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Waiting for God Paperback – September 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; Reissue edition (September 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060902957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060902957
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,630,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Simone Weil is an outsider's saint. The daughter of an agnostic French family of Jewish descent, Weil was never baptized ("God does not want me in the Church," she wrote), and her conversion to Christianity at the age of 23 took her by surprise. Until then, she had been a solemn, committed leftist intellectual. Now she was moving toward a life of divine encounters whose desolate ecstasy, as described by the journals, letters, and essays excerpted in Waiting for God, bear comparison to St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. As Leslie Fiedler writes in her introduction to Weil's book, "She speaks of the problems of belief in the vocabulary of the unbeliever, of the doctrines of the Church in the words of the unchurched." The book is most notable for Weil's lengthy letter titled "Spiritual Autobiography" and for her "Meditation on the Pater Noster," which is the discursive record of a spiritual process that led to her almost daily attainment of a mystical vision of God. This is not pretty writing; it is an agonized record of amazement. --Michael Joseph Gross

Review

"Almost too important to be included in one's list of preferred reading for one year only." -- T. S. Eliot

"By now Simone Weil has become a legend and her writings are regarded as a classic document of our period." -- The New Yorker

"In an age of inspirational books without inspiration, her writing is unmatched for surprising, sometimes shocking, spiritual insight." -- New York Times

"Madameoiselle Weil is the most truly spiritual writer of this century." -- André Gide

"One of the most neglected resources of our century." -- Adrienne Rich --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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It looks to be a very easy read for Lent..
diane mcmullin
Weil understood what it meant to be loved by God, what an incredible burden it is to be loved by One who is perfect when you yourself are flawed.
A music fan
I found myself relating to her desire to discover the love of God in her life.
Bonnie Hamilton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By puritanfan on May 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a remarkable saint of the modern era. After being raised in a Jewish middle class family and graduating from the finest schools, she went to work in the inner city as a blue-collar factory worker. She once complained to the supervisor about a coal drill: "This drill was designed to break rocks. It was not designed for human hands" while illustrating the vibrating effects with her arms. She reportedly debated Trotsky on the living conditions of the proletariat into the ground.

Weil died of physical and mental exhaustion at age 34 after an arduous life of fasting, writing, and working in solidarity with the most downtrodden of society. Besides her amazing solidarity with the working class, it is Weil's profound writings that have established her legacy. Contemporary Albert Camus called her "the only great spirit of our time." T.S. Eliot wrote in his forward to one of her books: "We must expose ourselves to the personality of a woman of genius, of a kind of genius akin to that of a saint." In his essay titled, "The Importance of Simone Weil," Czeslaw Milosz wrote, "France offered a rare gift to the contemporary world in the person of Simone Weil." Waiting for God (Harper Perennial, 2001) is the best introduction to her spiritual writings, and what follows are some highlights from that work.

The first few chapters consist of letters she wrote to her friend, Father Perrin. Though one gets a better sense of how she felt and struggled daily living out her ideas, it is her four essays in the latter half of the book that show the most profundity and coherence of thought.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Frank J O'Connor on June 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
No one writes of the ancient conundrum of why a loving God allows suffering more profoudly than Simone Weil. Indeed, "profound" is the word I would use to describe this book. You do not read this book, you experience it; and come to a state of awe and yes, even love for this extraordinary saint of our times. The paradox of Weil is that in her severe view of life, great solace is to be found--the solace of truth and wisdom when you know, indeed, feel you have encountered it. In conclusion, let me paraphrase the author: it is impossible to think about Simone Weil without thinking about God. Amen.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on July 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is indeed a classic, but like many classics, it demands your full attention. The letters contained in the book make for fascinating reading, especially the Spiritual Autobiography. This is indeed the "easier reading" part of the book, but it gives you the sense of a person who values total obedience to God even if it marks her as an outsider. She is not afraid to be unconventional, as far as it concerns the institutional Church. The essays are a little more challenging, especially the lengthy essay "Forms of the Implicit Love of God," where I had difficulty along the way grasping all that she was saying. However, at the end, she pulls it all together brilliantly in the story of Electra and Orestes, where the importance of waiting on God rather than seeking is brought home forcefully. The final essay, "Concerning the Our Father" is classic, especially the last three paragraphs that point out the structure and the flow of this prayer and the effect it has on one's soul. The only reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 are for the places it seems to bog down, but that may be more a fault of mine than the author's.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jackie M. Sthilaire VINE VOICE on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This remarkable story of Simone Weil, a well-schooled, well-bred woman, who left all this behind to live an ordinary life. The road she followed is similar to St.Francis of Asissi, Mother Teresa and Gandhi. Simone Weil chose to live a dull, hardworking, life of poverty. In sickness unto death, she never remised from her choice of being where she believed she could do the most with her life. One realizes that Simone must have had something missing in her life to go searching in this manner, to leave her well ordered, social life behind and go into the depths of humanity. She literally allowed herself to be Christ to all she met, to bring God's heart to His people. Simone knew the true meaning of love and compassion, sometimes maybe to extremes. She gave with her whole heart, soul and body, not asking for anything in return. That is the true test of love. To love one another as He loved us.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Hamilton on April 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess when one is ready for certain changes in one's life God leads us to those things that will best facilitate that change. Simone Weil has been a catalyst for a major change in my life. Her writings have struck a responsive chord in my life. Although some of her writings are difficult for me to understand, the underlying message is powerful. I found myself relating to her desire to discover the love of God in her life. I appreciated her soul searching honesty is wanting that encounter to be completely without deception, pretense or even pride. She so wanted to guard against a false religious experience, or siimply a social religious experience. Her descriptions of what it is to truly love another are profound. Her life is a journey that I want to follow. I looked up the meaning of her name in the dictionary. It means "one who hears." Certainly, she is one who sought to hear the voice of God. I, too, want to hear the voice of God without deception or pride. I honor Simone as a true religious teacher for me.
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