Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

book

Bella’s Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving

avatar

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the beating heart, of their home. The name Bella means beautiful. Her beauty steals hearts and changes lives.

Many of my readers have read my reviews of the the former Senator’s books in the past. I reviewed his 2005 book entitled It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good for the Christian Broadcasting Network. The review can be read here.

I recently gave a brief review of his 2014 Book entitled Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works. I did so within the context of an opinion piece I wrote for Catholic Online entitled We Need a Blue Collar Conservative like Rick Santorum in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. I will return to this excellent book as the 2016 presidential campaign begins in earnest.

I believe that Rick Santorum is a man of great personal depth, intelligence and proven character. I am convinced he has the courage, leadership skills and experience which our Nation needs. I have made this clear in the numerous articles I wrote during his last Presidential campaign.

However, my regard for Rick Santorum grows, as he grows. That is evident in the articles I have written since the last campaign.  Life, and the struggles and challenges it brings along, is meant to change all of us. Time becomes either a tyrant or a tutor. For Rick Santorum, it has become a tutor. That is the mark of a real leader.

Though I never formally reviewed Karen Santorum’s 1998 Book entitled Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum, I have used the letters in my work at the intersection of faith and culture. It is a beautiful compilation of letters which Karen wrote to her dear son while he was in the first home of the womb.

Karen Santorum is one of the finest Christian women I know. An accomplished nursing professional with a Law Degree, she has chosen to live the way of domestic holiness as Christian mother, wife and partner to her beloved husband Rick – as a vocation.

Karen views this is a calling, an invitation to live out her Christian faith and profession, to put legs on the faith. In doing so in such a naturally supernatural way, she is an example of a Proverbs 31 woman – filled with the kind of strength which spills over to strengthen all around her. That is clear when one sees the effect she has on her husband and her children.

As you can tell, I really like Rick and Karen Santorum. I deeply admire their beautiful family. More than that, I am convinced we need such a family in our public life. I also consider it an honor to call Rick and Karen my friends.

All of this simply explains why I was taken aback during my recent time spent with Rick, in Florida, when he turned to me and asked, ” Deacon Keith, Is there a reason you have not reviewed Bella’s Gift?”

Rick explained that he was asking the question on behalf of both he and Karen. They coauthored this extraordinary book entitled Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed our Family and Inspired a Nation.

He then told me Karen was concerned that I might not have liked the book.  That really got to me, hitting me right where it hurts the most, the heart.

I was at a loss for words. For a man like me, that is a rare occasion.

Like is not the word to express my experience in reading this book. So, I just spoke to Rick from my heart, ” Rick, please understand and explain to Karen, that I have not reviewed the book yet, because it is still reviewing me!”

I continued, “Every time I even start to write a review of this book, I begin to cry and am called to repentance and prayer “.  Well, I think my friend was somewhat surprised.

However, since I was introducing him to the large conference, we could not discuss the matter much further. So, I now write to explain what I meant to my readers. I offer these few thoughts as the beginning of a life altering book which is still reviewing me.

As I write this article, we are approaching Palm or Passion Sunday. We will soon enter into Holy Week which end and begin with the profound three days, called the Triduum. These days bring us through the Easter Vigil Liturgy of the Resurrection, and into the Season of Easter.

Yet, Holy Week takes us there by walking us up the mountain of the Hill of Golgotha – where we encounter the suffering of Love Incarnate. Suffering and struggle are a part of the landscape of life.

We have spent almost 40 Days, entering into the desert with Jesus, taking the time for an examination of conscience. This is a process of making a gut wrenching and honest assessment of how we are doing in living out the Christian life. This is not done to beat ourselves up, but to draw us back to the Lord, by way of repentance and deeper conversion.

For me, Bella’s Gift has been my Lenten Book.

Reading this compelling story of a real mom and dad who faced this entire experience with true living faith – and grew in love through it – has reached into my soul. It has forced me to shine the light of truth on my own life. It has called me to examine whether I am truly living the Christian faith which I profess – as a way of life.

The book, Bella’s Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

One of Bella’s gifts is Joy. Not the kind of joy which goes away in struggle, or withers in opposition and trial. But real Christian joy. Joy of this kind is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This kind of joy does not mean smiling all the time – though for many of us a bit more smiling would be a good idea.

Christian joy, Gospel Joy, means living as though we know that Jesus never leaves us. He meant it when he said, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Mt. 28:20)

That is the joy one experiences upon meeting little Bella, the Santorum’s beautiful little girl who was born with Trisomy 18. This beautiful little girl with those smiling eys was dismissed by some purported “health professionals” as having a disability they said was “incompatible with life”.

For Rick, Karen and Bella’s brothers and sisters, she has become a continual source of life. To all who are blessed by her smile and warmed by the light in her beautiful blue eyes, she communicates grace.

On May 13, 2015, Bella Santorum will be seven years old.

In those years, she has become a teacher of the kind of wisdom of the highest order. She calls not only her mother and father, sisters and brothers, but countless others, including this writer and deacon, to discover the true meaning of life and experience her name – Bella means beautiful.

When you meet Bella Santorum, when you see the delight in her eyes when she sees her daddy, and her mom, and her brothers and sisters, you are drawn into the beauty of God’s loving plan for the family as a domestic church.  The domestic church of the Santorum home reveals the Divine Design for the whole world.

One never feels bad for Bella Santorum, or for her mom and dad. They love her with such a contagious love that it reaches out and draws you into its embrace. If anything, you feel bad for a Nation which has lost its soul.

This Nation needs Bella Santorum.

She can teach us all about life and love before we are drawn fully into the abyss. Bella’s Gift is for everyone who has lost his or her way. Bella Santorum and her family, provide much needed lights to illumine the path of real progress.

I warn you, if you undertake to read this beautiful book, be ready to cry – a lot. They will not be tears of sorrow you shed, but tears of true joy. The uncontrollable kind of tears that accompany an experience which bypasses your mind and goes straight to the heart.

The heart, in the biblical sense, is the moral center of a man or a woman. The place where one makes the fundamental decisions which will shape your life and form your character. Bella’s gift is for a Nation that needs to rediscover its true character and greatness. We will find it again in the eyes of a beautiful little girl and her mother, father and family.

Bella’s Gift is not a Political Book. Everyone, no matter what their political persuasion, will be unable to put this book down. Everyone who reads it will be changed – for the better. It is one of those rare books which one does not read – rather one truly encounters.

I conclude with a comment which does have political implications. I introduced my friend Rick Santorum at the conference where he asked me about the book with many well deserved accolades.

However, when I was all done extolling his accomplishments as a public servant, I looked at the crowd of over two thousand people and simply said, “I am honored to introduce you to Bella Santorum’s Daddy, Rick Santorum.”

That said it all.

Once you read this profound book you will understand what I mean. Then, I hope you will agree with me that such a family can help to heal a wounded Nation at this critical time in our history. Such a large family will require a large house.

I know of one that will soon be vacant, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.



 

Posting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Trending Now on BarbWire.com

Send this to a friend