Seven Helpful Books For Our Troubled Times

 The so-called second wave of the pandemic is set to come down on us this fall/winter. The first hit of Covid-19 was terrifying. I don't mean the actual virus was terrifying, but rather the meltdown of society. Work, church, recreation, logic... all were more or less thrown out the door. It did allow for more reading, however. And time to think and pray. With that in mind, here are a some books I highly recommend as we move past summer and into more craziness.

Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright - Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Dr. K's latest book came at a perfect time. I've had so many questions about the Mass, particularly in regards to the worth of attending Masses that are gong shows. Add in the question of raising children in this environment, and it has been downright perplexing. Dr. K not only explains the worth of the traditional Latin Mass, but he delves into the very purpose of the Mass, and the guiding principles for how we are to approach each Mass. His work provided clarity to my muddled mind, and I know it will do the same for others who pick up and read it. It is a very readable book - being not too academic, and not at all skittish.

By What Authority - Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

Yes, Benson is well known for writing Lord of the World (highly recommended reading). But he has several historical fiction novels on the persecution of Catholics in England at the time of Elizabeth. By What Authority will put our modern day trials into perspective. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun, most especially with suffering and persecution. This is a chilling and inspiring story. It doesn't hurt that Benson is a fantastic writer.

Jeeves and Wooster - PG Wodehouse

Reading can't always be serious. When I need some lighter fare, I turn to anything written by PG Wodehouse. The Jeeves and Wooster series is brilliant, engaging, and laugh-out-loud hilarious. The TV show is very good. The books are great.

Life Under Compulsion - Dr. Anthony Esolen

Now why would the topic of a life lived under compulsion be applicable to 2020? If you have no idea why, you need to read this book. If you do know why, you still need to read this book. Most of us are not free. And I do not simply refer to draconian government regulations. Every time we reach for some mindless minutes on a phone instead of a good book, or some wood and tools, we are living a life under compulsion.

Maria Chapdelaine - Louis Hemon

The value of faith and hard work seems lost. Same too the value of living connected to nature. We should look to our ancestors for guidance. This French Canadian classic does just that. I loved reading Maria Chapdelaine.

Brideshead Revisted - Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh the man. Not to be confused with Evelyn Waugh his wife. Confused? Don't name your son Evelyn. Or Sue. And don't marry someone with the same name as you. But enough about names.

There's no denying the brilliance of this novel. In fact, it's my favourite novel of all time. But why it applies especially today is that it demonstrates how faith can penetrate the collapse and burn of a family, and the collapse and burn of society in general. Well written. Witty. Upsetting. Hilarious. Yet most of all, as you read the final sentence you will exhale, smile, and say, Wow! Mysterious are the ways of the Lord.

Citadel of God - Louis de Wohl

You can't go wrong with any of de Wohl's saint novels. Nevertheless, this one is my favourite. A young Benedict is caught among the moral and societal decay of Rome. He retreats to the hills, enters a life of prayer and penance, and even takes on a pagan cult  at the top of a mountain. But through his life of holiness he in turn transforms the world to God. St. Benedict's influence still is felt today. Most especially in our own moral and societal decay.

* * *

There you have it. A few books to inspire the heart and clear the mind. We need this lucidity and peace now more than ever. Most especially though, read the bible everyday.

"Stay safe" in these upcoming months!


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