November 2000By David Arias Jr.

The Day-to-Day Life of the Desert Fathers in Fourth-Century Egypt.  By Lucien Regnault. St. Bede’s Publications. 257 pages. $24.95.

The Desert Fathers of the fourth century have long fascinated both believers and nonbelievers. These Fathers are chiefly known to most people, though, through their “apothegms” or spiritual maxims. But merely reading the Desert Fathers’ apothegms can leave one without a precise sense of the sanctifying lives that these Fathers lived. This is where Regnault’s work comes in. The Day-to-Day Life of the Desert Fathers is an attempt to reconstruct, as much as possible, the multi-dimensional milieu in which the Fathers lived, prayed, worshiped, and interacted with their neighbors. Using various primary texts, Regnault marvelously brings to life the world of the Desert Fathers in an interesting and readable text.

New Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church: Volume I (1979-1983).  By Ferdinand Holbock. Ignatius. 235 pages. $24.95.

Pope John Paul II is well-known for the many beatifications and canonizations that have occurred during his pontificate. However, as Holbock points out, many of these “new” Blesseds and Saints are, sadly, not widely known. Thus, in his first volume of New Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church, Holbock seeks to remedy this widespread ignorance. Holbock provides the reader with short biographical sketches of 35 Blesseds and five Saints, all of whom were beatified or canonized by John Paul II between 1979 and 1983. In addition, Holbock ends each biography by quoting the homily read by the Holy Father in honor of each respective Blessed or Saint at their beatification or canonization ceremony.

Creed or Chaos: Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster.  By Dorothy L. Sayers. Sophia Institute Press. 154 pages. $11.95.

In a time like ours when dogma is mocked by some believers as boring, rigid, and spiritually insignificant, Sayers’s book is a breath of fresh air. In her gifted style Sayers argues that orthodox Christian dogma is not only dramatic and relevant to every believer’s worldview, but also describes the very drama played out between God and man. Orthodox Christian dogma is most significant because it tells us infallibly who God is and what His plan is for mankind. Sayers argues that unless Christians hold fast to the dogmas of the Faith, there will be nothing to prevent theological and moral chaos.

Back to November 2000 Issue