My nose has been in a book for the past week or so, ever since I got my hands on our library’s single copy of Michael O’Brien’s The Father’s Tale.
Perhaps that’s why I haven’t posted more this week…really good books kind of take over my life a little when I’m reading them. (My husband knows what I’m talking about; poor guy.) My spiritual director and I were talking about books a few months ago, and I told him how much I have enjoyed Catholic authors Louis de Wohl and especially Michael O’Brien. He asked me if I had read The Father’s Tale yet, and when I said that I hadn’t, the sparkle in his eyes said it all: It’s so good!
And it’s so good, ya’ll. Like stay-up-until-2am-finishing-it kind of good.
At 1,072 pages, it’s about five inches thick, which was kind of intimidating at first. I picked it up from the circulation desk and actually giggled when I saw it. Immediately I started to calculate how many times I’d have to renew my library loan on it before I would be able to finish it.
I am a very fast reader, but this book actually makes me slow down. There is such a profound richness to every sentence of this book that I want to slow down and spend some time with it. The characters are very human and real, and several of them are profoundly holy.
One reason I have connected so much with this book is that the main character is going through a dramatic, painful process of being emptied so that God can do something very great and very difficult with him. I am also continuing to go through a period of waiting that has been a real emptying of myself in several ways. I have felt God calling me day after day for so long now to “be still and know that I am God,” to not worry constantly about what may come or when. One of my favorite quotes from The Father’s Tale is this one: “In the desert one must learn to stand still, to wait for God in emptiness. Standing still in this way is a purifying fire.” The thought that God is purifying me and my family with our struggles is an anchor of my hope, and in a few of my most grace-filled moments, my joy. I have been living in a desert of admittedly First World-grade problems, but it’s been a desert nonetheless.
Here are more quotes from this book that struck me so much that I wrote them in my prayer journal:
“Kenosis…when one becomes empty and poor, and in that state the kingdom of Heaven is given to you.”
“For the heart to see, it must be broken open.”
“The devil tries to deceive us sometimes by offering us a lesser evil and a great evil. We see the lesser evil as a kind of good choice.”
“He who would know the bounty of the Lord must dwell in an uninhabitable land.”
“Sometimes there is consolation, and sometimes struggle. Whatever occurs is His gift.”
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