Father Thomas Keating, who is a Cistercian monk and not to be confused with Karl Keating, wrote REWAKENINGS to show readers the "deeper meanings" of familiar Gospel stories. The book is clear without "over-simplifying" some of examples he uses to embellish spiritual life.
One example is the story of Christ feeding the 5,000 plus. The apparent impossible situation is explained in the Christ "took a first step," and then He explained that the food was temporary when people should ultimately seek the "Bread of Life" which lasted longer than manna.
Fr. Keating used the example St. Peter who lost faith and almost drowned re walking on water until he lost faith. He begged Christ for help which he got. What is the moral of the story? The moral is that people appeal and pray when they face "life's storms. St. Peter could be intelligent and alert to Christ's teaching, and at other times, St. Peter was severely admonished by Christ. St. Peter could be a coward or he could be a saint.
Fr. Keating had interesting remarks re Christ's "transfiguration". Peter wanted to build monuments, but Christ said no and returned to teaching. The message is that when people are transfigured, they need to set an example rather than "resting on their laurals."
Fr. Keating often referred to renewal and redemption. He used insight re the leper and the blind. These poor souls, perhaps "dead souls," were physically cured and then had a spiritual awakening re mind and soul. Fr. Keating gave added intellectual dimension to the obvious narratives.
Fr, Keating had more intelligent remarks about a nagging woman pleading her cause to corrupt judge who finally relented to her request just to avoid the constand nagging and not out of any sense of justice. The moral of this story is that God who is just will answer pleas even if at times the answer is NO.
This reviewer was facinated by Fr. Keatings remarks re the incident re the "woman taken in adultry." Fr. Keating wrote that Christ was bored with Pharisees and "knew their game." If Christ agreed that according to Moses that the poor woman be stoned to death, He would betray His teaching of compassion, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, etc. If Christ refuted Moses Law, he could be accused of violating The Law of Moses. As stated, Fr. Keating wrote that Christ was bored with these Pharisees. He "had seen it all before." One must rhetorically ask how hard is it to find a "wayward woman?" Christ wrote something on the ground which may have been a report on the sins of the Pharisees. The same is true re the woman who washed Christ's feet and was forgiven. The Pharisee said Christ, as a prophet, should have know what sort of woman this person was. Christ blasted the Pharisee for being an ungracious host. As an aside, one may wonder how these self-rightousness Pharisees knew so much about "wayward women."
Some of the essays dealt with Advent and Lent and the parable about alertness. Fr. Keating argued people should always be alert about Christ's teaching and example. Catholicism is a religion renewal, and Mass is celebrated every day to renew people to such alertness.
Father Keating's book is readable helps readers to think more carefully about biblical anecdotes. This book is not popular religion, but any reader "with residual common sense" can profit from the book. The undersigned wishes that Father Keating would have included an index and bibliography
James E. Egolf
February 5, 2013