Frank Johnson reviews a new book by Margaret Macleod, ‘Discovering Holiness: A book of insights.’
[New City Magazine – November 2009]
Holiness is a rather unfashionable word in today’s world. To many it is virtually a redundant expression, leftover from a time when church pews were full on a Sunday and children said their prayers at night. In reality, for the Christian, it is the only thing that matters. We are born to become saints and reach our heavenly destination. The Second Vatican Council speaks of the ‘universal call to holiness’, by which it means that every human person is called to reach union with God.
However, many of us, the majority perhaps, still have a concept of holiness that limits it to within the walls of a convent or monastery, or to those called to give their lives for their beliefs in martyrdom. Margaret Macleod’s book Discovering Holiness, is aimed at ordinary people, and offers some simple suggestions for attaining what is, or at least should be, the ultimate goal of all of us.
Set out in a very systematic way, the book is composed of a number of chapters each of which contains several subchapters, or themes, which take the reader deeper into the subject. For example, one chapter is entitled ‘Becoming full of peace’ and the themes are: A Fragile Peace, Rebellion or Acceptance, Strained or Relaxed and so on. Each ‘theme’ is very brief, a matter of three or four sentences,
concluding with a quotation from Scripture or from the writings of a recognised spiritual expert. Thus the reader is invited to reflect and meditate on the themes for as long or as little as desired.
It is a fascinating read, as well as a very effective format. It is a book in which the reader makes as much or as little of it as they wish, but there would be very few who wouldn’t find it compelling and thought-provoking. Whether you dip into it or read systematically from start to finish, ‘Discovering Holiness’ will surely do what it claims to.