Strange Gods Before Me
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By Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
In the immediate wake of the Second Vatican Council there followed a tragic abundance of misconceptions and misrepresentations of the nature and function of monastic contemplative life. Still more tragically, those misconceptions and misrepresentations still plague the Church and the world to the present day. As a result, Strange Gods Before Me (which first appeared in 1965) remains pointedly relevant. Mother Mary Francis sets out to correct the record with the truth and beauty of the vocation to the contemplative life by toppling the “strange gods” that have assumed majesty and power in the post-modern age—“the convex god who pushes the world away, a top-heavy god who demands worship of tragic proportions, a surface god who will not tolerate his clients looking into the deeps of life, a neurotic god whose converts are legion in our day, and a few others.”
We make gods of those we love wrongly, where God has forbidden us to have strange gods before Him.
In her customarily delightful prose style, Mother Mary Francis makes abundantly clear that these idols are inimical to the lay Christian and the vowed religious alike. Yet, by God’s grace, they can and must be resisted. For in the shadow of their demise and our disillusionment lies the way to eternal life.
Mother Mary Francis, p.c.c., (1921–2006) was abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. Her many books, essays, poems, and plays circulated her contemplative wisdom to a worldwide audience, making her one of the twentieth century’s most popular spiritual authors. Her works include A Right to Be Merry, My Beloved Is Mine, and Come, Lord Jesus.
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