I popped into Veritas yesterday - religious bookshop in Dublin. During my move from Drogheda to Rathkenny my copy of Ralph Martin's The Fulfilment of All Desire got lost, so I was determined to get another. That is not as easy as it sounds for, as the good ladies in Veritas told me, it is walking off the shelves - it is probably one of the shop's best sellers. I am delighted to hear that even if it means having to go back to see if the next order is in.
Many of you will know the book, probably have read it and are trying to live what he teaches. For those of you who do not know, Martin looks at the teachings of seven of our Doctors of the Church to plot the path to holiness which, following the teaching of Vatican II, he reminds us is what every single member of the Church is called to. The book is a wonderful read, Martin has that rare gift of taking what is complicated and difficult and explaining it in simple language without diminishing the message. His understanding of the Doctors is comprehensive and deep, but he is quick to tell you that that understanding or insight is a gift from God. God has indeed given him great gifts to assist him in his mission of nurturing mystics for the 21st century.
I am also delighted to hear that it is popular because it is a real sign that people in Ireland are taking an interest in the teachings of the great mystics and are determined to read them and understand them. I also believe they are interested in following the way mapped out by these great saints. That is where the renewal of the Church in Ireland will begin. Having worked with new groups and movements here in Ireland I can safely say that the seed of reform has been planted, now it must grow and for that to happen it must be nurtured by sound teaching that nourishes. And that is what the priests of the reform in Ireland must engage in - assisting the laity on the path to holiness while being sanctified themselves. So, dear Fathers if you have not read the book, do so. Not only for the laity but also for yourselves. And for those of you who were afraid of tackling St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, St Francis de Sales or other mystics, this book is a very good introduction.