The Jesus Spy

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Is Jesus the Nazarene preaching peace or revolution? Pontius Pilate wants Musan Deleig, his spymaster in Roman-occupied Judea, to find out. As Deleig tracks this challenging and captivating figure, he becomes enmeshed in a complex web of power struggles that threaten to destroy them both.

This compelling novel offers a vivid account of the Jesus story, with a rich cast of historical and fictional characters. Deleig’s Zoroastrian belief in a single God makes him an outsider in the pantheistic Roman Empire. So, he is a compassionate if impartial observer of Jesus’ preaching, trial and crucifixion. But the spymaster increasingly finds himself torn between his obligations to Rome and his moral duty as events conspire toward the inevitable outcome.

Read an extract from Chapter 14 on

Review: I read “The Jesus Spy” with rapt attention and the greatest of pleasure. Jones is a writer of outstanding ability and fluency; the book is difficult to put down. Jones’s knowledge of the times and places of his story is most impressive, and the reader feels that he is THERE. His characters have a commendable reality – well-rounded and believable. Most important, Jones knows how to tell a story, a skill too little seen these days. This is a new take on an old, oft-told tale, with variety and freshness, and a wonderful surprise ending. Highly recommended. – William Bettridge, review

Review: What a marvelous read, filled with great characters, action, suspense, history, wit, and a surprising, satisfying ending. Musan is a Biblical James Bond, with his varied talents and skills, shrewd decision-making, and beautiful love interest. You’ll never read a more interesting novel that explores the “murder” of Jesus. – Cheryl Bubier, review

Review: Outstanding historical novel of the rulers and politics behind the life and death of Jesus. The writing is taut and the details of the times are outstanding. I would highly recommend this historical novel. – S. Ward, review

Review: Facts and fiction are woven into this fascinating novel by Arthur Jones. His knowledge of geography and first-century politics in the church and Roman government made the characters come alive. I was compelled to finish the book even though I knew the outcome. – Mary S., review

Paperback and eBook: 2019, Capparoe Books, 301 pages, ISBN: 9780976875123

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An ‘Ecology Advent’ Based on Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Sí: An Aid to Meditation

A response to Pope Francis’ ecology encyclical, Laudato Sí (2015), this booklet provides daily reflections for the four weeks of Advent. Each week offers a different way to meditate on a similar set of topics.

A meditation is not a course of study. It does not involve memorizing or learning. Rather, what we read should help prompt us in the direction that our heart and soul and mind want to go and as a consequence have the spirit develop to lead us.

The first three weeks focus on the difficult issues surrounding the planet’s ecology and environment. The fourth week, following the encyclical’s pattern, eases to a calmer and more comforting – though still challenging – Christian appraisal. In doing so, it flows easily towards Advent’s hopeful anticipation.

To download the pdf of this booklet (2015, 32 pages), email to request the password. The booklet is provided free of charge for personal use only.

Mary, A Mother Waiting: Raising the Messiah

Mary was the only person Jesus knew who had been called and “touched” by God as he himself had been. This original and insightful book, written in blank verse, provides compelling new insights to Mary’s role in Jesus’ growth and formation. It explores how Mary’s understanding of Jesus’ call shaped, in great measure, his development and preparation for his ministry.

Anyone who seeks deeper insights into the unique person who was Jesus’ mother will be intrigued by Mary, A Mother Waiting. Questions for individual or group use further draw the reader into this story and into reflecting on its wider implications.

Review:Mary, A Mother Waiting draws us imaginatively into the time, place, and culture in which Jesus and Mary lived, and in which the reader – wondrously – lives for a little while. It is dynamic, full of surprises, and finally full of grace. Not only as Jesus and Mary revealed in a unique way, so are we, the readers.” — Dolores Leckey, author of The Laity and Christian Education (Rediscovering Vatican II series)

Review: “Haunting and humorous, Mary, A Mother Waiting allows us to see the mother of Jesus in all her humanity. This beautifully written tribute to the girl who accepted the challenge of an angel and grew into the woman who could command God gives us a new perspective on Mary as she playfully enjoys life with her son, even as she anticipates the future she knows neither of them can escape.” — Cokie Roberts, author of We Are Our Mother’s Daughters

Paperback: 2011, Paulist Press, 96 pages, ISBN: 9780809146963

Notre Dame Magazine, August 2003, cover
Notre Dame Magazine’s August 2003 issue: cover illustration by Ken Orvidas

Literary Scamp Evelyn Waugh

Article: Notre Dame Magazine, August 2003 (free to read online)

In the late 1940s, Catholic novelist Evelyn Waugh, the author of Brideshead Revisited, was desperate for a respite from the rationing and privation of post-war England – and from his five children, all under eleven. He convinced Life magazine to publish his report of a two-month tour of the United States during the winter of 1948-49.

Jones’s article describes how Waugh went about getting someone else to cover the costs of his first-class ocean-liner ticket to the U.S. and his luxurious journeying while there. And how he even had other people do most of the research for him.

