Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Fr. Thomas G. Morrow gives a beautiful and practical introduction to Catholic spirituality with Be Holy: A Catholic's Guide to the Spiritual Life. The blurb on the back is a little lofty and completely turned me off at first: "Be Holy is the guide you'll need to achieve holiness now and heaven later." Gargh.
But immediately, the author himself makes it clear that what you need in order to become holy is Truth, grace, and large doses of the sacramental life of the Church. Much more up my alley.
I was particularly struck by Morrow's decision to open with a goo 30 pages on what he calls the "motivations for holiness"--why should we want to be holy, anyway? He goes right the four Last Things: the delight of heaven (which he describes mostly in terms of a "divine marriage"), the reality of Hell, the suffering of purgatory, and the pursuit of happiness here on earth. It is a phenomenal chapter--I learned a lot about the meaning of purgatory for example. And it's a great opportunity to see a diocesan priest writing about these things. I haven't heard the word "purgatory" at Mass in at least 5 years (the last time I remember it was as a joke about the Baltimore Catechism).
It's great motivation.
He also offers eminently practical guidelines--taken from the great spiritual directors of the Church's history--for growth in holiness. He lists and explains the different categories of virtues, the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to name a few. The language is simple and straightforward, with many anecdotes from real people's lives to illustrate the concepts.
This book is probably the best introduction to the Whole Catholic Thing I've seen in a long time. I hope to use it in some way with OCIA (RCIA) this year, and would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about what it means to be Catholic.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Be Holy.