Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O’Brien Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Father Elijah: An Apocalypse

Michael O’Brien presents a thrilling apocalyptic novel about the condition of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of time. It explores the state of the modern world, and the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary religious scene, by taking his central character, Father Elijah Schafer, a Carmelite priest, on a secret mission for the Vatican which embroils him in a se

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    Rachel Crooks

    Jul 15, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    This book established Michael O’Brien as one of my favorite Christian writers. This quote was he novel’s response to the commonly asked question, “Why would a good God permit evil?”

    “The problem is not only one act of evil, but many such acts. Let us say, six million Jews and six million Gentile Poles, and tens of millions of others. That is just the Second World War. Let us say that our cosmic terrorist pushes harder and harder against the integrity of God. Let us say he uses a Stalin- now we a

    “The problem is not only one act of evil, but many such acts. Let us say, six million Jews and six million Gentile Poles, and tens of millions of others. That is just the Second World War. Let us say that our cosmic terrorist pushes harder and harder against the integrity of God. Let us say he uses a Stalin- now we are considering perhaps fifty million, some say sixty million people, dead at the hands of this one tyrant. Should God destroy the moral structure of the Universe in order to save the physical universe? That would be a superficial defense and an ultimate self-defeat. Should He give in because of the quantity of the victims?
    “You are overstating the situation. I don’t see what you mean.”
    “It is something like this. Satan holds the chosen people hostage. He holds a gun to their heads and he says to God, ‘Well, aren’t you going to do something! Aren’t you going to stop me! Aren’t you going to break one of your own insignificant laws to save your darlings?’ God replies, ‘I will not break the laws I have written into creation, for that would bring a different kind of destruction for my beloved ones.’
    “Satan answers, ‘All right, watch this!’ He squeezes and crushes and rips with his jaws until the chosen ones begin to cry out to their Creator, ‘Save us! Where are you? Why do you not come?’ Satan looks at God and says, ‘Well?’ But God is silent. He is so silent that the darkness seems to spread over the world. Satan believes he has forced God to back up. He has argued Him into helplessness. He thinks that God has nothing left to say. He thinks he has won the cosmic battle and has obtained power over God. He thinks himself above God. But all the while a tremendous thing is happening within the heart of God. But all the while a tremendous thing is happening within the heart of God. A Word begins to form. A Word that is so immense, so much larger than the entire created Universe, which rests like a golden apple in His hand. This Word is so fast, yet so simple, that none can hear it. Satan will not hear it; man cannot, for he has been deafened with the screams of his own agony. Matter itself can only feel it without knowing it.
    ‘I will go down into my own creation as once I did long ago, when I walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. As I did when I came to Jerusalem as a man. I will go down into my creation and I will suffer in it. I will suffer with it. And this shall be my Word as once it was My Word on Calvary.” –Chapter Seven

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    Christine Sunderland

    May 31, 2009

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Recommends it for:
    Everyone

    I read Father Elijah ten years ago, and recalled how refreshing it was to read a story set in the late 20th century that was infused with the sacramental acts of God. I also recalled not being able to put it down. Would the book be as I remembered? Could I add this to my gift list for friends and family? Would this help or hinder their belief in the Christian God of love?

    Our hero, Father Elijah, is a Carmelite monk, his past forged in the fires of brutal suffering. As David Schafer, a holocaust

    Our hero, Father Elijah, is a Carmelite monk, his past forged in the fires of brutal suffering. As David Schafer, a holocaust survivor and promising Israeli statesman-attorney, he experiences even more tragedy. But he finds redemption in Christianity, becoming a monk and priest. He takes the name Elijah and lives a life of prayer in a monastery near Jerusalem. As the story opens he is called out of his seclusion and into the world by the Pope. His mission? To convert the President of Europe, thought to be the Anti-Christ. Who could be better qualified for such a mission: A converted Jew pulled from the desert, a humble, prayerful soul who wrestles with God through the demons of his past, a man with a powerful intellect trained to argue and understand.

    The plot twists and turns with suspense, and Michael O’Brien’s clean prose adds to the pace. Yet we slow down in passages that recall Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor scene in The Brothers Karamazov (an apt epic comparison) and these dialogues, while heavier in style, are theologically rewarding. Possibly a challenge to modern readers, they are profound essays on God’s redemptive purposes and worth the thoughtful pace.

