Posted October 10, 2003
Book: The Great Mysteries: Experiencing Catholic Faith from the Inside Out
Author: Andrew M. Greeley
Sheed & Ward, New York, pp.157
Excerpt from Jacket:
At the time of intense spiritual seeking, Father Andrew M. Greeley offers a rare and exciting exploration into the questions of faith by grounding them first in human experience. Like the early followers of Jesus who preached the risen Christ long before they created categories to explain their faith, Greeley searches for hints in life that point at religious truth. Then he uses symbols (stories that tell what human life means) and mysteries (truth that is so dazzling we barely comprehend it) to interpret how the central truths of the Christian tradition enhance the meaning of life. With the skill of a master storyteller and the passion of a deep believer, Greeley organizes his book around twelve questions that go to the heart of human life.
Is there any purpose to my life?
Are there any grounds for hope?
Is it safe to trust?
Why is there evil in the world?
Is human nature totally depraved?
Can our guilt be swept away?
Is it possible to have friends?
Can there be unity among humankind?
Can we live in harmony with nature?
Can we find our sexual identity?
Why is life not fair?
Will we ever find peace?
Then he reveals how the symbols, rituals, teachings, and mysteries of Catholicism both shape and respond to these profound questions.
Excerpt from Book:
Eating with a person is an act of great intimacy. For reasons that probably have to do with the dangers around the campfire in front of the caves of our prehistoric past, one normally shares a meal only with someone who is trusted. To invite a person to eat with one is a mark of trust, confidence, and affection; to accept an invitation is to return the same sentiments. There is an atmosphere of relaxation and enjoyment about the act of eating that, in principle at least, makes it the kind of act we share only with those we trust or love. We do not like to eat alone. We are ill at ease eating with strangers. We enjoy supper with our friends and family. A common meal is a sign of our intimacy, and it is attended with the vulnerability intimacy involves.
. . . The followers of Jesus were not likely to forget that at the Last Supper Jesus washed their feet. Nor were they likely toforget that on the next day he suffered and died for them. God, through Jesus, revealed a love for his creatures that meant that he would serve them. The secret of keeping the community together after Jesus had gone would be to continue this generous, self-giving service that, in Jesus, reflected the love of the heavenly Father for all his creatures. If God had served unselfishly, so must they. That is the secret of sustaining friendship. One keeps an intimate relationship going by calculating, not ways of being served but by serving. One keeps the fires of love burning hot and bright, not by thinking about oneself but by being concerned with the good of the other. Paradoxically, one gets the most unselfish. Only he who gives himself generously to another can expect any generosity in return. The aim of love is not to possess the other but to be possessed by the other.
Table of Contents:
Foreward by Rev. Robert Barron
The Mystery of God
The Mystery of Jesus of Nazareth
The Mystery of the Spirit
The Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection
The Mystery of Salvation
The Mystery of Grace
The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist
The Mystery of the Church
The Mystery of Baptism
The Mystery of Mary the Mother of Jesus
The Mystery of Heaven
The Mystery of the Return of Jesus
Guide for Discussion and Personal Meditation