Monday 1 February 2021

The Prince of Peace - Alban Goodier - Meditations for Advent and Christmas

The Prince of Peace: 
Meditations for Advent and Christmas
Alban Goodier
ISBN 9781594172687
eISBN 9781594172694

This was the first book by Alban Goodier that I have rea, but it will not be the last. In fact, I am already looking forward to his book for Lent. In the long description of this volume, we are told:

“The Most Rev. Alban Goodier (1869-1939) was a British-born Jesuit priest who served as archbishop of Bombay, India. During his thirty-five years as priest, he wrote over a dozen books on the spiritual life. He is best known for his poignant meditations on the life of Christ.”

We are also informed that:

“This book will uplift you spiritually in preparation for Christmas with 60 short Advent and Christmas meditations. Two meditations per day will provide you with stimulating spiritual preparation for Christmas over the 30 day period between Advent to Christmas.”

I started Advent trying to do one meditation first thing in the morning and the second at lunch time. But it ended up being more of a morning and evening exercise. This volume was originally published in 1915 and received both the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. This is a reprint of the English edition originally published in 1947. The original English title of the book was The Prince of Peace for Advent and Christmas. 

A sample meditation is: 


The Spouse of Mary

‘Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. . . . For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.’ —Jas 2:20–24, 26 

1. The time being imminent, it was essential that Mary should be given a husband and a protector. The Jews must have been aware of this, too; for it was a traditional desire among the maidens of the chosen people that they might perhaps, when married, be selected to be the mother of the Messiah. We have already seen that one easily discovers types of Our Lady in the Old Testament; therefore, we should not wonder that we also find anticipations of her spouse, St. Joseph. The faithful servant of Abraham, who brought Rebecca from Mesopotamia and protected her on her way; the faithful guardian Mordecai, who protected Esther, and directed her in her great task of saving her people—these and others would seem to foreshadow the Protector of Mary. 

2. Most of all, he is seen in his namesake, Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel; and this anticipation would seem to be sanctioned by the Church in freely using the story of one for the glory of the other in the Divine Office. Joseph the dreamer; Joseph sent into obscurity in Egypt; Joseph unknown and unnoticed, though coming of a noble line; Joseph the spotless virgin, whose purity could not be sullied; Joseph entrusted with the care of a kingdom, so that “go to Joseph” becomes the cry of hope for a whole people—one must ask if these things are said of the old Joseph or the new, so perfectly does the type correspond with the antitype. 

3. In all these foreshadowings, much prepares us for the character and elevation of St. Joseph. Scripture tells us nothing of his early life; even the Apocrypha say less about him than about Mary or Jesus. This is in keeping with the spirit and nature of the man as revealed in his later action. St. Joseph is the man unknown, whose selflessness is perfect, who has no history of his own but lives only in others, for others, fulfilling the bidding of God. He is prepared from within, perhaps all unconsciously even to himself, for the great dignity designed for him—the husband of Mary, the foster-father and guardian of the Holy Child, the patron of the Universal Church. In meditation, we may try to understand what that preparation may signify or include, but we can never fully know or comprehend it. Still, these things we can assume: the spouse of Mary will himself be the most innocent of men; the Guardian of Jesus will be perfect in wisdom and prudence; the Patron of the Church will be filled with zeal for the glory of the House of God. 


1. It is reasonable to see an anticipation of St. Joseph in the Old Testament, as in the servant of Abraham, Mordecai, etc. 

2. We see it above all in the other Joseph, whose life has many parallels with that of St. Joseph himself. 

3. We have abundant matter for meditation about his early life by pondering the silent training of the future trusted servant of God.”

I must admit I struggled with the dual entries using this as a devotional. I found it hard to get consistent with time. I did find it a very moving book. And One I will likely reread either next Advent or the one after. 

It is a much more in depth set of reflections for the season. And some of them I had to reread to get them. I will however state it is an excellent volume. And as stated I look forward to his Lent reflections. 

While researching for this review I found that he had written over a dozen books. Many of which are in public domain. There are some with a few different titles. But if the others are as in-depth and deep as this one they are worth tracking down and giving a try.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Alban Goodier:
50 Meditations on the Passion
From Sex Addict to Saint- Margaret of Cortona
Good Galilean
Jesus Christ, the Son of God
Risen Jesus
Saints for Sinners: Nine Desolate Souls Made Strong by God
The Crown of Sorrow
The Inner Life of the Catholic
The Jesuits
The Meaning of Life: The Catholic Answer
The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: An Interpretation (Vol. I)
The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: An Interpretation (Vol. II)
The School of Love: and Other Essays
The Secret of St. Joseph
Witnesses to Christ: Studies in the Holy Gospels

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