Waiting for God

by Simone Weil
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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 320

Waiting for God is a 1950 philosophical book written by French philosopher, essayist, dramatist, poet, social critic, and political activist Simone Weil. It was published posthumously, as Weil died at age of 34, presumably from tuberculosis, although there are several sources that claim that the cause of her death was either pneumonia, physical and mental exhaustion, or starvation.

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The book is a compilation of several essays and six letters Weil wrote to Father Perrin. Despite the fact that the book was never meant to be a complete work, many have said that Waiting for God provides an excellent insight into Weil’s thought process and emotional state.

Weil was born in an Agnostic and Jewish family, but as she grew older, she felt that Christianity was her true religion and the religion of the martyrs. In her essays and letters, she basically expresses her love for God and explores humanity’s relationship with divinity. She says that the most natural way to love God is to love nature itself, to be compassionate, to love and respect our friends and our neighbors, and to appreciate the beauty of the environment and the people that surround us. Weil found this beauty and compassion in other religions as well, such as Taoism, Buddhism, and the religions of ancient Egypt.

Interestingly enough, as much as she was religious and spiritual, she also didn’t really support the Catholic Church, saying that it was dogmatic and very controlling and wanted to restrict and dictate the way people believe in God and express their faith. This is especially evident in her “Spiritual Autobiography,” in which she also describes her teenage and adolescent years, explaining how she lived in the shadow of her genius brother. Because of her dislike for the Church, Weil refused to be baptized.

Waiting for God received mainly positive reviews, however, some readers have criticized Weil’s unique theological conclusions and her obvious Marxist tendencies.

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