Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: An Infinity of Little Hours

I have always had an interest in the contemplative side of the Catholic faith.  One of my favorite authors is Thomas Merton, both his spiritual writings, and his history of the Trappist Order.  Show me a book on monastic communities, and you will see me seated in the corner, thumbing through it.

Some years ago, my wife and I were staying in Boston, so she could attend a talk by Wayne Dyer.  With time on my hands, I read the papers and discovered that the documentary film on the Carthusians of Grande Chartreuse, by Philip Groening, "Into Great Silence," was playing in Cambridge.  I was able to see the movie, and was blown away.  So much so that when my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I asked for the DVD of the movie.

Now I just recently discovered this book by Nancy Klein Maguire, entitled "An Infinity of Little Hours," published in 2006 by Public Affairs.  It is essentially the story of five men from America, Ireland, England, and Europe, who enter the Carthusian Charterhouse of Parkminster, England, during the early 1960's.  The author describes their lives as they go through the formation program, each seeking to discern if God is calling them to become hermit monks.  We see what their lives where like, the challenges, the struggles, and moments of peace and joy.  We get to know what it means to be a Carthusian, the history of the Order, and the demands and sacrifices it requires from their members.  In the end, only one of the five men remained in the Order.

The work of discerning one's vocation in this world can be just a challenging for us laity.  How much of what we decide to do with our lives comes from our parents, or society's expectations.  Some of us find our calling right away, others not after many years.  We may be surprised by the Spirit, and find that we are being pushed down another path.  One thing I think all of us, clergy, religious, and lay, are definitely called to, are to lives of holiness.  And this holiness is achieved by following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I liked it. It wasn't overly schmaltzy, the way these books can be.