Just finished Cosmas, or the Love of God by Pierre de Calan, which is the selection for my book group this month. An excellent little book, it has been reissued by the Loyola Classics publishing line.
It's a look inside a Trappist monastery, and particularly a look at a young postulant, Cosmas, who has a tremendously difficult time reconciling his vision of what monastic life should be like and its reality. The young man attempts to become a monk, leaves twice after breakdowns, yet is still convinced that God is calling him to La Trappe. The narrator, his novice master, says the question is why would God call Cosmas to the monastery (something Cosmas is very sure of), yet not give him the grace to persevere in his vocation?
This opens the door for questions about how you judge whether a vocation is genuine or not, etc. It made me everlastingly glad that I don't have to try to make that judgement, and it gave me insight into the things that one must look at in doing the judging.
It is also a treatise on the reality of Christian life (using the monks as a symbol for us all) vs. the idealized version of that life. I found that refreshing, much in the same way that I found In This House of Brede refreshing--the monks are not perfect, they are just trying. After an evening when a dear friend (!) told me that Christians ought not try to impose their values on this world 'til they perfected themselves, this book is a great antidote. I wanted to put it in her hands and tell her to read it. No one gets to perfect here.
Very much worth the read. Thumbs way, way up from MamaT.
Currently reading? John Adams by David McCullough, and enjoying it throroughly!