Monday 10 April 2017

The Donkey at the Waterwheel - Malcolm M. Kennedy - The Lay Spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá

The Donkey at the Waterwheel:
The Lay Spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá
Malcolm M. Kennedy
Scepter Press


This booklet is now available in a new eBook format. It has been completely redone and is a wonderful little gem. I believe that there were originally just over 200 booklets in the series that were available in English and it is a great blessing that they are being made available again. I do not know if Malcom M. Kennedy wrote any other booklets in this series but this one is a great little read.

The chapters in this booklet are:
Opus Dei is born
A hunted priest
Human and supernatural
Work not an obstacle
Jesus the artisan
A triple dimension
A clerical misunderstanding
God plays with his children
To be little
Fires of hope
Homily: Passionately Loving the World
About Scepter

The first part of the book is part history of Opus Dei, Part biography of St. Josemaria Escriva and a bit of personal reflection from the author. The second part of the book is one of Saint Josemaria's homilies, Passionately Loving the World. And together the 42 pages in this volume bring encouragement, and reminders about what we are here, and what our role should be. Here are a few of the sections I highlighted while reading through this book. I hope this sampling will pique your interest in pursuing this read.

"Try to remember what a donkey is like - now that so few of them are left. Not an old, stubborn, vicious one that would give a kick when you least expected, but a young one with his ears up like antennae. He lives on a meagre diet, is hard working and has a quick cheerful trot. There are hundreds of animals more beautiful, more deft and strong. But it was a donkey Christ chose when he presented himself to the people as king in response to their acclamation. For Jesus has no time for calculations, for astuteness, for the cruelty of cold hearts, for attractive but empty beauty. What he likes is the cheerfulness of a young heart, a simple step, a natural voice, clean eyes, attention to his affectionate word of advice. That is how he reigns in the soul."

"No! We cannot lead a double life if we want to be Christians. There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God. We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things.
There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualize them, turning them into a means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ."

"I must finish now. I told you at the beginning that I wanted to announce to you something of the greatness and mercy of God. I think I have done so, in talking to you about sanctifying your everyday life. A holy life in the midst of secular reality, lived without fuss, with simplicity, with truthfulness. Is this not today the most moving manifestation of the magnalia Dei (Sir 18:5), of those prodigious mercies which God has always worked, and does not cease to work, in order to save the world?"

And then the book concludes with these words from Saint Josemaria Escriva: "Faith, finally, my beloved daughters and sons, to show the world that all this is not just ceremonies and words, but a divine reality, by presenting to mankind the testimony of an ordinary life which is made holy, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and of holy Mary."

This is one of the original Scepter booklets; in fact it was booklet 165. It is now available for in a wonderful eBook edition, along with many other booklets from the series. Scepter is in the process of updating all of the old booklets and making them available in a new format and presentation. I have read a number of the booklets and look forward to them all being available again. This book and the whole series are amazing resources to help you grow in your faith. And you really cannot beat the price!

PDF for free from Scepter.
Or Kindle edition for great price.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

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