by Daniel O’Leary. Published by Columba Press, 2017. Reviewed by Margaret O’Neill
The subtitle to Daniel O’Leary’s latest book, “The Love Story of Creation and the Wonder of You”, immediately tells the reader something about the book. Through his reflections on Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, which point to an evolving new theology, Daniel takes his readers on a wonderful journey of discovery. Instead of talking about a sin/redemption theology, Daniel demonstrates that Pope Francis, along with many other theologians, is calling us to a new way of looking at the world and the universe and the place of Jesus and ourselves in the story of God’s love. Daniel speaks of a Creation/Incarnation theology in which God created us out of love and continues to love us unconditionally. We are not born in a state of sin, but are born pure and innocent and open to love. And in God’s infinite love Jesus was born as one of us to reveal, in a human way, God’s love.
Daniel emphasises that it is in connectedness that we find God. He says that Creation in its evolving history is the product of a loving God who wishes to be in union with us all. Over and over he repeats the maxim: Know that you are loved totally and forever by a God who is continually drawing you towards an understanding of how great and deep is this love. How can we do anything but respond to that love in every person we encounter and in lovingly caring for every aspect of creation?
I loved this book. It was refreshing, thought-provoking and mind-stretching. Each chapter revealed a slightly different nuance of the new theology emerging. It is exciting and consoling. It changes our thinking.
Daniel believes that Pope Francis sees sin as our refusal to care for one another and our planet. How long will it take the new way of theologising to become the norm in preaching and practice in our Church communities? It will certainly change our views on a whole raft of moral questions.
I recommend this book to anyone who is keen to see life and religious beliefs in a different but more exciting and comforting way. I know you will read Scripture with new eyes and the journey will involve you in a love story with your God. Happy reading!
Tui Motu Magazine. Issue 227, June 2018: 28.