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Tears of an Innocent God Paperback – September 1, 2015
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From the Back Cover
"From the wondrous title to the final chapter, you will know you are reading a book that comes from a deeper place than mere 'thinking' or mere 'writing.' Brother Elias's book comes from a different level of consciousness, and a deeper level of loving than most of us are used to -- unfortunately. Get ready for a truly spiritual ride"
-- Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM
"Tears of an Innocent God is valuable and full of wisdom drawn from the author's remarkable experience of East and West."
-- Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO, Trappist monk, priest, author, and founding member and the spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.
"If you've never experienced authentic Trappist sapiential writing before, you're in for a treat! Marechal is a master of the genre, combining the wisdom of a mature spiritual practitioner with a delivery style that is almost haiku-like in its surprise and immediacy. No flowery spiritual treatise here -- simply an arrow 'straight to the heart.'"
-- Cynthia Bourgeault, author of The Wisdom Way of Knowing and Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
"This is not the usual book that prances along the parapets of the spirituality industry. The freshness of Marechal's teaching, whether through the art of story or through direct guidance, betokens the experience of a seasoned spiritual master of a rare sort. Those drawn deeply into the contemplative path owe a huge debt of gratitude to Elias Marechal for the gift of this remarkable book."
-- Fr. Martin Laird, OSA, author of Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence
"Tears of an Innocent God celebrates divine grace and love through poetic storytelling. Its meditative wonder and contemplative insight inspire me to tell others, 'you must read this!'"
-- Carl McColman, author of Befriending Silence and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism
About the Author
Brother Elias Marechal is a Trappist monk who has been on a spiritual journey for over forty years. Brother Elias serves as novice director at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Georgia.
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Br. Elias honors our inherent nobility. He explains that what has sometimes been defined as God’s “will” as God’s “longing” or “yearning” – a more accurate translation of the Greek "thelema". We long to unfold our divine nature, which unites us with God’s longing for us.
Br. Elias shares an ocean of influences on his life that he has condensed into pearls of great worth. He takes the essence of many great writers and weaves these into his narratives and conversations with us. The writers include Henry Nowen, Harper Lee, Robert Bly, Abraham Heschel, Rilke, Elie Wiesel, Niebuhr, Jean Vanier, Anne Sexton, Richard Rohr, Kazantzakis, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Goethe, Shakespeare, the Desert fathers, Rumi.
Elias shares with us meaningful encounters with individuals from throughout his life who have deeply touched him, and in surprising situations. For example, there is the recurring figure of a young African American man in yellow pants who threatened to kill Br. Elias on the streets of Washington, DC when Elias was a young teacher. With sincere compassion and understanding, Elias seems to look into this young man’s soul, and continues to wonder about him, wishing him well.
In intimate narratives, Elias draws us into conversations that touch upon core issues such as unworthiness, self-love, yearning for our own vocation, approval from others, and death. He shows us how we are made in God’s image and splendor. And how silence leads to receptivity, which allows us to join our will with God’s will. All of these ideas are expressed through the prism of a marvelous mind and heart shaped by his unique past—raised by a Belgian diplomat father and a concert pianist mother. We sense the improvisational jazz influence from his childhood in New Orleans in real life stories that interact with his rich imagination.
Brother Elias encourages developing receptivity to God’s guidance through the practice of meditation and prayer which allow us to be silent and receptive.
He speaks to seekers of all denominations, religions, and to those of no formal affiliation. Br. Elias gathers us together under the great tree of compassion and kindness that he refers to, and invites us to converse with him, and with each other, about what matters most in our lives.
Despite its sad title, as we travel along with him through his book, we feel uplifted, refreshed—similar to what Elias quotes of Brother Simon: “It’s like traveling toward the ocean on a summer vacation. The closer you get, the more you catch a wee bit of the delightful scent of the water!” I felt like a pilgrim, delighted with Brother Elias as companion and guide.
As I begin to pick up the thread of meaning in each portion of the various conversations that comprise his book, I find strange, new ways to understand many of the mysteries of my own life that suddenly do not seem strange or new at all. Elias’ insights, drawn from the simplicity and the complexities of his personal odyssey, become my insights in the context of my own life. It is as if I have intuitively understood them all along but just needed someone like Elias to speak the obvious clearly to me.
Turning the pages of Tears of an Innocent God was for me a little like touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. I felt something holy and healing flow into me. If you are yearning for a balm to soothe a wounded soul, you will find it in these pages. If you are searching for meaning in those confounding and inexplicable events in life, you will find it here, too. And so also will you find a sense of your own innate nobility as well as the means to benevolence, forgiveness, and self-acceptance, if that’s what’s missing in your life. It’s all here.
The Foreword to this book, written by a lifelong friend of Elias, is a treasure in itself. It captures and hands to us in eloquent prose some sparkles and reflections from the finely cut facets of Elias’ remarkable life. It introduces us to the man and invites us into his immense abode of kindness, grace, and wisdom. Having read the Foreword, I, too, felt like a lifelong friend of Elias. More than a friend, a brother!
I am now doing something I have never done before with any book other than the Bible. I am ordering a copy of Tears of an Innocent God for each of my seven grown children to share with their families and friends. I wish them all to find, as I did in the pages of this book, the joy, the surprise, and the assurance of God’s compassionate presence in everyday life. And I have a feeling that this book is also going to be the perfect Christmas present to send to many of my friends.
I close by encouraging you to not read Tears of an Innocent God but, rather, to savor and slowly assimilate it, portion by portion. It has layers of meaning that cannot be grabbed, only absorbed. It’s that kind of book.
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