While doing the research for the 50+ books I selected for the Changemaker Library, I realized that I love writing about good books. I have been reading for 60 years so I have a long history of what books can influence lives.
I don’t do book reviews. Instead, I give the book title, the author, the ISBN number and a link to Amazon to buy it. I also include excerpts from the book chosen so that a reader can decide if this book is a good match for him/her. Every Tuesday, I’ll include one of the books which is chosen to match the weekly topic.
Everyday Mysticism: Cherishing the Holy
Anthony J. Ciorra
For each section of his book, Fr. Ciorra starts with three questions to begin thought on the subject. For the introduction, his questions are: “What is Holiness? Think of a canonized saint and then think of a living saint. What does it mean to be holy? Think of someone you know whom you consider to be holy.”
His overview of the book includes:
- “Chapter One, “Wisdom on Wall Street”, situates spirituality in the marketplace. God is to found in the context of daily life, often in the unexpected moments and areas of the work place. If the Gospel is to be relevant, it cannot be ignored from none to five each day during the work week.”
- “Chapter Two, “Dangerous Dreams and Rude Awakenings,” places holiness within the life process. Today’s theories of personality development poignantly teach that the human person is constantly changing and developing. Our dreams and goals need to be reshaped as we change and as the world and church around us are changing. There are many models in the church’s traditional treasury for a spirituality of perfection; there are few for a spirituality of imperfection. Instead of rigid methods, I propose that the process of life offers each person a unique opportunity for holiness.”
- “Chapter Three, “Writing Straight with Crooked Lines”, raises some new questions about suffering. Traditional spiritualities that were based on martyrdom and Jansenism often contained a harsh image of God. This chapter challenges some of these notions. God does not create pain. I suggest a gentle image of God that calls us to growth through our personal suffering as well as through solidarity with the anguish of the world.”
- “Chapter Four, “A Spirituality of collaboration”, challenges the reader to move deeper into human experience. Charity reaches put to those in need. But compassion actually enters into their experience. This leads to a spirituality that finds the sacred in the midst of human feelings. The ultimate discovery of a prodigal God who is extravagant with the gift of love. Such depth of human and divine association invites all people to collaboration, the highest degree of human interaction and global cooperation.”
- “Chapter Five, “Cunning as Serpents, Gentle as Doves”, asserts that the values of the marketplace need to be integrated with the principles of the beatitudes. The Marketplace can be transformed through the marriage of these apparent opposites.”
- “Chapter Six, “Mystics in the Marketplace”, suggests concrete ways of becoming holy in American culture. It proposes a spirituality based on growing from our imperfections. The principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and the methodology of liberation theology are included in this chapter since their starting points are human weakness and everyday experiences. Ways of praying and reflecting in the world are given to point the reader in new directions for mystical experiences in the marketplace.”
“Karl Rahner wrote that the future belongs to the mystic. St. Thomas Aquinas said that mysticism is the knowledge of God through experience. A new era in world and church history offers new experiences. A mystic is one who greets the newness with open arms and a welcoming heart. The way to holiness can no longer be universally defined as each person is unique. The ultimate vocation for each of us is to become who we are. That’s what it means to be a saint. To become anything else is to do violence to God’s creation.”