stars-at-nightWhen I first heard of Paula D’Arcy’s new book, Stars At Night: When Darkness Unfolds as Light, I couldn’t wait to delve into what appeared to be a beautiful grief resource pertaining to understanding the holy darkness we sometimes encounter as the dark night of the soul.  Since this is a topic so dear to my heart, I was truly hoping to discover a kindred soul who shared my Catholic understanding of redemptive suffering and how the Cross transforms our pain into love.

Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed.  Before I continue, let me be clear about one thing:  D’Arcy writes beautifully.  Her descriptions of ordinary occurrences are truly poetic.  But when I was about halfway through her book, I was mostly left feeling confused and frustrated – confused, because the book seemed more to be snippets of journal entries rather than a cohesive book with chapters and complete thoughts, and frustrated because there was nothing – nothing – overtly Christian, let alone Catholic, about her message.

My suspicions deepened around page 39:

As I began to emerge from the early darkness of grief, I yearned to stay closely connected to the Presence whose assurance had been my mooring in those long nights.  Some call the Presence by the name God, or the Christ consciousness.  Others speak of the Divine indwelling or the Formless…the Self.  For some it is nameless.  Whatever is right for you, each designation speaks of the ineffable Presence from which life springs.

I am no expert, but I know enough about the New Age Movement to recognize some serious red flags in this paragraph alone.  Now, if D’Arcy’s book had been published by a secular or general ‘spirituality’ publishing company, I would see no issue with her message.  But since it is under the label ‘Christian Life’ from a well-known and highly respected Catholic publishing company, there are all sorts of theological problems with it.

Please note that I knew nothing of Paula D’Arcy before reading her book.  I honestly didn’t know who she was as an author or even as a person.  I’d never heard of her before.  And for a while, I dismissed her capitalization of words, such as ‘Presence’ or ‘Love’ or ‘Light’ as poetic or mystical personifications of a personal God.  But after reading this paragraph, I knew otherwise.

Unfortunately, one can read the entire book and never once glean any sort of specific Catholic tenets explained.  Once I finished the book, I wasn’t even certain to what religion – if any – D’Arcy ascribed.  So that is the main caveat – if you are buying this book or are interested in purchasing it, please be aware that it is not Christian in its message, not even remotely.

Text Copyright 2016 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.