Publisher's Letter - March 2019

Posted by Orbis Books on

Twenty-five years ago this April, a savage campaign of genocide was unleased against the Tutsis of Rwanda. In the space of a hundred days, a million people were killed. In Love Prevails, one of the survivors, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, provides an extraordinary account of this experience. In a gripping and heart-rending narrative, he tells how he and his fiancé, Christine, found shelter in the “Hotel Rwanda,” only to discover that virtually all the rest of their family had perished.

Their story of survival is at once a love story and a harrowing inside look at what happens when a country is overrun by evil. But it is also a story of faith—an effort to find God in the midst of horror—and of the subsequent struggle to find meaning, healing, and reconciliation. It is truly a Lenten story of life, death, and resurrection.

Two other new titles are especially suitable for Lenten reading. In The Following of Jesus, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff has written a reply to a devotional classic from the 15th century, Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. While that work defined Christian discipleship in terms of “imitating” the spiritual attitudes of Christ, it omitted a good deal of the actual life and teachings of Jesus. In laying out the principles of the “following” of Jesus, Boff summarizes his own lifetime of reflection, situating the Christian message in the wider story of the cosmos and the challenge of discipleship in a world of conflict.

Ruth Burrows is the pen-name for Sister Rachel, an English Carmelite nun and the author of many classics on prayer and spirituality. She has been called a modern-day Teresa of Avila, or as Rowan Williams puts it, “one of the most challenging and deep exponents in our time of the Carmelite tradition—and indeed of the fundamental gospel perspective.” In Ruth Burrows; Essential Writings, the latest in our Modern Spiritual Masters Series, editor Michelle Jones has organized her writings around the theme of God’s gift of love: our capacity to receive this gift, our call to share this gift with others.

As always at this time of year, I can recommend no better source of meditation than All Shall Be Well: Readings for Lent and Easter. With reflections for each day of the season, you’ll find the wisdom of figures ranging from Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, to Joan Chittister, Mary Oliver, Jean Vanier, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a treasure that rewards every rereading.

Robert EllsbergYours on the way of Jesus,

Robert Ellsberg

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