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 one week ago today (27 September 2020). 

Feast of St Francis, 2020, 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
  • Alighieri, Dante, Commedia (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso)
  • 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
  • Saint Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Bernanos, Georges, The Diary of a Country Priest
  • Blake, William, Poems and Prophecies
  • Peter C. Bouteneff, Peter C., Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence
  • John Cassian: The Institutes and The Conferences
  • John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
  • Cummings, Charles, Monastic Practices
  • 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
  • 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
  • Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings
  • St John of the Cross, Collected Works
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Fear and Trembling
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Either/Or
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, The Sickness Unto Death
  • Kierkegaard, Søren, Journals and Papers
  • Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
  • Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
  • McColman, Carl, Befriending Silence: Encountering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality
  • 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, Seeds
  • Merton, Thomas, Journals
  • Merton, Thomas, Letters
  • Merton, Thomas, Essays
  • Metz, Johannes Baptist, Poverty of Spirit
  • 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
  • Nouwen, Henri, The Genesee Diary
  • Nouwen, Henri, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
  • 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
  • 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
  • Van Gogh, Vincent, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Waal, Esther de, Seeking God: The Way of St Benedict
  • 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