Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
Publisher: Ave Maria Press (2016 - original 1907)
eARC (352 pages)
Reading Challenges: Read 2015
In an airplane news conference on his return from the Philippines in January 2015, Pope Francis mentioned Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World and said, “I advise you to read it.” It wasn’t the first time the Holy Father had praised the book since becoming pope. This 1907 futuristic narrative has been hailed as the finest work of this unsung, but influential author and son of the Archbishop of Canterbury whose conversion to Catholicism rocked the Church of England in 1903. The compelling book includes a new introduction, a biography of Benson, and a theological reflection.
Popular young adult books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, as well as literary classics such as Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, have created a growing interest in dystopian novels. In one of the first such novels of the twentieth century, Robert Hugh Benson imagines a world where belief in God has been replaced by secular humanism. Lord of the World describes a world where Catholics are falling away and priests and bishops are defecting. Only a small remnant of the faithful remains. Julian Falsenburg, a mysterious and compelling figure arises, promising peace in exchange for blind obedience. Those who resist are subjected to torture and execution. Soon the masses are in Falsenburg’s thrall and he becomes leader of the world. Into this melee steps the novel’s protagonist, Fr. Percy Franklin. Dauntless and clear-sighted, Franklin is a bastion of stability as the Catholic Church in England disintegrates around him. Benson’s harrowing plot soon brings these two charismatic men into a final apocalyptic conflict.
With an imagination to rival H. G. Wells and theological insight akin to G. K. Chesterton, Benson’s astute novel has captured the attention of many today, including Popes Benedict and Francis. This new edition makes it easily available and features an insightful introduction by Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., a brief biography of Benson by Martyn Sampson, and a theological reflection by Rev. Michael Murphy, S.J.
Find the book: Goodreads, Amazon
I am currently reading Divine Mercy in My Soul, more commonly called The Diary, as part of my Lenten practices. I have read excerpts of The Diary before but this time, I intend to read the whole book. It is a rather large book with over 700 pages! This is primarily a book for spiritual reading and so I suspect that this book will take me quite some time to finish. Hopefully, by Easter (or at least Divine Mercy Sunday), I will be finished with my first reading of The Diary.
From Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska (paragraph 56):
From the beginning I have been aware of my weakness. I know very well what I am of myself, because for this purpose Jesus has opened the eyes of my soul;
I am an abyss of misery, and hence I understand that whatever good
there is in my soul consists solely of His holy grace.
It is crazy to think that it is almost time for Lent to start. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday already! What has happened to this year! Anyway, I want to share my Lenten Sacrifices, the things I am going to give up during Lent to grow closer to Christ. Some people may be going, “Why give anything up? That sounds ridiculous.” Well, I give up something so that I can deny myself and grow deeper in my love for Christ. Here is what EWTN says on the topic:
By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our wills so that we are not slaves to our pleasures. … By disciplining the will to refuse pleasures when they are not sinful, a habit is developed which allows the will to refuse pleasures when they are sinful. There are few better ways to keep one’s priorities straight than by periodically denying ourselves things of lesser priority to show us that they are not necessary and focus our attention on what is necessary.
Happy Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!
So I’m going to break all of the rules again, just like last week. If you aren’t Catholic, then you probably don’t realize that one week after Christmas (today) is another really important day. Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In the Catholic Church, today is a Holy Day of Obligation (like Christmas) where Catholics are obliged to go to Mass. I love this feast day so much and I wanted to share it with all of you. Last year, I wrote a little post about the Hail Mary, this year I want to share some quotes from one of my favorite books.
I sat on the bed, then dropped to my knees and prayed an apology to Jesus.
I felt I’d let Him down by letting His mother down. I felt as if I’d run
with the ball to the one-yard line, only to fumble short of the goal.
I said, “I’m sorry, Lord, for my weakness and failure.” I prayed a Hail Mary.