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Waiting for God

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  959 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
"My dear father, I have made up my mind to write to you....I have been wondering lately about the will of God, what it means, and how we can reach the point of conforming ourselves to it completely I will tell you what I think about this." SIMONE WEIL, LETTER I, WAITING FOR GOD

Emerging from the thought-provoking discussions and correspondence Simone Weil had with the Rever
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 26th 2000 by Harpperenm (first published January 1st 1950)
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Jan 07, 2014 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: Ibrahim
Simone Weil’s Waiting for God was a Christmas gift for me in 2013, but one I received in time for Advent. As any serious reader knows, when one encounters a significant book/author—much like when you meet the right person—can be almost as important as the book itself.

Waiting for God is an unlikely but apt Advent read. It is improbable in the sense Weil lived a more vibrant Christianity than most who claim to be ardent members of any known Christian denomination and yet she stopped short of recei
David Clark
Jun 15, 2012 David Clark rated it it was amazing
How does one offer an opinion much less a critique of a "classic" book? A number of my mentors, thoughtful friends, and respected teachers have noted Simon Weil's influence and have urged me to read her essays--but I resisted. I confess now my reluctance sprang from suspicion, an unfounded suspicion as it turns out that Simone Weil was simply another spiritual fad. It was the admonition by a respected friend to not buy the book unless I was prepared to be seriously challenged that, of course, wa ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
The Truth:

I have given it five stars and I have included it in my 'favorites' shelf and surely I will add her to the list of my favourite authors. The truth is I have read only this book and even in this book I have not understood many of the passages. Let me explain or at least try to explain.

Simone Weil: The Person:

There was a short biographical sketch at the end of this book. It was really short and yet it was a life story that moved me. She was born in France in 1909 and she died in 1943. S
Is ‘mystic’ a polite way of saying ‘unintelligible’?

I first encountered Simone Weil while reading The Long Loneliness, the autobiography of Dorothy Day; Weil came recommended to me as another Catholic woman writer and social activist. Like Day, she is intellectually rigorous and contemplative about the nature of faith and its relationship with the world militant. However, there similarities drop off – Day is grounded in the mechanics of the physical world, the demands and oversights of its play
May 05, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Jung Society of Washington for a workshop
In places Simone Weil's writings indeed have a wondrous mystical quality; there I found myself captivated in the realm of the deeply spiritual and personal. Her reflections on experiencing God's love through the forsaken, the value of deemphasizing will, and adopting a stance of waiting for God intrigued me. I want to consider these further after having read this book.

