365 Days of Catholic Wisdom: A Treasury of Truth, Beauty and Goodness published by TAN Books is the second year-long devotional featured in this series this year. What is with The Catholic Man and daily devotionals? I am not a Catholic guy who have used devotionals a whole lot, mainly because I have a reading routine, especially with review copies received (every read has been exciting and insightful… the reviews on here hopefully speaks to that) and so I get a good chunk of my spiritual reading from the books I get, as well as those in my personal library, mainly from book sales or as gifts. However, not many people can get spiritual reading done. Perhaps other priorities take over that chunk of reading time. Maybe spiritual reading is just not something you are willing to chip out time for… there can be excuse upon excuse to not do spiritual reading.
If you want to get in a good habit of doing some spiritual reading, devotionals are way to get started, and I think TAN Books’ 365 Day of Catholic Wisdom does this well. There are 365 daily readings contained within this volume that does not start on any particular day. YOU get to choose when to start. It may be January 1? Or a particular feast day of a saint? Or on your birthday? While I think it is encouragable to go through the book 365 days straight, without any calendar-structure, you can technically read the passage every other day over a course of two-years, or even weekly, taking 365 weeks. In short, I think the format of how you can use the reflections in this book is fairly flexible. You can choose to adapt the time of reading to your schedule.
The range of wise Catholics features in hear span far and wide. There are the familiar names like St. Augustine, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Dante Alighieri, St. John Henry Newman and St. Thomas Aquinas, to name a few. There are many contemporary figures as well such as Marshall McLuhan, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, and a numnber of newer names (at least for me) like Dana Gioia and Anthony Esolen. There are some names whom I would have never considered if I were to compile a volume of “Catholic Wisdom,” liek the voices of Blaise Pascal and Charles Taylor – both of whom I have encountered in philosophy and ethics classes. This book can really open one up to the wide range of voices and gives one an opportunity to know a bit about some lesser known voices. The author and compiler of this volume, Deal W. Hudson states in his introduction,
The reader will wonder why some highly-regarded figures, such as Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul the Great are not included. The reasons are simple: first, their writings are available and already widely-read, and second, if I started choosing quotations from their writings, they could fill a book of their own.
This collection gathers the familiar with the unfamiliar, the philosopher with the poet, the historian with the mystic, the sinner with the saint.
I think Hudson does a great job in making these connections in this volume. It is, I think to not only get to know the well-known figures of the faith, but also, the lesser known and give value to those voices as well. The book is like a walk back and forth through history to see the difference schools of thought.
The quotes provided in this book have a wide variety of themes, from philosophical excerpts, poetry, theological texts, reflections on Catholic media… indeed something new for the reader to think of each time they pick up this volume. I think by the end of the year (or longer), the reader will have a better picture at how diverse Catholicism really is, and how Catholicity is not something weekly, but rather, be an identity engrained in every aspect of our lives.
Do not know who the author of the blurb is? Hudson provides a concise, but very informative biography of the writer after their excerpt. I always emphasize on this blog the need for contextualization of texts, and this is one of the great points about 365 Days of Catholic Wisdom. This is not a devotional that merely acts like a calendar… you know those tear-away calendars that might have pretty picture and then a quote, but no context on the author of the quote? While these tear-away calendars are inspirational, I personally do not think they evoke curiosity or inspiration. This devotional on the other hand, is able to prompt a curiosity for one to perhaps know more about the author, perhaps even look into their works. For me, it might be to add a couple more books on my shelf!
If you or your friend are new to spiritual reading or simply want to expand your horizons of Catholicism, then 365 Days of Catholic Wisdom is for you! It is indeed, “A Treasury of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.”
Check out the hardcover or eBook version on TAN Books.
Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of 365 Days of Catholci Wisdom: A Treasury of Truth, Beauty and Goodness to provide an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks TAN Books for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.