Seek To Be Unknown: A Spiritual Anthology,
by Fr W.J. Boswell, reviewed by Leo Madigan

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Leo Magidan reviews Seek To Be Unknown: A Spiritual Anthology, by Fr W.J. Boswell, edited by Francis Phillips

£10 + £1.30 postage. With 270 pages and 10 illustrations, this paperback edition is available from Francis Phillips, please click here to email her:

There is a shelf within reach of my desk where the golden books stand, the books which never have time to collect dust. The Imitation leans against Julian of Norwich and de Montfort’s True Devotion. Teresa and Therese and John of the Cross are there. Augustine’s Confessions rubs shoulders with Newman’s Apologia. Gerard Manley Hopkins, de Caussade , Dom Marmion and Houselander’s Reed of God live happily together. There have never been more than two dozen volumes in this special space, but just lately I have added another.

The addition is a series of short sermons and occasional writings, none more than a page long, of a contemporary English parish priest who has served the same church in Buckinghamshire for over forty years and is now, apparently, in retirement.

The book is called Seek to be Unknown. The priest is Fr. W.J. Boswell and the compilation is by a parishioner who, even if taking the title seriously, deserves the highest accolades for salvaging such exquisite gems and making them available.

Every piece, and there are 200 or so of them, is a new window, each with a fresh and altogether exciting view of our Faith. Scripture was never so immediate, Jesus and Mary never so tangible, so exulted yet so next door. We pray often, if lamely, for the Kingdom to come, but never until I opened this book had I seen its flag flying full mast and its anthem beating loudly and stirring hearts to unconditional loyalty. Psychologists can search in vain for suave literary skills between these covers, persuasive voices of subtle manipulation. They aren’t here. The banner has been designed by the hidden Christ of the Eucharist; the anthem is crystallized prayer.

Seek to be Unknown is hardly an advertising department’s choice for a selling title, but neither was an instrument of execution a fetching icon for the followers of the Incarnate God. Those who understand the anomaly, and come across the book, will appreciate why I am keeping my copy on my golden shelf between The Bible and The Way of a Pilgrim.

£10 + £1.30 postage. With 270 pages and 10 illustrations, this paperback edition is available from Francis Phillips, please click here to email her:


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