At other times, her writings seem shaped by the metric of the logical, mathematical proof - perhaps reflecting how she idealized
David M
A few years ago I encountered Weil and she had an immense effect on me. I try and revisit her periodically and am still very far from coming to any definite views on her life and thought. If she were fictional she'd probably be the greatest literary character of the twentieth century. The fact that she literally existed is endlessly haunting and strange. I go back and forth about whether she was serious philosopher. Her thought is violent and often shudders on the verge of utter incoherence. At ...more
Rick Eng
Feb 01, 2008 Rick Eng rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Mysticism as an aspect of religious belief has always fascinated me because it is the purest form of worship or union one has to their maker. There are no intermediaries or dogma to govern behavior or process; the spiritual path is highly personal and individualistic. Simone Weil lived in a time of great upheaval and died as the Second World War was turning. In this book of letters and essays, Weil attempts to articulate her experiences and justifies her beliefs and actions as part of a philosop ...more
Pedro Freitas
Aug 03, 2012 Pedro Freitas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Desde logo Simone Weil é uma figura fascinante: professora, ativista política e sindicalista, foge de França para Nova Iorque e morre com pouco mais de 34 anos em Londres de fadiga extrema depois da sua luta na resistência francesa. Como ela afirma neste seu livro até muito tarde a questão de Deus simplesmente não se colocava na sua vida. Oriunda de uma família fortemente judaica, apesar dos seus estudos de filosofia, nunca se definiu religiosamente como coisa alguma até ter vivido, o que consid ...more
Scott Lichtor
Nov 28, 2013 Scott Lichtor rated it did not like it
In all honesty, I couldn't finish this book, so the rating is certainly incomplete. I found the half that I read so unbearable that I couldn't go on. The author is at best delusional and at worst a liar in regards to her faith. I had hoped for an honest, straightforward and enlightening look at faith and god but instead got the ravings of a zealot.
Divided into a bio/intro, a series of letters to a Catholic priest (though not the replies), and several essays, "Waiting for God" is a very uneven and choppy book, and not at all easy to get through (it's taken me 6 attempts in the past year to finally read it). The introduction is unsatisfactory because it only serves to describe the life of Simone Weil, rather than explain it, and she most definitely longs to be explained. The collection of letters are filled with some interesting conundrums ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
I expected this book to be interesting but I didn't expect it to be so spiritually helpful. even as she considered herself outside of the church in her letters to the priest, her words about doubt are shot through with so much faith. she displays an incredible understanding of the relationship between our earthly life and the life of heaven, it's amazing that she gathered so much experience and wisdom and insight in her short time on earth. in her essays she gives beautiful metaphors for how suf ...more
Kate Savage
Nov 15, 2013 Kate Savage rated it did not like it
I was not the right reader for this book. Friends had recommended Weil knowing that I'm interested in theology even though I'm a non-theist. It's true I was impressed with Weil's intelligence and strong sense of what is right for her (like her explanation for why she doesn't get baptized), also her honesty about injustices committed through the church (if the Catholic church ever wants to be relevant, she suggests, it will have to say they've changed since the Inquisition). But this is coupled w ...more
Feb 10, 2010 notgettingenough rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
It's worth four stars just for the title, isn't it?

The story of one young woman who attempted to replace food with Jesus, with predictable results.
Jan 16, 2011 Longfellow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith-religion
**Lengthy review alert**

I don't think I've read anyone before Weil who is equal parts difficult yet beautiful; despite the rigorous mental work required, the effort is well-invested.

Every now and then, Weil writes a sentence which I can comprehend. Comprehension percentage aside, every sentence seems to contain within it a profound weight. Perhaps, with more time given to reflection and contemplation, I would eventually understand such passages as this:

"The penal apparatus is like a transmitter
Mar 16, 2010 Brad rated it it was amazing
Simone Weil is one of the few writers who has expressed the staggering difficulty of faith. For this reason, and others, she is one of my personal heroes. She was a brilliant academic, and yet she lived in the world, suffering alongside others, choosing to share in the labor of the workers. She abhorred every ivory tower, whether academic or religious or political. She rejected every device that excluded her from the common world. Rather than considering the world from the abstracted throne of r ...more
Oh, Simone! You are so brilliantly spot-on about some things, but other things … I’m just not so sure. This was precisely why we read this for class. My instructor wanted us to approach this text without taking either of two reductionist positions toward Weil: (a) she’s the “saint of our times,” as the introduction daringly asserts, (b) she’s a flat-out heretic. Weil obviously had a brilliant mind, and when she excels she does it brilliantly. Her bluntly passionate style was particularly antithe ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Allison rated it it was ok
After a post on Brain Pickings, I added this to my to-read list. However, I don't think I'll be reading other works of Simone Weil anytime soon.

In this collection - half letters, half essays - there are moments of remarkable insight:

"When a human being is in any degree necessary to us, we cannot desire his good unless we cease to desire our own."

Unfortunately these moments are eclipsed by pages and pages of obscurity. Perhaps it's simply a sign I haven't stretched my mind lately (true) or read m
Barbara Newhall
Simone Weil’s "Waiting for God" was first published, posthumously, in 1951. And readers beware: "Waiting for God" is a dense, highly politicized book. (Weil had been a Marxist and trade unionist before encountering mysticism.)

But her startling insights into the nature of God and God’s relationship to humanity remain fresh and are truly worth the struggle through this imposing text.

