The day I was going on retreat I discovered I had been "tagged" by two other bloggers: Barbara Nicolosi (Church of the Masses) and Karen Hall (Some Have Hats). I want to thank both of them for thinking of me, so here goes: (This "meme" is going around the blogs and consists of answering the following questions).
1. What is the total number of books I own?
I don't know--it would take too long to count them. Actually I technically don't really own them because of the vow of poverty, but can have them in my possession to use (which really boils down to owning them). I must have at least 100 that I generally keep around. But a lot of other books pass through my office. Every few months I go through and weed them down so my bookshelf won't collapse from the weight.
2. The last book I bought
Today I bought a Bible as a gift for my nephew getting married. For our editorial reference I've been ordering the volumes of the Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scriptures as they come out. For myself personally I can't buy too many books because of limited funds and inborn frugality (aka "cheapskate")--but my work gives me easy access to lots of great books. I use the library a lot and also borrow other people's books. Boston College has a fabulous library of great Catholic books. Every so often I go over there and roam the stacks, feeling awfully frustrated that I don't have time to read a fraction of them.
3. The last book I read
I can't really say. Lately I've stopped reading most books from cover to cover, but dip and choose. I do a lot of reference work. For fun I recently read the latest Mary Higgins Clark mystery, No Place Like Home.
4. Which 5 or 6 books mean a lot to me?
a) Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. I read this in high school and loved it because it was the first real theological book I ever read, in the sense of really getting me to think about the faith. Sheed was an extremely lucid writer. That was in the 70s when my religion classes in the Catholic school I attended were mostly cream puffs, so it was really exciting to discover the intellectual basis of Catholicism.
b) The Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas. I still haven't fininshed it, but started it over ten years ago and keep on going back to it. St. Thomas is my teacher; I love him to pieces. He's so clear, logical and thorough, and he doesn't say more than he needs to. On the personal level he was so humble despite being such a genius.
c) The Divine Comedy by Dante. I love this one too; it's the kind of book you can go back to over and over and get more out of it.
d) I should pick something by John Paul, but that's pretty hard because all of his writings are so great. But maybe I'll settle for his encyclical on the Eucharist, which has been a real treasure for prayer and meditation.
e) I should also mention something by Blessed James Alberione, our founder. My personal favorite is Sanctification of the Mind. He had a great insight that everything starts from the mind, and how important it is to sancify our thoughts. He said that wars are begun not on the battle field but in the ideas that fill people's minds.
f) Logic puzzles. This may not exactly qualify, but I enjoy doing them and they do involve reading.
5. Tag 5 other persons to do this.
I think I'm one of the last ones to do this, so it seems most other bloggers have been tagged already.