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Posted April 28, 2015

Book: Stumble: Virtue, Vice and the Space Between
Author: Heather King
Franciscan Media. Cincinnati, OH. 2015. Pp. 121

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Our lives are lived in virtue and vice and most often, in the ordinary space between. We stumble and rise back up, ready to take on another challenge, another day. Heather King highlights these ups and downs of our lives, noting that while all of us have places of suffering and pain, those who believe in the goodness of God find a particular blessing in the workings of our lives.

King explains that "virtue" is the right way to deal with what life places in front of us. Her stories show virtue --- and vice --- in unexpected ways. You"ll marvel at the goodness to be found in unusual and unlikely places.

An Excerpt from the book:

Save All of Yourself for the Wedding

"I don"t think purity is mere innocence; I don"t think babies and idiots possess it. I take it to be something that comes either with experience or with Grace so that it can never be naive --- Flannery O'Connor `

Everyone can make the prayer of the body. "It is possible for everyone, always, if they have a body," wrote Caryll Houselander in The Mother of Christ. "It means offering our bodies as a sacrifice for mankind. It needs no sweet meditation, no eloquence of words, no sensible fervor. It can be made in aridity, weariness, dullness, boredom, pain, in temptation, in any circumstances at all, by anyone."

To the world this is folly. That is because even we believers shrink from the radical call of Christianity, which is not only to give our whole selves but to be ridiculed for it, misunderstood for it; to be charged with a lack of compassion. I thought of all the people who would jeer. "Who cares that you haven"t had sex in ten years; why don"t you picket for gay marriage?" I thought, again of Flannery O'Connor, who observed, "The Catholic novelist believes that you destroy your freedom by sin; the modern reader believes, I think, that you gain it in that way. There is not much possibility of understanding between the two.

In the Lord, Romano Guardini observed:

Every Christian one day reaches the point where he too must be ready to accompany the Master into destruction and oblivion: into that which the world considers folly, that which for his own understanding is incomprehensible, for his own feeling intolerable. Whatever it is to be: suffering, dishonor, the loss of loved ones, or the shattering of a lifetime oeuvre, this is the decisive test of his Christianity. Will he shrink back before the ultimate depts., or will he be able to go all the way and thus win his share of the life of Christ? What is it we fear in Christianity if not precisely this demand? That is why we water it down to a less disturbing system of "ethics" or "Weltanschauung" or what have you. But to be a Christian means to participate in the life of Christ --- all of it; only the whole brings peace.

This is what we call each other to as Catholics: the highest level of awakening, the highest level of sacrifice, the highest level of participation, the highest level of love.

So, we give all that we have. We are like the widow"s last two mites, and like mites, we are unseen, tossed aside, hidden, of no account in the ledger of the world. We give all we have anyway, in silence, scorned as bigots, ridiculed as nutcases; our hearts aflame with the hope that one day, perhaps not in our lifetimes, another human heart may catch flame as well.

Table of Contents:

1. Compassion: the closest to love we"ll ever get
2. Honesty: the school of beauty
3. Courage: Dorothy Day
4. Gratitude: blue skies
5. Chastity: save all of yourself for the wedding
6. Generosity: at the central library
7. Wisdom: send my roots rain
8. Humility: sign of Jonah
9, Kindness: quartzsite
10. Diligence: the trial
11. Faithfulness: a really dangerous thing
12. Prudence: sancturary
13. Joy: copa de ora
14. Understanding: Irene
15. Charity: Do This In Memory
16. Temperance: Mother Teresa
17. Patience: Metaxu
18. Perseverance: Paradise found