While I was holidaying, I enjoyed – in part due to the appalling weather on at least half the days we were there – the luxury of reading 2 books that I had purchased while partaking of one of my all time favourite pastimes, perusing the bookshelves of charity/thrift shops and secondhand bookshops.
It may sound banal or boring (or both) to some that I enjoy spending my vacation time trawling dusty bookshelves but even in the sunniest holiday weather , that is by far where I would prefer to be.
I’ve found some really great buys over the years, and so has my daughter. This past holiday I only purchased 10 books, but one year I bought about 18 books home and my daughter bought 20 or so, she was fortunate enough to come across practically a whole shelf full of Hercule Poirot detective novels, of which she is a big fan.
One of the books I discovered this time around was entitled ‘Cardinal Basil Hume – by his friends’. I found it an enlightening and informative read about the man who once led the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Since I wasn’t a Catholic at the time of his leadership and since the media coverage of his death passed me by in 1999, I quite enjoyed having stumbled (quite literally actually, but that’s another story) across this book and it has now wetted my appetite to learn more about him.
Another book I read on holiday was one that my daughter spotted about religious life, she made it clear that she wasn’t interested in it for herself (I prayed the Novena to St. Katherine Drexel recently for that specific purpose – but no joy as yet – there’s another story there too but that’ll have to wait)) but since I have expressed an interest in religious life to my children, she maintained that it was for me! The blurb on the cover didn’t tell me much besides the fact that In it there were the stories of 10 women who have become nuns…so I bought it and thought I’d give it a go.
It didn’t take too long to discover that the accounts given in the book were of diverse and often dubious theological understanding. The nuns, I was to find, were all Anglican… that wasn’t what made them dubious of course….rather that some of them had contemplated a calling to the ‘priesthood’ before discerning one to religious life…in addition to this, a few seemed to me to be rather ‘feminist inclined’ and liberal thinkers who disliked the opressive masculine sense of calling God ‘He’ and instead, called him ‘She’ at any or even, every opportunity. Despite the obvious differences in our faiths and beliefs however, I was able to look beyond all that and found some of the testimonys to be intriguing.
Truth be told, even a year ago I would have snapped shut such a book poste haste at the merest whiff of dissenting opinion regarding spiritual matters, but the more I journey on in faith the more I see that there is a very real need to accept people where they are at, even if where they happen to be at is altogether incomprehensible to us. For those interested, the book was entitled New Habits.
Now why is it that I fail to see anything like this on the bookshelves, I wonder….