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Quest Within the Question, The: "Do You Love Me?" John 21:16-17

Olivia Cendejas

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Delightfully Spiritual Apologetics and Testimony Review by Dave Armstrong (Catholic apologist and author)
Olivia Cendejas has blessed us with a gem of a book. I was very impressed by its "holistic" approach to the questions of faith, God, and the deepest meaning of life. She writes from a very "personalistic" perspective (greatly stressed by Blessed Pope John Paul II).

The readers' "journey" begins with a deeply philosophical and important question: "Who Are We as Humans?" -- followed by the even more serious consideration of "Who is God?" These are exactly the right questions to ask when starting out on a spiritual quest. Olivia's style is very engaging and warm, quickly drawing the reader in, and the format is refreshingly different.

The middle portions of the book are devoted to the Bible, God's revelation of Himself, and various questions about the Catholic Church (ones that folks ask about a lot).

Part II is entitled "My Personal Spiritual Quest" and Olivia takes the reader on a fascinating journey through her own spiritual experiences and reflections, including discussion of dreams and "encounters of heaven."

I think this is an aspect of testimony to the faith (the experiential) that has great potential, and one that has often been neglected: especially in the apologetics realm. It can be abused, too, of course, but we mustn't "throw the baby out with the bathwater." God can and does reveal Himself in many different ways.

These sections were reminiscent to me of C. S. Lewis' "imaginative theology" and his and others' notion of "sehnsucht": a German word that means an intense, almost aching longing for God and Paradise. We observe God communicating in dreams in many places in Scripture (e.g., to Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, and Joseph, the husband of Mary).

The book then ends with reflections on prayer, discipleship, hardships, the saints, and some lovely spiritual poems.

I highly recommend "The Quest Within the Question": it's a book that possesses the rare quality of making the Catholic faith and Christian discipleship highly appealing at a deep personal, "soul" level, while at the same time showing that is the fullness of truth as well as joy, true happiness, and fulfillment. (Posted on 7/10/12)

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