This book tells the story of a Catholic monk who is called from the quiet of his monastic life to aid the Church and the world in the final days There is intrigue and mystery involving the Vatican and a world leader who is the Antichrist I finished reading this novel well over a month ago but haven t reviewed it at all because I just didn t know how to articulate my disappointment Unfortunately, I still don t exactly know how to explain my distaste for this book especially in the face of so many people who give it such glowing reviews.However, I am never one to pass up an opportunity to give my opinion FWIW so here goes.The problem I had with this book is that it feltmuddled I found that I just didn t care about the story, I had no emotion invested in the plot or the characters It was like inflating an air mattress with a small leak It starts to look like you are getting somewhere but then it just flattens out again and frustration sets in The fact I actually finished the book means either I was so driven by hope that I held out for something to like or I am a glutton for punishment I read it all the way to the lackluster end I have heard many people sing the praises of author Michael O Brien so I will not give up on him just because of this book But I cannot think of any reason to recommend this particular book of his to anyone. gripping i will remember this book on my deathbed wish i hadn t waited so long to read it and now I have to buy strangers and sojourners again for some reason it bored me to death years ago when i tried to read it along with the rest of the series so much in this book family, love, friendship, loss, spiritual warfare, answers to non believers questions, the strange ways we meet each other and become part of each other s lives, etc not as depressing as Lord of the World. 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 Series Of Crises And Subterfuges Affecting The Ultimate Destiny Of The ChurchFather Elijah Is A Convert From Judaism, A Survivor Of The Holocaust, A Man Once Powerful In Israel For Twenty Years He Has Been Buried In The Dark Night Of Carmel On The Mountain Of The Prophet Elijah The Pope And The Cardinal Secretary Of State Call Him Out Of Obscurity And Give Him A Task Of The Highest Sensitivity To Penetrate Into The Inner Circles Of A Man Whom They Believe May Be The Antichrist Their Purpose To Call The Man Of Sin To Repentance, And Thus To Postpone The Great Tribulation Long Enough To Preach The Gospel To The Whole WorldIn This Richly Textured Tale, Father Elijah Crosses Europe And The Middle East, Moves Through The Echelons Of World Power, Meets Saints And Sinners, Presidents, Judges, Mystics, Embattled Catholic Journalists, Faithful Priests And A Conspiracy Of Traitors Within The Very House Of God This Is An Apocalypse In The Old Literary Sense, But One That Was Written In The Light Of Christian Revelation This is a profound and impressive book It is also quirky and, at times, challenging The author knows this At the beginning he warns the reader This book is a novel of ideas It does not proceed at the addictive pace of a television micro drama, nor does it offer simplistic resolutions and false piety It offers the Cross It bears witness, I hope, to the ultimate victory of light That it does, and I m glad to have read it.But the warning proves true It s a long book, very heavy on dialogue and light on action The dialogue, while stiff and formal in places, is mostly rich and well done It explores the most important themes of humanity, love, and faith.As a theological matter, the book is squarely Catholic There are constant hints of mystical spiritual battles, from Satan to angels to Mary Some of the most riveting plot lines involve the Pope and the politics of the Catholic Church It s a fun glimpse into the Vatican I recommend the book, because I recommend serious consideration of what the book addresses If you re looking for cheap thrills, look elsewhere If you re looking for clear conclusions, look elsewhere But if you re looking for a profound and artistic study of the world nearing its end a book that will mesmerize and enchant and uplift you should read Father Elijah. ENGLISH As its title indicates, this is an apocalyptic novel, obviously influenced by Lord of the World, by Robert Hugh Benson, which takes place around the same time towards the millennium , but exhibits certain differences, due to the fact that that it has been written much closer to the time it is describing it was published in 1996.It introduces a few contemporary elements, such as the Pope, evidently based on John Paul II, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, obviously based on Ratzinger, and Don Matteo, clearly based on St Pius of Pietrelcina although this detail is willingly anachronistic, because St Pio had died much earlier.Altogether, this novel must be considered in the genre of alternative history, although rather than history, it is about an alternative present In short, the situation described is this What would have been the world of 1995, with an anti Christ, a man possessed by the devil who would be willing to put an end to the Catholic Church, under the pretext of achieving world peace If I had been in the author s place, I would have placed the plot about 20 years later, in 2015, when things could be thought to have changed somewhat, without changing too much.ESPA OL Como su t tulo indica, esta es una novela apocal ptica, obviamente influida por Lord of the World de Robert Hugh Benson, que tiene lugar m s o menos por la misma poca hacia el milenio , pero que denota ciertas diferencias por el hecho de que ha sido escrita muucho m s cerca de la poca que describe se public en 1996 Introduce algunos elementos contempor neos, como el papa, evidentemente basado en Juan Pablo II, el cardenal Prefecto de la Congregaci n de la Doctrina de la Fe, obviamente basado en Ratzinger, y don Matteo, claramente basado en San P o de Pietrelcina aunque ese detalle sea anacr nico, porque San P o hab a muerto mucho antes En conjunto, esta novela debe considerarse perteneciente al g nero de la historia alternativa , aunque m s que historia trata de un presente alternativo En resumen, la situaci n descrita es esta C mo habr a sido el mundo de 1995, si en l hubiera surgido un anti Cristo, un hombre pose do por el demonio que estuviera dispuesto a terminar con la Iglesia Cat lica bajo el pretexto de conseguir la Paz Mundial Si yo hubiera estado en el lugar del autor, habr a situado la acci n unos 20 a os m s tarde, hacia el 2015, cuando se pod a pensar que habr an cambiado algo las cosas, aunque sin cambiarlas demasiado. I first read this some twenty years ago This time around I think I got much out of it pretty close to spiritual reading. A great reflection on the Book of Revelation, but the thriller parts of the story are unbearably clunky, and the other two books in the series I ve read, Stranger and Sojournerd and Eclipse of the Sun are worse in this regard O Brien is a brilliant storyteller but he should stick to slow moving relationship plots as he does wonderfully in Strangers and Sojourners and steer clear of writing about car chases, tunnels under Vatican buildings, and black helicopters. 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.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 from this author. Loved the story Wish I had known this was the last novel of the series as I would have read others first should have checked It was the freebie on Formed.org Not my favorite genre, but there was so much else to appreciate that it did not matter view spoiler The visit to the Virgin s tomb at the end gave me goosebumps hide spoiler 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 survivor and promising Israeli statesman attorney, he experiences even 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 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 about Michael
Michael D O Brien is a Roman Catholic author, artist, and frequent essayist and lecturer on faith and culture, living in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.
- 597 pages
- Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
- Michael D. O'Brien
- 07 March 2018 Michael D. O'Brien