Dale Ahlquist (Compiler)
Pauline Books & Media
This is the first book in the Classic Wisdom Collection from Pauline that I have read. It was an excellent volume. This series is designed to provide for: "for time-tested guidance for the dilemmas of the spiritual life? Find it in the company of the wise spiritual masters of our Catholic tradition." And if this is an example it delivers on that promise. This book was compiled by Dale Ahlquist, and he also wrote the forward. He is considered one of the foremost North American experts on Chesterton, if not in the world. He states in the forward: "But what is left out takes nothing away from the passages packed into this small volume. The choices here reflect those parts of the path to holiness that have drawn so many people to Chesterton-especially his wonder, his goodness, and his overflowing joy."
The sections in this book are:
Faith, Hope, and Charity
The Christian Ideal
Joy: the Gigantic Secret of the Christian
Each section in the book comprises numerous quotes from a number of Chesterton's works. Some are almost two pages in length and others are single lines. A few examples are:
"Knowledge and innocence are both excellent things, and they are both very funny. But it is right that knowledge should be the servant and innocence the master."
-Excerpt from the Introduction, The Pickwick Papers
"The soul does not die by sin but by impenitence."
-Excerpt from "The Return of the Romans," The Resurrection of Rome
"The whole object of poetry and mysticism, the whole object of all religions and of all philosophies not invented by the devil, is to make us value good things."
-Excerpt from Daily News, December 24, 1904
"The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues today has all the exhilaration of a vice."
-Excerpt from "In Defence of a New Edition," The Defendant
"The only argument against losing faith is that you also lose hope-and generally charity."
-Excerpt from Hearst's Magazine, January 13, 1918
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."-Excerpt from "The Unfinished Temple," What's Wrong with the World
At the end of the boom is a section of Editor's notes, chapter by chapter, and also an extensive bibliography. The bibliography contains books, by and about G.K. Chesterton, Periodicals, and a few other resources. So if you are new to Chesterton or his works this book is not only a great introduction but also a jumping off point to lead you further into studies on the man or his works.
This was a wonderful volume to read. I counted and I highlighted 37 passages on my first reading. It is an excellent overview of Chesterton's thought. I know I will be reading more Chesterton soon and likely more books in this series. I can highly recommend this book. And if the other books in the series as nearly as good then I can recommend those as well!
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!
Books in the Classic Wisdom Collection:
Be Not Afraid: Wisdom from John Paul II
Christ in Our Midst: Wisdom from Caryll Houselander
Comfort in Hardship: Wisdom from Thérèse of Lisieux
Courage in Chaos: Wisdom from Francis de Sales
Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Intimacy in Prayer: Wisdom from Bernard of Clairvaux
Life's Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman
Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena
Peace in Prayer: Wisdom from Teresa of Avila
Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII
Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez
A Simple Life: Wisdom from Jane Frances de Chantal
Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis
Strength in Darkness: Wisdom from John of the Cross