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Where Love Is, God Is

Where Love Is, God Is

  • $600

As did St. John the Beloved Disciple, Catherine Doherty often said where love is, there is God. And thus the title of this book. Through this prism, Catherine meditates on the basics of our faith: the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Counsels. She reflects on the world’s ever-present hunger for God. She ponders the passage of time through the year. And she urges us to integrate our faith into our daily lives—home, business, leisure and school—all the marketplaces of the world. She encourages us that we too can “walk the royal road to Christ.”

A book for Catholic Laity everywhere

Catherine dedicated “this little and humble book” to “the Catholic Laity everywhere—with constant prayer that they may arise and begin the apostolate of love in action.” All her long life, Catherine was driven to bring Christ’s love to all whom she met, each one, whether great or small. Thus we can “restore the world to Christ.” This is the task of all lay people, whoever they are, wherever and however they live.

Vatican Council II confirmed this vocation of the laity, which had bubbled up within the church throughout the 20th century in the lives of people like Catherine, Dorothy Day, Jean Vanier, Chiara Lubich, and many, many others. And what is this vocation, except to bring Christ’s love to the world by restoring it to him.

The foundation of this vocation is a personal spiritual life, rooted in a growing love for the Lord, and growing receptivity to his love for us. As an early reviewer put it, “[this] little volume might be called a book of theology for the layman, with practical observations on how to spiritualize his life amid his daily surroundings.”

Here are the Ten Commandments as perhaps you’ve never thought about them. And the Beatitudes, a road map through the actual situations of life. She presents the evangelical counsels—poverty, chastity, and obedience—lived by the laity “in the world”.

She ponders the hunger for God, which surely continues into our own day. Catherine knew this hunger in herself, and could see it in the world around her. She also walks through the liturgical year, with her own unique meditations. And then a practical discussion of the Catholic Action she engaged in, the principles of which ground the vocation of the laity.

This book is easy to read, and could initiate some interesting discussions, as it has in a few of our houses where we’ve read and discussed it with friends.

A pioneer in Catholic Social Action

In 1925 Pope Pius XI issued the first call to Catholic Action, calling on the laity to participate in the apostolate. Some five years later in 1930, in Toronto, Ontario, Catherine de Hueck was one of the pioneers to respond to that call. Her personal desire was for a lone apostolate, but circumstances prevailed that turned her endeavors into a group of lay people who worked for the Church in the movement known as Friendship House.

She became an icon for an intelligent and mature Catholic laity at a time when need for their active participation in the life of the Church had not yet been recognized. The movement evolved and grew, and in 1938 crossed the border to the United States and entered the field of the interracial apostolate in Harlem and elsewhere. Catherine became a forerunner of the Civil Rights movement through her extensive efforts and lectures for justice to Blacks. In 1947, subsequent to her marriage with Eddie Doherty, a well-known journalist, Catherine returned to Canada and established Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere, Ontario.

During all these years her voice and her pen spoke out. In lectures and talks up and down the North American continent, and in a ceaselessly flowing river of articles, letters and books, she penetrated the lives of Christians with the unwavering message of the necessity of living the gospel. A generation of priests, sisters and lay people in the 40s and 50s was nourished and sustained by her ideas in books and articles.

Her Russian origin and training, the trauma of the Russian revolution, the sudden change from riches to destitution, the living experience of being a menial worker—all brought home to Catherine, in a deep and profound fashion, the value and the truth of the gospel message. She viewed the gospel—Christ and his words—as Good News, and insisted and reaffirmed that the core of the Good News is God’s love for us. Catherine has been called a spiritual mother for the 20th century.

About the author Catherine Doherty

79 pages.

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