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"This is where the things get really puzzling, where I wonder why her? Why, of all the scornful non-believers in the world, does God come to her, and not to so many others who seem very much like her?"

Don't you think the answer to this question is that even though they are outwardly "scornful non-believers" inwardly they are very much seeking?

I don't think I was scornful, but certainly an adult agnostic for many years before I finally took the plunge and converted to Catholicism 12+ years ago. If you are not seeking, chances are you will not find. I tell the atheist friends I have that make comments I find upsetting that you (they) cannot expect to find God unless your practices are designed to lead you to him.

Yes that's true (inwardly seeking) but in many cases, like this one, the person is not conscious of it. In that respect inner and outer were the same. At most she thought it might be nice to believe in God but thought the question was settled. I may have given the impression that her misery pushed her but actually she was at a much happier point in her life when God really started knocking on the door.

When we chose this book for our book club about a year and a half ago, I was not too pleased because, while I read lots of conversion stories at one point, I am a bit tired of them. This book, however, is not at all like the typical recitation of the list of theological problems overcome by the convert. When you finish the book, you really have no idea what she thinks about any Church teaching, etc. You really don't understand how it even happened. She just came to believe.

It's a very beautiful book.

If I were going to buy the book she was originally writing (which I wouldn't), I would have to order it online, because there's no way I could face a cashier with a book with that title in hand.


And if a man were going to write the male equivalent it would just be a bunch of crude jokes. I think somebody did that with The Vagina Monologues.

And about Sally Read: the key is her realization that the faith is a poem. We can probably assume that a lot of her intellectual objections were at least partly defanged by Fr Gregory, even though she doesn't go into the specifics. But that one big realization seems to have sort of put the other stuff in its place.

"faith is a poem." If we could only communicate this to the world. One of the problems in our day is lack of a poetic sense. I've proposed teaching poetry to seminarians precisely for this reason.

Excellent idea.

Funny that this thread opened up again right now because I just late last night finished reading the book and thought I must come here today and read again what you'd written about it.

What did you think of it?

I read the book through in just two sittings, mostly going for the story line. I've just started reading it all over again and I'm struck by its deep honesty; maybe not the right word, more like truth, I think. Not sure I agree that she truly had a deep-seated hostility toward faith. Reading of her nursing experience made me think that she always had a sense, however faint, that God was there. Anyway, a very fine book.

The seed was there all right, but what I'm getting at is that not only would other people probably not have seen it in her, she herself wasn't conscious of it. Not in the sense of being consciously open to it. At least not any more than any other person, because that seed is there in most (all?).

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