said that routine is one of the chief enemies of the spiritual life. I have found that reading the familiar accounts of Our Lord’s Passion in the elegant translation of Monsignor Knox has opened my eyes to subtle aspects of the Passion narratives that I have become too accustomed to gliding by.

Three outstanding examples of priestly holiness. I hope you will enjoy one or more of their works either during this Holy Week or during the Easter Season.

May the graces of Our Lord’s Passion bless you bountifully in the days ahead.

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  • Leescomfort

    I highly recommend both of Father Ciszek’s books. ”He Leadeth Me” is one of the best books for insights into what it means to have a deep and profound trust in God and “With God In Russia” is a worthy sequel.  Don’t miss them.

  • Susan

    Fr. Ciszek is truly a saint of the 21st century.  His faith and complete trust in God while living under communist rule were exemplary virtues he practiced under dire circumstances.  He is a very remarkable priest – one we can learn a lot from.  This book is definately a keeper!

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