Credo

For many years I had been a habitual reader of authors who dealt with religious questions. I read the novels and short stories of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and was interested in philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. My academic research led me via Samuel Beckett to Dante and Thomas a Kempis. And I felt an affinity with artists, composers, and filmmakers who evoked religious experiences and concerns in their work: the paintings and letters of Vincent Van Gogh, the recordings of John Coltrane and Arvo Pärt, and the films of Terrence Malick. 

Thomas Merton

Reading Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain in the spring of 2017 was a clarifying moment. The book is a memoir of religious conversion, and offers a rich account of one individual’s journey towards faith. It affected me profoundly. I related to Merton’s descriptions of the twentieth-century world that surrounded him, his abiding interest in literature and philosophy, and his gradual awakening to faith as an actively lived practice. It prompted me to listen more closely to my feelings and attitudes towards religious belief, and to start finding out more about the Catholic Church.

On 7 June 2017, I decided to change the way I was living. I began an attempt to live according to values of simplicity, humility, and compassion for others. I started following a healthier diet, gave away most of my possessions, and became a volunteer for local charitable organisations.

Three years later, I continue to strive towards a simple life lived in the service of others. Shortly after 7 June 2019, I began to feel drawn towards the Catholic Church; after receiving instruction from a parish priest, I was Confirmed on 27 September 2020. 

