Credo

For many years I read authors who dealt with religious questions. I immersed myself in the novels and short stories of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and was fascinated by 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 find 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 decided to leave my career in academia; started following a healthier diet; gave away most of my possessions; and I became a volunteer for local charitable organisations.

Shortly after 7 June 2019, I began to feel drawn towards religious life, specifically the life of the Catholic Church. I decided to seek out instruction from a parish priest, I was Confirmed on 27 September 2020.

I continue to strive towards a simple life lived in the service of others.  

Holy Week 2021, Cardiff

Selected Reading

The following list comprises books that I have read or consulted over the last few years. While most of the volumes focus on the Roman Catholic faith, there are also titles from Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant authors that I have found helpful and insightful. A few of these books have become like companions, treasured favourites that I refer to on a regular basis, whereas others have been helpful in clarifying my own thoughts on a particular subject area.

If you are interested in any of the books listed, or have any recommendations of your own along similar threads, feel free to get in touch with me via the contact page.

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV)
  • The Divine Office
  • The Daily Missal
  • 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)
  • Sacra Pagina: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Acts of the Apostles
  • Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works
  • Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim & The Pilgrim Continues His Way
  • Anonymous, The Hermitage Within: Spirituality of the Desert by a Monk
  • Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
  • Aristotle, The Metaphysics
  • Aristotle, The Politics
  • Aristotle, Poetics
  • St Thomas Aquinas, Selected Writings
  • Arrupe, Pedro, One Jesuit’s Spiritual Journey
  • St Augustine, Confessions
  • St Augustine, City of God
  • St Augustine, Expositions on the Psalms
  • St Augustine, Faith, Hope, and Charity
  • Balthasar, Hans Urs von, Prayer
  • Balthasar, Hans Urs von, The Glory of the Lord (III): Studies in Theological Style: Late Style
  • Balthasar, Hans Urs von, The Christian and Anxiety
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism
  • Barron, Robert, Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master
  • Bloom, Anthony, Beginning to Pray
  • Bloom, Anthony and Georges Lefebvre, Courage to Pray
  • St Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity
  • 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
  • Pope Benedict XVI & Peter Seewald, Salt of the Earth
  • Pope Benedict XVI & Peter Seewald, God and the World
  • Pope Benedict XVI & Peter Seewald, Light of the World
  • Pope Benedict XVI & Peter Seewald, Last Testament
  • Bernanos, Georges, The Diary of a Country Priest
  • Blake, William, Poems and Prophecies
  • Bokenkotter, Thomas S., A Concise History of the Catholic Church
  • St Bonaventure, Works of Bonaventure
  • Bouteneff, Peter C., Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence
  • Brown, Raymond E., The Birth of the Messiah
  • Brown, Raymond E., The Death of the Messiah
  • Brown, Raymond E., An Introduction to the New Testament
  • Caussade, Jean Pierre de, Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • Cassian, John: The Institutes and The Conferences
  • Cather, Willa, Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Chadwick, Henry, Augustine of Hippo: A Life
  • Chesterton, G.K., St Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox
  • Chesterton, G.K., St Francis of Assisi
  • Ciszek, Walter J., He Leadeth Me
  • Climacus, John, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
  • Colliander, Tito, The Way of the Ascetics
  • Coppleston, F.C., Aquinas: An Introduction to the Life and Work of the Great Medieval Thinker
  • Cummings, Charles, Monastic Practices
  • Dante Alighieri, Commedia (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso)
  • David Totah, Mary, The Joy of God
  • David Totah, Mary, Deepening Prayer
  • David Totah, Mary, Christian Fasting
  • 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
  • Driscoll, Jeremy, A Monk’s Alphabet
  • 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
  • Fermor, Patrick Leigh, A Time to Keep Silence
  • Feser, Edward, Five Proofs of the Existence of God
  • Feser, Edward, Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide
  • Foucauld, Charles de, Selected Writings
  • Pope Francis and Sergio Rubin, Pope Francis : Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio
  • Pope Francis and Abraham Skorka, On Heaven and Earth
  • Frank, Joseph, Dostoevsky
  • Preminger, Marion Mill, The Sands of Tamanrasset: The Story of Charles de Foucauld
  • Gilson, Etienne, The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy
  • Gray, Tim and Jeff Cavins, Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible
  • Green, Julien, God’s Fool: The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi
  • St Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care
  • Guardini, Romano, The End of the Modern World
  • Guardini, Romano, The Lord
  • Guardini, Romano, Living the Drama of Faith
  • Guardini, Romano, The Conversion of Augustine
  • 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
  • Guardini, Romano, Meditations Before Mass
  • Guardini, Romano, Eternal Life
  • Guardini, Romano, The Spirit of the Liturgy
  • Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings
  • Pope John XXIII, The Journal of a Soul
  • St John of the Cross, Collected Works
  • St John Paul II, Gift and Mystery
  • St John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope
  • St John Paul II, Memory and Identity
  • St John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae
  • 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
  • Kreeft, Peter, Wisdom of the Psalms
  • Kreeft, Peter, Catholic Christianity
  • Kreeft, Peter, The Journey
  • Kreeft, Peter, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics
  • Kreeft, Peter, You Can Understand the Bible
  • Kreeft, Peter, Summa of the Summa
  • Küng, Hans, Credo: The Apostle’s Creed Explained for Today
  • Laird, Martin, Into the Silent Land
  • Laird, Martin, A Sunlit Absence
  • Laird, Martin, An Ocean of Light
  • Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Lubac, Henri de, The Drama of Atheist Humanism
  • Lubac, Henri de, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man
  • Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
  • Lewis, C.S., Surprised by Joy
  • Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity
  • 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, The Wisdom of the Desert
  • Merton, Thomas, Monastic Journey
  • Merton, Thomas, Seeds
  • Merton, Thomas, Life and Holiness
  • Merton, Thomas, Journals (7 vols.)
  • Merton, Thomas, Letters (5 vols.)
  • Merton, Thomas, Selected Essays
  • Metz, Johannes Baptist, Poverty of Spirit
  • Murphy, Charles M., The Spirituality of Fasting
  • Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome, Paul: His Story
  • Navone, John J., Triumph Through Failure: A Theology of the Cross
  • St Philip Neri, If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri
  • St 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
  • Nouwen, Henri, Sabbatical Journey
  • 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
  • St Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Scaperlanda, Maraia Ruiz, Edith Stein
  • Sheen, Fulton J., Life of Christ
  • Sheen, Fulton J., Your Life is Worth Living
  • St Sophrony the Athonite, Saint Silouan the Athonite
  • St Teresa of Avila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
  • St Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection
  • St Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle
  • St Thérèse of Lisieux, The Autobiography of St Thérèse of Lisieux
  • Mother Teresa, A Simple Path
  • Smiljanic, Ana, ed., Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
  • Taylor, Richard, How to Read a Church
  • Theophan the Recluse, The Spiritual Life
  • Theophan the Recluse, The Path to Salvation
  • Theophan the Recluse, Kindling the Divine Spark: Teachings on How to Preserve Spiritual Zeal
  • 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
  • Weigel, George, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Williams, Rowan, Being Christian
  • Williams, Rowan, The Way of St. Benedict
  • Williams, Rowan, Dostoevsky
  • (Wittgenstein), Portraits of Wittgenstein

Selected Listening

  • The music of Arvo Pärt, John Coltrane, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach

Selected Viewing

  • The films of Terrence Malick and Andrei Tarkovsky