Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter Reading

I always mean to do more spiritual reading in Lent than I ever achieve - and this year's great plan rapidly failed to really work. However in Holy Week I did take down from the shelf - well actually, lift up from the window sill - and read Behold the Pierced One, which I had so far failed to read. Written by the Pope nearly thirty years ago the addresses he reprinted there form a wonderful book for Holy Week - or indeed any other week.

Like everything else I have read by the Holy Father it is elegant, clear, cogent, and profound. You cannot help but learn some historical or patristic facts from his writings, and you are impressed, amazed at the clarity of his thought and the deep holiness of his mind. The fact that Joseph Ratzinger is now, Deo gratias, the Pope is irrelevant: his writing mark him out as a man of outstanding spiritual and intellectual gifts.

One thing that is noteworthy is that many of the themes he addresses in these sermons and lectures are those which have appeared again in, for example, Jesus of Nazareth and in speeches he has made. Here is a man with a wide and generous vision of the Faith in history and in human life, a vision which he constantly renews, but one which consistently illuminates the coherence of historic Catholic teaching

I am very grateful for having read this book, and it is one to which I shall return. I would urge anyone who has not yet done so to read it, and to gain from its insights.

No comments: