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Living in the Gap – Dennis J Billy

ISBN: 781565483927

New City Press, Hyde Park, New York,  2011, 109pp, £8.95

Also available on kindle

The picture on the front cover is of a very high bridge over a large gap, making it appear extremely precarious.  The book is primarily about members of religious communities, whom the author sees as responding to the vocation to live dangerously in the gap.  The gap to which he refers is the gap between vision and reality.

There are some very searching questions, as for example when we are asked: “What would the world be like without your religious order?”

The author is a Redemptorist father, who has had a great deal of experience as a teacher.  He draws heavily, as he himself acknowledges, on the writings of Pope John Paul II, and particularly on his Vita Consecrata.  He calls for the working out of the monastic way of life in the modern world.  He asserts that those living in community must keep before themselves the example of the one perfect community, which is the Holy Trinity.

While recognizing the differences between the various religious orders, he recalls St. Bernard’s statement that we need each other for the good of the whole.  There is need also for ecumenical dialogue, and particularly with the Orthodox Churches of the east, in view of their stress on holiness and contemplation.

For members of religious communities there is much food for thought in this book, which is simply and attractively written.  But its readership should not be confined to community members, since we have here good teaching on the Christian life which is available to all.  The universal call to holiness should affect us all, and this book could help us to realize the implications.

Martin SSF