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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy--A Book Review

by Kathleen Blease

No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy
by Donald H. Calloway, MIC
ISBN: 978-1-59614-210-7
paperback, Marian Press, 270 pages
Back of the book--Includes information about
The Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception
and the Thirteenth of the Month Club

He was a parent's worse nightmare. Addicted. Arrested. A run-away. Criminal. Thief.  He was only fifteen, and things were about to get worse. But his parents never gave up.  Fr. Calloway tells his story with candor and humility. How does one go from drug addicted hippie high school drop out to a Marian priest with more than a few degrees?

It all started with the love of his parents, and...

One day, in a moment of boredom, he came across a book that would change his life forever. It was called The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje. He was sure it was some sort of cult guide to his parents' newly-embraced faith. But, he figured that his night was shot anyway, so he sat down to read it. At first, it was all Greek. But then, little by little, he was drawn into its beauty.

And the mercy of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, reached deep into his heart and hit him with what the author called "a divine 2 x 4." After that, there was no turning back. You'll need to read this for yourself--see chapters 10, 11, and 12. You will cry and laugh over his crass innocence (or ignorance?) and the joyful conversion of his soul, while he discovered the Mass and the Eucharist for the very first time.

Fr. Calloway depicts his entire life (and heart--hard as it may have been) with great candor and honesty. His book takes the reader on a journey that spans across time, lands, and spirit--all experienced by one young man. You won't soon forget his story! (Neither will the priest who heard his first Confession!)

I recall many years ago, I attended a retreat where a man who was terribly afflicted with an illness that took away his basic motor skills and speech stood in front of retreat attendees and told his story. In the end, he said, "If the Lord can bless a miserable thing like me, imagine what he can do for you!" The greatest glory of Jesus is indeed His mercy.

My boys, ages 12 and 14, both saw Fr. Calloway's book sitting on the kitchen table. The front cover caught their attention.

"What's a priest doing with a surf board?" my eldest asked.
"He's a priest and a surfer."
"Really?" He flipped the book over to the read the back cover. "Hey, I wanna read this."

As much as I would have loved to jump at my son's request, the mom in me had a second thought: better to read it myself first.

And I'm glad I did. This is truly a story I'd like my sons to read, without a doubt...just not right now. Father will probably agree that this book is not appropriate for two home schooled Catholic boys. He goes into a bit too much detail about his addictions to crime, sex, and drugs. It will raise questions that I know my husband and I are just not ready to address at this point in our young boys' lives. This is no way depletes the value of Father's remarkable story! In a few more years, I'll be happy to share it with my oldest son, if I think he's ready for it.

As a final note...

Scott Hahn says: "It's a page-turner, moving from a deliquent youth to an adult faith--and then on to the priesthood. It's a dramatic life, and Father Calloway tells it all with a compelling and manly literary voice. So if it's not a movie (yet), you may remember it as one. It's that vivid."

No Turning Back can be found at Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop in the right column of this blog. Just look for the little red outlined box.

Enjoy, and God bless!

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