Thursday, April 03, 2008

GO:Theology Thursday: What I'm Reading

I picked up a little book at a Red Cross Book Fair for no better reasons and than:

1) it was dollar-a-bag day
& 2) I could fit it into my bag
& 3) it was written by a Jesuit
Seriously, one should never need more compelling reasons to purchase a book, don't you think? It sat on my shelf for months unread as I completed my Gradual School finals. Then just as I was entering the Season of Lent this year and looking for something new to read my eye landed on this little blue volume with the interesting title:
The Three Keys to Heaven
by Moritz Meschler, S.J.
I had all but forgotten about slipping it into the crevice at the side of my "dollar-a-bag" day haul. Seeing no other title that really sparked my interest, I picked up this little volume and decided to give it a read as my Lenten Study. The author chose a very old style of flowery language (and gender exclusive pronouns ) and because of those facts I assumed it had been written a very long time ago, but the copyright date is 1981-- so go figure. Part of the language difficulty might be that the author first wrote in German and this was a translation from German, so I give him some leeway that the stiffness comes from translational difficulty.
Having said that, I LOVE THIS BOOK. The wisdom of the message is not lost in the odd language choices. In fact not long after my first quick read through I began to re-read it and underline passages I wanted to remember (as if I were studying again).
The "keys to heaven" or fundamental principals of the spiritual life as the author sees them are: prayer, self denial, and love of the Divine Saviour. Each of the three is taken in great detail from a basic definition to stumbling blocks, to graces received. My greatest struggle with the language was in the section on self denial because the author uses the language of mortification and I struggle to understand that type of language completely, but even so there is so much to be gained from the wisdom of those pages. One of my favorite passages from this section (it became my lectio divina for that day in fact) was:
Too much food overburdens the stomach, too much knowledge
puffs up the mind. Knowledge is not the highest good, truth stands
higher. Without truth, knowledge is mere deceit and falsehood.
Therefore, study and inquiry must follow a certain order: we must learn first what is necessary, then what is useful, then what is pleasant.
(The Three Keys to Heaven M. Meschler S.J. 100)

Anyway, I just wanted to share a wonderful little book that I found by God-incidence at a Red Cross book fair and have become so attached to because it is teaching me volumes about the spiritual life. I am continuing to study and underline passages to use as Lectio.

I hope you can find a copy somewhere (although I doubt you will find one for the same price I paid for my copy) and reap the same benefit.


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