Seeing as how Pope Benedict XVI declared this the year of St. Paul, I figured that we should somehow include him in our year of study. I've been on the lookout for some good, adult scholarly book on St. Paul for myself, but in the meantime, my son picked out a Mary Fabyan Windeatt book entitled, "Saint Paul the Apostle. The Story of the Apostle to the Gentiles". We have been reading a chapter a day together and discussing it.
Much to my surprise, I think I've found what I was looking for in this children's book. It is very engaging and I feel as if I have a much better handle on who St. Paul was. Granted, I know it is still a work of fiction, but, as with all of the Windeatt book's, she does a very good job of getting the facts in there, too.
The one thing that has struck me the most while reading this book is that I feel much more connected to the letters that St. Paul wrote. Let me explain. I used to read his letters and marvel at the insights they contained. In a way I envisioned him sitting at a desk writing these scholarly letters to his different groups. After reading this story, however, I have a greater appreciation for what it was really like. Here he was, sore and exhausted, frustrated because he could not visit all of the people who needed him. In the midst of whatever current battle he was fighting, he would take the time to dictate his thoughts and desires to whatever group was currently in trouble: the Corinthians, the Thesalonians, the Romans. Whoever it was, no matter how tired he was, despite the fact that due to his sore hands he could not write himself, he stopped and took the time to communicate with the people in need.
I would highly recommend this book for your whole family to read. My husband picked it up last week and is reading it as part of his everyday spiritual reading time. After you're done, I think you'll have a much greater appreciation for what St. Paul went through for God and His people.
I'll leave you with a quote from the book when St. Paul was about to address the Governor of Cesarea and his young wife:
"Paul looked long and compassionately at the noble couple before him. Here were two souls, made to the image and likeness of God, who had not even glimpsed the reason for their existence. Like millions of others, they spent their time in an endless search for happiness. They took pleasure in food, in clothes, in bodily comfort. But had they found the object of their quest? Or would they ever find it?"