Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Review: Sonnets from the Spirit

Sonnets from the Spirit,[1] a book written by my friend Christopher Villiers, is a fantastic source of the continuation of the ancient practice of midrash. Through his fantastic poems, taken from both the Old and the New Testaments, he speaks through the heroes, saints and protagonists of Holy Scripture. He gives a personal tone to the events, allowing us to further understand the richness and significance of the episodes we read in the Bible. This work shows a connection between the various stories in Holy Scripture connecting the beginning with Eve and concluding with the Assumption of the Theotokos – the Second Eve -, showing thus the whole plan of God for the salvation of His creation.
These sonnets are to be read with an open mind, allowing the reader to see the events from Scripture in a totally new way, from the personal stance of the people taking part in the events. Therefore, these sonnets hold within them a passion and an emotion, allowing us to be part of them, just as we are when observing an icon, or visiting a church.

A poem, which impressed me greatly, was the one dedicated to the Prodigal Son. A poem full of theology but also with a human character, an understanding of the human relations and the mistakes the prodigal son (i.e. mankind) acts towards the father (i.e. God). A poem where ideals, such as forgiveness, are pointed out, showing us the example and the way of life we need to maintain in order to live a Christ-like life. Additionally, the poem dedicated to Judas is another example of the painful events, giving Judas a voice, which we do not often hear due to his betrayal.
These poems allow us to follow the life of the Church by understanding better the stories, parables and events found in Holy Scripture. The personal factor, found in these sonnets, gives the opportunity to each and every Christian to take the protagonist’s place, making Scripture and Tradition intimate to our existence within the Church.
Let us hope that this book, which is a great read, is only the first of many books that Christopher Villiers will write. Christianity needs to remind itself of the personal stance we need to keep within our worship, within our life in the Church, by making every story and event of the Bible a truth which we need to follow.

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