Book Review: Words of Light
Posted by james0235 on May 8, 2008
Words of Light: Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio
Author: St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Page Count: 206 pages
Words of Light: Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio released earlier this year by Paraclete Press is a 206 page hardbound book. For the most part I tend not to be too concerned with the cover of a book. Hardcover, soft cover, leather bound, no cover at all – it makes no difference to me. The content is all that matters. But, with this particular book I was very glad to have the hardcover.
I have found myself carrying this book around with me quite a bit. I read a little bit in Church before Mass, I read it at home. I even tend to leave it in the car so that I can read it if I arrive early to a doctor’s appointment. To say that that I have been rough with this book would be a bit of an understatement. And through it all it has held up beautifully.
And now we get to the reason why I carry this book around so much (and am therefore thankful that it is in hardcover): the content. I am the type of person who likes to read a book as quickly as possible. The quicker I finish one book the quicker I can begin another. But, that is just not possible with Words of Light. I will sit down with the intention of reading a chapter only to find that I have read the same passage 3 or 4 times. I will put the book down for awhile – maybe an hour or a maybe a few days – and when I come back to it I find myself back on the same passage.
The book, compiled by Fr. Raniero Cantalmessa, the preacher to the papal household, is taken from the letters of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, better known to the world as Padre Pio, to his spiritual directors on a variety of topics. Prior to the publication of this book these words of Padre Pio were only available in a much larger Italian edition. Now, excerpts from these letters have been taken and arranged by topic in chapters such as ‘Satan is a powerful enemy’, ‘I do not wish to ever offend God again’, and ‘Church, Priesthood, and Eucharist’ for the benefit of the English speaking world.
Words of Light took me through some lows and some highs. When Padre Pio writes that “my prayers are worthy rather of punishment than reward, because I have sickened Jesus too much by my numberless sins…” (p. 27) or “Such is the opinion I have of myself, that I don’t know if there be any worse than me.” (p. 167) I can’t help but feel horrible. Surely my sins must be more numberless than his. Surely I deserve much greater punishment than he. Thankfully other passages are as uplifting to me as these are depressing: “We have raised our thoughts to heaven, our true homeland, of which the earth is only a pale reflection. With divine assistance we strive to preserve, in every event, joyful or sad, that serenity and calm that become the true followers of the fair-haired Nazarene.” (p. 156)
In conclusion I will just say that there are a lot of books out there that will let you know about Padre Pio. This is the first one that I have encountered that will help you to get to know Padre Pio.