Tuesday 19 June 2018

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints - Father John S. Hogan

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints
Fr. John S. Hogan
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781784691721
eISBN 9781784694517

In the last few weeks I have read three and am currently reading a fourth book by Father John S. Hogan. His writings were my introduction into modern books by the Catholic Truth Society. I came across them while trying to track down some booklets by Alice Curtayne written between the 1930's and 80's. I am so thankful I came across this series, this author and, books from the Catholic Truth Society. This booklet is an excellent read and part of a great series. Being completely honest this is one of the fruit of the spirit that I need to work on most and have been for year. 

In the introduction of this booklet in the section 'Called to Holiness' Father Hogan States:

"In the Sacrament of Confirmation each one of us experienced a personal Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on us and conferred upon us what the Church calls "the fruits of the Holy Spirit". These are not just pious-sounding attributes of God, but rather, thanks to the effects of the Sacrament, real graces offered to us to be embraced and used in our daily lives to help us advance in holiness. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that we are all called to holiness; indeed, one of the main themes of that Council is the universal call to holiness - it is one of the aims of the reforms of the Council. Our life here on earth is one in which we are meant to grow in holiness, become saints and offer to the Church and the world an example of faithful Christian living - to be, as St Elizabeth of the Trinity understood, a praise of glory for God.

This series of booklets, Living Fruitfully, is concerned with the battle for holiness in contemporary life, exploring the fruits of the Spirit, and drawing modern Christians' attention to the reality of grace, its powerful work and the fact that Christ's victory can be proclaimed in the soul even now in our earthly lives. This is the testimony of the saints who, though still struggling and suffering with their weaknesses and sins, lived their lives in Christ's and were sustained by the fruits of the Spirit in their manner of life, be they popes, bishops, priests, or religious, or laymen and women, married or unmarried. While the gifts of the Spirit are given to individuals and may differ - some are called to be apostles, some to be teachers, for example - the fruits of the Spirit are to be given to all and can be lived by all regardless of their state in life and particular vocation. That includes all of us. It is God's intention that you and I may act upon what the Spirit seeks to give us, so that we may be sustained and transformed; strong and holy; fit for mission and for the kingdom of heaven."

This book and this series are great tools. They can be used for personal study, group study. And I believe that anyone who reads these books with an open heart will experience growth. Speaking about the fruit of the spirit being multiple fruits Father Hogan states:

"Scholars are divided as to whether this was intentional on Paul's part, but whether it was or not, it serves to remind us that the life of a Christian, governed by the work of the Holy Spirit, is an integrated life, a fully human life, a life ordered and graced."

And as such the fruit are not singular but part of a whole. As we work on one, we will see progress and development in other area's. Each of us has areas where we struggle more than others. Hogan declares:

"They are given by the Holy Spirit to those who are struggling to live their lives in Christ, but who have embraced the Christian life and are practising virtue as well as they can. They are not habits, and so are not virtues; rather they are actions which reveal that the one that produces them is living a life conformed to Christ. While they are given freely as gifts, we are to co-operate with them in order to be brought to complete conformity with Christ and so to perfection. They are not given to those who have already achieved heroic sanctity, but rather they are means through which a human being is brought to heroic sanctity. They are medicinal, healing and strengthening and are intended to be given to all."

And those words are so encouraging. I really needed to hear that. In Galatians 5:24 Saint Paul names the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And Saint Jerome adds three to the list generosity, modesty and chastity; bringing the list to 12. Currently there are books for 5, I have read three of them and they are excellent reads. I recommend the book; the series; and I sincerely hope that the series continues to cover the rest of the fruit. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley

Other Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales

Devotions to St Thomas Becket

Author profile and interview with father John S. Hogan

No comments: