Our Daily Bread: Glimpsing the Eucharist Through the Centuries by Fr. Ralph Wright takes a look a writings on the Eucharist going from the New Testament, through the Church fathers, and then through the centuries up to the modern day. At 129 pages this book is not meant to be an exhaustive reference on quotes on the Eucharist, but a sampling throughout Church history. As you might expect it shows the unity of Church teaching on the Eucharist and how from the very beginning the reality of true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ was taught.
The book is divided into chapters covering each century. At the beginning of these chapters a poem is presented. They are primarily written by the author of the book. I don’t have the capability to know whether they are good poems or not. There is very little commentary on introductions in this book. This is a good thing since he lets the texts speak for themselves. There were often quotes from the saints and others on the Eucharist I had not run across before and this certainly makes it a good reference. The last chapter goes on to quote from Vatican II and then Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. I am usually wary of books from Paulist Press and am glad that a couple of recent books from them are quite good and don’t undermine the faith. This book is an excellent collection of passages on the Eucharist.
John Paul II and the Meaning of Suffering: Lessons from a Spiritual Master by Robert G. Schroeder
takes a close reading of Salvifici Doloris and the life of Pope John Paul II to write on the subject of suffering. The topic of suffering and why it exists is such a large one and one that often scandalizes people when it comes to faith in God. That there is a meaning to suffering is one of the more valuable things that the Church teaches. The writings by Pope John Paul II and especially his encyclical on suffering are certainly an excellent guide for the subject. The late Pope was certain a man of suffering while still living a life of joy. The author of the book has encountered his own sufferings which led him to further investigate the meaning of suffering which led him to write this book. If found it to be not only a good introduction on this topic, but a book that goes deeper into the topic.
My Visit to Hell by Paul Thigpen is an interesting take on the classic Dante theme. I had heard the author speak about this book on the radio and so decided to order it. Paul Thigpen is a Catholic apologist and has written several books and this fictional one was originally released as a novel called Gehenna. He has rewritten it to bring cultural references up-to-date and to rewrite parts of it as he understanding of the theology had changed. He uses the Dante topology of Hell to tell the story of a modern seminary professor and his journey through Hell. The professor was the type to not believe in Hell and to enjoy undermining the faith of his students. I quite enjoyed this updating of Dante and the theology behind it. It gives you much to think about and while nothing will rival Dante’s original work – this book is well worth reading. Though any tour through Hell can not exactly be called enjoyable reading.
Odd Hours is the forth book in Dean Koontz Odd Thomas series. I greatly love this series and the latest book is no exception. Fans of the series will also not be disappointed in the latest entry. The action starts a lot quicker and the stakes are much higher, but you still get the essential Odd Thomas character. For the uninitiated Odd Thomas is quite an intriguing character. A humble young man that can see some ghosts and uses his abilities to try to stop tragedies. In modern novels and movies I am so tired of the anti-hero and it is so refreshing to have a character in a different mode that while not perfect is also not seriously flawed.