Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: The Shadow of His Wings

The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM.

I just finished this book a few days ago, and have to say it was a very interesting read. One of the things that really struck me was seeing WWII from such a different perspective then I'm used to. There are many interesting situations that transpire as we follow Fr. Goldmann through his journey as a soldier and priest.

The main theme that is prevalent throughout the book is the power of prayer. The prayers that were offered in assuring Fr. Goldmann would become a priest. And the prayers that saved his life in numerous situations when he would clash with the Nazis'.

What may be surprising is the nearly total lack of discussion on the concentration camps, which always seems to be a central theme when discussing WWII. This may be in part because Fr. Goldmann's travels did not require him to encounter them. His duties took him to France, Russia, Italy, and Morocco. During the entire war, he did not once hurt another person, and became a medic, thereby helping many on the battlefield. Both physically and spiritually.

One of the more surprising tales is how he and a group of seminarians became SS officers. Their belief in God and adherence to a strict honor code was actually viewed as desirable to the powers that be. Later on however, they were targeted as traitors for their beliefs.

The book concludes with Fr. Goldmann's missionary efforts in Japan, which were quite the accomplishment as well.