Our monastery library is excellent in quantity and quality of books. In my younger years I had read lots of them but as I age I find that I read less than formerly—mostly Scripture, short articles and books sisters pass on to me. Three of my most recent blessings are:
The Abbey by James Martin, SJ, a favorite contributor to America Magazine, I wrote about this book in my last blog of March 8, 2016.
Spirit of Fire : Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin by Ursula King. It contains a quotation that hangs in my room: Someday after mastering the winds, the wave, the tides, the gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of LOVE and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
And the one I have just finished and must read again is When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers by Marcellino D’Ambrosio.
As I progressed through the pages of this last book, I realized how little I really know about the very young Church, its history, its saints and how it moved into later centuries. The book is very readable but for me its time frame was difficult to follow as it included so many saints of similar names, and their stories moved back and forth in dates. The time frame covered in the book was mostly the second to third centuries. A listing of dates and events is included in the front of the book and is very helpful, but the text moved back and forth as the author presented various Doctors and Fathers of the Church.
I found D’Ambrosio’s description of these early Fathers moving and very human, especially n the lives they led and their influence on the times. I was especially fascinated by Origin, Augustine, and John the Preacher with the Golden Tongue. Only in the last sentence of the chapter on him is the John the Preacher identified as John Chrysostom. I learned much from my first reading of When the Church was Young, but as you can tell, I must read it again to gain the wisdom it offers.
Sr. Andrea Collopy, OSB