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Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) Paperback – November 30, 2009
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- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1570758379
- ISBN-13 : 978-1570758379
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 0.65 x 8.2 inches
- Publisher : Orbis Books (November 30, 2009)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Regardless, this book was a fascinating read. Long chapters of prose reflections and narrative are bookended by beautiful poetry. While the story inside the book is quasi-linear, the ideas bounce around quite a bit, carpet bombing the reader with Berrigan's convictions. This is not a biography, but it's not meant to be.
This book moved me. It made me think and reflect on my faith in ways that few books about faith have managed to do. Whether or not you agree with Berrigan's tactics and history of resistance, I would think it hard not be moved to, at the very least, reflect on one's own beliefs about the relationship between faith and culture, faith and violence, faith and resistance.
My suggestion: read the book cover to cover. Then, give the book to a friend, who will then also read the book cover to cover. Finally, seat yourself across a table from the aforementioned friend in order to discuss both your shared and unshared thoughts about the book. Reach deep inside yourself and really question what you think and what you would and should do in the midst of wars and social upheaval. You won't be disappointed.
Reading and hearing his poems confronts, inspires, uplifts and heals. They offer hope to those struggling with cultural despair. That to me is the best clue to his poetry. Dan invites us to hope. He insists on hope. Despite all. And he can do this because he himself essentially hopeful. He keeps a long haul view toward the resurrection. (28)
All of Dan's writing confronts and inspires. I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with Dan and his sister-in-law, Liz McAllister several years after I attended a retreat with John Dear. In his early 80s then, I found Dan to be a gentle, humble giant. (As I write, a gentle snow is falling in our mountains--gentle like Dan.)
As Dear explains, Dan's activism is firmly grounded in his spirituality which includes daily immersion in the Scriptures. Conforming his life to Jesus' life enables Dan to be gentle and yet ever so strong and forceful when injustice must be confronted.
John, Dan, and Liz have had a big influence on me. Had I not met them and Emmanuel Charles McCarthy I would not now be a peace activist. I look forward to savoring the selections included in the book.
Like Isaiah, Dan and John can envision a day when the People of God will weep no more. Advent is hope. We know that God is merciful. God will hear us. God will give us bread and water. God walks with us through the valley of darkness and death. God is ever at our side.
"God will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds." Daniel Berrigan reminds us that "a prophet is nothing more than a `truth teller who says it and pays up.'" (30) When we live the Gospel and conform our lives to the nonviolent life of Jesus the Christ, we will be wounded. But, we know that God will bind up our wounds so we can carry on the God's work. Dan's piece of advice to a young John Dear was, "Make your story fit the story of Jesus." (33) Embrace love, "Love your enemies and pray for your persecuters" and embrace nonviolence, "Put away your swords."
Like Jesus, our guts are wrenched when we observe misery and suffering. We are moved to pity. We are moved to action. We are Jesus to our small part of the world.
I am involved in healing ministry. I know the healing power of Jesus. I have experienced deep healing. I know that, in spite of our reluctance and doubts, we can claim the healing power which Jesus gave to the Twelve. We live in the person, power and presence of the Risen Jesus. We are Jesus! We can raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons.
Demons in Jesus' day were a way of saying that Empire--structural violence incarnate--makes us sick. When we cannot challenge empire, we take on its demons. When Jesus cast out demons, he was casting out legion (divisions in empire's army).
Our healing is not restricted to healing the infirmities of individuals. We live in relationship. We live in society. The structural violence in our society makes us ill and dysfunctional. We are diseased by our violent society and culture. Like Dan and John and the Cloud of Witnesses surrounding them, we must challenge the structural violence that causes human misery.
We can give to the annual diocesan appeals and our money will help alleviate misery and suffering at least for a while. We are giving bread to the poor. Dom Helder Camera tells us that we must then ask, "Why are they poor? Why are they in misery?" Then, like him, we will be labeled Communist, socialist, or something equivalent. Dan's lifelong witness (He is now 88) teaches us how to fit our stories to the story of Jesus. Dan teaches us how to ask the tough questions gently.
I highly recommend this treasure trove of Berrigan's writings which the editor has put in chronological order.