Saints and Satan

Saints and Satan

Sydney’s Catholic Weekly has published an article which headlines the day Mother Teresa kept the Pope waiting.

It’s a good way to attract readers I suppose. I followed the link because I wanted to know more. But the real gold in this article is buried deeper in the piece. The anecdotes about Mother Teresa and Padre Pio are followed by a dire analysis of current affairs:

“Every Christian is under the power of Satan, and Satan’s normal activity is temptation,” Mgr Esseff said . . . “Satan has a power to obsess people. Billions and billions are being spent on pornography today.

“Satan’s main activity is to separate souls from Jesus. Jesus, the captain of the army of light and truth, is also the king of light and love.

“They’re on a head-on course in every soul, and also in the world today.”

Dire, but compelling.

And then there’s the autobiography Fr Esseff co-wrote with his brother, who pursued a different vocation:

“We went to Catholic school from first to 12th grade and when we gradated I went to the seminary and he went to college to become an engineer.

“He went on his way and got married and has children and grandchildren. I’m now a priest of 59 years. Being a priest for me is falling in love with God, and wanting to have the whole world as a family.

“So my spouse, if I am Christ to the world, is the Church. And my children are everyone I meet wherever I go to bring about the Kingdom of God into souls.

“My brother and I are following different paths, but actually following those teachings that we had from our Catholic faith.”

Sounds like a great book not only on the priesthood, but also on the lay apostolate. I’m adding it to my wishlist (and tagging this post “Kris Kringle” for the benefit of brothers and sisters who might be reading this!).

Childhood worlds colliding

Childhood worlds colliding

When I was eight years old, our family holiday in Torquay was interrupted by news that our house in Ballarat had been ransacked and burgled.

I was, I am told, bereft. I was convinced that my prized collection of Enid Blyton “chapter books” was the burglers’ main target, and nothing could convince me they were safe until I arrived home and counted them for myself.

I have no memory of this, but Mum and Dad are adamant it is true. The story does have an embarrasingly plausible ring to it.

Enid Blyton was one of two favourite authors in my childhood. The other was Roald Dahl. And now the worlds of Blyton and Dahl have collided, via Quentin Blake, whose illustrations are a signature of Dahl’s books.

To celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, five contemporary children’s authors were commissioned to illustrate new book covers. Quentin Blake is one of them.

The first edition of the first Famous Five book looked like this:

The seventieth anniversary edition of the book looks like this:

I don’t remember reading the book, though I’m sure I did. I wonder now how Enid Blyton stacks up to an adult reader. Moreover, Wikipedia’s synopsis of Five on a Treasure Island leaves me wanting to know more. Who’s down there in the dungeons??

This book has officially been added to my reading list. The Quentin Blake edition, of course. It’s early yet, I know, but if I tag this post “Kris Kringle,” perhaps I’ll find the book under the Christmas tree!