"Character is not revealed when life shows its best side, but when it shows its worst." -Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Sermon in a Sentence 63)
At the end of 2015, our friends at Baronius Press published a new series of books called Sermon in a Sentence. Each volume seeks to provide a "treasury of quotations on the spiritual life" in a compact, yet readable package for today's Catholic. Baronius Press decided to inaugurate this new series by selecting three of the most influential and beloved Catholics of the 20th century: St. Faustina Kowalska, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and St. John Paul II. Each book, edited and arranged by John P. McClernon, contains "hundreds of direct quotes and short sayings arranged according to the Christian virtues and other spiritual topics, allowing the reader to encounter their thoughts about particular aspects of the Christian life." There are truly hundreds of quotes in each volume for you to ponder and pray over. These books are not haphazardly arranged like some of the "quote books" you may have encountered. The amount of time that Mr. McClernon put into each volume must have been enormous. The material from the St. John Paul II volume was gleaned from his various public talks, while the Fulton Sheen one comes from ten of his works. The St. Faustina edition comes entirely from her Diary.
In each of these three books, the first fifteen chapters are arranged corresponding to the classical Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary. There is an additional section in all three volumes for the Luminous Mysteries as well. Other topics that are covered and found in all three books include prayer, the Mass, the Church, the priesthood, as well as topics unique to each person, like St. Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Each quote ranges from 1-3 sentences in length and includes a reference to where you can find the quote in the particular author's body of writing or talks. In our fast-paced world, these little volumes certainly meet an important need in the Church. Many of us can easily get overwhelmed by the demands of each day, yet these small devotionals allow us to take a moment to reflect on various topics from these three spiritual masters.
As usual with anything that comes from Baronius, these books are produced of the highest quality. Like the various bibles, prayer books, and other volumes they produce these will last a lifetime. Each hardcover edition measures around 4 5/8" X 6 3/4", which makes them incredibly portable. The paper is thick and opaque, making reading a pleasure. The binding is smythe sewn and contains a ribbon marker. Head/tail bands and endpapers (which many of you know I adore) round out a wonderfully produced volume. I can't say enough about the continued high standards that Baronius Press continues to meet with each of their releases.
So, if you are looking to add some wisdom from three great heroes of the faith to your daily recitation of the Rosary, the Sermon in a Sentence series is just what you need. These make perfect gifts for birthdays, for teens receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, and those entering the Church at the Easter Vigil. The price for each volume is $14.95, which is amazingly cheap for the quality of the book, itself, as well as the wisdom that is contained within it. I truly look forward to future volumes. I would love to see one focused on this blog's patron saint, Msgr. Ronald Knox.
I would like to thank Baronius Press for providing the review copies for this review.