Books that Merit Attention: August 2017

Dorothy Day. The World Will Be Saved by Beauty. An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother, by Kate Hennessy, Scribner, 2017. This is a highly readable portrait of the Servant of God Dorothy Day, a complex and oftentimes contradictory person. Hennessy allows us to see the very human, passionate, sometimes difficult, and always caring woman, a person not always revealed in Day’s own writings.

The Transformed Heart. Spirituality, Religious, and the Struggle for Integrity, by Tom Zanzig, Orbis Books, 2017. We hear about the “nones,” those who claim to be spiritual without being religious. This is the best resource I’ve encountered for taking the “nones” seriously, challenging them toward an other-oriented integrity. And therefore challenging the “religious” to deepen their hearts and trust the Holy Spirit.

Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino. A Pilgrimage Guild to the California Missions, by Stephen Binz, Franciscan Media, 2017. Interested in the California Missions? Planning a trip soon? This is the most complete resource I’ve encountered. His approach is both historical and spiritual. We learn of both native and Franciscan spirituality, as well as a “liturgical reading” of the interior of each mission church.

The Gospel in Gerard Manley Hopkins. Selections from His Poems, Letters, Journals, and Spiritual Writings, edited by Margaret Ellsberg, Plough, 2017. Are you a fan of his poetry? Hopkins lived a life-long struggle with faith that ultimately gave birth to his powerful poetry and other writings. This is a gentle journey into the heart of a much-loved writer who gifted us with a refreshing way to see God’s hand at work in our world.

BeDADitudes. 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad, by Greg Popcak, Ave Maria, 2017. A fun and deceptively simple take on how to be a great dad. Popcak begins with the Beatitudes, then applies them to life-affirming fatherhood. Fathers, like all of us, can only give what they’ve got, so the
author briefly explores spirituality as a prelude to good parenting. A great gift for the new dad you know.

The Reckless Way of Love. Notes on Following Jesus by Dorothy Day, Plough, 2017. This is a small collection of Day’s thoughts on the life of discipleship and all the challenging ways Jesus called us to love others. This small volume is a great source for lectio.