3 out of 4 stars
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The following review is about John Servant's Always before me (A story of mercy and salvation). The book tells about two Catholic priests, who are sent to prison for crimes they have never committed. In prison they find their true calling by advising, teaching and preaching for and with the prison community. Father Paul is convicted for keeping his vow of obedience, instead of following common law. He adheres to the secrecy of the confessional, despite contrary advise, and spends many years in prison, administering to the prisoners. Father Anthony is also admitted to prison on wrong charges. He is supported by the older and more experienced Father Paul, and finally finds his true vocation of teaching in the prison service. Both priests not only rediscover God and are strengthened in their own faith, but they also help many others to return to God.
There are many positive aspects of Always before me. The most important one for me is, the discovery of one's true vocation by obedience and perseverance. I also liked the inclusion of the many prayers given by Father Paul for the prison community. The book also includes quotations from the Bible, to support the audience in meeting Jesus. Other positive aspects are the description of the setting and the main characters. The reader is drawn into the prison setting. He gets to know the protagonists and antagonists, learns about their fears and hopes and partakes in their fate.
The only negative aspect of this publication are its punctuation errors. Many commas are missing in the text. This can make for difficult reading, and take credit from an otherwise informative and enjoyable read.
I rate Always before me by John Servant "3 out of 4 stars" . Normally I would give this book the highest rating, as I enjoyed reading it very much. But the punctuation errors did distract me, while I was reading. On the other hand, it is a very interesting story, which makes the reader reflect on and consider his own faith and path in life. The book also contains a lot of dialogue and sermons, which keep the story flowing.
As I am a Catholic myself, the book appealed to me. I would recommend it to any reader, wishing to learn more about religion and their own path and meaning in life. It certainly re-acquainted me with my own religion. Always before me is not just about religion and faith, it also addresses many worldly and humanitarian issues, for example the conditions in prisons. I look forward to reading other books by John Servant.
Always Before Me
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