At 14,Tony meets Lilly,husband and small child. Lilly and her husband mentor Tony in catholic study.Lilly and 14 yr old Tony have a brief affair.Lilly's husband takes young Tony across England to a small island Monastery.Young Tony meets Father Joe who is very understanding,takes Tony under his wing,becomes a lifelong Father figure to Tony.The story has its up s and downs,but Father Joe is a constant part of the story of Tony's life.I liked the story,but wished it was more about Father Joe and not Tony and his life struggles.This is my first review.
A lovely tribute to Tony Hendra's spiritual advisor/guide, Father Joe. Tony says it best in describing this man: "For more than 40 years....this lumpy gargoyle of a man has been my still center, the rock of my soul...He was the wisdom I craved - though it was never what I expected; his judgment alone I feared - though never once did he pass judgment on me.
All my conscious life he was my strongest ally; the cherished gatekeeper of my lost Eden, a lighthouse of faith blinking away through the oceanic fog of success and money and celebrity and possessions..."
Tony Hendra was an actor and then became a successful writer. But the more he put his soul into his fame and material things, the worse his life became. He still kept contact with Father Joe who, through the right guided questions, helped Tony unravel the mess and unhappiness of his life. Many times, Tony, was torn between entering one of the Catholic orders to become a monk and his worldly life. Father Joe, in his understated way, discouraged Tony from pursuing the former. He believed that Tony's path as a husband and father and successful writer was what God had chosen for him. Near the end, Tony accepts his path and achieves a lot more peace and happiness than he ever had in his life.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants a spiritual uplift. The will get that from this gentle, kind-hearted and wise little priest, Father Joe. He is also down-to-earth with no pretensions. For those of you on a deeper Christian spiritual path, I would recommend "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross. Yet Father Joe has something to say to even the most spiritually mature.
When he was 14, Hendra had an affair with a married woman. One afternoon, her husband, a devout Roman Catholic, discovered the two in each other's arms. The husband, acting more out of concern for Hendra's soul than out of anger, arranged for the teenager to spend several weeks under the tutelage of Father Joe at a Benedictine abbey in England. Expecting cruel treatment similar to that handed out by the monks in his Catholic elementary school, Hendra was surprised to meet instead a rotund, knobby-kneed confessor whose thoughtful, open manner changed Hendra's life forever. As Hendra reveals in this graceful, humorous tale, Father Joe acted not only as a confessor, but also as a friend and as the guiding spirit of Hendra's life (the author is now married with three children). Under the influence of Father Joe, Hendra passionately decided to follow the monastic life. At every turn, he met Father Joe's gentle insistence that he wasn't yet ready to enter the monastery. At Cambridge, Hendra discovered a new passion-comedy-and pursued it as ardently as he'd pursued religion. Hendra writes well (he spent several years as the head writer at National Lampoon), chronicling the failure of his first marriage, his descent into substance abuse, his self-hatred and his incessant search for meaning in compelling prose and with clear-eyed honesty. Throughout Hendra's life, Father Joe stands by his side, like a gentle shepherd leading a lost sheep back to a place where it can graze safely.