Loyola University Maryland

Office of Mission Integration

Fr. Brown’s Spring 2019 Reading List

The Second Mountain

Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realize: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.

And so they embark on a new journey. On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want. They embrace a life of interdependence, not independence. They surrender to a life of commitment.

In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.

In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.

The Rain in Portugal

The Rain in Portugal—a title that admits he’s not much of a rhymer—sheds Collins’s ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical—“the dogs of Minneapolis . . . / have no idea they’re in Minneapolis”—to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, Collins here contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. By turns entertaining, engaging, and enlightening, The Rain in Portugal amounts to another chorus of poems from one of the most respected and familiar voices in the world of American poetry.

Henri Nouwen

This intimate selection of Nouwen’s spiritual writings on themes of faith and solidarity with a wounded world includes a substantial introduction by the man himself.

Guide to the Camino Ignaciano

In 1522, Ignatius of Loyola decided to become a pilgrim. The consequences of this choice touch us today in this new twenty-first century pilgrimage. Thanks to this guide, we can follow in the footsteps of Ignatius and choose from our Camino’s options the level of intensity we are looking for: shelter or pensión, hotel or tent, supermarket or restaurant, all on foot or using public transport…each pilgrim can choose his or her own way and reach his or her personal goal, completing the physical, spiritual and mental challenges that every pilgrimage presents.

This guide points out the most prominent places along the route, the services available in each region and the struggles to be faced by the pilgrim who takes up the challenge. It also offers practical advice for advance preparation. Above all, it offers tips for journeying the «inner way», a path to the hearts of twenty-first century men and women following in the footsteps of Ignatius, who overcame uncertainty and hardship to find enlightenment and peace. The pilgrim, in all certainty, will not feel let down.

THEM

Something is wrong. We all know it.

American life expectancy is declining for a third straight year. Birth rates are dropping. Nearly half of us think the other political party isn’t just wrong; they’re evil. We’re the richest country in history, but we’ve never been more pessimistic.

What’s causing the despair?

In Them, bestselling author and U.S. senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn’t really about politics. It’s that we’re so lonely we can’t see straight―and it bubbles out as anger.

Local communities are collapsing. Across the nation, little leagues are disappearing, Rotary clubs are dwindling, and in all likelihood, we don’t know the neighbor two doors down. Work isn’t what we’d hoped: less certainty, few lifelong coworkers, shallow purpose. Stable families and enduring friendships―life’s fundamental pillars―are in statistical freefall.

As traditional tribes of place evaporate, we rally against common enemies so we can feel part of a team. No institutions command widespread public trust, enabling foreign intelligence agencies to use technology to pick the scabs on our toxic divisions. We’re in danger of half of us believing different facts than the other half, and the digital revolution throws gas on the fire.

There’s a path forward―but reversing our decline requires something radical: a rediscovery of real places and human-to-human relationships. Even as technology nudges us to become rootless, Sasse shows how only a recovery of rootedness can heal our lonely souls.

America wants you to be happy, but more urgently, America needs you to love your neighbor and connect with your community. Fixing what’s wrong with the country depends on it.

Tears we Cannot Stop

Short, emotional, literary, powerful―Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man’s voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece “Death in Black and White,” Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop―a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

“The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don’t act now, if you don’t address race immediately, there very well may be no future.”

Christus Vivit

To young Christians of the world, Pope Francis has a message for you: “Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive!”

In his fourth apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis encapsulates the work of the 2018 synod of bishops on “Young People, The Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”

Pope Francis has always had a special relationship with young people, and in his fatherly love for you he shows that:

  • You can relate to young people in Scripture who made a difference \
  • You identify with the Christ who is always young 
  • You face difficult issues in the world today 
  • You yearn for the truth of the Gospel 
  • You are capable of amazing things when you respond to the Gospel 
  • You learn and grow with help from the faithful of all generations 
  • You need bold and creative youth ministry 
  • You can discover who God made you to be 
  • You are urged to pray for discernment 

Christus Vivit is written for and to young people, but Pope Francis also wrote it for the entire Church, because, as he says, reflecting on our young people inspires us all.

“May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”

The Sense of Wonder

In 1955, acclaimed conservationist Rachel Carson—author of Silent Spring—began work on an essay that she would come to consider one of her life’s most important projects. Her grandnephew, Roger Christie, had visited Carson that summer at her cottage in Maine, and together they had wandered the surrounding woods and tide pools. Teaching Roger about the natural wonders around them, Carson began to see them anew herself, and wanted to relate that same magical feeling to others who might hope to introduce a child to the beauty of nature. “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,” writes Carson, “he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

Now available in paperback, The Sense of Wonder is a timeless volume that will be passed on from generation to generation, as treasured as the memory of an early-morning walk when the song of a whippoorwill was heard as if for the first time. Featuring serene color photographs from renowned photographer Nick Kelsh, “this beautifully illustrated edition makes a fine gift for new and prospective mothers and fathers” (Gregory McNamee), and helps us all to tap into the extraordinary power of the natural world.

Trevor Noah: Born a Crime

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.