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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

Welcome to my own personal exploration of life through reading the great books of the world.

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle

Since today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, known in popular circles as doubting Thomas, I thought I'd pose a question related to St. Thomas and books:

What book besides the Bible helped you to get through a crisis of faith, or a time of doubting?

For me it was Peter Kreeft's Making Sense Out of Suffering. About three years ago, when my oldest daughter was about four years old, we looked out of the living room window to find her having a seizure on the driveway. We rushed her to the hospital where we began a long process of trying to diagnose and treat her illness. Over the next year and half we discovered she had epilepsy caused by a rare mitochondrial disorder known as glutaric acidemia type II. In the midst of trying to help her through all of her seizures and blood tests and trips to the hospital, I found myself confronted with the question that all of us have to ask at least once in our lives: why is this happening?

It was really the first time I had to deal so personally with the problem of suffering. Being an introverted, academic type, I turned to books. The first book I read was Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Big Mistake. Rather than comforting me, it plunged me deeper into confusion and despair. And then Providence, which had been guiding the situation from the beginning, led me to a used a bookstore where I saw Peter Kreeft's book on the shelf right next to the book I had come to look at.

Kreeft's book was the turning point in my struggle with my daughter's illness. I did not learn all the answers to my questions, but I learned how to live with the mystery of suffering. Kreeft was able to explain in his clear and logical way the problem of suffering, and the true solution. His book, along with deep spiritual talks with my wife Brenda, helped me to recover from the doubt and despair that had been plaguing me.

And to wrap this up, let me just say that our daughter is doing extremely well. She has been seizure-free for a year and a half. The seizures stopped in early December of 2004, just after we prayed a novena to Mary, the Immaculate Conception. It was the first novena I had ever prayed in my life. Rather than causing us to lose hope and faith, dealing with our daughter's illness has brought my wife and I closer to Mary and more importantly to her Son, Jesus. Peter Kreeft's book was an essential part of that struggle, and I recommend it highly.

Now tell your story, and link back to this post so we can all share it.

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posted by Nick Senger at 6:24 AM

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