Friday, May 16, 2008

In The Presence of Our Lord

This fine book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, and James Monti is well summed-up by Fr. Groeschel in his introduction to his section of the book, speaking of the great mysteries of the Faith:

Your head should now be reeling with the thought of all of these mysteries. If it is not, go back and read the last paragraphs over again slowly because you missed what was being said. You can never sufficiently deal with the mystery of the Eucharist or the particular subject of this book, the devotion to the presence of Christ in this sacrament, unless you have a vibrant sense of mystery and have an awesome awareness of the incredible reality of this sacrament.

The last sentence is absolutely true - if you are not at least the tiniest bit open to the possibility that the Eucharist is Jesus Himself and therefore worthy of praise and adoration this book is not for you. If, however, there is even the slightest opening this may be the book that cracks it open for you. In it you will find a mix of history and theology, fact and lore. Very Catholic, that.

The book is comprised of two sections, one by each of the authors. In Fr. Groeschel's section there were times I could almost hear his old Brooklyn voice narrating the words - he clearly was clearly putting his whole self into his writing. Given the structure of the book it should not be surprising there was some amount of overlap in parts. While repeated information can be a source of frustration, and I'll admit there were places where it was more noticeable than others, this overlap was more than offset because each author was coming at the information from different directions; Fr. Groeschel more theological, psychological and to some extent sociological, Monti more historical. The two complement each other well. I am quite glad to have read this book, and I'd be willing to bet just about anyoen else would be as well.