Letters to a Doubter
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By Paul Claudel
On February 14, 1907, Jacques Rivière wrote to his compatriot, the acclaimed author and poet Paul Claudel, with this ardently single-hearted request: “Put an end to my doubts!” Just twenty years of age at the time, Rivière stood on the cusp of what would prove to be a career of great success and profound influence—but his approach to that career was dogged by disquiet and a desperate search after an answer to the greatest of all questions. Namely, how does a man find God, especially if he has lost his way once already?
Cease thy doubting, and believe. (John 20:27)
The only reason we should believe in Jesus Christ is because He is true. God is not made for man, but man for God. (Paul Claudel)
Letters to a Doubter presents the seven years’ worth of correspondence between Claudel and Rivière, with Claudel distinguishing himself as both a dedicated apologist and an affectionate spiritual father as he responds to the wide array of intellectual, cultural, psychological, and practical barriers to Rivière’s ultimate acceptance of Christ and His Church as his one and true patria. Breathing the bracing air of the Gospels, Claudel’s Letters to a Doubter is an inspiring testament to the usefulness of human friendship and affection in the order of divine providence, “that they all may be one.”
Paul Claudel (1868–1955) was a French poet, dramatist, and essayist, and a convert to Roman Catholicism. A six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Claudel achieved prominence in twentieth-century French literature for his unique prose style and powerful verse dramas. The 1924 drama Le Soulier de satin (The Satin Slipper) is widely recognized as his masterpiece.
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