Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS, reviews a timeless and timely book by Robert Cardinal Sarah.
Robert Cardinal Sarah's book The Day Is Now Far Spent challenges the direction of Western culture, beginning from the premise that the "loss of the sense of faith is the deep root of the crisis of civilization that we are experiencing."
This book is a call to conversion and to prayer. Cardinal Sarah's discussion of the crisis in the world is completely tied to the life of faith of the Church as a whole, as well as each individual Catholic (lay, consecrated, and ordained). He emphasizes the importance of Adoration, true charity inspired by Christ, the need to always remember both the Incarnation and the Resurrection. He also discusses the dangers of acedia, which he calls "a form of depression, a spiritual lethargy" (122) and "a self-conscious sadness" (123).
This book is designed to make you think, to lead you to examine your conscience, and to call you to both prayer and action. While the Cardinal analyzes the many ways he considers the Western world to be in a state of collapse, he also offers answers on what we can do as we face the evil we encounter each day.
On faith and service:
How do we nourish our love for the Son of God? What are the marks of our love? The poor whom we serve must know in whose name we love them. The poor must know the source of our generosity. We love because we love Christ. We love because we have been loved by the One who is Love and handed his Son over to death. (41)
True ecumenism lies in abandoning our sins and our lukewarmness, together freeing ourselves from our lack of faith, rediscovering the same faith in the Christian mysteries, in the sacraments, the same doctrine, the same Church that was entrusted to Peter and not one that we have built by our own ingenuity. True ecumenism consists of letting ourselves be guided solely by the light of the Gospel, with its moral requirements. True ecumenism is to keep God's Word faithfully and to live according to his commandments. (106)
On the need to listen for the voice of God:
In order to avoid hearing God's music, we have chosen to use all the devices of this world. But heaven's instruments will not stop playing just because some people are deaf. (250)
The Day Is Now Far Spent is not a book that can be rushed through. Allow yourself time to ponder this book -- it invites the reader to linger over single lines that will challenge your soul and your conscience.
Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
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About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.