Thursday, July 20, 2017

Once I Was Blind But Now I See - Book Review

Charles Piccirelli grew up in an Italian Catholic family in Baltimore, Maryland. Like many, he lost his faith in his early teens. But although he lost his faith, he did not lose a thirst for the deeper meaning in life. He did for a while, however, search for it in all the wrong places. While he searched in the wrong places, he also engaged in behaviors which reflected the places he was in – the occult, the entertainment industry and a local gang.

God has a way of changing our game plan, often not overnight, but eventually. While enjoying a singing and dancing career with his older brother, Bud, Bud broke his leg and that put an end to the dancing. Regrouping they became a singing duo and enjoyed success regionally, eventually taking their act to Hollywood. After a few months, the brothers were back in Baltimore disillusioned with Tinsel town.

Meanwhile, Charles was living at home and somewhat at loose ends. His mother urged him to invite Mary, a family friend, out to a big Italian celebration. Reluctant to do so, affection for his mother wins out, and Mary is invited. What a surprise Charles has while he and Mary are riding over to the Italian banquet. He hears the voice of God telling him that he is going to marry Mary. Confused and yet ecstatic that the God he has been searching for has spoken to him, he begins a lifelong relationship with the Lord that reflects both the ordinary means and some extraordinary charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Once I Was Blind But Now I See is one man’s witness to the Lord’s presence in his interior life and the call to follow the Holy Spirit in the nitty gritty of his daily life and in the lives of all that the Lord brings to him. The book is divided into two parts: Once I Was Blind which is nine chapters and Now I See which is twenty-one chapters. In the early part of the book the Lord is drawing Charles out of himself and into the life of the Holy Spirit, from a life of sin and selfishness to a life of grace and the struggle to be faithful to the Lord’s work in his life.

Many chapters in the book reveal ordinary situations that many of us have found ourselves in. But in the case with Charles, the Lord often interrupts Charles’ thoughts to give him direct answers to the prayers he prays and the guidance he seeks. In these interruptions, as Charles describes them, God speaks to Charles and directs him to take certain actions for himself or for others. Charles also has visions which have affected his faith life dramatically and that of his family and friends.

There are many miracles and beautiful lessons in this book testifying to Charles’ journey as he becomes a fuller disciple of the Lord. Those lessons are not just for Charles. They are for all of us! I remember thinking as I was reading a chapter that God worked a miracle for him while he was still in sin.  “Does God work miracles for sinners? I don’t think so!” I thought. Then it struck me. “Of course, he does.” God works miracles for sinners, you and me all the time! So often we don't recognize them.

One thing becomes clear as you read the book and follow Charles’ relationship with the Lord. Each one of us must learn to listen to the Lord more closely, to pray to recognize the “still small voice” in our lives and to “cast out into the deep” when we are directed to do so.  We may not experience the same gifts as Charles, but the Lord has many things to tell each one of us and gifts to give. Read this book, be inspired, and thank the Lord for the many miracles he has performed and continues to perform through Charles.  Pray, and ask the Lord to help you learn how to listen more closely to him as he speaks to you. You cannot read this book without coming away with lessons and guidance for your own journey with Christ and with his Holy Spirit. Thank you, Charles for sharing the Lord’s work in your life with us and Kim for assisting him with the book. To purchase the book go to,

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