WHAT I'VE BEEN READING...

This is the 4th of 25 books I have committed to read & review this year for a project I’m calling “25/25.” Follow visual updates on Instagram (& Twitter) with the hashtag #read25in25.

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Well, if you've been following along at all, you may note that I'm a bit behind schedule on my book count. I've had my nose in the books, but I haven't had my hands on the keys to write the reviews. Also, in all honesty, I got a little scattered. Rather than focusing on one book at a time as I'd promised myself I would, my stack of current reading ended up looking like this for a while (see photo to the right).

However, I've finished a couple I'd love to update you on as we get back on track here.

ETERNAL ECHOES by John O'Donahue

I finished this one while on a short vacation to my parents' house. Upon completing it, I went out to the kitchen and asked, "Mom, do we have any Irish blood in the family?!" Understandably confused at the randomness of my inquiry, she rattled off some explanation of the family tree that did at some point include a faint trace of Celtic heritage. Good to know. But why did I ask? The voice and the values of Celtic spirituality resonate with me in a way that very little else does. There is an embrace of mystery, a deep respect for creation and humanity's oneness with it, an articulation of the deep longing of human experience, a peacemaking with questions, and a value of community, friendship, and our need to know we belong.

The author of Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong is John O'Donahue, an Irish Catholic scholar/poet/philosopher. The beauty of his prose clearly reveals his identity as a poet. The book reads like a series of prose poems in a way. Because of that, it was hard not to underline most of the book for all its eloquent tellings of truth. Though it also took me a while to move through it all, as each sentence is loaded with such depth. Section titles include:

  • Discovery is the Nature of the Soul
  • Functionalism Kills Presence
  • The Addiction of Distraction
  • The Cage of Frightened Identity
  • Sufferings Slow Teachings
  • The Artist as Permanent Pilgrim
  • Our Longing for Community, The Shelter of Community
  • Wonder Invites the Mystery to Come Closer
  • The Celtic Art of Approaching the Unknown and Nature

O'Donahue's reflections on contemporary Western society and our true human nature are uncanny in their accuracy and sensitivity. And I think they come at a time when we need them deeply. If you're looking for a new perspective on both the world we live in and your inner life (and how these 2 things are connected)...I'd say give this book a chance. 


Curious, but no time to read right now? Or no extra money for the book? Check out this episode of ON BEING with Krista Tippet for a wonderful interview with the late John O'Donahue.