Father Paul Scalia’s new collection of essays, That Nothing May be Lost (Ignatius Press, 2017) has a unique structure: each chapter has an introduction written by a guest author, followed by several of Scalia’s own essays. Many of these were previously published as blog posts, monthly commentaries or bulletin columns. The detailed table of contents allows the reader to skip around as desired, choosing just the essay that invites itself to be read at that particular moment. The chapter introductions, by guest authors including Scott Hahn, Raymond Arroyo, Helen Alvaré and several others, may be read on their own as well.
From the Introduction:
Twenty centuries later, we are no different from the crowd on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Our amazing progress in technology and science has not made us one whit smarter about the permanent things (and many would argue, perhaps a whole lot dumber). Jesus looks upon us now, as He did the crowd then, and His heart is moved with pity. He still desires to teach us “many things”, to give us the truth that nourishes. (14)
The topics of each section include:
- The Lord: Knowing and Loving Jesus of Nazareth
- The Church: Knowing and Loving the Body of Christ
- Paradoxes of Faith: The Tension and Balance of Church Teaching
- The Sacraments: Christ’s Love Placed within Us
- The Virgin Mary: The Beauty and the Power of the Mother of God
- The Saints: The Mortal Masterpieces of God’s Grace
- Prayer: In Conversation with God
- The Life of Grace: Christ within Us
- Feasts: The Pattern and Rhythm of the Christian Life
These chapters contain between six and nine essays; each essay is about two pages in length, which makes them perfect bite-sized spiritual reading!
I’ve been sampling the various essays in this book and keep changing my mind about which section is my favorite. I love that throughout this book, Father Scalia and his guest authors unfailingly express their own deep faith in God and affection for the Church and its traditions, welcoming the reader to ever more deeply participate in the life of faith. As Gloria Purvis notes in her introduction to the chapter on “The Church”:
“. . . even when we fail, when we are afraid, or struggling to overcome our selfish interests, we must realize that the Lord is there to love us and help us and forgive us. But we must be willing to reject what is not pleasing to Him when we approach Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This understanding helps us examine our motives. I know that I am not a particularly special soul, just broken. In that brokenness, I have encountered the merciful, loving, just God through His Church. May I, and each individual she calls, be near her always and seek Him in the sacraments, the word, and dying to self.” (39)
These essays provide not only important information, but an invitation to delve deeper into our faith through study, prayer and sacrament.
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Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS