In this short work (only 125 pages), Archbishop Dolan presents anecdotes and reflections about living the Catholic life. Largely the product of his meditations in his “cave” in Wisconsin and his residence chapel in Manhattan, these short entries provide a bit of reflection on a particular aspect of Catholic living alongside a fun fact about the Church or an uplifting spiritual nugget. For instance, after discussing the fact that there is no “perfect” church and that the Church is made up of many sinners, Archbishop Dolan includes a prayer from St. Catherine of Siena:
My Lord, turn the eyes of your mercy upon your people, and upon the mystical body of the Holy Church, for you will be the more glorified if you pardon so many creatures . . . . For what is it to me if . . . the clouds of darkness cover your spouse, when it is my own sins, and not those of your other creatures, that are the principal cause of this? I desire, then, and beg of you, by your grace, that you have mercy on your people.
St. Catherine, Dialogue
Other fun facts include who the patron saint of motorbikers is, how the St. Vincent de Paul Society was founded, and what apparitions of Mary are recognized by the Church. There are a number of quotes like St. Catherine’s and even a sprinkling of poetry mixed in. Through all of it, Archbishop Dolan helps us ground our spiritual lives in the day-to-day routine of life. The stories he includes bring out how God works in what is seemingly ordinary and makes it extraordinary through His grace.
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be like Archbishop Chaput’s recent work on Catholics in public life. Dolan’s work is much more applicable (and accessible) to ordinary Catholics trying to live extraordinary lives. The book can be read straight through in an hour or two, but is ideal for those who want something brief to read in the morning and ponder over throughout the day. And, this is a book you can come back to again and again and mine something new from its treasure trove. The book would make a great gift for someone who needs a gentle way to ease back into prayer or even back into the Faith.
This review was written as part of the Catholic Company‘s Book Reviewer program. I received a complimentary copy of Be Doers of the Word for purposes of this review. No other compensation was given. For more information about Be Doers of the Word, go to The Catholic Company.