The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene is a Christian classic novel set in rural southern Mexico. The story follows the last Catholic priest in a state that has outlawed religion. This unnamed priest refers to himself as a “whisky priest” and besides drinking a lot of brandy, he admits to being bad at his job.
The priest is being hunted by the authorities and if he is caught, will face a firing squad. But each time the priest almost escapes, he is drawn away by someone in need of a priest. His journey brings him to a village where had had a “lustful tryst” the begot a child. While a common enough sin, the priest struggles to repent, because the result of his act is a beautiful child that he loves.
He is chased away from the village and finally finds safety. But once again he must choose between his own freedom and the risk of giving last rites to a wanted criminal. (I’ll leave it at that so you can enjoy the story.)
Throughout, the priest claims to be a bad person. But his actions say otherwise. He does not trust a seedy individual he crosses, but continues to perform as a priest. The fact that he stayed when the new laws passed also prove how righteous he is.
The priest is a perfect example of an unexpected hero. He is flawed and sinful, like everyone. He is a drunk and resentful. But in the end, he does what is true and right. And his actions become known and pass on to a young boy, likely saving him.
I found The Power and the Glory well paced and powerful. As a Christian, many of the themes related directly to me. From references to Judas and riding a mule, along with several powerful statements from the priest, Greene expertly blends the action with meaning.
Pair this book with some coffee from Mystic Monk Coffee.