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Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters

May 8, 2012

Before I Go Letters to our Children about What Really Matters by Peter Kreeft (2007, Sheed & Ward) is a book absolutely unique in my reading experience. Peter Kreeft who is at once a brilliant philosophy professor at Boston College, prolific author in a variety of Roman Catholic contexts, an apologist of basic Christian theology and for my money one of the worlds leading authority on C. S. Lewis, writes out of all and none of these career focuses to present a collection of ideas to live by for the generations to come. The image presented is an older gentleman carrying around a 162 page pocket notebook and when inspiration or an incident in life illustrates a life principle he jots it down and turns it in to a book. In the middle of the book item # 131 (p.200) Peter writes about what he calls An Unnecessary Book, “How unnecessary a book like this is! You already know everything in it. If not, how come you recognize that its true as soon as you read it? But it’s also necessary because we forget what we know and need reminders. We are all absent minded”.  Some of the entries are humorous and they made me laugh, some were profound and made me think others (a very few) didn’t connect and they were passed over but taken together the book as a whole was amazing. There are a few very specific references to distinctive Roman Catholic themes like Mary, Confession and Mass but if these are a bother they are relatively easy to work around. I you read books aloud be warned there is some “barnyard” earthy type words used but always to good effect. This book reads like one sitting in a room listening to a family patriarch share pearls of wisdom from a life well lived to help give perspective to upcoming generations. My life and sharing with my children has been enriched through the insights of this book! 

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