THE GAZE OF LOVE
Veritas Publications, 2016
In 1976, Ruth Patterson became the first woman to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister in Ireland. Since 1988, Ruth has been Director of Restoration Ministries, a non-denominational, Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation based in Northern Ireland and for which she received an OBE in 2003.
Author of four books and numerous articles stemming from her commitment to unity and peace, her latest publication, The Gaze of Love, is perhaps a more intimate reflection than her previous works, focusing as it does on the human relationship with God, which is rooted, she asserts, in the love God has always held for us. At the heart of her reflection, which roams through biblical stories, characters and parables, is the sense of wonder created in us by the knowledge that God looks upon us endlessly with love. A love that awakens the heart in the case of Hagar, Abraham and Jacob. A love that calls to Moses, Ruth and Elijah, as well as the disciples, the woman at the well and others who Jesus made whole. A love that searches and knows us like the rich young ruler, the Prodigal Son and Zacchaeus. Finally, the love that answers our deepest questions like Martha and Thomas and transforms us like Paul. Each of these characters and their stories, as well as the psalmist and other more contemporary sources, form the basis of The Gaze of Love whose overall aim is to make us more aware of living under this gaze of divine love. The fact that we are for the most part unaware is what causes us to so often lose our way or misunderstand God or one another. This profound reflection offers in a warm and conversational style a treasury of stories, thoughts and images conducive to prayer, meditation and discussion.
POPE FRANCIS AND THE FAMILY
Veritas Publications, 2015
Although published last year, this compilation of the Pope’s reflections on family makes an ideal if not essential supplement to Amoris Laetitia, containing as it does, a series of warm and often personal anecdotes about family life, including his own. Each short chapter of the 100 or so pages deals with the various elements and constituents of family life: children, young people, parents and grandparents. The importance of education, formation and the handing on of a living faith are all addressed in ways that are helpful to any pastor or study group.
While Amoris Laetitia is a clearly balanced document reflecting the deliberations of the Synod and the different views which emerged there, this little volume contains perhaps the most personal expressions of Pope Francis’ understanding, hopes and aspirations for the Catholic family, for family life in general and for the world wide family which makes up the human race.
Of the many regular resources offered to parishes and readers, ‘Spirituality’ by Dominican publications has to be one of the most attractive in its design and presentation. The content always invites readers to reflect on aspects of the Bible and Liturgy as well as ‘authentic sources of Christian spirituality’, including the teachings of mystics and theologians, as well as saintly men and women. All this with a view to deepening Christian faith in the midst of the struggles of everyday living.
In the May/June edition, it includes articles on prayer, mindfulness meditation and a ‘Lectio Divina’ of Psalm 63. Topics on creation, social justice, poetry and books are also engagingly addressed, as well as an ongoing series by Eamon Maher on how Catholic priests are portrayed in Catholic literature. A highly recommended resource.
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