Father Jacques Philippe
I Choose to Be Free:
The Power of Faith Hope & Charity
This is the third book by Father Jacques Philippe that I have read, and already I wish there were more than 4 available in English. I am certain he will go down in history as one of the spiritual masters like Brother Lawrence, C.S. Lewis and others. This book is written in such simple and accessible language, yet with a message so profound any believer could grow from encountering it.
Fr. Philippe's main message is that freedom, true freedom, comes from God as the source. And that interior peace sought by so many people in so many ways, yet it only truly comes from learning to be content in where God has us. Yet by learning to trust in God despite external circumstances and situations beyond our control, we can find that oft-sought-after peace. He will show you how to appreciate what you can control, which is your response to what life brings your way.
This book seeks to teach us to live from a heart and mind that has been liberated and set free. But it is not the freedom that most seek. It outlines that freedom as being free to do whatever we want, but true freedom is choosing to live for others, living with our responsibilities.
Fr. Jacques draws from many sources to illustrate his points: Holocaust victim Etty Hillesum, Georges Bernanos, Henri J.M. Nouwen, Catherine de Hueck Doherty and many saints from both the eastern and western traditions as well as the Jewish wisdom tradition. He draws most extensively from Hillesum's journals An Interrupted Life which is the story of her life during the year leading up to occupation and leaving for the concentration camps, and her work among the Jewish children at the holding camp. He uses her life and transformation from a secular Jew to someone in touch with God and trying to live that in the most terrible of circumstances.
Fr. Philippe has written an amazing little book that will explain to you the freedom many seek in faith, and how that freedom can lead to Interior Freedom or as a title of an earlier book of his calls it Searching for and Maintaining Peace. Or as Douglas Coupland puts it "Now -- here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond able to love." in his book Life After God. So this is a little book by a little known author that is truly valuable for the spiritual seeker in this life.
(First Published in Imprint 2007-07-13 in the book review column.)
Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
Called to Life - Scepter
Searching for and Maintaining Peace - St Paul's Alba House
Time For God - Pauline Books and Media
Time For God - SinagTala
Time For God - Scepter
Interior Freedom - Scepter
In the School of the Holy Spirit - Scepter
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom) - Sinag Tala
(These are all his books I have been able to find in English; if you know of any others or how to get them, let me know please.)
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Posted by Steven R. McEvoy at 11:19 AM