Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Man Cleansed by God (TAN Books)

I have to admit that I am a non-fiction snob. In fact, 99.9% of everything that I read is non-fiction. It's not that I hate ALL fiction works, just most of them. If I am reading fiction, it is probably historical or religious in nature, or at least written more than 50 years ago. I guess that makes me a snob regarding new fiction too. With all that in mind, I have a marvelous fiction book to introduce you to, or perhaps re-introduce you to, if you read it back when it was first released in 1959. It is called A Man Cleansed by God: A Novel Based on the Life of Saint Patrick, and it is written by John Edward Beahn.

A Man Cleansed by God draws on facts and tradition associated with the life of St. Patrick. Using this information and mixing in creative story-telling, Mr. Beahn constructs an exciting biographical novel that makes St. Patrick's tale come to life. He begins by telling of a young 16 year old Patrick, watching the Roman army training. Patrick had a great desire to become one of these infantrymen, but God had other plans for his life. His town was raided by pirates and he was sold to slavery in Ireland. Though, he eventually escaped six years later, he would one day return there as a bishop, and become one of the most important saints in Ireland, and the world.

What I liked best about this book is it showed the struggle of St. Patrick. After being kidnapped, it took a lot of prayer and love for St. Patrick to forgive his captors and return to the land he was taken to, Ireland. Instead of holding onto that anger, though, and seeking revenge, he listened to God and let forgiveness come into his heart. This is an excellent life lesson for children and adults alike. Too often we think that saints are born that way. And while there are some people who are holy their whole life, for the most part, saints have their own struggles and demons to overcome as well. Therefore, we should all strive for sainthood and truly believe that it is attainable through the grace of God.

The book is a very easy and engaging read that will capture audiences from teenager to adult. I can already think of one Irish nun to whom I am going to recommend this book. However, I would go as far as to say that it should be required reading in a Catholic high school or homeschool program.  I feel Mr. Beahn did a nice job of sticking to the heart of the tradition associated with St. Patrick while incorporating facts from St. Patrick's autobiographical work, "Confessions." I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone, and that's coming from someone who generally hate fiction. I can't wait to read the other 3 books he wrote, about St. Anthony. St. Thomas More, and St. Francis de Sales.

This book was provided to me for free by TAN Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click the link and hit Yes!