Oprah’s Book Club would fawn over The Alchemist because it expresses a spirituality detached from religion, although it borrows from several traditions, including Greek mythology, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
The touting of self-fulfillment and religious relativism in The Alchemist turns to dust in the light of reality.
The Alchemist offers an answer to the question of life’s purpose that is ultimately a prevarication. Thank you for this review, I too read The Alchemist, and wondered why it was so…empty and somewhat superficial. My 15 year old daughter has been given an assignment to read the Alchemist, and I truly disagree with her reading it at this time. The Review was established to provide good guidance into the world of books for Catholics in North America. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
There are two places that I always dreamed it would be great to be for Christmas midnight Mass: Bethlehem or Rome. I asked the priests in the group to share their some of their reflections on the pilgrimage. First of all, the numbers of people on pilgrimage in every place we visited astounded me – It shows the great thirst to walk where Jesus walked. Benedictine Father Paschal Morlino, in black habit, carries the cross along the Via Dolorosa during the Stations of the Cross Oct.
The chapel is less than 50 yards down a short passage from the actual Grotto of the Nativity – but “you can’t get there from here.” Due to questions over local control over the holy site, you can see the actual grotto through a small peephole in the door, but the passage itself is usually sealed.
As the gifts were prepared on the altar, we sang “Silent Night.” After Communion, chants of “O, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord,” echoed in the tiny cave. Baltimore priests descend the stairs to enter te Grotto of the Nativity, where tradition holds is the site of the manger where Christ was born. To view and venerate the site where the manger is believed to have been, where Christ’s birth may have actually occurred, our pilgrimage group had to exit the Church of St. The chapel there, a fairly recent addition to the site, also under the care of the Holy Land Franciscans, features three depictions of the shepherds responding to the news.
The area also is dotted with several small chapels built into the caves that were once what would have been shepherds’ residences while in the fields.
Congratulations to Kate Michaud, NDP, on her acceptance into The Catholic University of America! A graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Essex, George holds a bachelor's degree in history and writing from what is now Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and a master's degree in history from UMBC. Retired Secret Service Agent James Le Gette displays a photo of him with Pope John Paul II while he was assigned to protect the pope during his 1979 visit to the United States. Patti Murphy Dohn retired in 2014 after 33 years of service as Campus Minister and Religion teacher at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, MD.
Patti and her husband George split their time between their homes in Bel Air, Maryland and Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida.
It was recommended and given to me by a dear friend and I wanted to be able to tell her I liked it.
Granted, there are undeniable rings of truth throughout the book, such as the notion that the heart’s deepest desires are put there by God, and the author’s rejection of fate in favour of destiny, acknowledging both free will and predestination. In a bonus interview at the end of my edition of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho shares his stance on organized religion: “The danger is that every religion, including the Catholic one, says, ‘I have the ultimate truth’” (p.
As our Holy Father’s most recent encyclical, Lumen Fidei, points out so exquisitely, “Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading to nowhere” (§ 13). Perhaps people well-grounded in the truth can still glean something of value from the novel; I hope this was the case with my friend.
This year my wife and I got the chance to be in Rome, at the Vatican for Christmas, and it was amazing.
As time passes to go back and reflect, the words spoken to us and the affect they are having on my own spiritual life are a very rewarding experience.


