Thursday, February 27, 2014

Poor Qoheleth! 7posts,7 days,#4

If you do the Office of Readings this week, then you'll know what I mean when I dare to pity King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, aka "Qoheleth" who wrote the book of Proverbs. He drives home one main point, with diverse, poetic, and elegantly written examples: Life is a bummer because we are all going to die. Which just goes to show the limits of mere wisdom.

Each time I this week I finish the first reading and think, "I just wish this poor man knew about Jesus."

And I'm so grateful that most readings this week are direct commentaries on Ecclesiastes, and thus antidotes to Qoheleth's sad wisdom. Even St. Jerome, whose comments on Wednesday largely say "Amen" to Qoheleth, manages to lift our hearts with his references to Christ who is the answer to all those unfulfilled longings and existential sorrows. Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, a quick skim of the readings shows that we will actually finish this week-long study of Ecclesiastes on notes of Eucharistic joy and ultimate glory. Thank you, Fathers of the Church!

Other stuff:
Laura, a lovely young Australian blogger, has written this lovely, enthusiastic, and comprehensive review of my book.  Thank you Laura!    And do check out her blog, Catholic Cravings, which is really well written and lots of fun.

Next, have you seen the Catholicism dvd series? This is a gorgeous TV miniseries that has been responsible for many conversions, as viewers discover not only the intellectual coherence of the faith, but it's breathtaking beauty and cultural diversity.  It certainly played a large part in the conversion of my soon-to-be son-in-law.  I had purchased a set for myself and my family when the series first came out in late 2012, and immediately "loaned" them to my daughter's boyfriend. Well, the loan had to become a gift, because Dwight wanted to watch them over and over again. He entered the Church last Easter, and the wedding will be Friday in the octave of Easter, less than two months away. Best $139 I ever spent.    Anyway, when  saw this offer from Catholic, I decided to get another set so I can use it to deepen the faith of people around me who are already Catholic, or else be ready when the next potential convert shows up in our family circle. Only $89, plus they throw in a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This series would be an easy small group event at your parish. Much less work than doing a bible study. Just show the video each week (there are five in all) and then discuss. I believe there is a study guide available from Word on Fire to help that along, but you could probably get by without it if the leader is knowledgeable and can guide a discussion.