Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blessed Pope John XXIII saves me from books

The Good Looking One and I went out to the Catholic bookstore in Spencerport yesterday.

I stumbled across at least five books that in the past I would have been tempted to buy. And a couple of DVDs. But since last summer I've had a new rule in place: For every book I buy, I have to get rid of two that I already own.

Too many books. Not in keeping with Franciscan poverty.

Heck, I don't even have a enough room to put them all out on shelves anyway.

So ... I left the bookstore without purchasing anything.

I helped to counter the temptation to buy by thinking of all the books I had at home that I had not finished, or even started. I thought in particular of Blessed Pope John XXIII - maybe inspired by the recent news concerning Pope John Paul II's impending beatification.

Last night I got out our copy of the DVD about Blessed Pope John XXIII (the one starring Ed Asner), and my copy of John XXIII: The Official Biography by Mario Benigni and Goffroedo Zanchi. He was, of course, a lover of knowledge and books himself.

We made it as far as his election as Pope before bed beckoned.

In the book, I picked up where I had left off: When he was a seminarian, ages 17-19.

His prayer life even at that young age tweaked my 55-year-old conscience. His struggles with pride sounded familiar.

I was particularly struck by his battle with trying to draw attention to himself by showing off his knowledge.

"He hints (in Journal of a Soul) that he used words and clever phrases out of a secret desire to flaunt his knowledge and to make known, whether directly or indirectly, that he had studied."

Just like me. How often do I make sure I insert some joke or comment just to make sure the other people know how much I know?

I need to learn to hold my tongue and follow the humble example of Blessed Pope John XXIII - another pope I hope to see declared a Saint in my lifetime.

Pax et bonum


Do Not Be Anxious said...

Huh. I guess I never felt any urge to read words about your fave. Perhaps it's because he was largely before my conversion experience, and I just didn't notice what he was doing, or perhaps it's a prejudice because of Vatican II and all the abuses I saw arise justified by "the spirit of Vatican II."

But I am always open to learning and growing. Is there a book of his writings that you would recommend?

Lee Strong said...

Fave? I wouldn't go that far. I like John Paul II more. But I admire many things about Blessed John XXIII.

By the way, though he launched Vatican II, he died before it was over, and was not responsible for some of the abuses that came later. And JP II played a major role in Vatican II himself!

If you are going to read Blessed John, try "Journal of a Soul" and "Pacem in Terris."

kam said...

You know who tempts us all in the same similar manner; hitting us where we are weakest.