Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 72 (4) November 2022

Book Review

Lived Christianity
by Dom Francois De Sales Pollien Calx.
Mariae Publishing

Reviewed by Pravin Thevathasan

Book CoverCatholics engaged in any kind of apostolate need a strong interior life, without which there is no apostolate worth speaking of. My own favourite book on this particular topic is The Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Chautard. The book I am reviewing now is a close runner up. I found it brilliant and easy to read. It is like receiving a personal letter from a gifted spiritual director. And how much that is needed at a time when there are so few good spiritual directors around. Dom Chautard was a Trappist. Dom Pollien was a Carthusian. It comes as no surprise that the best people to tell us how to interiorise our active lives are the contemplatives.

Throughout this book, Dom Pollien reminds us that we need to follow and fully live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church: "if only you could believe so much as never to lose sight of your divine greatness." We are in this world for one primary purpose, says the author: for the glory of God. Ad majorem Dei Gloriam is the motto of a religious order that gave us so much in times gone by. God's glory is always first. But a second purpose closely related to the first is our happiness. Our happiness is doing the will of God, glorifying God.

Evil, says the author, is the overthrowing of the divine order. Instead of knowing, loving and serving God, we seek to love and serve ourselves. But that is the way to unhappiness.

Dom Pollien is an astute psychologist: "You say to God 'My God, I love Thee with all my heart, above all things.' Three lies. It is not really Him that you love but yourself. If you love Him, even a little, it is certainly not with all your heart, not really above all things."

Doing the will of God is all that matters: "knowing how to accept what God does-the events He arranges, what happens to you every day-convinced that everything comes from His hand, is a science which is sweet to the generous heart."

If only our leaders could read these beautiful words of Dom Pollien about Our Lady: "Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. There is no grace which does not come from her heart and which does not pass through her hands." Is this not the message of the Miraculous Medal and of Fatima?

Here is what the author has to say about the liturgy: "Christian worship is always serious in its beauty. The splendour of its appearance reflects the serenity of its purpose...look for that which can elevate your senses to God, and not that which makes you rest in the excitement of your eyes and ears." The primary purpose of the liturgy is the worship of God, not to celebrate ourselves.

This work by Dom Pollien is pure Catholic spirituality. How much we need this now. We are all called to be Guardians of Tradition and this book shows us how compelling and beautiful this Tradition is.