gems

A little sample of a few good books I read over the last two months…

Eat This Book

I meant to read this book ages ago but for some reason it alluded me.

The first  quote sums up my experience and persistent

struggle in blogging.

Of course, expressed beautifully by Eugene Peterson.

What we must never be encouraged to do,

although all of us are guilty of it over and over,

is to force Scripture to fit our experience.

Our experience is too small;

it’s like trying to put the ocean into a thimble.

What we want is to fit into the world revealed by Scripture,

to swim in this vast ocean.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If we have not entered this text as participants we aren’t going to
understand what is going on. This text cannot be understood by
watching from the bleachers–or even from expensive box seats.
We are in on it.

 



Girl Meets God

I have been grabbing books off my shelf lately.

This book has sat neglected for years.

It is too complicated to explain the reasons why I lifted this book from its

resting place last week.

Sometimes a book waits and finds us at the right time.

I had read the first  pages probably a half-dozen times,

but for whatever reason, those words didn’t hold me until now.

This is a memoir  about faith and tradition and how to merge two points

of view.

Lauren Winner was raised by a lapsed Southern Baptist mother and a Jewish father.

Lauren chose to become an Orthodox Jew.

Yet even as she immersed herself in Sabbath rituals and studying Jewish law,

she felt drawn to Jesus.

Girl Meets God is about a year in the life of a woman wooed by

Jesus and how she embraces and reconciles the two sides of her

religious identity.

When we choose Jesus, there is much that is left behind.

The decision may require being misunderstood.

For Lauren, she left puzzled communities and relationships.

I was intrigued by this book and moved as well.

I read  Mudhouse Sabbath,  in which Lauren describes the Jewish observances

she missed after she converted to Christianity, years ago.

Perhaps, it was a great dessert before  the feast of Girl Meets God.


Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux

Shirt of Flame

I was not very familiar with St. Thérèse  of Lisieux.

I had been reading Gretchen Rubin’s blog The Happiness Project.

Listed on her sidebar are a sampling of her key posts on happiness.

One post is called Imitate your spiritual mentor.

I clicked the link and read this post about Gretchen’s discovery of St.Thérèse.

I was intrigued about this “Little Flower” who lived such a short

devoted life to Christ.

Therese was born in France in 1873.

Her parents were both unsuccessful in their attempts to become

a monk and a nun during their single lives.

They married and of the five children who survived childhood, all became nuns and one became a saint.

Thérèse was insistent  on entering a Carmelite convent at the age of 15, the standard age was 21.

She was turned down by the bishop and even begged before the Pope for a change of decision.

Ultimately the bishop changed his mind.

She began her cloistered life at 15.

Thérèse had an unremarkable life in the convent.

She did not distinguish herself spiritually or in any other way yet within her soul,

she was on fire with love.

During her time in the convent, she was asked to record her childhood memories.

These writings became the content of Story of a Soul which has become a much beloved book.

Thérèse died a dreadful death from tuberculosis at the age of 24 and was canonized in 1925.

Thérèse’s “little way” seems simple yet when put into practice, one finds that it is not

little or easy.

This short book provides an  introduction to St.Thérèse’s life contrasted

with the author’s own.

A few favorite quotes by  Thérèse who  saw her “vocation as love”:

But I want to seek the means of going to heaven by a little way that is 
very straight, very short, a completely new little way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The great saints have worked for God’s glory, but I, who am only a very little soul,

I work for His pleasure, His whims.

And I would be happy to bear the greatest sufferings—

even without God’s knowing it, if this were possible—

not for the purpose of giving Him a passing glory, but if only I  knew

that in this way a smile would rise to his lips.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have no desire to die than I have to live.  From a natural point of view

I would prefer death, but if I had a choice, I would not choose anything;

I like only whatever God does.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We’re in an age of inventions.

Now there’s no more need to climb the steps of a staircase.

In rich homes there are elevators that replace stairs to great advantage.

I would also like to find an elevator to lift me up to Jesus, because

I’m too little to climb the rough staircase of perfection…

The elevator that must lift me up to heaven is your arms, Jesus!

For that I don’t need to become big.

On the contrary, I have to stay little—

may I become little, more and more. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shirt of Flame made me anxious to read more about St.Thérèse of Lisieux  and her little way.

What are you reading?

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