Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review -- The Invisible World, by Anthony Destefano

If it's invisible, it can't be real, right? Yet, there are things that cannot be explained: miraculous cures, the urgency to move or to do something just in the nick-of-time, ideas that suddenly inspire. These aren't mere coincidences within material reality; they have a home in the invisible, unseen reality of the spiritual realm.

Anthony Destefano lays the foundation for an honest and sound discussion of these spiritual realities in his new book, The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities that Surround Us.

In separating the tangible from the intangible, Destefano, entreats the reader to be aware of the "haunt detector" -- that sensation you get when something unusual is about to happen, or you can see no clear, reasonable explanation in nature for what has occurred. That is the first sign that something special, something spiritual, exists and is in operation beyond our material, body-bound world.

While the author admits openly that this is not a book designed to flesh out theological arguments, it is one that clearly relies on sound theology to make its point. I found the style, the wit, the honesty of Destefano to be endearing, making me want to know what this author, who from the start made me like him, had to say next. That is an added bonus in reading this book; the author is real and likable, developing a rapport and a sense of trustworthiness with the reader in the early pages and building upon it throughout the work. 

Taking the reader gently, yet convincingly, deeper into the reality of a spiritual realm with a tone and a candor not unlike Fulton Sheen, Destefano introduces the reality of a Spiritual Being -- God -- Who is "totally other", a term that theologians have used to describe the essence of God. He draws upon the wisdom and immense knowledge of Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas to build his case, but does so in a way that is inviting and accessible to the mainstream reader of spiritual material.

This tone permeates the entire book. Destefano takes the reader on a solid and convincing journey of the good, the bad and the ugly of the spiritual world and how man, both body and spirit, fits in the mix. Who are those created beings consisting of pure spirit called angels? How do we know they are operating in our lives? Why would any of them choose to turn away from Pure Goodness and become demons, and what purpose does it serve for them to desire our fall from beatitude? How do these invisible realities relate to suffering? These are but a few of the questions that Destefano treats in his chapters. And you will want to read the book to prayerfully consider his answers.

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