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The Works of Mercy: The Heart of Catholicism (Church Book (shw)) Hardcover – January 3, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

In a world starved for compassion and kindness, Father Keenan's book, The Works of Mercy, brings a sense of expectation and hope for a better future. By describing how the Catholic tradition has honored the command of the Gospel to practice the works of mercy, and also how contemporary Christians continue to fulfill Christ's command to love one another, Father Keenan invites the reader to go and do likewise. Written in a style that is both profound and practical, the book, rich in its use of Scripture, is ideal for theological reflection on both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. In a world filled with suffering, the whole Church can benefit from focusing on these words, whether an RCIA group, an adult education class, a small faith sharing group, or a class preparing for confirmation. (Katarina Schuth, O.S.F., Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion, St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas)

At a time when loud voices seek to make out that the center of Catholic identity is partisan adherence to religious ideology, here we have the voice of Jim Keenan, gentle and lucid, who brings us back to the real heart of the Catholic faith: mercy received and mercy acted out. Hooray for Fr. Jim's unequivocal but vulnerable unfolding of the truth that authentic Catholic identity is given us as we dare to let go of our identity by daring to enter as equals into the pain and confusion of others just as Our Lord entered into ours. (James Alison, Catholic theologian, priest, and author of Faith Beyond Resentment and On Being Liked)

Legions of students have heard Father Keenan speak of mercy as our willing entry into the chaos of another person. Now, in this most personal and deeply spiritual of his works, this distinguished moral theologian and priest tells us what mercy means to him. In clear and lyrical style, Keenan explores mercy in its biblical roots, the history of the Church, and the contemporary world. The meditations on mercy in light of September 11th and of the Church’s sex abuse scandal shine as gems of spiritual autobiography. This is pastorally grounded and compelling spiritual reading that speaks to all of us. (Paul Crowley, associate professor of religious studies, Santa Clara University)

[Keenan's books] read like very good sermons or college lectures by a priest both learned and engaged in the world. By making the Catholic tradition come alive, the books invite moral reflection and struggle. (Theological Journal)

This well-written and passionately argued book hits exactly the target for which it is intended: anyone interested in the pastoral life of the church. (Commonweal)

This small and compassionate book is an exploration of ways in which the Catholic tradition has encouraged its adherents to enter the chaos of others joyously and courageously as a way of imitating God's entrance into their own chaos. (Bridges)

There is energy in these pages, the kind of energy that's contagious. I challenge you to read this book and not be affected by it. I predict that you will wind up not only valuing mercy as a virtue and identifying it gratefully in others, but you will also desire a greater share of it as part of your own spiritual DNA. Be prepared for a stunning read and a real gift of light. (Doris Donnelly, PhD,, Director, The Cardinal Suenens Center, John Carroll University)

About the Author

James F. Keenan, S.J., presently holds the Gasson Chair in the Theology Department at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. His recent books with Sheed & Ward include Practice What You Preach, Virtues for Ordinary Christians, and Moral Wisdom.
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Product Details

  • Series: Church Book (shw)
  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Sheed & Ward (January 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742532194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742532199
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,721,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alex J. Nagem on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fr. James Keenan, SJ states, "Our entire theological tradition is expressed in terms of mercy, which is defined as the willingness to enter into the chaos of others". If you are searching for reasons, or satisfying a Christian interest, the book quenches the thirst for knowledge. You are left with better insight to Christian belief. The way Fr. Keenan expresses his thoughts and opinions, opens the mind of the reader to contemplation and understanding to what should be obvious to us all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Keenan's defines Mercy as the willingness to enter into the chaos of another. How true! How thought-provoking! How difficult! This small paperback book contains essays on the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy which, according to the Acknowledgements, originally appeared in Church Magazine.
Keenan writes sincerely and concisely and gives examples of each Work of Mercy.
The latter third of the book, essays on Mercy and the Eucharist, were no less well written but they interested me less than did the first part, possibly because the material was directed more to men who preside at liturgy.
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By mary ann skahan on August 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book to meditate with. Possibly improve your life
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By Jermaine Mckinley on November 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to understand presentation on the Works of Mercy.
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