Book - The Reasoning Heart

What is it like to think as Mary, Act as Mary and judge as Mary? This offers a spirituality which engages the whole person. How does John Claude Colin integrate Mary into his life and Spirituality. This brings some freshness to how we approach Marist Spirituality.

After many years in tertiary and adult education, and after publishing widely on moral issues, for instance, Shame, Hope and the Church: A Journey with Mary, Marist Father Tom Ryan explores the affective dimension of Jean-Claude Colin, the founder of the Society of Mary.

Colin’s thinking is well documented as the result of many years of research by Marist scholars, and Father Ryan brings considerable expertise in the psychology of affect.

The combination makes for a particularly rich and timely work, one which should have pride of place on your reading list.

Gaston Lessard sm, Quebec, Canada.

We might wonder what a 19th century French priest, virtually unknown outside the Society of Mary, which he founded, might offer to contemporary reflections on the morally good life and the guidance of conscience.

In the case of Jean-Claude Colin (1790–1875), the answer is: Quite a lot. Thomas Ryan, in The Reasoning Heart, shows that what Colin left behind (from collected oral remarks) proceeds from a coherent approach.

This approach was formed, first, from Colin’s own experience in country parishes and as spiritual guide to young men and, second, from his reading of St Alphonsus Liguori (not as yet widely known) and his attention to Roman maxims, such as ‘The supreme law is the salvation of souls’.

The heart of Colin’s approach is found in his treasured phrase: to ‘think as Mary, to judge as Mary, to feel and act as Mary in all things’. Thomas Ryan develops these themes in masterly fashion, drawing on previous studies of virtue-based ethics and the role of the emotions in the moral life.

This beautifully written book comes at an opportune moment as the Catholic Church tries to reformulate (even reform) her moral teaching in a world that rejects severity and condemnation from an institution whose own moral failings are only too evident.

Justin Taylor sm, Auckland, New Zealand.

Thomas Ryan is a Marist priest living in Sydney, Australia. He has been involved in tertiary theological education and adult faith formation for many years. Since 2005, he has been a Judge on the Regional Marriage Tribunals in both Brisbane and Sydney. He has held honorary positions in theology at the Australian Catholic University and the University of Notre Dame Australia. Apart from chapters in books, he has published numerous articles in theological journals both national and international.

His recent book is Shame, Hope and the Church: A Journey with Mary (Strathfield, NSW: St Pauls, 2020).

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30 October 2021

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