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Lying Awake by Mark Salzman. In a Carmelite monastery on the outskirts of Los Angeles, life has continued virtually unchanged for centuries. Here, Sister John of the Cross lives in the service of God. She is the only nun who experiences visions and is regarded by the others as a spiritual master. But Sister John's is also plagued by powerful headaches and when a doctor reveals that they may be dangero In a Carmelite monastery on the outskirts of Los Angeles, life has continued virtually unchanged for centuries.
But Sister John's is also plagued by powerful headaches and when a doctor reveals that they may be dangerous, she faces a devastating choice. Is this grace merely an illness and will a 'cure' mean the end of her illuminations and a soul dry and searching?
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To ask other readers questions about Lying Awake , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Lying Awake. Jun 21, Josephine Jo rated it really liked it Shelves: books-i-own , on-goodreads , religious-christian-fiction. I enjoyed this book immensely.
It is the fictional story of Sister John of the Cross. Sister John is a member of a Carmelite monastery on the outskirts of Los Angeles. For many years Sister John has struggled to find true knowledge of God, her spouse, she wants to feel his presence. After waiting for such a long time for an answer she starts having headaches, along with the pain comes joy, she starts having visions, she feels that her prayers and patience have been answered.
Sister John is even I enjoyed this book immensely. Sister John is even inspired to write a bestselling book. Whilst she is having one of her spells she sees the world differently, she sees beauty in all the small things in nature in the semi desert garden but most of all Sr.
John has met the Divine. As the pains intensify it is deemed necessary by Sister John's superiors that she sees a doctor and she is faced with a life changing decision, keep her pain and the disturbance to the lives of her sisters or have surgery and lose her precious gift. All of Sister John's thoughts are printed in italics and you feel really a part of her struggle.
Her gift has been her consolation over the last few years and also a great benefit to the monastery. This is such a peaceful story and yet it drew me into asking so many questions!
If such an illness results in wonderful inspired writing is it wrong to assume that the inspiration does not come from the Holy Spirit? If it is just the illness speaking through Sister John why is it not just gobbledygook? Why are her writings so beautiful and wise?
Was the gift maybe given by God to help Sister John through an impossibly hard time on her religious journey? So many ifs and buts in an inspirational story, when we learn what Sister John decides we then have to see what the outcome will be, will all be well with her and the community?
View all 6 comments. Sep 03, Sarah rated it it was amazing. Sister John is a Carmelite nun who, after years of dedicated service, begins to experience visions of the divine in ecstatic, crystalline clarity.
But these visions are accompanied by terrible headaches, and Sister John is encouraged to seek medical attention. When told by a neurologist that her experiences are likely the result of curable epileptic seizures, Sister John is forced to rethink everything she knows about spiritual life. On the surface, this seems like a nother religion vs. But, this isn't simply a matter of conflicting paradigms. That's the easy part. It's the human element, the choices we have to make on our own that are difficult.
Sister John is genuinely good and genuinely selfless. She's so selfless and good, I very nearly abandoned the book! I couldn't relate to her. I felt Mark Salzman was keeping too much of a respectful distance. But, as the story develops, we begin to see Sister John's frailty, her human fallibility. And, yes, her self. When the most meaningful experiences of her life are reduced to a neurological defect, your heart breaks for her.
Salzman sees the beauty in her vocation He's not trying to make Catholicism hip, Evelyn Waugh. He's not trying to make it sexy, Graham Greene. He just wrote a beautiful, poignantly human narrative. And, you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate it. View 2 comments.
Mar 26, booklady rated it it was amazing Recommended to booklady by: Secretum Meum Mihi. Shelves: classic , historical-fiction , theology , prayer , religion , psychology , , poetry , scripture , fiction.
Have you ever longed to know God? I mean really know Him, feel close to Him, sense His presence within or near you? Sister John of the Cross, a cloistered Carmelite of middle age, waited for many dry years to know her Bridegroom.
Then a few years ago she started having migraine-like headaches. With the onset of the headaches, she became able to engage in deep meditation and began having Divine encounters, which led to a best-selling book and notoriety for her convent just outside Los Angeles.
Ho Have you ever longed to know God? However, as the severity of head pain continued to increase, Sister John was forced to seek medical attention which led to a disappointing medical diagnosis and an especially difficult decision for this theophilus, lover of God. Lying Awake is a gentle, yet powerful story, more poem than prose. The book is organized around the liturgical calendar and rich in Catholic symbolism, which is why—even though it can be read quickly—it is best appreciated at leisure.
In the end it is less about how she resolves her medical dilemma than what she learns spiritually, which hopefully is the case for all of us. Savor it. May 08, Jeana rated it really liked it Shelves: good-fiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. I ended up liking this book a whole lot more than I thought I was while I was reading it. In fact, when I wasn't reading it, I would think about something in it that seemed to resonate with me. For example, I thought it interesting to think that "God loves each of us as if there were no one else on earth. Believing that is the most perfect act of faith of all. She has a surgery to eliminate the problem and wonders whether she should return.
After all, wasn't it just the epilepsy that caused her to feel so intimate with God?
Lying Awake Reader’s Guide
Lying Awake is the story of a Carmelite nun who has lived decades in her convent in a life expressed in loving service. When she begins to experience mystical visions and a profound sense of love and Lying Awake. Mark Salzman. In a Carmelite monastery outside present-day Los Angeles, life goes on in a manner virtually un-changed for centuries. Sister John of the Cross has spent years there in the service of God. And there, she alone experiences visions of such dazzling power and insight that she is looked upon as a spiritual master.
Look Inside Reading Guide. Reading Guide. Her life and writings have become examples of devotion. Yet her visions are accompanied by shattering headaches that compel Sister John to seek medical help. When her doctor tells her an illness may be responsible for her gift, Sister John faces a wrenching choice: to risk her intimate glimpses of the divine in favor of a cure, or to continue her visions with the knowledge that they might be false-and might even cost her her life. Graceful, lucid and enjoyable. Q: Lying Awake takes place in a Carmelite monastery and is written from the point of view of Sister John of the Cross.