Book Review — ‘Heaven’s Song: Sexual Love as it was Meant to Be’
Reading Christopher West’s new book, Heaven’s Song, is a life-changing experience that will leave a lasting imprint on your heart as well as your soul. Heaven’s Song possesses the power to purify and to heal the hurts inflicted on each one of us by the culture of death, thus, drawing our hearts into a deeper, more intimate union with the Lord. It possesses the potential to heal the individual, the married couple, the Church, and society as a whole.
In Heaven’s Song, West explores the newly discovered hidden talks of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which he shared in his Wednesday audiences. These ten prepared talks (which were never delivered due to the delicacy of their nature) represent some of Pope John Paul’s most beautiful work. The themes of the ten tracts include: deeply moving reflections on the intimacy of lovers in the Song of Songs, penetrating insights into the marriage of Tobias and Sarah in the Book of Tobit, and the new illuminations on the “spousal nature” of the Church’s liturgy gleaned from St. Paul in Ephesians 5.
West masterfully guides us through these mystical ideas, enlightening us in the great mysteries and secrets of sanctity by enlisting the aid of the mystic celibates – St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Louis de Montfort – to help explain John Paul II’s insights. He shares penetrating insights on the beautiful poetic passages and imagery in the Song of Songs, which are meant to be reread and savored. He skillfully dazzles the reader with his theological interpretations, which are presented in such a clear, conversational tone that makes it easy for even the novice to understand his explanations.
As a man of practical experience, who has counseled couples for years now, West brings theology down to a practical level all of us can relate to, by sharing real life examples of individuals and couples who struggle with painful issues at the beginning of each chapter. At the end of the chapter, he updates us on their situation, sharing how their problems are in the process of being healed or remain unresolved based upon John Paul II’s teachings.
Because it serves as a guide in identifying the root cause in many marriages today, I believe that Heaven’s Song is an ideal book for all couples who are considering marriage and those who are currently married. It would also be a wonderful tool for those who seek healing from the pain of divorce, abortion, and other hurts inflicted by the culture of death. I also hope that it will be used in Catholic universities and seminaries. Heaven’s Song is a gem to treasured that the reader will want to read over and over again on his /her journey in the spiritual life.
~ copyright Jean M. Heimann August 20, 2008