For most of my life I have been a casual reader. The only time I really had time for a book was on business trips and on vacation. Since I retired, however, my habits in this regard have changed markedly. I now am almost reading one or more books. Likewise the topics have changed. I used to read mostly business related best sellers. Then I got hooked on biographies and 18th and 19th classic literature which I never read as a student. Most recently I added the genre usually referred to as “religion and spirituality.” My latest reading in this latter category is Archbishop (now Cardinal) Timothy Dolan’s Called To Be Holy which was first published in 2002. I’m just getting to it!
Dolan’s book is an interesting collection of chapters (eleven chapters and 158 pages) focused on the title, i.e., becoming holy. The chapter titles give you some more insight, namely, Being Good Stewards, Faith, Hope, Humility, Love and Chastity, Human Formation, Patience, Penance, Joy, Obedience, Devotion to Our Lady. In the process, he weaves scriptural references and practical notes and anecdotes from his personal history delivered with a healthy sense of humor that is often at his own expense. One example is this line found in his chapter on Love and Chastity:
“We are called to be men and women tho love and share that
love with the people we serve, and if we cannot do it with love,
there’s no use doing it. All the knowledge about God and
spiritual training in the world won’t amount to a plate of gnocchi
if we do not have love when we’re doing it.”
“We are not defined by what we do, how much we earn or produce, or
what we achieve, but by who we are, and we are usually closest to
God when we are weakest, emptiest, and lowest. To admit that takes
humility… and can drive a pragmatist nuts.
I’m not sure who recommended Cardinal Dolan’s book, but I recommend it to you if you have not read it already. I got it on Amazon for only $5.84 and have since bought five more. It seems especially perfect gift for people the author describes as having “an upbeat, hopeful attitude…who exhibit a sense of cheer and confidence, even in the midst of suffering, setback, and difficulty.”