Book Review

Disclosing intimate channels to God


CAN YOU imagine yourself having a relationship with God so intimate that you never cease to write about Him everyday? Such is the portrayal of love by Rev. Fr. Andrew Greeley as he unveils his soul to God in the book, Sacraments of Love.

Greeley, a priest and sociologist, is the author of more than 100 non-fiction books and 20 novels.

In Sacraments, Greeley recounts intimate stories and detailed experiences unraveling God’s sacraments of love. Personal reflections on his struggle to live a Christ-like life amid uncertainty, temptation, and moral decadence will touch and inspire readers. In this journal of prayer, he offers a refuge for weary travelers worn out by life’s storms.

Greeley glorifies God’s majestic power so much that he connects Him with aesthetic pleasures, exalting God through music.

“God is music… rhythm and melody and harmony and sweetness and brass and horn and viola all combined in wonderful symphony,” he says.

The book also talks about today’s fast-paced world where people tend to succumb to the demands of their careers.

“I treat myself like a machine to work and to please others. I have set up a distance between myself and what I do, which perhaps makes it easier for me to work but which in truth show a little respect for me,” he writes, speaking of man’s materialism.

The prayer somehow imparts that often, following the dictates of others, we are intimidated by daily pressures.

“We do have some little time and we do learn so painfully. By the time we have some wisdom our life is mostly spent.”

Greeley realizes that most people are caught between choices that they are afraid to make. When a person is confused, he often makes faulty decisions. However, Greeley shows that the continuing cycle of making mistakes and learning provides men with wisdom that  will later on define their maturity. When men find the right path to take and eventually learn the secrets of arriving at sound judgements, they  can look back at those times and thank God for helping them go through life’s most arduous roads.

“Does not my God deserve the best? I do what I can. And yet it isn’t enough. I always want to do better. But I will never deny the direction in which You have sent me, never permit the Spirit to be denied. And I assert  as firmly as I can that You do deserve the best,” Greeley writes.

Most of the time, the author reflects about people who tend to neglect and forget to thank God for the answered prayers and bountiful blessings they receive as shown by the lives, “Sometimes You shower me with blessings. Other times You demand  everything from me.  Sometimes I keep the blessings without giving adequate thanks and don’t give everything of myself when You want me to.” Yet God never falters in sharing eternal love with His children.

God’s handiwork

True to its title, Greeley’s book is indeed a sacrament of love. The author serves as a good example of a believer awed by God’s hands at work.

“I wonder often why there are so many and so complex creatures on just one minor (we presume) planet. And I came up with the same conclusion whenever I consider this splendor. You do it because You can do it! You love to show off, to give us a hint of Your elaborate, complex and dazzling glory!  Each of us, all of us, is a sacrament of Your love,” Greeley says, sharing with his readers his understanding of God’s glory.

The author leads his readers to rediscover a person’s relationship with God. He speaks to God the way a lover does— apologizing whenever he feels he could not live up to the ideals embodied in his vocation. With the distinct reflective character that the book bears, Sacraments of Love should tell the reader to pause and realize that God is really there, even when one thinks all is lost. A short and easy read, it offers a respite for the reflective person who at times forget that God loves Him no matter what.

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