Here's your Lenten reading. Because if the Sermon on the Mount, or any of its parts, doesn't compel repentance, well...but if it doesn't get to you for Lent, here's your reading for Easter and Bright Week, because there's no more joyful news than that if we're told to be merciful, it must mean that the Teller is infinitely more merciful, and we have hope. And it could be your reading for Pentecost, because these meditations on the very center of our Lord's teaching could not help but bring newness of life. Or maybe, for ''ordinary time,'' since our author uses anecdotes from everyday life to explore the extraordinary dimensions of the Kingdom revealed when ordinary folk try to do what they've learned from the Sermon. And if you don't get to this book till Advent -- then, you've given yourself a great gift. All of which is to say: don't miss this one. 163 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Drawing on stories from the lives of the saints, scripture, and everyday life, Jim Forest opens up the mysteries of the Beatitudes. These ancient blessings, with which Christ began his Sermon on the Mount, are all aspects of communion with God. As Forest shows, they are like rungs on a ladder, each one leading to the next. They appear at the doorway of the New Testament to provide an easily memorized summary of everything that follows, right down to the crucifixion ("Blessed are you who are persecuted") and the resurrection ("Rejoice and be glad").