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Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace

Author: Scott Hahn
Published By: Darton Longman and Todd (London)
Pages: 155
Price: £10.95
ISBN: 0 232 52703 2

Reviewed by Deborah Matthews.

Scott Hahn is Professor of Theology and Scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a former Presbyterian minister who has been drawn towards Roman Catholicism, through his encounters with Opus Dei. 

The subtitle of this book determines the nature of it. It is not an Opus Dei exposé, nor is it an attempt to refute some of the adverse publicity which the organisation has attracted, so those who are hoping to find discussion of controversies will be disappointed. Instead we find Hahn’s personal reflection on his journey from his Calvinist and evangelical roots to his vocation in Opus Dei.

The book is centred on the teachings of Saint Josemaria, the Spanish Priest who founded Opus Dei. Each chapter begins with a quote from his work, The Way, and offers reflections with plenty of biblical back up.

It was the seriousness with which Opus Dei treated the Bible that first attracted Hahn to this organisation, and the model of life that he portrays for us appears to be fruitful and satisfying. Certainly there are some timely reminders, for busy priests and laity alike, of keeping the balance between sanctifying work and making work an idol. However, I found it at times irritating in its supposition that no other way, or priest, took the Bible or their discipline as seriously!

There is unsurprisingly an air of proselytisation in this book, particularly in the chapter ‘Turn up the Romance’, where Hahn shares with us the account of his wife’s conversion. But generally it offers a rather ‘cosy’ insight of life in Opus Dei, which could leave us wondering what lies beneath it!

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You are reading Issue 41 of Ministry Today, published in November 2007.

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