The Third List

The first book on my list is The Brothers Karamazov. When Dorothy Day is canonized, you will be glad that you took her word for it.

The second that I jotted down immediately on hearing from you: An Interrupted Life.
This is the autobiography of Etty Hillesum and I believe that a biography published recently is thought to be a great piece of work, but I have yet to see it. This most secular woman’s entry into prayer is a beautiful progress in a Nazi era that can stand for our debased society.
Etty Hillesum was Jewish and the next title I scribbled was by Rabbi Abraham Heschel,
The Prophets. I would love to introduce a stronger student to the writings of another Jewish woman, thought by some to be the great intellectual of her time, Simone Weil.

I’m sending the list by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, because you will enjoy the fact that you are not alone in your quest for a top ten of books, but also because I got a kick out of the fact that neither of my two selections made his list.

In the role of teacher, the Deacon should know The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire. Educators know more elaborate (and less accessible) understandings of the science but, after Freire, people can go to them.

The Cost of Discipleship is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Church-reforming masterpiece, but the reflections in Letters and Papers from Prison have a special power.

Give all your friends a CD of Alec Guinness or Paul Scofield reading the poetry of T.S. Eliot. Their reservations about understanding Eliot will dissolve if the Catholic convert Sir Alec or the A Man for All Seasons star reads along with them. The Wasteland, which first set the world on its ear, and The Four Quartets, which is jam-packed with mystical theology of Saint John of the Cross, are shamelessly quoted by preachers like myself.

The Thomas Merton that took America by storm and is still a world-wide seller is The Seven Storey Mountain. He wrote a hundred works, as he moved through his thirties and onwards during twenty six monastic years. The Sign of Jonas journals his first happy years in the monastery. Then comes New Seeds of Contemplation. Choices very much depend on how someone is moving. You do well to remember that while much beautiful Catholicism is heavily influenced by Desert Fathers and monastics, the secular world is given to the deacon as his mission. Merton importantly wrote Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

I would have to say that the little book on the Scriptures that resounded for me was Walter Brueggeman’s The Prophetic Imagination. I made him rich, giving copies to all and sundry. What is the thread that connects all those diverse documents that comprise a bible? Is it Presence? Is it …. You have your own answer. This little book suggests it is an understanding that we call prophecy. If you become Brueggemann-influenced, there is Praying the Psalms, which is meanigful for those who are committed to the office. You may remember that I gave The Bible Makes Sense, one chapter at a time, to theĀ  Christ Renews meetings.

Well, that makes eight choices. I hold two in reserve.

One thought on “The Third List

  1. The Third List

    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, Deacon Gerry Palermo wrote:

    > Gerry Palermo posted: ” The first book on my list is The Brothers > Karamazov. When Dorothy Day is canonized, you will be glad that you took > her word for it.The second that I jotted down immediately on hearing from > you: An Interrupted Life.This is the autobiography of Etty Hilles” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.