This month on "Meet a Reader" I'm happy to feature someone I've known for many years. Amy Dyke has a new role as the NFP Coordinator for the Diocese of Peoria. Thanks, Amy, for being willing to share your love of books with Reading Catholic!
How you know me: I am happily married to Craig Dyke, the proud mother of five daughters and have recently begun working as the NFP Coordinator for the Diocese of Peoria. I happen to also be one of five girls and am originally from the Black Hills of South Dakota. We have settled here in Peoria, quite content to be rooted in the heart of the Midwest. St. Jude is our home parish, where we are blessed with an incredibly warm, faithful and loving community.
Why I love reading: My spiritual director told me years ago, "the minute one stops moving forward in their spiritual journey, they're actually moving backward." I find this to be especially true in regards to literature and spiritual reading. I love to immerse myself in books that challenge my heart and mind, and bring me to a greater love, knowledge and understanding of Christ. I also love reading because it's a great way for me to grow closer and connect with my husband. In addition to books we read on our own, we love to cozy up and read to each other before going to bed. It's a standing joke between us of who can be more animated so the other doesn't doze off to sleep.
What I'm reading now: Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor by Peitro Molla. St. Gianna shines brightly for the women/wives/mothers of our day in a powerful way. Written by Gianna's very own husband, Pietro describes Gianna's many virtues, in particular he mentions her prudence, how Gianna truly wanted to do only what the Lord wanted from her, and she did it whole-heartedly. Gianna's simple witness speaks volumes, especially in today's fast-paced, self-centered culture.
Her devotion to God first, followed by a devoted relationship with her husband and children, allowed her to live her life in a way that was selfless, sensitive, complete. St. Gianna wrote that "our task is to live holy the present moment," which was abundantly evident in her interior life, her family life, in her public role as a doctor. In a culture where our children are desperately needing parents to be 'present' (and vice-versa!), we see that the mission of the family has perhaps gotten side-tracked with an unhealthy fascination of instead being 'present' on social network sites, etc.
Technology is literally in the palm of many of our hands, and begs the question: could these fun and exciting novelties be causing families to be distracted from our mission, and lose sight of the amazing privilege and gift of authentic love to be lived out more fully within our home, within our vocation? St. Gianna says, "our earthly and eternal happiness depends on following our vocation very carefully." Such simplicity. Incredibly revealing to spouses/parents in our sincere pursuit of a happy family, showing that we must take heed to nurture and protect the precious relationships within our family, under our very roofs, at all costs- recognizing that each day is a gift from God to grow closer to Him and closer to the family with which He has blessed us.
I'm also reading George Weigel's The Cube and the Cathedral. Craig and I recently polished off Weigel's fascinating look at the de-Christianization of Europe and the role that secularism and government have played in seeking to wipe out their deep-rooted Christian heritage. Weigel points out that the state of Europe should give the attentive reader pause, as we Americans can see the seeds of secularism boldly taking root in the United States today. Drawing on Blessed John Paul II's rich understanding of God's rightful place within society, Weigel shows the stark difference of the people of the "cube" and the people of the "cathedral," and that in the end, atheistic humanism places society on a path to destruction, whereas authentic human enlightenment comes from God's illuminating presence in the world. Written in 2005, we found Weigel's book and insights to be incredibly prophetic, especially in light of the government's recent HHS healthcare mandate being forced upon Catholic institutions throughout the U.S.
Pope Benedict XVI: The Infancy Narratives: Jesus of Nazareth. We just received our Holy Father's newest book, and are excited to keep each other awake (!) and prepare well as a couple to enter into Advent more fully. We appreciate the pointedness and direct style that our Holy Father uses in his writing, constantly seeking to bring Jesus more alive to those that are sincerely longing for truth, for Christ.
My favorite books:
G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy.
Karol Wojtyla (JPII): Love and Responsibility.
St. Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle.
St. John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul.
Thomas a Kempis: The Imitation of Christ.
Fulton Sheen: Life of Christ and Three to Get Married.
St. Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life.
Louisa May Alcott: Little Women.