It took me months to read this book, mainly because I knew that Dietrich Bonhoeffer dies at the end. It has been years since a book has caused me to cry as hard as this book did. What a gentleman Bonhoeffer was. What a brilliant, astute, kind and intellectually honest man he was. He was true to the end.
From the morning of Bonhoeffer's death:
(from the prison camp doctor)
"'Through the half-open door in one room of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.'
Bonhoeffer thought it the plain duty of the Christian - and the privilege and honor - to suffer with those who suffered. He knew that it was a privilege to be allowed by God to partake of the sufferings of the Jews who had died in this place before him."
"Life is difficult."
This is a re-read, but it may take me months to get past the first sentence. It is packed with wisdom that I have lost and am ready to find again.
I love Nouwen. I love that he was moved to deeper spiritual growth by viewing a painting. I love his hunger for righteousness that is exhibited in honesty and a desire to love more truly.
"I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father? I am constantly surprised at how I keep taking the gifts god has given me - my health, my intellectual and emotional gifts - and keep using them to impress people, receive affirmation and praise, and compete for rewards, instead of developing them for the glory of God."
There is always a mystery story in my pile. And P.D. James is the best.