When I first picked up Doers of the Word
, I expected to find a book covering the theology and practical nature of putting our faith into practice, as this is what the cover suggests. However, it is composed of short reflections divided into seven "chapters". Each reflection ends with a bit of history, a quote, some trivia, a poem, or a prayer. The topics of the chapters range from Christ to the Communion of Saints to the Virgin Mary.
It is quite obvious from the book that Archbp. Timothy Dolan has a thoughtful, prayerful faith. Many of the reflections grow from his own experiences and more than a few are quite inspiring. His aim isn't so much to tell people how to live their faith but to show how others have lived their faith and to inspire the reader to follow these examples. He uses a mix of humor and earthiness to make the principles of living our faith come home. There were certainly passages that brought tears to my eyes, such as the story of God bringing together a pair of couples, one of whom pregnant with a special needs child and the other in search of adopting a special needs child.
There are moments, however, when it seems as if he's reaching too far to make a connection or perhaps is too cavalier about holy matters. One such instance occurs in the chapter entitled "My Lord and My God" when he compares the Sign of the Cross to a gang tattoo. I saw the point he was making, that the Sign of the Cross marks us as God's own, but to refer to the Church as a "gang" seems to be stretching it a bit. In fact, I could see how someone could be offended by this. It's sort of on the same line as referring to Jesus as one's "home boy."
This isn't a book so much to be studied as to be prayerfully absorbed. I wouldn't recommend taking this as reading material on a plane or bus. It's more something to keep on the night stand for devotional reading. However, if the reader is seeking something challenging, such as for a holy season, then this may not be a good book to choose.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan is over the Archdiocese of New York, former rector of the North American College in Rome, and author of several books.
You can purchase this book here