A Faith matters round-up of the latest recommended reading
LIGHT FROM DARKNESS: Daniel O’Leary’s final book, written as a response to being diagnosed with the cancer that eventually took his life, is a moving and ultimately inspiring journey through the priest and teacher’s final months.
Dancing to my Death with the Love Called Cancer is a tough title, and the book, which takes the form of a journal, pulls no punches as it charts O’Leary’s struggles to come to term with his diagnosis, the rigours of cancer treatment and the emotional maelstrom of facing death.
O’Leary, from Rathmore in Co Kerry, worked as a priest in the Diocese of Leeds and became a renowned speaker and retreat facilitator.
He received his cancer diagnosis last summer and the book was completed shortly before he died on January 21.
It details how he re-examined his faith through a new lens as he put his trust in God, discovering what was really important to him as worked through his questions and doubts.
Among those to recommend the book is Fr Brian D’Arcy. “During his final illness he was gifted with immense clarity about what is important and what is not,” he says.
“That is why this book is his greatest and his most inspirational. It is a fitting summation of his beautiful life.”
- Dancing to my Death with the Love Called Cancer by Daniel O’Leary is published by Columba Books, £14.99.
PILGRIM WAY: The best way to prepare for the Camino de Santiago is with the help of one of the world’s great pilgrims, Ignatius Loyola - so argues Brendan McManus SJ.
In Contemplating the Camino - An Ignatian Guide, Fr McManus prepares would-be pilgrims spiritually, emotionally and practically for the task of walking the Camino.
In drawing on his own experience of the Camino and his background in Ignatian spirituality, he presents the pilgrimage as an experiential, reflective journey rather than a trek towards an eventual destination.
The pocket-size book is also just the right size for tucking into your backpack as you tackle your own pilgrim walk.
- Contemplating the Camino - An Ignatian Guide by Brendan McManus SJ is published by Messenger Publications, £4.50.
MORE MESS: Brendan McManus’s name is also on the cover of another new book, this time as the co-author with Jim Deeds of Deeper Into The Mess: Praying Through Tough Times.
It’s a follow-up to their best-selling Finding God in the Mess and follows a similar formula of prayer, story, Scripture, meditation and images to help readers think through real ‘where rubber hits the road’ topics such as fear, anxiety, suicide and anger.
Accessible and relevant, it would be an ideal book to support daily individual prayer, though groups would also find it useful.
- Deeper Into The Mess: Praying Through Tough Times by Brendan McManus SJ and Jim Deeds is published by Messenger Publications, £8.95.
SOCIAL ADVOCATE: Fr Richard Stanislus Devane SJ was a social advocate and campaigner in the early years of the Irish Free State, yet surprisingly little has been written about him.
Author Martin Walsh has set this right, however, with his new book Richard Devane SJ: Social Advocate and Free State Campaigner, 1876-1951.
“His opinions, beliefs and thinking were largely shaped before he joined the Jesuits in 1918,” said Dr Walsh, who hopes the book will establish “Devane within the narrative of Irish history of the early 20th century”.
“For better or worse, Devane’s fierce commitment to nurturing a new Ireland made him a major force in creating the country we know today.
“If we want to understand the Ireland that passed referenda on gay marriage and abortion we need to understand - and not forget or dismiss - the world the Irish people were responding to: Devane’s world and Devane’s Ireland.”
- Richard Devane SJ: Social Advocate and Free State Campaigner, 1876-1951 by Martin Walsh is published by Messenger Publications, £17.95.