Grace is Everywhere
A Reflection on
The Diary of a Country Priest
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By Joe Krall
“Mine is a parish like all the rest. They are all alike. Those of today I mean.”
It’s risky to begin a novel that way – so humdrum, almost cynical, without delicacy or poetry. The Diary of a Country Priest is a novel submerged in ordinary life. One sees a nameless priest walking the muddy French roads through the village. One feels the squish of mud under his boots, the damp and drizzling rain. The priest is a young man, an introvert, not physically strong and not quite healthy. His parish is, in his own words, covered with “boredom” as with fine dust.
There is nothing attractive or enchanting about this village, this priest, or this novel. And that is precisely its glory. I can’t explain why, when I reread this book, I occasionally get tears in my eyes, or an ache in my chest. But hidden within the pages of this book is an overwhelming sense of the world as a gift.