cover image Entering the Twofold Mystery: On Christian Conversion

Entering the Twofold Mystery: On Christian Conversion

Erik Varden. Bloomsbury Continuum, $24 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4729-7947-6

Trappist monk and bishop Varden (The Shattering of Loneliness) muses about a contemporary devout approach to life in this sophisticated treatise. Through homilies, scriptural analysis, and biographical sketches of saints, Varden shares lessons for everyday Catholics as he reflects on the monastic life and explores its history and traditions. On following divine principles, the author describes the examples set by Jesus in the gospels and Saint Benedict in his precepts, suggesting that “the bedrock of obedience... is determined goodwill exercised with resolute trust.” Varden also takes readers through a year of his reflections with journalesque meditations on Christian holidays, such as when he unpacks the “proto-Lent” story of Satan tempting Jesus in the desert and observes that “even the truth, the Gospel truth, can be twisted if taken out of context.” The author assumes from his readers a high degree of familiarity with the Bible and historical works of Catholic exegesis, meaning that specialists will get the most out of this. Still, Varden’s erudition in this edifying work of Catholic monasticism should earn him comparisons to Edith Stein. (June)