Our selection of spiritual books for November 2022

The Glory of the good-for-nothings, by Sylvain Detoc

“O God, defend the pure against their purity! Climbing too high in an air that is too sharp, too hard, sometimes the heart breaks and the blood spurts out. wrote Marie Noel. Yes, blood is spurting out in the Church today, for so-called “angels” often turn out to be “beasts”. Isn’t there then an urgent need to put an end to this fantasy of a purely spiritual Christian life and to come back down into the flesh, into “the narrow warmth of human dwellings” what did the poetess cherish? The author of this invigorating and humorous essay is convinced of this. From a reading ” down to earth “and even at “grass of daisies”, of the history of salvation, the Dominican points out that God has a weakness for the weak, the “under-gifted”. “God wants to bring forth a people dedicated to him? He recruits Abraham, a nonagenarian flanked by a sterile woman, Sara. (…). God wants to rescue his people from bondage (…)? He hires a stuttering leader, little gifted for politics: Moïse. »

These “casting errors” are repeated in both the Old and New Testaments. ” Rock ? A coward and a renegade. James and John, the sons of Zebedee? Ambitious. Matthew? A “collaborator”. Paul? A fanatic…” Good for nothing, yes, they are, but it is to them that the Lord has entrusted his Word. And they have a secret to teach us: “the art of being earthy”. It’s about not evacuating “the minerality of our human paste”, but on the contrary to consent to it and to offer it to God. “‘Give me your human mud’, says God, ‘and I will make divine gold out of it.’ » Divine alchemy! AV
Deer, €16.

Dorothy Day, a rebel in paradise, by Mathilde Montovert

Single mother, journalist, activist… and perhaps, one day, a saint? Carried by young believers with a social fiber, Dorothy Day continues to make its way in France today. A radical figure of American social Catholicism, she founded the Catholic Workers in 1936. A movement at the service of the poorest “for a Christian communism, as practiced in Catholic monasteries and by the first Christians”, she writes.

In a new biography published in France, Mathilde Montovert, a lay consecrated to the Chemin Neuf, undertakes to summarize the life of this woman with an exceptional career, whose beatification process was opened in the Vatican, without hiding her protesting side. The book is first thought of as a practical manual to inspire action from a Catholic perspective, with pictograms to help you find your bearings. Ideal for chaplaincies or prayer groups. CS
First part, 16 €.

His life passed into yours, letters on mourning, by Rainer Maria Rilke

The words that the Austrian poet addressed to his loved ones mourning a mother, a husband or a brother reach us and touch us from nearly a century away. With him, we learn to look death in the face without losing face. We understand that the very pain of bereavement is a ” life experience “. So we must not close the breach opened by the sword, but accept it, cross it, sink into it. It is at this price that the unity of death and life appears to us. “All the people who have been part of our universe in life remain present forever. Everywhere, Sidie. In life and death. We have to live with the two inside of us, to keep this intimate bond. » Do these letters of condolence console us? Yes, but this consoling power comes from further away, from deeper than the writer. “No one can come to help and console except by grace” Rilke knew that well. AV
The Beautiful Letters, €13.

Prayer for the present times, by Olivier Leborgne

This little book, without fuss or side effects, questions our faith in the face of a world resolved to abandon the most fragile on the altar of the market and profit. The Bishop of Arras delivers a prayer in the form of a reflection which provokes our attitude as Christians in the face of the present times. He does this by recounting a personal experience in contact with Calais migrants, sharing his questions, his embarrassment, sometimes his anger. The book does not contain recipes or answers to the tragedies of our society, but calls for a ” disturbance “, to set out to meet those in suffering, with whom we must reaffirm a common humanity. Along with a refreshing reframing of the “roots” and ” blade “ of our country, too often exploited, but above all shaped by charity. FM
Threshold, €16.50.

It’s me, Francois, by Edith Bruck, with an unpublished preface by Pope Francis

Upon release of his book French toast in 2021, the sovereign pontiff expressly left the Vatican to pay a fraternal visit to the Italian writer Edith Bruck, the great voice of Holocaust survivors. Between the head of the Catholic Church and the atheist intellectual, a strong bond has been woven, on which Edith Bruck meditates here in her overwhelmingly sincere way. From the guilty feeling of feeling moved as a Jew by this exceptional encounter, the reflection widens to the painful relations between the two religions, to the responsibility of Catholicism in anti-Semitism, which pushed Francis to say “sorry” and to the common will for peace. Edith Bruck offers the poems which count for her as so many prayers (those of the Hungarians Miklos Radnoti and Attila Josef), evokes the horror of the war in Ukraine and pushes her contemporaries to a burst of humanity. Heart touching. CM
Threshold, €12 (in bookshops on November 12).

Our selection of spiritual books for November 2022