July-August 2023: New Resources
by Paul Higginson
Columba Books, 2023
Paul Higginson brings a wealth of experience to Doing Christianity. As a teacher for over 35 years with a specialism in Catholic Social Teaching he also had the earlier role of working with people diagnosed with schizophrenia and later spent time with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. His primary thesis is that Christianity is less about believing and more about doing . It’s a thesis that reflects an old and sometimes, as in the Reformation- lethal discussion among Christians. The letter of St James (2:18) puts the case well; ‘Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ I say, ‘I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.’ Or as St. Therese of Lisieux concluded; love is repaid by love alone.
In this publication the author offers a nine steps pathway to ‘look afresh at the words of Jesus and by doing so make that loving response that an encounter with God’s love demands. The nine steps spelt out over 300 pages invites readers to engage in an interior pilgrimage where our concept of God, Jesus and ourselves are tested with the hope that such reflection may lead us to a new way of seeing, doing, giving, praying and receiving. ‘ It’s not that difficult to turn up in church now and again or say the ‘Our Father’ once in a while,’ he concludes, ‘ but this is to treat faith as a pastime like gardening or playing bridge. It’s much harder to imitate Christ in all we do.’ A challenging and often inspirational read.
Reviewer: Paul Clayton-Lean
THE UNIVERSE PROVIDES
Finding miracles and inspiration in unexpected places
by Eddie Gilmore,
CEO of the Irish Chaplaincy
Darton, Longman, Todd, 2023
Paperback • stg£9.99
During the coronavirus crisis like many other people living alone I discovered the postman – in my area it is invariably a man – to be the sole human contact that I might have on any given day. His few cheerful words and occasional bit of local gossip turned out to be one of the more unexpected bonuses of a sad time in our global tragedy filled with daily reports of death and spreading disease. With churches closed, personal encounters severely limited and even long walks the subject of official scrutiny Shea the postman became the most unlikely and occasional source of personal inspiration. Reading Eddie Gilmore’s latest publication The Universe Provides reminded me of the power of such taken for granted features of our lives. Eddie’s latest publication provides stories of hope, miracles and uplifting personal experiences which he encountered during a year spent travelling the globe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While inevitably many of his meetings and events are planned through his chaplaincy role supporting Irish people in Britain, including prisoners, Travellers and Seniors, there have also myriad occasions when moments of inspiration and even miracles arrived unexpectedly. In one of the many short chapters of ‘The Universe Provides’ Eddie recalled being in Korea with his family and spending an overnight stay with the Columbans. While longing for something simple at breakfast Eddie was faced with a typical Korean style meal of rice and spicy side dishes. Then he spotted an Irish Columban with a bowl of porridge clearly made specially for him. Noticing Eddie’s envious eye on the bowl the priest to Eddie’s amazement simply placed it in front of him! The kind gesture was one Eddie long remembered and he quotes Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who remarked, ‘’We mend the world one life at a time, one act at a time, one day at a time.’ Over 192 pages and 63 chapters The Universe Provides offers many opportunities to reflect on the wonder of the everyday and the occasions life offers us to make a great difference to another if we have eyes to see. A joyful and uplifting read.
Reveiwer: Paul Clayton-Lea
TO BRING COMFORT AND CONSOLATION
by Paddy Shannon
Messenger Publications, 2022
For eighteen years Paddy Shannon worked with Cruse Bereavement Care and has drawn on that background of ministry to the bereaved to create this resource for all those involved or who would like to become involved in bereavement ministry. Over four chapters which includes liturgies, suggested readings, reflections and prayers as well as an appendix containing poems, prayers and prose extracts, the author assists all who are involved in this highly sensitive experience of helping others deal with bereavement. In his foreword, the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown describes the book as grounded by the author’s having journeyed with people through the many stages of grief and how death affects those who are left behind. This resource to help us find healthy ways to deal with such trauma provides a welcome addition to any library of pastoral care.
Reveiwer: Paul Clayton-Lea