by Caryll Houselander

I first heard of Caryll Houselander when her reflections would pop up at the end of the daily readings in Magnificat. I don’t think there has been even one of her reflections that didn’t speak to me and escape being torn out and taped into my prayer journal.

I bought two of her Childrens books and found the stories beautiful and heart warming.

So, when Amazon suggested I might like this book while I was doing some Christmas shopping during Advent, I didn’t hesitate to buy it.

This book is short but dense. The introduction gives biographical information on Caryll Houselander, which brings some illumination to her writing. She had a difficult childhood, witnessed the child labor of the Industrial Age and helped care for her roommate’s granddaughter, all of which had an obvious influence on her sympathies for the plight of children.

Houselander is terrific at combining both aspects of our creation as tools to lead us to holiness. God created us with a body and a soul and found them both good. A lot of spiritual writers under-appreciate, if not ignore altogether, the role our material life plays in our journey to heaven. Not so with Houselander. She weds the interior life and exterior life into a tight covenantal bond that can not be torn asunder.

She also has a near-perfect understanding of the world of children. I live with many children. I can say with much assurance this woman has a bead on them like few I’ve read.

This book gives the reader much to think about from sowing seeds to motherhood to the infancy of Christ and its impact on us interiorly to becoming spiritual children (and not spiritual adolescents!).

It was a good match for Advent but would be a fruitful read any time of the year. I highly recommend.

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