Monday, July 17, 2017

Miracles Still Happen: A Review of "Once I Was Blind, But Now I See"

With honesty and openness, Once I Was Blind, But Now I See, by Charles Piccirilli, with Kimberly Cook, is a beautiful reflection on the power of God at work in the lives or seemingly ordinary individuals. Charles Piccirilli was a typical sort of child from a large, Italian Catholic family. However, some experiences in childhood ultimately led him to turn away from God and dabble in various religions and the occult. Over time, Charles grew to see God and His work, and throughout the pages of this book, he delves into some of the miraculous occurrences that have taken place in this journey.

One of the aspects of this book which I greatly appreciated was that the story was not focused on the details of Charles' experiences with demonic activities. Instead catching the reader's interest by describing his former interest in the paranormal (topics that often bring people to movie theaters), Piccirilli fills the reader's mind and heart with the grace and mercy of God. This book does not seek to entertain us with creepy stories, but to show us that God is greater than the devil, and God continues to work miracles in our modern world.

I also loved how honestly Piccirilli relates the awkwardness that came with some of his experiences. For instance, once, in a Charismatic prayer meeting, Piccirilli heard God tell him to say a verse from the Psalms. He describes his hesitance, noting: "Upon hearing this, I immediately glanced around the room of people in quiet prayer. I fidgeted for a few moments, uncomfortable with what the Lord had asked me to say" (45). I loved reading about how even though God may grant special gifts to us, acting on those gifts can make us uncomfortable and takes courage!

I think it is important to remember what this book is, and what it is not. At times, I thought that the images of the intentional Charismatic prayer community were a little too one-sided. I love hearing about the graces and beauty flowing from those types of communities, but at the same time, I think it would have been nice to mention unique difficulties that come with those types of communities, to give a fuller picture and perspective. But, I do realize that the size and subject matter of this book are not conducive to including every experience-bad and good-that have been a part of this man's journey.

I really enjoyed this book, and I loved that in the conclusion, Piccirilli discusses the importance of changing one's life to turn towards God. He mentions a specific incident where a person encountered God in a very real way, put that incident on a pedestal, and then did not actually change his life. I have done this in my own life, and I appreciate that Piccirilli makes a point to caution against this practice; that all of these types of events should lead into a deeper relationship with God. Overall, this story is a great reminder that God continues to work miracles in our world, in and through people just like us.

You can purchase a copy of Once I Was Blind, But Now I See at The Lion of Design

~I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.~ 

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