4 out of 4 stars
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Ad Majorem: A Gay Man’s Spiritual Testament is a partly sarcastic, partly funny but moving book written by Tom Beattie.
Ad Majorem (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam which means 'for God’s greater glory') features two very important men, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the book author himself, Tom Beattie, told in parallel accounts.
Ignatius, whose given name was Iñigo, was born in 1491 in the Basque Country of northern Spain, to a wealthy family. After a brief and unpromising position in court, Ignatius entered the military where he got injured and was sent home. During his period of convalescence, Ignatius found his way to God.
On a different note, the author felt early on that he could possibly be gay. After reading a life-changing book by Dr. George Weinberg, Society and the Healthy Homosexual, he decided to embrace his gayness and lived at peace with himself amidst a society that believed homosexuality was morally and socially wrong.
By presenting the life of the saint whom he admired, idolized and whose examples he tried to emulate, the author comes up with a beautiful tribute to St. Ignatius of Loyola and a very interesting, funny, amusing and entertaining book about a gay man, his faith in GOD and a glimpse of his life as a member of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) community, which is made easier by the presence of his husband by his side. He starts by admitting that he wanted to live a normal heterosexual life but eventually gave in and chose to be true to himself with ardent belief that God loves him for what he is just as much as He loves everyone else.
The book is written in a casual tone that makes it sound like the author is just sitting right beside you and talking to a friend. I find his sarcasm, which is probably meant to sting intended targets, funny and liberating. The bible verses he inserts in his narrative give emphasis on the points he is trying to get across and, I believe, just as powerful as the verses read in church.
There is a part of the book I find particularly moving, that is when the author mentions being not welcome to communion during Mass because he is considered unworthy. However, by mentioning the hate crime victim Matthew Shepard and the dishonorable discharge of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, the author shows the extent of disrespect, discrimination and prejudice against LGBTQ.
All in all, this is a well written and well-referenced book that also shares important lessons and food for thought, my favorite being ‘being manly and courageous meant being true to yourself and to God’s unique plan for you.’ Despite that, however, this book may not be for readers who are not very accepting of gay people and same-sex relationships.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is interesting, funny, entertaining and inspiring, and I recommend it to all LGBTQ and to those who love and support them.
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