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Waiting for God

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  644 ratings  ·  65 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...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 26th 2000 by Harpperenm (first published January 1st 1900)
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Jan 07, 2014 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
David Clark
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...more
May 05, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Rick Eng
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
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...more
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
Pedro Freitas
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
The story of one young woman who attempted to replace food with Jesus, with predictable results.
It's worth four stars just for the title, isn't it?

Elliot Ratzman
Mar 29, 2012 Elliot Ratzman rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Barbara Falconer 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...more
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
Kate Savage
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
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
"archimedes' words 'give me a fulcrum and i will shake the world' may be regarded as a prophecy. the fulcrum is the cross, point of intersection between time and infinity" is a fine way of summing up simone weil's thought--it certainly makes her predilection for hellenophilia known. but it is also rather general, and might be applied to all of christianity. perhaps weil's thought is better represented thus: "It is in those moments when we are, as we say, in a bad mood ... that it is most effectu...more
Scott Lichtor
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.
Sep 14, 2014 Rita marked it as to-read
Not at all sure I would be capable of reading anything by Simone Weil as I don't have a mind for philosphy, but Susan Sontag suggests
as the best book of Weil's to start with.

Susan Sontag [NYReview of BOoks Feb. 1963]

"her fanatical asceticism, her contempt for pleasure and for happiness, her noble and ridiculous political gestures, her elaborate self-denials, her tireless courting of affliction...her homeliness, her physical clumsiness, her migraines, her tuberculosis. No one who l...more
Isla McKetta
Wow. This book blew my questioning little mind. Weil helped me find inspiration and learn to ask better questions about God and everything.
Occasionally I think the whole concept of God is just too romantic.
Aries Poon
What would draw people toward Jesus?

Simone Weil, a French philosopher who was equal to Simone de Beauviour in intellect but not in fame, said in one of her letters to Father Perrin of a Catholic church back in the 1940s: "For nothing among human things has such power to keep our gaze fixed ever more intensely upon God, than friendship for friends of God."

"All the same I feel that your patience with me can only spring from a supernatural generosity," she said in the same letter.

Weil was brought u...more
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...more
Raised a secular Jew, Weil became a Christian mystic after experiencing a religious ecstasy in a church, falling to her knees and praying.* She thought that creation is the absence of God's perfection, that affliction brings us to him, that Christianity is radical empathy and shared suffering, that the nails in the cross pierce through creation and connect us all to the divine. Her writing reads a bit like a more devoted, fanatical version of Kierkegaard: a similar emphasis on contradictions and...more
**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...more
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Harry Allagree
For years I've heard the name Simone Weil, but never got around to reading her works. One previous book, Letter to a Priest, I found interesting and it spurred me on to this second book, consisting of some of her letters & her essays. I found myself really connecting with the former, and zoning out over the latter. Weil was certainly one of the most honest persons of her time searching for truth. That included spiritual truth to which she was led, particularly in Catholicism, though she deli...more
Like other readers here on Goodreads, it took me a long time to finish this book - dipping into it from time to time, resting my brain by reading other books concurrently. Although it has taken me this long to read the book, it sat on my shelf for even longer before I summoned the effort to begin.

There are too many ideas in each of these essays - and they present themselves as either a tangled mass or an intricate web - I'm not sure which, and I'll allow that perhaps I don't have the mental agil...more
Waiting for God finds Simone Weil commenting on any number of topics--the nature of affliction, her spiritual autobiography, and a lucid commentary on the Our Father.

As is my tendency with Weil, I spend a great deal of my time lost at sea. But every so often, a wave carries me in to shore as she expresses a truth in the pithiest, most precise of ways. It is these moments in Weil's work that I anticipate, and Waiting for God does not disappoint there.

My two favorite pieces in the book are "Reflec...more
Ben Fredrick
I look forward to reading this book again!!
Regardless of your particular Christian denomination/theology - this is a must read. Even if one doesn't agree with the doctrinal details she puts forth - I agreed with who she was and how she thought. It is rare that so logical and thoughtful a scholar grant God mystery. I put her right next to L'Engle and C.S. Lewis on my bookshelf as a brilliant mind who seeks not to define God, but to define how we go about looking for/at Him/Her/It.
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  • The Prophets
  • Dynamics of Faith
  • The Divine Milieu
  • Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6)
  • God of the Oppressed
  • Introduction to Christianity
  • The Complete Works
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth
  • The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage
  • Works of Love (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 16)
  • The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist
  • Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose
  • Sexism and God Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology
  • Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate
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
More about Simone Weil...
Gravity and Grace War and the Iliad The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind An Anthology Letter to a Priest

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