When in 1967 the author of this book left St. Germaine's his "jewel of a parish" which he had built and fathered for ten years, he gave his people, as a loving bequest, souvenir cards inscribed with the text of his last homily
"I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life" -- John 12, 24-27
This text, the parting words of Christ to His disciples, is here treated in depth with surprising implications.
Father John J. Hugo take the reader far beyond the concept of the Christian life as a avoidance of evil. Love makes greater demands. The Christian is also and in the first place ready to ronounce the good, just as the farmer "renounces" his good wheat, and sows it, not in spite of but because of its excellence. It dies to "yield a rich harvest."
This analogy of the wheat grain provides valuable insight into the whole divine plan of love. The author traces the dynamisms of the law of life-through-death in the life of Christ and in nature: in the doctrine of assimilation with vegetable and animal life caught up -- but only through their own death -- to share in the human; and the human, through "love strong as death," transformed into the divine.
The book is written in the simple style and with the intellectual candor that reveals the author's purity of vision; yet it is uncommonly perceptive and penetrating. There is much in it to challenge the earnest Christian, much to disturb the complacent and "stab his spirit broad awake."