This is an exceptional history of the early Church weaving the stories of two dozen fathers—from Clement and his first letter to the Corinthians lateThis is an exceptional history of the early Church weaving the stories of two dozen fathers—from Clement and his first letter to the Corinthians late in the first century thru Popes Leo (who negotiated peace with Attila the Hun) and Gregory (of chant fame) five hundred years later.
I listened to the audio version and have now ordered the print edition because I want to have the text as a ready resource. D’Ambrosio explains so much about the early Church, its development, the heresies that challenged it and the Councils that corrected it, and the beginnings of the split between East and West as the Roman Empire came to pieces. Few books have made me want to read so many others, including many of the early texts and (finally, I promise) Newman’s “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.” It’s hard to read the story of the early Church and accept the notion of sola scriptura—that the only authority is Scripture itself. If the Church fixed the canon (taking somewhere from 170 to 370 years to do so), how could the Church be considered unreliable? If unreliable, then why is the canon the canon?
But then Cardinal Newman himself said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”...more
This would get five stars but for the price: $26 hardcover. That’s way too much for a 150-page book, 50 pages of which you can get free on line. OnlyThis would get five stars but for the price: $26 hardcover. That’s way too much for a 150-page book, 50 pages of which you can get free on line. Only when I reached page 100 did I realize that the appendix, which takes up 1/3 of the volume, is Pope Francis’s bull of indiction declaring an extraordinary jubilee of mercy. So you’re paying 26 cents a page for the first 100 pages, a lengthy interview with the pope about mercy, which incidentally is set in type that almost qualifies it as a large-print book.
Am I being unmerciful? LOL
I love Pope Francis, and his point here—that God is mercy—is worth meditating on with the Holy Father and interviewer Andrea Tornielli. But if you want value, I direct you to “Encountering Truth: Meeting God in the Everyday.” There are 186 of Francis’s homilies here—off-the-cuff reflections on daily readings, given in his private chapel during the first months of his pontificate.
And of course read the papal bull of indiction free on the Vatican web site!...more
I recently reviewed another book by Vanier, "Community and Growth," saying that it is the rare religious/spiritual book concerned not with the self (gI recently reviewed another book by Vanier, "Community and Growth," saying that it is the rare religious/spiritual book concerned not with the self (getting closer to God) but with community.
"Becoming Human" is a sort of inverse of "Community and Growth" and perhaps should be read in tandem with it. "Becoming Human" is about what happens to the self in a community like the L’Arche kind, founded by Vanier in 1964. Life in L’Arche, writes Vanier, “has helped me become more human”; and he spends all of this short book explaining how and why.
The first two chapters begin with two facts of our humanity: we are all lonely, and we all need (genuine) belonging. These and subsequent lessons—the final one is about forgiveness—all stem from Vanier’s rich experience living with people with intellectual disabilities for the past half-century.