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The Reed Of God

Item Number: 2553

Catalog Code: 9780870612404

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6 7/8"  (17.4 cm) x 4 1/4"  (10.7 cm) x 0 1/4"  (0.63 cm)
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Review Provided By - THE Catholic Book Review Site Average Rating: This item received 5 stars overall.
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A new edition of a spiritual classic!


Through beautiful prose and meditations, Caryll Houselander depicts the intimately human side of Mary, Mother of God, as an empty reed waiting for God's music to be played through her. Lovingly bringing Our Lady down off her time-honored, ancient pedestal, Houselander shares her insightful and beautiful vision of Mary on earth, Mary among us, Mary as a confused but trusting teenager whose holiness flowered with her eternal "Yes." With profound theological teachings and appealing imagery, The Reed of God is a spiritual classic written in the mystical tradition of Julian of Norwich.

Caryll Houselander was one of the outstanding spiritual writers of our time; she was also of necessity a very sensible woman. How, then, did she think of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, Christ's mother? She answers that question and many more in the introduction to this acknowledged classic: "Nothing but the essential for us are revealed to us about the Mother of God: the fact that she was wed to the Holy Spirit and bore Christ into the world. Our crowning joy is that she did this as a lay person and through the ordinary daily life that we all live." Yet, she writes, many people have an incorrect conception of Mary and still regard her as "someone who would never do anything that we do...not real."

The Reed of God makes her very real, shows her as one who is "not only human; she is humanity." For she did the one thing that we all have to do: "to bear Christ into the world...the world, torn with agonies and dissensions." In it, she believed, with a profound message for our time, that Mary could fill a need, give us a "direction for our souls...without enslaving us or narrowing our vision," a memory that would enter into every detail of our life.

About the author: Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a lay English artist who became one of the most popular Catholic spiritual writers of modern times.

Baptized Catholic as a schoolgirl, she was sickly and misunderstood by her athletic, popular parents who had little interest in religion. Caryll and her sister were tutored by an agnostic lawyer and later sent to a Catholic boarding school when their parents divorced. As a young adult, Caryll returned to the Church with a passionate intensity and fresh insights.

Though a woodcarver and art therapist for children, her true gift was sharing a unique and mystical vision of Christianity and Catholic teachings through her writing. In the 1940s and into the 1950s, she wrote prolifically. Her first major book, This War Is the Passion, was published in 1941. In 1944, The Reed of God, a collection of profound and lyrical essays about Mary, established Houselander as a respected modern spiritual writer in the tradition of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila.

Her contributions to spiritual literature were cut short by an early death at fifty-three from cancer.



"God gave his Word to us through Mary. For Caryll Houselander the gift comes through as song: reading her we hear it so. Yet, she wrote the plainest prose, deeply emotional, totally unsentimental, taking us to the depths in Christ and Mary and ourselves."
- Frank J. Sheed



"Today, when devotion to the Virgin Mary is frequently misunderstood, The Reed of God is much needed . . . Through a series of meditations on moments in Mary's life, Houselander discusses the spiritual journey of all Christians seeking sanctity." - John Wauck, New Oxford Review


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Review Provided By - THE Catholic Book Review Site

This item received 5 stars overall. Absolutely an Amazing treasure for anyone feeling

Caryl Houselander was a chain smoking , gin drinking eccentric in her younger days.  Through a mystical experience, as well as a friend of the family, who was an atheist, she had encounters with Jesus that transformed her life.
Each chapter of Reed of God is better than the last as she gently brings the reader through profound insights of the Mercy of God and our worthiness to be loved by Him.  Her chapter on emptiness, reveals that regardless of how we are formed, as a reed is hallowed out with a sharp knife, a chalice is pounded by blows of a hammer or a nest is shaped with downy soft feathers and a tender loving breast of a bird, we too are formed by these methods but the shape we will take ultimately serves God with a purpose.  When the breath of God blows through us as through a reed, we will play beautiful music. 
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