our selection of the month of april 2022

There is no horse on the road to Damascus, by Florence Delay

The writer evokes these altarpieces painted with cat mustaches or woodcock feathers… Her book is a marvelous song of creatures. The first thread that she traces questions the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Traditional imagery and painters’ paintings show him bewildered by the voice that calls him.

However, never in the Acts of the Apostles that relate this face to face, is it mentioned that Saul was riding a horse. Why did the artists imagine him as a horseman? More vertiginous is his metamorphosis. From Saul’s horse we pass to Saint Jerome’s lion, which has its mane to one side like a woman’s hair, its injured leg on the saint’s knees, and converses with an ass. Then the raven that feeds the prophet Elijah, and the dog that accompanies Tobias, and that of San Roque, patron saint of pilgrims. The animals of the four evangelists are not forgotten and, of course, brother the donkey and brother the ox from the manger of the Poverello of Assisi.

The immortal academic Florence Delay breaks with the prevailing rationalism and invites us to rediscover a joyful spirit of childhood. She brings up animal mythology of hers in the Old and New Testaments, she calls poets to the rescue, from Verlaine to Max Jacob, she summons Bernanos. Joseph Delteil sings with them the alliance of joy and poverty. And Cardinal Etchegarray, who considered himself the donkey of Jerusalem ridden by the Lord on Palm Sunday, declares: “I carry him, but he drives me. » How great is this book! What joy! What luxury! AND V
Threshold, €18.

Muslim, disciple of Christ, by Chahina-Marie Baret

The title of this testimony is so exact and so disturbing that it required all the theological credibility of the Jesuits, its editors, to dare to do it. Chahina, the daughter of an Indian Shia mullah, an esteemed spiritual leader in her community, added a hyphen between her given name and Mary’s when she was baptized on the day of her marriage to Merryl, about thirty years ago. Tales of conversion from Islam to Christianity, there are.

The originality of the author’s journey is precisely this script: Chahina-Marie does not choose. Or rather, she chose to nurture her love for Christ with the Muslim land that built her and allowed her to discover the merciful God. Denying nothing of Islam, she continued to deepen her focus at the Center Sèvre and imbibe the spirituality of Christian de Chergé. Her book, muscular, concise (and so up-to-date!) is prefaced by Gilbert Audry, bishop of Reunion where she grew up, and by Omero Marongiù-Perria, a Muslim theologian, both witnesses of a path of personal union. DF
Loyalty, Jesuit Editions, €13.

They chose solitude. Hermits of yesterday and today, by Jean-Claude Noye

Already author in 2007 of a big book of fasting (Albin Michel), Jean-Claude Noyé continues his exploration of asceticism in the desert, with an investigation dedicated to hermits. Fascinating journey through time populated by these figures of loneliness, where the historical narrative cleverly intertwines with encounters and portraits, reaching even beyond the borders of the Christian anchorites alone.

He thus offers a fine and very embodied understanding of the sources, the riches but also the tests of the hermit life, a radical search for the absolute or a better existence, even going so far as to suggest ways of experiencing it oneself. . To tell the truth, we expected no less from our former colleague from Life, Tireless apostle of happy sobriety! AC
Tallandier, €20.50.

Give a soul to your house, by Olivia deFournas

What is the house of my dreams? What if, in light of our memories and our aspirations, we revisit our habitat, even a small apartment? This meditative visit invites us to review our foundations and open our eyes to the four walls that surround us, to better inhabit them.

Because our interior says a lot about our lifestyle: choice of colors, furniture, decoration, the importance of light. Is our door open, our home welcoming? Are we available for our guests? Does God have a place with us? A reading that could well initiate some changes: a new design, a bit of storage, organization, a more conscious presence… Original and inspiring. CS
Mom, €12.90.

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