For this article, Jones contacted the Catholic colleges where Waugh spoke, but only at Notre Dame did he find someone who had attended Waugh’s presentation – the President, Father Ted Hesburgh. Jones also read the Waugh papers at the University of Texas and contacted an American family the Waughs were close to. Following a major symposium on Evelyn Waugh at Loyola University, Baltimore, at which he presented a paper, Jones gave his own collection of Waugh first editions, photographs, and correspondence to Loyola University Library’s special collections.

Facing Fear with Faith
by Arthur Jones and Dolores Leckey

Who are we and what can we be? How have we changed after the tragic events of September 11, 2001? Where does faith fit in? How has our basic philosophy of life been altered? Are we more present in our relationships with each other, and with God?

Sometimes things happen and everything appears in a different light – life, love, hope, even relationships. Redefining the bedrock of our beliefs, finding meaning, requires the energy of a compassionate heart that wants to reach in, in order to reach out. Facing Fear with Faith is the collaborative effort of two such compassionate hearts who address the thoughts that permeate our days and offer resting stops for prayer and contemplation.

Review: “As a poet I am certain that poetry is the freshest and deepest form of prayer. Facing Fear with Faith is a living beatitude: the authors offer a feast of healing words for the naked, hungry, and weary heart and soul. True medicine.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

Paperback: 2003, Thomas More Press, 192 pages, ISBN: 9780883474860

New Catholics for a New Century: The U.S. Church Today and Where It’s Headed

How has the role of women changed through the history of the Church? What can we look forward to as the number of priests continues to rapidly decline? Arthur Jones answers these and other questions that prevail in the minds of sixty-two million Catholics about their expectations and the future of the Church.

Review: “Arthur Jones provides a fascinating glance at roads we have traveled in the history of the Cathoic Church. His hope of a Catholic public presence founded on issues around life, dignity and creation for a new century is enlightening and encouraging.” — Annette Kane, Executive Director, National Council of Catholic Women

Review: New Catholics … is a very appropriate book for our time. For anyone who cares about what the Catholic Church in America is today and is personally concerned about where it is going in the future, this book is well worth reading.” — Rev. Theodore M Hesburghm CSC, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

Hardcover: 2000, Thomas More Press, 192 pages, ISBN: 9780883474556

Cover of centenary edition
Cover of original edition

Hearts on Fire: The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters
by Penny Lernoux with Arthur Jones and Robert Ellsberg

The Maryknoll Sisters were the first community of American Catholic women to serve abroad as missioners. Hearts on Fire recounts their extraordinary history and their efforts to remain faithful both to the gospel and to the times.

Through the voices of Sisters themselves, the book draws an inspiring and moving portrait of a community in constant transition during a critical century in the history of the American Catholic church. Hearts of Fire shows how – in their process of growth and conversion – these women religious left their indelible mark on the church and the world.

Penny Lernoux wrote five chapters of the book before her death, and Jones and Ellsberg completed the other 10 chapters. The book won the Catholic Book Award.

Review: “Through quotes from letters, diaries, and personal interviews, a powerful narrative of faith and courage emerges, ranging from the first American Catholic women missionaries to go abroad to today’s members. The sisters learned, loved, healed, taught but especially shared the lot, even to death, of those they served. From the carefully edited fragments of personal accounts of work in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the United States, there emerges a realistic picture of a community ceaselessly challenging itself, ever in transition, ever opting to help the poor.” – Anna Donnelly, Library Journal

Review: “An extremely good book on the story of the Maryknoll Sisters written by a professional journalist who herself has a deep passion for the Maryknoll mission … Those who helped finish the book are no less than the author in the depth of research, knowledge of Maryknoll and passion for the mission.” – K.F. Chan, review

Hardcover: 1993, Orbis Books, 294 pages, ISBN: 157075019X; centenary edition, 2011, 350 pages (with new foreword by Desmond Tutu)

Capitalism and Christians: Tough Gospel Challenges in a Troubled World Economy

This book may change the way you think about capitalism. Arthur Jones has produced a scathing critique on capitalism, the way it’s practiced in the United States and most western nations today. Even as it stands triumphant on the world economic stage, capitalism, when measured against Christian precepts, is detrimental to the common good, injurious to the planet, and promotes the false god of materialism. It has turned the United States into the newest Third World country and corrupted the American ideals of human equality and the dignity of the individual. Jones compares the reality of western economic life with the prophetic teaching of Catholic and other church leaders in North and South America.

Review: “Many books are available on the relationship between capitalism and Christianity … but this latest provides a distinctive point of view … Jones sees business as good but easily corrupted and opines that the undesirable form of capitalism has become dominant. He proposes three solutions.” — Larry Seilhamer, St. Paul’s College, in Library Journal

Hardcover: 1992, Paulist Press, 90 pages; ISBN: 9780809133451

Reassessing (Sheed & Ward cover)
Reassessing (Celebration cover)

Reassessing: A Piety of Possessions and Relationships – Reflections with a Rosary

How do we cut through the attractions of material allurement to find ourselves properly today? How do we develop our own Christian perspective? It involves wholesome detachment from a society that measures itself and its people by their material possessions. It also involves a loving embrace of people and a reverence for all Creation. We need to find a fresh way of looking at our material goods, and of reassessing our relationships with other people.

Paperback: 1980, Celebration, ISBN: 978-0934134057
Reprint: 1980, Sheed & Ward, ISBN: 978-1556120831