With God En Route
Original title: Avec Dieu chemin faisant
- 2 Seas represents: World Excl French.
- Rights Sold: Italy (San Paolo).
RELIGION | SPIRITUALITY
At 93, the Basque cardinal shares his personal experience of faith, and how “hard it can be to believe” at times. An affecting tale told at the twilight of an earnest man’s life.“My faith as a cardinal is as fragile and precarious as any Christian’s.” Cardinal or not, no one who lives the mystery of faith gets a “free ride.” Instead, the God that Roger Etchegaray portrays accompanies individuals’ complicated lives, including his own, from his Basque childhood in Espelette, through his many ups and downs, joys and tribulations.
Cardinal Etchegaray isn’t trying to convert people with this little book. He is simply looking back, from late in a long life in the company of God and filled with enriching human encounters, at what he has learned about the ties between God and man.
The Popes that the Cardinal has known and admired obviously have a lot to say about that “unpredictable God,” but so do many others, ranging from a New York City cop, Millet’s “L’Angélus,” Thomas More, Vaclav Havel, and the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople… In this way, the Cardinal exposes in each short chapter a facet of faith, his own or someone else’s. And he does it in a very concrete way, through anecdotes, real events, words and sometimes prayers.
“I have been told that my long old age is a gift from God. I believe it! I’ll even admit that a taste for life on earth is even stronger in me than the expectation of heavenly life. Although my body is now slow and dull, I still get excited about the world of man, where I worked so hard to serve peace and justice. I remain alert to signs of the tireless affection of the God of Mercy, which are as numerous as the stars in the night sky, though they be harder to see.”
- The Cardinal’s previous book, L’Homme à quel prix ? (Man At Any Price?), sold 8,000 copies.
- The author is quite an exceptional person, not only because of his rank in the Church, but also for his amiability and simplicity, which has allowed him to have close friends around the world.
- A short book that is full of concrete notes and first-person accounts, rather than theoretical “concepts and debates about faith,” putting it in tune with our era’s search for calm, peaceful spirituality.