Holy Week 2021, Cardiff

My Reading

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV)
  • The Divine Office (3 volumes, published by Collins)
  • The Weekday and Sunday Missals (2 volumes, published by Collins)
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • A Year With the Catechism
  • Butler’s Lives of the Saints (1990s edition) (12 volumes)
  • The Philokalia (4 volumes)
  • The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology
  • The Harper Collins Encyclopaedia of Catholicism, ed. Richard P. McBrien
  • The Oxford Bible Commentary (eds. Barton and Muddiman)
  • The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Desert Fathers
  • Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers
  • Early Christian Lives (ed. Carolinne White)
  • Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works
  • Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim & The Pilgrim Continues His Way
  • Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
  • Aristotle, The Metaphysics
  • Aristotle, The Politics
  • Aristotle, Poetics
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas, Selected Writings
  • Saint Augustine, Confessions
  • Saint Augustine, City of God
  • Saint Augustine, Expositions on the Psalms
  • Balthasar, Hans Urs von, Prayer
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism
  • Saint Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones
  • Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy
  • Pope Benedict XVI, A School of Prayer
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Seek That Which is Above
  • Pope Benedict XVI, God is Love: Deus Caritas Est
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth: Caritas in Veritate
  • Pope Benedict XVI, The God of Christ: Meditations on the Triune God
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Saint Paul
  • Pope Benedict XVI, The Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Church Fathers and Teachers: From Leo the Great to Peter Lombard
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Holy Men and Women from the Middle Ages and Beyond
  • Bernanos, Georges, The Diary of a Country Priest
  • Blake, William, Poems and Prophecies
  • Saint Bonaventure, Works of Bonaventure
  • Peter C. Bouteneff, Peter C., Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence
  • John Cassian: The Institutes and The Conferences
  • Cather, Willa, Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Chadwick, Henry, Augustine of Hippo: A Life
  • Ciszek, Walter J., He Leadeth Me
  • John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
  • Colliander, Tito, The Way of the Ascetics
  • Cummings, Charles, Monastic Practices
  • Dante Alighieri, Commedia (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso)
  • David, Mary, The Joy of God
  • David, Mary, Deepening Prayer
  • Day, Dorothy, The Long Loneliness
  • Day, Dorothy, From Union Square to Rome
  • Day, Dorothy, Loaves and Fishes
  • Day, Dorothy, Thérèse
  • Day, Dorothy, Diaries
  • Day, Dorothy, Letters
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, Poor Folk and Other Stories
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Gambler and Other Stories
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Double
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, Netochka Nezvanova
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Village of Stepanchikovo
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, Notes from a Dead House
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, Notes from the Underground
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Idiot
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Adolescent (Raw Youth)
  • Dostoevsky, Feodor, The Brothers Karamazov
  • Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings
  • Elie, Paul, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage
  • Ellsberg, Robert, ed. Charles de Foucauld (selected writings)
  • Evagrius, Talking Back
  • Evagrius, The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer
  • Eusebius, The History of the Church
  • Pope Francis and Sergio Rubin, Pope Francis : conversations with Jorge Bergoglio
  • Pope Francis and Abraham Skorka, On heaven and Earth : Pope Francis on faith, family, and the church in the twenty-first century
  • Green, Julien, God’s Fool: The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi
  • Guardini, Romano, The End of the Modern World
  • Guardini, Romano, The Lord
  • Guardini, Romano, Living the Drama of Faith
  • Guardini, Romano, The Human Experience: Essays on Providence, Melancholy, Community & Freedom
  • Guardini, Romano, The Rosary of Our Lady
  • Guardini, Romano, The Lord’s Prayer
  • Guardini, Romano, Meditations on the Christ
  • Guardini, Romano, Learning the Virtues
  • Guardini, Romano, The Art of Praying
  • Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings
  • Pope John XXIII, The Journal of a Soul
  • St John of the Cross, Collected Works
  • Ker, Ian, John Henry Newman: A Biography
  • Ker, Ian, Mere Catholicism
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Fear and Trembling
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Either/Or
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, The Sickness Unto Death
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Journals and Papers
  • Laird, Martin, Into the Silent Land
  • Laird, Martin, A Sunlit Absence
  • Laird, Martin, An Ocean of Light
  • Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
  • Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
  • McColman, Carl, Befriending Silence: Encountering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality
  • McInery, Ralph, The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain: A Spiritual Life
  • Markides, Kyriacos C, The Mountain of Silence
  • Martin, James, Learning to Pray
  • Martin, James, Between Heaven and Mirth
  • Martin, James, In Good Company
  • Martin, James, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
  • Martin, James, My Life with the Saints
  • Martin, James, A Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything
  • Maritain, Jacques, Art and Scholasticism
  • Maritain, Jacques, An Introduction to Philosophy
  • Maritain, Raïssa, The Journal of Raïssa Maritain
  • Merton, Thomas, The Seven Storey Mountain
  • Merton, Thomas, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
  • Merton, Thomas, The Inner Experience
  • Merton, Thomas, New Seeds of Contemplation
  • Merton, Thomas, The Sign of Jonas
  • Merton, Thomas, No Man Is An Island
  • Merton, Thomas, Seeds
  • Merton, Thomas, Journals (7 vols.)
  • Merton, Thomas, Letters (5 vols.)
  • Merton, Thomas, Selected Essays
  • Metz, Johannes Baptist, Poverty of Spirit
  • Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome, Paul: His Story
  • Saint Philip Neri, If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri
  • Saint John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua
  • Norris, Kathleen, The Cloister Walk
  • Norris, Kathleen, Acedia & Me
  • Nouwen, Henri, The Genesee Diary
  • Nouwen, Henri, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
  • Nouwen, Henri, Intimacy
  • Nouwen, Henri, The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life
  • Nouwen, Henri, Discernment
  • O’Connor, Flannery, Collected Stories
  • Pärt, Arvo, Conversations with Arvo Pärt
  • Pascal, Blaise, Pensées
  • Pasternak, Boris, Dr Zhivago
  • Percy, Walker, The Moviegoer
  • Quenon, Paul, In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir
  • Robinson, Jonathan, In No Strange Land: The Embodied Mysticism of St Philip Neri
  • Robinson, Marilynne, Gilead
  • Robinson, Marilynne, Home
  • Robinson, Marilynne, Lila
  • Robinson, Marilynne, Absence of Mind
  • Robinson, Marilynne, When I Was a Child I Read Books
  • Robinson, Marilynne, The Givenness of Things
  • Rogers, Byron, The Man Who Went Into The West: The Life of R.S. Thomas
  • Saint Sophrony the Athonite, Saint Silouan the Athonite
  • Saint Teresa of Avila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
  • Saint Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection
  • Saint Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle
  • Mother Teresa, A Simple Path
  • Smiljanic, Ana, ed., Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
  • Theophan the Recluse, The Spiritual Life
  • Theophan the Recluse, The Path to Salvation
  • Thomas, R.S., Collected Poems 1945-1990
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Childhood
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Boyhood
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Youth
  • Tolstoy, Leo, The Cossacks
  • Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy, Leo, A Confession and Other Religious Writings
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Collected Short Stories
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Diaries (2 volumes)
  • Tolstoy, Leo, Letters (2 volumes)
  • Tranströmer, Thomas, New Collected Poems
  • Treece, Patricia, A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe Saint of Auschwitz in the words of those who knew him
  • Van Gogh, Vincent, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Waal, Esther de, Seeking God: The Way of St Benedict
  • Wansbrough, Henry, The Sunday Word
  • Wansbrough, Henry, Introduction to the New Testament
  • Wansbrough, Henry, The Psalms: A Commentary for Prayer and Reflection
  • Wansbrough, Henry, A Year with the Bible
  • Wansbrough, Henry, The Bible: A Reader’s Guide
  • Ware, Kallistos, The Orthodox Way
  • Ware, Kallistos, The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity
  • Ware, Kallistos, The Power of the Name
  • Williams, Rowan, Being Christian
  • Williams, Rowan, The Way of St. Benedict
  • (Wittgenstein), Portraits of Wittgenstein

Listening

  • The music of Arvo Pärt
  • The music of John Coltrane

Watching

  • The films of Terrence Malick