Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | November 25, 2011

Giver of Life

Like many, Fr. John Oliver’s “Giver of Life” is a short book that basically walks through the Prayer to the Holy Spirit reflecting on it more or less line by line. A common technique, in an age where notions of the Holy Spirit tend to go off the rails in many places, this keeps Fr. John’s book on solid ground. A good writer, his gift in this book is to carefully layer his reflections mostly with quotes from the services of the Orthodox Church together with those of the Holy Fathers, but with a very modest sprinkling from others more contemporary as well. He manages to accomplish this without affectation and soon enough I found myself dog-earring pages with good quotes and where the authors quoted seemed worth another look.

And yet there is more to this book and the author’s own contribution than simply sending us to other authors and their works: For this work will leave you wondering whether indeed you have the desire to offer more to God than you have, whether indeed there are fruits of the spirit or a foretaste of the fruits of the spirit in your life, and whether or not you’re on the Way, taking a breather, or what have you. This is good, and it is a fine thing to have a broader look at one’s spiritual life and take stock. It’s a fine thing for Lent, for our present “Winter Lent”… or for any time, and though I’m not sure you’ll read and re-read this book, if all it does is re-point a small part of the mortar cementing your faith, prayer and spiritual life, that’s a fine thing as well. I’m glad I stumbled across this book!


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