A Novel Approach to Spirituality

Yesterday I was watching a feature about someone’s opinion on great novels. I have mentioned elsewhere that my own spiritual journey has been enriched by art. Here then are 5 novels that have graced my journey. Where possible I’ve included a film clip from a movie based on that novel

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is the only novel which, upon finishing it, I immediately turned back to page 1 and read it again. It gave me a role model for parenting as well as a good example of the Shadow in the memorable character of Boo Radley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRmIef02Ajk

2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This story of the Depression is also a story about courage in the face of unimaginable hardship, a theme relevant to these days of unemployment and forced relocation. Ma Joad is perhaps one of the greatest female figures in fiction. Here she is teaching a lesson relevant today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPNBynJ11kY

3. Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. A gentle story about the agony of adolescence and the aching desire to belong. Through the powerful characater of Bernice, we also touch on the pain of loving and losing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elIgGbx4j3U

4. Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos This deeply spiritual book shares the efforts of a simple priest as he balances ministry with his own spiritual struggles as he faces illness. In this brief excerpt from the film, he faces the cynicism of an older priest as he seeks guidance for his ministry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elIgGbx4j3U

5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien Yes, I know this is actually 3 books but it is one story with strong themes of temptation, redemption, and spiritual quest as well as a strong image of resurrection. In this scene Frodo struggles with that which we all face spiritually — having to take the difficult path. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RemBy5yeW8g

There are other great novels that have enriched and challenged me. These 5 and those others remind me that God speaks in many ways and that art is one of the most powerful manifestations of His/Her voice.

Reflection; Are there any novels that have enriched your journey?

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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3 Responses to A Novel Approach to Spirituality

  1. Priscilla Twomey says:

    Excellent Posting !
    My husband Matthew and I enjoy these

  2. Susan says:

    “Do not be so quick to deal out death and judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends”.

    “Many that live deserve death. Many that die deserve life”.

    Profoundly insightful. Thank you for sharing.

    Although my mom was Mean when she was older, she was once young and vulnerable. Like the girl in the film she actually did tell her Aunt that she had packed a suitcase and was going on the Honeymoon with her.

    The link for the novel about the priest did not correlate but I will look it up for myself. Thank you again for this insight.

  3. Susan says:

    I searched for the symbolism of the ring in the Lord of he Rings and I found the following interpretation. “Created by the evil Sauron, it is at first synonymous with its make’s evil power. It also suggests slavery and weakness, since whoever gives into the temptation of the ring becomes a slave to it”. God knows I have had my share of temptations and I have given into some. Still this interpretation struck me at my core because it would account for the behavior of most of the people surrounding me and the desire for this ring also hurt my mother.

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