Weil’s life was a short one. Born in Paris in 1909 to an agnostic, middle class Jewish family, she became a Christi
Elliot Ratzman
Mar 29, 2012 Elliot Ratzman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Philosophers, deep thinkers, Christians, leftists
Recommended to Elliot by: Tyler Roberts
Simone Weil ends her Spiritual Autobiography: “every time I think of the crucifixion of Christ I commit the sin of envy.” Spiritual masochist, political anorexic, Weil is a “Saint in an age of alienation.” This is a posthumous collection of pieces, one of the century’s great books and one of my favorites. It marks her attraction to Christianity as a framework for experiencing evil and suffering during the war years before an untimely death in 1943. “Sin,” she writes “is a turning of our gaze in ...more
Mar 09, 2015 John rated it it was ok
No. No. No. Simone Weil once said to Simone de Beauvoir that the world needed a revolution that would feed all the people on earth. Simone de Beauvoir, responded that the purpose of life was not to make people happy, but to find the reason for life. Simone Weil responded, then, "It's easy to see you've never been hungry." So far, so good. But Weil's letters here are full of self-loathing, Manichean denial, and flights of unfathomable reasoning that it is hard to take her seriously as anything el ...more
Reread in 2014.

Original review HERE

The short chapter on "The Love of God and Affliction" is still the most profound piece ever written on suffering and affliction. Also, upon the reread, I found the Introduction by Leslie Fiedler much more insightful and well written than during my first read. Though Weil in later life retained socialist sympathies and toyed with naive political theories unrelated to her spiritual and moral explorations, it came as a surprise to me that Fiedler, a vocal Marxist
Dec 29, 2009 Charles rated it really liked it
Problematizes the boundaries between who is "christian" and who is not. Also repaints the entire enterprise of spirituality as focus, attention. One of the gems that I found was that Weil discusses the danger of ideas. For example, the church is responsible for unleashing totalitarian power into the world. The church obviously failed at totally governing their body. But the fact that they tried unleashed the concept of totalitarian power. Fast forward some hundred years... and one can see how th ...more
Isla McKetta
Apr 14, 2013 Isla McKetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book blew my questioning little mind. Weil helped me find inspiration and learn to ask better questions about God and everything.
Apr 03, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jessica by: J.
wanted to wait til i had something to say about this before updating to "read" (this plan has me 9 books behind & is obviously working brilliantly), but for now need to at least say amazing.
Occasionally I think the whole concept of God is just too romantic.
Edvard Taylor
Jan 11, 2017 Edvard Taylor rated it it was amazing
Beautiful soul, visionary and one of the most remarkable philosophers of the 2oth century.
Alex Stroshine
Simone Weil is one of the most renowned women thinkers of the twentieth century. She was a philosopher and political activist who was gradually drawn to the Christian faith and mysticism. “Waiting on God” is a compilation of her most important letters and essays, primarily on spirituality.

I found myself irritated and infuriated by Weil many times. The reason for this is because she was entirely content to remain an “individualist” Christian, one outside the walls of formal fellowship. Although s
Jan 13, 2017 Geneva rated it really liked it
I am angry that my college made me read Anselm and Augustine and didn't have me read Weil. I liked Weil. Do I agree with her on every particular? Nope, but her approach is refreshing and there were plenty of bits of hers that I really liked. I liked her better than Anselm or Augustine, in any case.
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  • The Complete Works
  • The Divine Milieu
  • Introduction to Christianity
  • On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent
  • Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6)
  • God of the Oppressed
  • Sisters in the Wilderness
  • Dynamics of Faith
  • The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality
  • Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage
  • Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense
  • The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth
  • The Prophets
  • Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing: Spiritual Preparation for the Office of Confession
  • The Shaping of a Life: A Spiritual Landscape
Simone Weil was a French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist. Weil was born in Paris to Alsatian agnostic Jewish parents who fled the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Her brilliance, ascetic lifestyle, introversion, and eccentricity limited her ability to mix with others, but not to teach and participate in political movements of her time. She wrote extensively with both in ...more
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