Christmas carols would be liturgically inappropriate, if not for the location of our Mass this morning. Catherine of Alexandria, which is cared for by the Holy Land Franciscans (Roman Catholic), and enter the Basilica of the Nativity, which is under the care of the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian Orthodox. From a chapel there, you can see the Basilica of the Nativity in the distance from, and it’s here that shepherds may have received the herald angels’ admonition, “Do not be afraid!” that we heard earlier in the morning in Luke’s Gospel from the Christmas Midnight Mass. Inside the chapel, we sang, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and our “Glorias in excelis Deo,” were sweetly singing o’er the plains.
When they were out in the pasture with their sheep, they would not have come in nightly, and they would often have slept in nearby caves instead of tents.
O'Brien remembered the late New York Cardinal John J. O'Connor during a panel discussion at the 12th annual Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life Jan. There’s that wonderful moment when everyone present assumes the child will be named Zachariah for his father, but Elizabeth says he’ll be named John. Le Gette had positioned himself on the landing of a stairway leading down from the floor where the meal for the pope was held.When he saw the papal party approaching the stairs, Mr.
Committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, she has served the school community since 1981. However, Coelho’s is ultimately a New Age philosophy, speaking of the “Soul of the World” and a universal “Language of the World” that can be heard through everything, including palms, crystal and cards. The quest of The Alchemist’s protagonist is unsatisfactory because Coelho uses it to advance his self-centered view of reality instead of directing Santiago toward the objectively true, good, and beautiful.
And thanks for making the things that seemed strange to me clear…that yes, they were strange for starters. Lewis May 29, 2015The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism May 21, 2015 SurveyHow much do you know about Papal History? The Mount of Beatitudes gave us the answer: Called to holiness of life and a sharing of that life with those to whom we minister. We celebrated using the readings from the Christmas Mass at Midnight in a small chapel, said by tradition to have been the room St. Le Gette looked down the stairs and got on his radio to say, “We’re coming for sure.”“I turned back to see where he (the pope) was, because I was concerned about a tumble,” Mr. Presently, she is working on archiving the school's history and doing bereavement outreach. I felt distanced from the narrative, as if something was preventing me from living through the main character, a Spanish shepherd boy named Santiago, and I think this was precisely because Coelho tells the reader more than he shows.
He claims that “all things are one,” not in the sense that God is three in one or we are all members of one Body of Christ, but in the sense that all is part of the divine which transcends its parts—blatant panentheism. Claiming to be wise, Coelho foolishly rejects one of the greatest human truths found in the religion of his birth: it is only in giving of ourselves that we find ourselves, only in submitting our egos to God as He is, not as we wish Him to be, that we find fulfillment.
The Wall [separating Israeli settlements from the Palestinian Territories] is a symbol of so much mistrust and lack of desire to create peace. Acknowledging the same Holy Spirit that came over Jesus in the Jordan will guide us as we struggle each day with all our shortcomings to live out that teaching of Jesus to us in the Beatitudes. There is only a moment to ponder the mystery of the Incarnation, and to venerate a silver star underneath an altar in the Grotto of the Nativity, and say a prayer while moving on so the next pilgrims can come in and do the same. The names Leo and Daniel are names associated with saints who have a connection to our boys and family. They are wrapping up report cards and exam grades, covering bulletin boards, and unplugging their classroom electronics.The start of summer is truly the happiest time of the year for students and teachers.
Of particular appeal to the theologian in me, I discovered that the bestselling Brazilian author and his main character were Catholic, and that the story was a spiritual journey.
The message he relays too explicitly is that happiness is found by following one’s ‘Personal Legend,’ that is, by seeking self-fulfillment without losing a sense of the divine beyond the self—like keeping oil from spilling out of a spoon while touring a palace, as Coelho illustrates with one of his parables that attempt to sound more profound than they are.
Case in point: “The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God.
Relativizing truth makes the self the measure of reality, and because the self is not the measure of reality, relativism distorts reality.


If you want a good book about a spiritual journey that actually goes somewhere, start with Augustine’s Confessions. He made the places we visited and where we prayed so often come alive and have such a moving effect on me. Eusebius used to translate the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate Bible) starting in the year A.D. They captured what the priesthood was all about, Archbishop O'Brien said, and they always ended with the same advice for new priests: "Be kind to the people.
They are wonderful names, but they are not our boys’ real names.Choosing our son’s actual names presented us with a totally new challenge. Since Coelho centers truth in the self, he can claim that “[t]o realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation” (p. When we visited the place of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan amidst all the folks there I had the sense that the same Holy Spirit that came upon Jesus was hovering over us.
You would think that, if you waited for five years to become parents, you would have had some time to discuss names. Summer prayers and blessings:Let's put ourselves in the hands of our loving God and pray together that He will bless all of us and our families during the wonderful months of summer. It was guiding us along the way to see more clearly the true spirit of the place we visited.
When we did talk about it, it seemed we had negative or positive associations with many names that ruled them out somehow.
Especially troubling, Santiago tells us that he “couldn’t have found God in the seminary” (p.
We also noticed that lots of the good saint names were already sort of taken by other family members who became parents first.We also wanted to consider the fact that our sons already had Chinese names before we met them—names that will always be special to them. When we were matched with Leo, we found he came with a Chinese name that led us directly to his new American name. The outdoor creche features figures that stand about 15 feet tall in a grotto next to a Christmas tree lit with green and blue lights and gold ornaments. It was not a name we had considered, but it fits him perfectly—and that decision took about two minutes.When we were matched with Daniel, we had known we would almost certainly be matched with a second boy, and yet we had no list of names. Incidentally, there are several such contradictions in the novel, as in all relativism, which claims as an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.
Pope Benedict appeared silhouetted at his window toward the end of the concert for less than a minute and held one lit candle.
We both wanted to see what he looked like and read about his personality before we made a decision. Notable, the manger was empty, since the Christ child has not yet arrived.Inside the basilica for the Mass, the altar is decorated with thousands of white flowers and assorted greens.
It took us a few days to pick his name—while folding laundry together—and again we went with a name that was inspired by what little we knew about our new son who was still a few thousand miles away.Listening to the Gospel this morning, I found myself enjoying the concept of an angel naming your child.
A statue of the Madonna and Child against a red velvet background adorned the left side of the altar.A Nativity scene inside the basilica, smaller than the one outside, also features an empty manger. The pope traditionally blesses the statue of the infant at the end of the midnight Mass.Though the Mass is in Italian, the first reading, from Isaiah (Is 9, 1-6), was proclaimed in English and the second, from Titus, was in Spanish. It’s a joy and an enormous responsibility—but then, so is parenthood.How did you choose your children’s names? Walking out of the basilica, a young woman cradled her child in her arms, and gently hummed "Silent Night" into her baby's ear.
Perhaps, a couple millennia ago, Mary herself would have been humming to the infant Savior on this very night.
It was an incredible privilege to be a part of this international celebration of the birth of Christ at the heart of the heart of the church.



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