Robert Ellsberg

March 2021

Dear Friends,

Bill Cain is a Jesuit priest and playwright. Many may share my fond memories of the TV show he created, “Nothing Sacred,” an affectionate and moving depiction of a Catholic priest and his progressive-leaning parish in Chicago. My enthusiasm was guaranteed when the producers chose to feature some Orbis titles on the priest’s bookshelf—a knowing wink to viewers of the hero’s sympathies. Those sympathies, alas, proved sufficient reason for the conservative Catholic League to drive the program off the air.

          But now Fr. Cain’s work earns a legitimate place on the actual Orbis bookshelf with his marvelous, moving, and thought-provoking work, The Diary of Jesus Christ. Written in the imagined voice of Jesus, these short episodes—many that brought me to tears—take us inside and behind the scenes of familiar gospel stories, as Jesus interacts with his family, disciples, the sick and poor, along the way dispensing wisdom, healing, mercy, and an invitation to new life. As his fellow Jesuit, Fr. Greg Boyle, writes in the foreword: “The Jesus we see here is the mystic, the one who can spot wholeness in our ruin and brokenness.”

          In a different way, James E. Woods guides us to identify with the mystic Jesus in Putting on the Mind of Christ: Contemplative Prayer and Holistic Unity. He shows how the practice of contemplative prayer enables us to see with the mind of Christ and to love with the heart of God.          

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