    Along the way, the author has moments of rich poetry and profound metaphor, Scriptural allusions pulled together to form a whole, leaving the reader with glimpses of truth, as though windows suddenly open. He speaks of the power of God to work through lowly matter, through image and sacrament:

    (In the Eucharist) There had been a burst of ecstasy, a brief parting of the veil that separated the human from the divine, that line of division and union running inexorably through the center of the heart.

    He speaks of our broken world and the half-lies that twist our vision of reality, as good clashes with evil that is disguised as good,

    Unity (of the Church, the world) can be authentic only if it is founded upon truth. We cannot pretend that there are two conflicting truths, both of which are right. This is madness. It destroys . . . the human person.

    I thought that darkness had only one or two faces. It took me a long time to learn that it has many, and that its worst face masquerades as light.

    And of the nature of sin:

    Every sin is a choice to turn a miraculous being into an object for consumption. It flattens the human person, one's self and one's victim, into a one-dimensional universe.

    In every person's soul there is an icon of what he is meant to be. An image of Love is hidden there… Our sins and faults, and those committed against us, bury this original image. We can no longer see ourselves as we really are.

    Elijah’s spiritual journey asks the big questions: Where was God during the Holocaust? What is truth? Are the Endtimes near? Indeed, twelve years after the publication of Father Elijah, it is chilling to see how our world mirrors the world described in this novel. Prophetic, to be sure, and as Elijah struggles with assassins and secrets and the demands of love, as he strives to win souls through logic and self-sacrifice, he glimpses darkness in his own heart:

    Before his eyes was the fundamental problem of his soul: he had been given everything and it did not suffice. And yet . . . the ancient scar of Adam within his nature dragged him inexorably back, again and again, to his desire for certainty . . . Not-knowing was the way to ultimate union with the Love whose embrace was the filling of every doubt, the binding up of all wounds.

    Characters, knowing and not-knowing, are sharply drawn: an old Franciscan with bleeding hands; a simple monk who is more than he seems; a lax priest who sacrifices all, a female judge who cannot believe. Scenes are vividly rendered as we climb to Tiberius’ Leap on Capri, step back in time in the Warsaw ghetto, pray before the tomb of Saint Francis in Assisi, and walk the dark alleys of Rome and the bright halls of the Vatican.

    Father Elijah is not only a good story, laced with danger and death, of a humble priest meeting a formidable adversary. It is not only a prophetic warning and a celebration of weakness over strength, the small over the great. It is a journey of the soul, indeed, the reader’s soul, in a quest for God, as the universal becomes the particular. The Apocalypse of Scripture (and the author knows his Scripture) becomes our own apocalypse, as we face our own numbered days. This novel is a deep examination of the heart of man, what he is made of, where he has been, where he is going, and most importantly, the map he needs to get there.

    I’m putting Father Elijah on my gift list. My precocious nephew and granddaughter, juniors in high school, as well as several adult friends, will not be able to put it down. And it might open their eyes to the past, the present, the future, and yes, the immense love of God.

    And I might even read Father Elijah a third time, and a fourth, and a fifth . . . to catch all the levels and allusions I missed.

    For more about Michael

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    Michael

    Mar 29, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    I have been meaning to read this book for several years. I like stories about the Apocalypse: don’t ask me why since they tend to scare the crap out of me. We can file this one under Catholic Armageddon stories (much like Pierced By a Sword), a sub-genre of Christian Apocalyptic fiction in general (like the dreadfully written Left Behind books). This particular book was well written and fast-paced, for the most part, with a few rather long (and slightly dry) patches of dialogue thrown in.

    Essenti

    Essentially, it is a story of the rise of the Antichrist, and the response of the Roman Catholic Church to what’s been predicted in the Book of Revelations. The titular Fr. Elijah is a survivor of the concentrations camps, a former politician in Israel, and a convert to the Catholic faith who spends twenty year of his life in a monastery in Haifa. Called by the Pope (a thinly veiled JPII) to try and stop the rise of an incredibly powerful European politician, Fr. Elijah must face his own dark past even as the forces of the Antichrist begin to assail him and those around him.

    This is not a horror novel; it’s a book spiritual warfare and orthodox Catholicism. I found it hard to put down, for the most part. One character is much like the famous Franciscan Padre Pio; another is Cardinal Ratzinger (who is now Pope Benedict!) The author did a good job including ‘the signs of the times,’ and made evil quite realistic: a persistent whisper rather than a full-throated scream.

    I liked this a great deal. I will read more from this author.
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