Not a book title, but just a reference to two books that have been on my desktop at work for the past few months.
A staff colleague gave me a copy of Matthew Kelly’s 2011 book The One Thing. Sixty pages of baby pictures and Mr Kelly’s reflection on the “one thing” he would like to pass on to his son: belief in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
You can read the book in about a half-hour and look at the pictures. This is a personal and heartfelt essay. Mr Kelly describes personal events that led him to and intensified his belief in the Real Presence. There’s a nod to liturgy: poor preaching and poor music notwithstanding, God’s grace continues to work for people.
How does it hold up as a book? My edition needed an editor. Subtitle: Passing faith onto children. That’s “on to.” A few typos in the book. As a parent’s memoir, I’d think a book-length work would have several essays. The Eucharist is no doubt important, nothing more so. But saints, baptism, marriage relationship, and other topics might cover the matter of “passing faith” a little more thoroughly.
Adrian Van Kaam’s The Music Of Eternity has been out for a quarter-century. I brought it with me on retreat last month and nearly finished it. This is a book that invites or suggests thoughtful relfection. Shorter essays here, but sixteen of them that explore fidelity in a number of religious contexts. Original poetry ends each chapter.
I found the essays to be thoughtful. Three of them deal with the theme of conflict and fidelity. These I found particularly enlightening. But that could be that they are the freshest in my mind.
Fidelity is an important topic, if not virtue for the 21st century Church. An overlooked volume like this, short (117 pages) as it is, doesn’t have the marketing machine of Matthew Kelly behind it. But I found it more widely applicable both to my role as a father, as well as how I conduct myself in ministry and in life.