Monday 10 February 2020

Dominic - J.B. Midgley - CTS Great Saints

CTS Great Saints
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824524
eISBN 9781784693787
CTS Booklet B693

In just over the last 2 years I have read over 100 books from the Catholic Truth society. This was the ninth volume by Midgley that I have read, and the third in the Great Saints Series. I have read many in the Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved almost all of them. After reading this volume and others by Midgley, am I not only trying to track down all the 26 books written by Midgley for the CTS but have now added several others in this series to my wish list from other authors. This book was published in 2007 and the eBook edition in 2017. Considering how good this and other books by Midgley are I really hope that CTS releases all of his works in eBook format. But back to this volume. The description of this book is:

“Some 800 years ago Dominic Guzman and his ‘Order of Preachers’ criss-crossed the inhospitable paths of Europe to preach the Gospel and to combat the half-truths of their day. Born of a noble family of Old Castile, a model student, he spurned privilege for a life devoted to Christ. An amazing tale of faith and courage, and of the rich legacy of the Dominicans.”

And the chapters in this volume are:

Preaching the Gospel in Europe
Dominic: the formative years
The Albigensian Crusade
An Order of Preachers
The wider mission: God gives the increase
Return to Italy
Further expansion planned
Task accomplished: heaven beckons
Devotion to Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic’s Legacy

In writing about the world that Dominic was born into Midgley states:

“However, such advances had not yet helped the Faith of those who now dwelt in expanding towns and cities. The parish system was largely rural, and parish priests had difficulty in taking adequate care of the urban, often impoverished laity. Into such a world God sent the Friars, (Fr, frères, or brothers) who followed two remarkable men in changing the face of mediaeval Christianity.”

The two men he was speaking of were Saint Francis and Saint Dominic. Later he states:

“The Franciscans and Dominicans won the confirmation of the Holy See in 1210 and 1216 respectively. They cherished poverty in a search for spiritual riches that outshines preoccupation with earthly goods, and dedicated their lives to Christ who advised taking “nothing for the journey, neither staff nor haversack, nor bread, nor money, nor even a spare coat and footwear.” Like the monks, they were devoted to liturgical worship, but their separation from the world differed from that of the monastery as they combined contemplation with social activity.”

In part the first section of the book compares and contrasts the men and methods of Francis and Dominic. But from the end of that section we dive into the life and ministry of Dominic. We are told:

“Dominic wanted to experience the truth of God’s Word and share with others the news of His universal and constant love and compassion for all His people. He was convinced that he was called to evangelise by his presence in the world and by living a life that reflects the goodness of the Creator. He founded an Order that is truly Apostolic in its emulation of Our Lord who went about the land on foot, preaching to the people, making time for them, being available to His disciples, and gathering disciples to take the Good News to the corners of the earth.”

From there the book is equal part a history of the man and of the Dominicans as an order. Following both to the end of Dominic’s life and beyond. It is a wonderfully crafter introduction and short history of both.

It is an excellent little read, in a great series, buy one of my favourite authors. I have already picked up nearly a dozen more of Midgley’s and others in the Great Saints Series to read. Not that there are not lots of other books about Saint Dominic, but I would love to go deeper using some of the same sources as Midgely, as highlighted in the acknowledgements. A great read and another excellent volume from the Catholic Truth Society. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B. Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B. Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B. Midgley
Dominic - J.B. Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B. Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B. Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B. Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B. Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Patrick Missionary to the Irish - Thomas O’Loughlin 

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