Sarah Elizabeth's Reviews > Sophia House

Sophia House by Michael D. O'Brien
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2016

Pawel Tarnowski may be an unlikely hero, but he is one of mine.

I have been slowly working my way through O'Brien's body of work this year. Reading this one hit me deeper than most- and they all have had an impact- because of its raw and powerful themes. I read this 2 months ago and have read other books since, but still find myself going back to it and pondering the questions it has raised in my own life.

Sophia House, set in Poland in the time period leading up to WWII and the Nazi occupation, drives strongly at a few main themes:

* The necessity to face one's past, and the pain that can result of running from it- the ways it prevents a person from living fully and freely and from finding inner peace and communion with God and others
* The reality and mystery that God really will "work all things together for the good of those who love Him"
* The reality that love is a gift of self and is ordered to serving the good of another- not taking for oneself- and while it may seem in dark moments that this would create emptiness, it is actually how one is filled and healed.

I see the crossing of paths between David and Pawel as a beautiful act of compassion from the Lord, and a prime example of how He works through His mystical body to accomplish His will for His people- no matter how unlikely or unusual the circumstances may be.

Pawel's self-sacrifice for the young David Schäfer ultimately worked as part of God's salvific and healing plan for himself as well as David. It is beautiful to see how the witness of one to the other as friends worked in the lives of eachother. God used the introduction of David to Pawel to teach Pawel how to love and how to forgive. Later on Schäfer's memory of Pawel's sacrificial love for him also brought him back to the Lord and set him firmly on the path to his ultimate mission. It's an incredible witness to friendship/relationship and the important role it should play in our lives. "No man is an island" - we need companions on the journey of our lives.

Pawel is a beautiful witness to self-denial, especially the denial of self that is involved when you choose to not act out of fear but out of love for the sake of another. Consider the question when reading- what if Pawel had allowed fear to rule in his heart when it came to the young David?

There is much, much more to be found in this book, but 2 months after reading it, these are the points which have stayed with me.
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Reading Progress

June 5, 2016 – Shelved
June 5, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 22, 2016 – Started Reading
October 22, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016
October 22, 2016 –
page 87
17.83%
October 24, 2016 –
page 200
40.98%
October 24, 2016 –
page 255
52.25%
October 25, 2016 –
page 277
56.76%
October 25, 2016 –
page 301
61.68%
October 25, 2016 –
page 309
63.32%
October 26, 2016 –
page 343
70.29%
October 26, 2016 –
page 364
74.59%
October 26, 2016 –
page 375
76.84%
October 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

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