Catholic Books >  Catholic Summer Reading >  2007 >  Cosmas or the Love of God

Cosmas or the Love of God

Item Number: 55661

Catalog Code: 9780829423952

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Cosmas or the Love of God

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Review Provided By - THE Catholic Book Review Site
Average Rating: This item received 5 stars overall.

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From the Loyola Classics series . . .

"New editions of acclaimed Catholic novels."

More about Cosmas, or the Love of God:

"The latest book in the Loyola Classics series, this is a short, quiet novel, written by a French banker three decades ago, about a man with a failed monastic vocation. This doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but the book is a gem. The setting is La Trappe, the mother monastery of the Trappists, where a spiritual drama unfolds. Cosmas is a pious, sensitive young man who is convinced that he has a Trappist vocation. But the reality of monastic life disappoints him badly. It seems too worldly. The shortcomings of other monks scandalize him. He leaves, returns, leaves again. Cosmas is convinced that his vocation is real. His monastic superiors are inclined to think so too. It’s a quandary, and Fr. Jim Martin S.J. in his introduction to the book draws out its large implications: “Does unhappiness in a job, or in a friendship, or in a marriage, mean that one should switch careers, sever a relationship or even end a marriage? This is Cosmas’s dilemma. As the narrator asks, ‘Was Cosmas really called to religious life? No other question has ever disturbed me so much.’”

Cosmas keeps trying to follow his inner call. La Trappe’s abbot extends the lesson of Cosmas to everyone “who suffers from this gap between their aspirations and their attainments.” That is, to all of us. And may we achieve the heroism the abbot finds in Cosmas. Those not blessed with exceptional talent or grace carry on, the abbot says. “In their eyes the sense of inadequacy, of getting nowhere, and their failures, do not relieve them of the responsibility to keep on trying.”

Cosmas created a stir in French literary circles when Pierre de Calan published it at age sixty-six. De Calan was a banker and a family man. He had never been a monk. To a critic surprised that a businessman could write such a polished novel, he said “a man who lives only for his work lives only a half-life.” 

- by Jim Manney, editor of People Of the Book, a well-known blog. Jim currently is an executive in the mysetrious world of Catholic publishing.





Pious, sensitive young Cosmas believes that he has a vocation to become a Trappist monk, but the reality of monastic life disappoints him. Fellow monks are irritating. The life of the monastery seems worldly. His own weaknesses appall him. Is God calling Cosmas to this life? If he can't live the life, does that mean God isn't calling him to it? Many lives - single, married, vowed, ordained - turn on these questions. Pierre de Calan explores them in this exquisite tale of a man who learns sanctity does not mean perfection.
Originally published in France over 30 years ago, this Loyola Classics reprint for 2006 brings this wonderful classic Catholic novel into the hands of a new generation of readers.
About the author : Pierre de Calan (1911–1993) was a Paris banker (and husband and father of a large family) who ended his career as president of the French division of Barclay’s Bank. He published Cosmas, or the Love of God, his only novel, in 1977.

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Review Provided By - THE Catholic Book Review Site

This item received 5 stars overall. The most captivating Catholic novel I have ever read.

I first came across this book while on retreat at the Trappist monastery in northern California about 25 years ago. The book was being read aloud, by one of the monks, to all the others while they were gathered in the refectory for the evening meal. Since I was on a short retreat, I only heard about 2 chapters of the book and I was intrigued.

Over the years I searched for the book and all I could find were expensive out-of-print hardcover copies, never anywhere near where I lived at the time. Just those two chapters that I had heard made such an impression on me for so many years!

I was excited to find out that Loyola Press reprinted the book in paperback, as part of their impressive Loyola Classics series, three years ago. In the first year of its reprint I bought a copy and spent a few memorable evenings reading this gem that I had sought after for so many years.

Like all great stories, it is fairly simple - at least on the surface. The story is s Full Review...

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