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Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Paperback – November 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Spiritual Masters
  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (November 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570758379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570758379
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Love Thy Enemy VINE VOICE on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You might ask, well, gee, I already have Testimony: The Word Made Fresh, a collection of writings from the Reverend Father Daniel Berrigan SJ gathered by this same prolific writer for Peace and Nonviolence, and activist for Peace, with Nonviolence, the Reverend Father and brother Jesuit John Dear, long friend of Father Berrigan, published by the same great Roman Catholic publishing house Orbis Books, and you might ask, do I really need to get this one, too?

This book answers, well, yes, you really do. I have both, but I need all the help I can get.

This collection includes much previously unedited and unpublished material for the first time, as instructive and strengthening and edifying for us now as then. It is published within the Orbis Modern Spiritual Masters Series, which includes Pope John XXIII: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters), St. Therese of Lisieux: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series), and several other saints, as well Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) edited and introduced by this same editor, the Reverend Father John Dear SJ.

This collection therefore gathers for the first time in print several essential writings from Father Berrigan. The editor notes on page 35: "For these essential writings, I gathered some of Daniel Berrigan's classic texts from bestsellers like
...Read more ›
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I just received a copy of Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings which was edited by John Dear. One section of John Dear's brilliant introduction and tribute to Dan brings me to thoughts of Advent and Isaiah. Like Isaiah (Is. 30:19-21; 23-26), Dan calls us to hope. Dear writes:
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.
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My parents are of the age that the name Daniel Berrigan conjures unpleasant facial expressions and memories of his more famous exploits in protest of the Vietnam War. I came upon this book (and, truthfully, on Berrigan's life and story) after reading Shane Clayborne's "Irresistible Revolution." While Clayborne and Berrigan are two very different people, they both, in a sense, push the boundaries of Christianity's cultural relationship with the American public, if that makes sense.

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.
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