Books for your Christmas list, part 1

Reviewed By Father Jim McDermott, SJ
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

One of the many consequences of the conflicts we are living through in this country and also the church is that many hopeful, nourishing voices are getting lost in the din. Three years ago you could find new stories and quotes from Pope Francis most days. Over the past two years, when we do hear about him it’s usually in the context of some ecclesial battle.

Yet Francis has continued traveling the world and offering interviews filled with insight and life.

In “Open to God, Open to the World,” many of these conversations are collected alongside a fascinating first chapter by Francis himself about the challenge of being pope in a world of the 24-hour news cycle.

“In Buenos Aires,” he confesses, “I was rather afraid of journalists.” The challenge he faced both then and now: “Just as I mustn’t lose my prudence, I mustn’t lose my trust either. I know that this can make me vulnerable, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

The thing that’s most striking about these interviews is that they feel so intimate. No matter what his audience, there’s an intimacy and transparency to Francis that makes his words seem as though he is talking directly to us. The book reads almost like a spiritual journal; after even just a couple paragraphs I found myself stopping to sit and savor his words. A great book to give as a gift.