My Reading Challenge Pick for…”A work of poetry by a Catholic author”

Are you participating in the 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge? If not, it’s never too late to start — join us! I share my picks for each category about once a month. So far, the categories have been diversifying my reading life, particularly this next pick…

Category: “A work of poetry by a Catholic author”

My Pick: The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

I stumbled across a very helpful post at The Catholic Gentleman while determining what poet I should read for this category. It was a hard choice, but I ended up going with Gerard Manley Hopkins. No regrets here. (And now I have a solid list of remaining poets to work my way through next. First runner-up: Edith Sitwell.) Disclaimer: I’m not sure if the edition I linked to on Amazon is the exact one that I read, since my copy was a wonderful old and falling apart hardback from the library. However, I’m sure that most collections would have all of the same poems.

What I loved…

Hopkins’ faith and Catholic identity come through strongly in his poetry. There is a good bit that is symbolic, and then there are a good many poems that are commemorative. (Admittedly, I lacked the context for fully understanding some of them.) For example, he wrote a beautiful poem in commemoration of a group of nuns who drowned in a shipwreck. When reading selections such as these, I thought of him as a eulogist. There was also some moving symbolism used with the Blessed Mother, a fairly common subject in his poetry as well. Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for…”A work of poetry by a Catholic author””

My Last 2 Picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge

It’s the end of the year and the end of the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge! I’ve been sharing what I’m reading throughout the year for each one, and here are my last two picks…

Category: A Book on Catholic Spirituality Written More Than 100 Years Ago

My Pick: The Spiritual Canticle by St. John of the Cross

 

Category: A Book by Bishop Robert Barron

My Pick: Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master 

Little did I know when I picked these two books how well they paired together, and I just happened to read them back to back. St. John of the Cross was a devoted student of St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings, and The Spiritual Canticle (a work of verse similar to the Song of Solomon) is steeped in Thomist philosophy. You initially become aware of this from reading the introduction to St. John’s work, but this Thomist theme became even more apparent when I subsequently read Barron’s book.

I want to mentioned a couple of themes from each book, but I would first stress that both share the characteristic of being works that deeply nourish the spiritual life and offer much in the way of spiritual direction and insights for extensive meditation, though written centuries apart and in much different styles. Continue reading “My Last 2 Picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge”