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Monday, 15 October 2018

Wisdom from Pope Paul VI - Saint Pope Paul VI and Mary Leonora Wilson FSP

Wisdom from Pope Paul VI
Saint Pope Paul VI
Mary Leonora Wilson FSP
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819883773
eISBN 9780819883780
ASIN B07JBQXT75

 


This book was published just prior to the canonization of Pope Paul VI. Saint Paul VI holds a level of personal fascination for me, he was pope when I was born, and I remember his passing as one of my earliest memories. This book contains a brief biography of Paul VI, contains a number of selections of his works either from talks, addresses or his writings, each ends with a prayer. And the final section is a collection of prayers attributed to Paul VI. Mary Leonora Wilson FSP is the person who wrote the brief biography and compiled this volume. She states in the introduction:

"I was thrilled when I heard that Pope Paul VI was going to be canonized; he has been a mentor and model to me for more than fifty years. This mentoring started-even though I wasn't aware of it-when I was just a teenager. I entered the congregation of the Daughters of Saint Paul on June 29, 1963, the same day that Pope Paul VI was crowned. The coronation ceremony was fascinating, but foreign to me. It was like opening a time capsule. Little did I know, I was witnessing the elaborate ceremony for the last time. The coronation was just one of the many trappings of aristocracy that would be removed, prompted by subsequent decisions of Pope Paul VI to simplify the papacy and render it more evangelical."

She also says:

"In those early days I was especially impressed with his love for Christ and the Church, his insistence on dialogue and ecumenism, his concern about rampant injustice and escalating violence in the world, and his unwavering serenity and gentleness despite harsh public criticism. I was particularly touched by his compassion, fired by his missionary vision, and awed by the way he embraced and carried the Cross of Christ. Pope Paul VI stoked the fire of my own love of Christ. More by his life than by his words, he taught me what it means to be a disciple of the Master. His weekly addresses illuminated my theology studies, and as I studied Scripture I began to recognize that he was indeed a contemporary prophet. He became "my pope.""

The sections in this book are:

Introduction
A Brief Biography
Faith

     Life Is You, O God!
     Don't Be Afraid
     Believe in Christ
     Immersed in God

Love
     God Loves Us!
     God IS Love
     Respond to Divine Love
     Love Is the Art of Peace

Eucharist
     Mystery of Love
     Extraordinary Bread
     Real Presence
     Mystery of Faith

Mary, Our Mother
     Devotion to Mary
     Look to Mary
     Mother of Christ
     The Rosary

Prayer
     Inner Silence
     Need of Prayer
     Jesus Prays
     Personal Prayer

Joy
     God Is Our Happiness
     Serene in Christ
     Easter Joy
     Joy in the Church

Courage
     Christianity Is Demanding
     Live by Hope
     The Christian Lifestyle
     Christ Is for Us

Evangelization
     We Have Good News!
     God's Great Plan
     Epiphany Proclamation
     Now Is the Time

Selected Prayers
     Make Us Worthy, Lord
     Abandonment in God
     A Prayer for Faith
     Prayer for Peace
     Come, Holy Spirit
     Lord, I Believe
     Prayer to Mary, Our Mother
     A Priest's Prayer to Mary
     A Prayer for Vocations
     Blessed Are We
   
This book is an excellent little volume. For those with a devotion to Paul VI it will help it grow. For those who do not have a devotion It is packed with some amazing prayers and wisdom. And for casual readers it will open up the man, his though and his faith to you. And because of the design and format it can be read through from beginning to end, or randomly read sections as they pick your interest. One of the things I love most were the prayers, both the section of prayers at the end, but also the ones at the end of each chapter. This book is worth more than the price even if only used as a prayer book. My favorite prayer from the selected prayers on my first reading through is:

"Make Us Worthy, Lord

Make us worthy, Lord,
to serve our fellow men
throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them today, through our hands,
their daily bread,
and through our understanding love,
give peace and joy. Amen."


Some of the prayers from the ends of chapters that I highlighted are:

"Jesus Master, I believe in you. Make me a true disciple-not merely in words, but in how I live my life. The standards of the world are so different from those you preached. Grant me the courage to be true to who I am-a Christian, a follower of you, Lord. You are my Way, my Truth, and my Life."

"Jesus, loving Master, your life is one great lesson in love! You say to me, "As I have done, so are you to do." I desire to follow you in the way of love by reaching out to those who need my help, listening to those who need understanding, resonating with those who need compassion, and encouraging those who need to be urged on. Help me always remember that it is you inviting me in my brother and sister."

"My hope, O Lord, is in you. You are my Way, my Truth, my Life; my one and supreme good. Help me to never lose sight of my ultimate destination or be detoured by the maze of slogans clamoring for my attention. Keep my heart and my gaze fixed on you, who give meaning to everything in and around me."

"Jesus Master, living the Gospel is not always easy and I often find myself challenged in living humility, patience, gentleness, and reconciliation, and bearing with one another in love. But with you, all things are possible and you have promised every grace to those who ask. So I ask you to help me live, generously and un-afraid, the Christian life as you modeled it."

"Jesus Incarnate, let me be like the star that by its glow leads others to you. May I always witness to you by what I think and say and do. In whatever ways I can, I want to spread your Good News to as many persons as possible, for you alone give meaning to our lives. May everyone know you, love you, and follow you, Lord."

The single passage from the writings of Paul VI that is really sticking with me is:

"Beloved sons and daughters! Let us maintain the desire for a life modeled after the Christian lifestyle. The Christian lifestyle is not always easy. It is, we know, a demanding style of living, sometimes inconvenient, and not always fashionable. But remember: it must not be judged only by what it takes away, but evaluated by what it gives. And if it is engraved on us by the law of sacrifice, that is, by the Cross, remember, or rather, experience for yourselves the paradox characteristic of the Christian way of life. It consists in an extraordinary and simultaneous fusion of braking and thrusting, of moderation and vitality, of sorrow and joy. The present life finds in this lifestyle its highest and fullest expression, as Saint Paul said: "I am overjoyed in all our affliction" (2 Cor 7:4).

May God help all of us impress on our modern life a new style, sweet and austere, the Christian lifestyle."


I hope this sampling of prayers and quotes will inspire you to pick up this book and give it a read. It is an excellent little volume and I know that I will be returning to it again and again!.

Saint Pope Paul VI pray for us.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books by or about Pope Paul VI:
Love's True Meaning The Message of Humanae Vitae 50 Years On - Fr Anthony Doe
Paul VI - Anthony Symondson- CTS Biographies
Wisdom from Pope Paul VI - Mary Leonora Wilson FSP



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