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Catholic Review of: A Severe Mercy

Item Details

Author:  Sheldon Vanauken

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This item received 5 stars overall. (07/17/2009)

Orthodoxy: Mostly adheres to Church teachings.
Reading Level: Easy

novus744By novus744 (CO) - See all my reviews


A necessary read for anyone in love.

Evaluator Comments

To be completely honest, I picked up this book because the cover said that it contained some letters from C.S. Lewis. It didn't take long for me to be glad I did. It was written by Sheldon Vanauken - someone I knew absolutely nothing about before reading this book. However, he proved himself quite a capable author. He was a close friend of C.S. Lewis, as evidenced in his story, and the included letters.

The story itself is truly amazing. The reader can immediately find himself sympathizing with Vanauken in his struggles and plans and his love for his wife. As the title might suggest, it stirs up passions in the soul for hope in the love of God, and living according to His will, which is what we're all here for, right?

The greatest aspect of the story isn't revealed until close to the end; I won't spoil it here. Instead, I'll just say that the Christian ideal of self-sacrifice, which is the calling of all Christians, is masterly depicted in a real-life situation.

C.S. Lewis himself was not a Catholic. Nor was Vanauken. However, the Christian mentality they both maintained was much more heroic than can be found among standard Catholics today. Non-Catholics, I would imagine, would have trouble swallowing a lot of what is assumed to be understood in this book, but anyone with even a basic understand of Catholic spirituality should have no problem with this story, written by a non-Catholic.

If you are an orthodox Catholic, and wish to read about life-long true self-sacrificing love, you will want to read this book. It is well worth the time involved. It is easy to read, easy to understand, and quite inspirational. A great book for anyone who desires sanctity.

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