Recent Books in Brief

Recent Books in Brief
The International Eucharistic Congresses:A Spiritual Odyssey: 1881-2016

by John Francis Allen (Gracewing, £20.00)

When the Eucharistic Congresses were held in Ireland it was the public events that attracted the attention of the commentators at the time and of historians since. But as the author of this valuable book makes clear, the Congresses also have a scholarly and theological side to them. These proceedings are always published, but as I know from library experience, are very rarely consulted.

Fr Allen’s detailed history will go a very long way to opening up for both scholars and ordinary readers what was said, thought and resolved at these meetings. It will be of vital interest to those concerned with ongoing liturgical and Eucharistic studies and deserves wide readership in such circles.


Slí na Manach: Our Photographic Camino

by Dom Laurence Walsh (Mount St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Offaly, €20.00; please use the website link to order your copy)

I have a regard for Mount St Joseph’s Abbey as it was where my father was educated and where he developed his skills as a mathematician. But this beautifully produced photographic album deals with the monastery, the part of the establishment less open to the view of the public. Through the lengthy captions to the images spread over the century and a half, he compresses not only the history of the monastery, but also its distinguished visitors, its happy days and sad  events, and the characters over the years who gave the community its particular charisma.

Though of interest to all those associated over the years with the place, the album also gives a vivid impression of the actual day-to-day life of service and devotion that is monastic life. This is a lovely book, created with care and love.


Streams of Living Waters, Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith

by Richard Foster (Hodder, £10.99)

This is a book which will be of interest and value to every Christian, whatever tradition of the Faith they belong to. Author Richard James Foster is a theologian and author in the Quaker tradition. His writings address a common Christian readership.

Here he writes of what might be seen as a core of shared faith in six dimensions of Faith and practice, elements which actually unite Christians rather than divide them. In short these are: the contemplative tradition (a prayer filled life), the holiness tradition (a virtuous life), the charismatic tradition (a Spirit-empowered life), the evangelical tradition (a Word-centred life), and finally the incarnation tradition (or a sacramental life).

These elements can be found in all traditions, but are given different weight. Foster suggests that all are relevant to the fullness of the Christian life in the modern world. Though he says these streams of Faith can be found in many prophets, teachers and writers, “no one models these dimensions of the spiritual life more fully than Jesus Christ, if we want to see this river of life in its most complete form, it is to Jesus that we must turn”.

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