It’s the middle of the second week of Advent already. There will be Rose vestments next Sunday. Advent half over and where are we with our devotions? Well settled? Not yet started? I normally find myself in the latter group rather than the former.
But I have a secret weapon in the best spiritual reading book on the planet (in my humble opinion): This Tremendous Lover. Written by a Trappist monk in 1945. Dom Eugene Boylan’s wrote his classic spiritual work for everybody, religious, priests and the laity. His insights into a perfect relationship with Christ are incredible.
As the blurb on the back of my copy says: “This book takes the question of personal sanctity and relates it to a Pauline vision of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. It offers a spiritual reading experience that is very old and yet ever new, a book which, when read again and again, remains remarkably fresh and inspiring.”
One of the upsides of This Tremendous Lover is it need not be read in order, though doing so at least once would be good as Fr. Boylan is clearly developing ideas in sequence. When I return to it, though, I just open to some chapter that catches my fancy and start in.
It is easy to read Fr. Boylan, so easy that I often feel like I’m missing things as each sentence pulls me along to read the next. To compensate, I usually mark my place behind where I stop so I can reread things next time.
To give just a hint of the treasure of This Tremendous Lover, here is a portion of the paragraph where my bookmark is currently located within the chapter entitled Christ, Our Sacrifice and Supplement.
“Christ lived a life of complete and humble abandonment to the will of His Father. His whole life was one of interior sacrifice of Himself to God. He gave ritual expression to this interior sacrifice by the external sacrifice of the cross. He has given us this external sacrifice by the Mass and in the Mass, for our very own, to express our interior sacrifice to God. This interior sacrifice of ours must then be like His: a sincere, humble and complete abandonment to the will of our Father in heaven, not only at the moment of the Mass − but in every moment of our lives.”
(Naturally, you can find Fr. Boylan’s book on Amazon in hardback and paperback. If you go there to get a copy, consider using the smile.amazon.com URL and choosing the Fund for Vocations as your charitable beneficiary.)
However you are preparing yourself for the feast of Christmas, may your soul be filled with hope in these times which seem most hopeless.