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Posted May 3, 2012

Book: The Living God
Author: Romano Guardini
Pantheon Books, New York. 1957. pp. 112

An excerpt from the Jacket:

This book has grown out of the efforts of a priest to make his congregation aware of the living reality of God. Monsignor Guardini throws light on this theme from a variety of angles. Each chapter concerns itself with another aspect of "The Living God," and as the theme unfolds it gathers richness and meaning. First, Monsignor Guardini speaks of the Face of God, next about His way of seeing, the nature of His Will and of His Providence. What does it mean when we speak of being "forgiven" by God? In what way can we know God's reality, become aware of it, and be consoled by the God who is "greater than the human heart"?

Finally, we are led across the boundary of our experience of God here on earth to the God of transfiguration, and "the new heaven and the new earth: is illuminated for us.

An excerpt from the Book:

What is repentance? It not only means that a person realizes he has done wrong, wishes it had not happened, is prepared to bear the consequences, and is determined to make amends. Repentance is more than that. Repentance is an appeal to the Living God. He is the Holy One, unapproachable and intolerant of all wrongdoing. At the same time, however, He is Love and He is the Creator who has the power not only to bring man to life but to bring him to something inconceivably higher still: He has the power to re-create and purify the personality burdened and defiled by sin.

Repentance is an appeal to the deepest mystery of the creative power of God. The merely "ethical" is swallowed up in the ineffable life of the Holy One. Repentance does not cover up sin. On the contrary, Repentance is Truth. It tries to see things as they really are. The forbidding and frightening element in sin has no part in repentance. Fear is a by-product of sin and can only confuse genuine repentance. Repentance seeks to know the truth. And with the truth of what he has done man comes to God and says: I am guilty before you. I admit it. You are the Judge. I come before you, against myself. I desire you. I want your will to be done, for you are Holy. You are in the right against me. I love you. I judge myself as you judge me. But you are love, and I appeal to this love. With all that I am I give myself to the mystery of your love. I have no desire to evade the severity of your judgment. But you are the God of Grace! These things are beyond the power of the mind to understand. But the heart understands and knows.

Human repentance corresponds to divine forgiveness. To the Living God who is able to forgive there corresponds the man of living faith who is able to repent. Both constitute a single mystery of holy life.

Repentance is itself a gift. When man comes to God with his repentance the Living God is already in him and has given him repentance. Something has not been merely covered up: I have been born again, I begin again.

This is a deep mystery, but our hearts tell us that it is the Living God who makes it possible.

Table of Contents:

The face of God


God sees

The will of God


The heart and God

The patience of God

How we know God

The king for whom all things live

God comforts

The new heaven and the new earth