Occasional Sermons


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By Ronald Knox

The sermons of Ronald Knox, in Evelyn Waugh’s estimation, contain the very best of his literary talent and pastoral sensibility. “Prepared, revised and rehearsed with every refinement of taste and skill,” the sermons convey their instruction simply and dir­ectly: refreshingly conversational in tone, faithfully and knowledgeably reliant on Sacred Scripture, and profoundly powerful in content, allusion, and spiritual consolation. Occasional Sermons presents ninety-one examples of this excellent preaching with all the sermons from Knox’s records given for notable events. Falling under the three headings of saints, occasions, and panegyrics, the sermons take as their subjects—to name but a few—Thérèse of Lisieux and Charles Borromeo, Gregory the Great and Thomas Aquinas, Philip Neri and the English Martyrs; coronations, ordinations, and centenaries, jubilees, anniversaries of parishes, cathedrals, and conversions; and, in poignant tribute, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Knox’s ordination classmate, Fr. Henry Harrington. 

You do not want to be a priest who simply does his job and knows his rubrics and hopes to pay off a bit of the parish debt. You want to be an ambassador from God to men, ready to take every opening, to follow up every trail, where there is a human conscience to be enlightened or a lost soul to be won back. (Ronald Knox)

This volume in particular proves the point expressed by Waugh that the good Monsignor had “created a new and entirely individual form for the traditional art” of preaching. Unique, from one to the next, in construction and content, Ronald Knox’s Occasional Sermons are wholly similar in generously offering to its readers spiritual insight and wisdom under the beacon-light of Catholic doctrine.

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Paperback: 434pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952921