In 2001, Dr. Robinson V. Baron was diagnosed with colon cancer. In and of itself, this diagnosis isn’t uncommon. Unfortunately, thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer every day. What is unusual about Dr. Baron’s story is the foreshadowing of his condition four years earlier by an older woman in the Catholic hospital in which he worked. Known by hospital staff as their favorite Good Samaritan, she tells him that a deceased priest, Padre Pio, told her to pray for him about a health issue. His dismissal of this cryptic warning set him on a path to a spiritual awakening that not only changed his life, but also his wife’s, the author of this inspirational story.
When Dr. Baron learned he must have immediate surgery to remove a malignant growth, he flatly refuses to say, “Spiritually, I’m not prepared. If I die on the OR, I’m sure I will go straight to hell!” That single decision set him and his wife on a pilgrimage to rediscover and reconnect with their Catholic faith. Their religious journey really began at the starting point of this story with the enigmatic message attributed to Padre Pio, or Saint Pio of Pietreicina, a beatified and canonized Catholic priest. Scripted in Heaven chronicles this couple’s journey to connect with the spirit of Padre Pio and takes them to the San Giovanni Rotondo, a shrine built in devotion to this extraordinary Saint. The journey, on the heels of Dr. Baron’s chemotherapy treatments, is excruciatingly difficult, pushing him to the very limits of his stamina. But he and his wife are so inspired by the experience it drives them to visit other shrines and holy places like Lourdes, St Peter’s Square and the Cave of Archangel Michael.
Their lives truly become a test of their faith as together they weather Dr. Baron’s ongoing battle with cancer. After years of treatment, many prayers and an unshakeable belief in the power of faith, he is victorious. The story doesn’t end there, however. The struggle wasn’t just about saving a life, it was about saving a soul. The author says, “Somewhere in the process of putting this book together, I had a self-realization: the lost soul I desired to save belonged to me. And so, while I penned the simple, though the tragic truth of our great trials and tribulations, I found God speaking to me. I found myself in the middle of a transformation.” As their lives stabilize, the two immerse themselves in the Catholic life, serving both their religious community and the community at large in innumerable ways.
The book is divided into three sections with the first, of course, an exposition of Dr. Baron’s medical catastrophe. Section two is about spiritual mentors, the 33 doctors of the church known for their explanations of the truths of the Catholic faith, as well as a portion that highlights Padre Pio’s journey to sainthood. Finally, the third section is Ms. Baron’s journal detailing their spiritual conversion and practice. The transformation of her writing from fact-based to inspirational is powerful. It pays homage to her joy at welcoming God into her life.
This is just a lovely story, well written and heartwarming in its message about commitment to a spouse, to a faith and to God. It’s a welcome addition to any library for those moments when life’s trials and challenges seem too much to bear. As it reinforces the belief God does not give you more than you can handle.
Title: Scripted in Heaven
Author: Lourdes Duque Baron, MHA, MSG
Publisher: Toplink Publishing
Reviewed by: Susan Brown
Pacific Book Review Star
Awarded to Books of Excellent Merit
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TITLE: Scripted in Heaven
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