Powerful forces worked as I read Sr. Miriam James Heidland’s inaugural book, Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus, and not all of them good.
Let me explain.
Something—or someone—did not want me to read this book. Something evil. Something that didn’t want Sister’s powerful testimony and message of Christian freedom to spread.
First, the book sat in my to-do pile for far too long. And then, when I finally made time for reviewing it, I struggled with the act of reading itself. Every line I read seemed to double over. My mind hazy, I couldn’t find Sister’s train of thought.
Then it occurred to me: pray.
I gave the book and my review to Our Lord in a short prayer, and, wouldn’t you know? The cloud lifted. And am I so glad that it did, because Loved as I Am is a must-read!
Loved as I Am is written as a memoir, but more than a memoir: Sr. Miriam James tells the story of her recovery from addiction, sexual abuse, clinical depression, and fears of abandonment while expounding on the Church’s teachings about healing, rooted particularly in the Catechism and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
Sister’s purpose in writing this is not to draw attention to herself but to call us to action. And what is that action? The act of complete surrender to the Divine Physician, who can heal all wounds. Truly, “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18, RSV). Loved as I Am is a testimony to this truth.
The book is aimed at younger readers—I’d say college-aged or mature high schoolers—and is written in a clear, fluid, and engaging style. This theologically-rich book is a short 100 pages and comes complete with prayers and study questions at the end of each chapter, making it a perfect choice for a study group.
The Church and the world need this book. How many of us skim along the Pollyanna surfaces of our lives, unaware of our own hurts or the hurts of others? Loved as I Am cut right through my hardened defenses and reminded me of my own need for continued healing while increasing my sympathy for others in my life who still labor under the suffering of addiction and fear.
Love as I Am reminded me of my mission as a Christian: to know, love, and serve Christ, so that I may be Him in the world. I needed to read this book, and I am glad for the grace to be able to do so.
Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus
by Miriam James Heidland, S.O.L.T.
Ave Maria Press, 2014
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Copyright © 2015 Rhonda Ortiz
Images courtesy Ave Maria Press.