Title: The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
Book Beginnings quote:
The first time I saw him? He was feeding pigeons.
"Mister Og, the individual who made the remark must be a very stupid and unworldly person. Remember what I told you about the thoughts that a man thinks and how they affect his actions and his life. I agree that reading any twenty-minute message by itself, once, will do little good. But, reading that same message each night, before you go to sleep, opens many hidden passages in your mind... and throughout the night those ideas seep into all levels of your being. Next day, when you are awake, unconsciously you begin to react, almost imperceptibly at first, to the message you imprinted on your brain the previous evening. Slowly, day by day, you change... as the message transforms itself from words and ideas to action and reaction on your part. It cannot fail, providing you read and imprint each night."
Summary: Og Mandino was an inspirational speaker and writer. This book is written as if the events in it really happened to him but I choose to believe that the story in The Greatest Miracle in the World is really a religious allegory with Simon, the Ragpicker. representing the Christ-figure.
In the story Og Mandino meets Simon once on a snowy day when he can't get out of the parking garage because the bar won't stay up. Simon comes to help him by holding up the bar so he can drive out. When he turns to thank his helper, Simon has disappeared. Later the two me form a friendship and Simon encouraged Mandino to read the God Memorandum he has typed up. They are just 20 pages and should be read every night for a month. Simon assures Mandino if he does this that his life will start to change for the better.
Review: I am the librarian for my church's little library. I started this role just a few months before COVID lockdowns so I haven't done much to clean up and organize the collection. But I did take one quick pass and pulled out books I thought were outdated, too ratty, or no longer appealing. I pulled this book, The Greatest Miracle in the World, because there were two copies and the book is old, first published in 1975. Time for a heave-ho. But something told me to take it home and read it first. Boy am I glad I did. The book is a gem. First, the relationship between Og and Simon is wonderful example of how friendships can be formed and nurtured. Secondly, if you believe it is an allegory as I do, it warms my heart to think that God loves us so much he would send his Son or someone to give us good advice on how we can and should live our lives.
The memorandum from God is indeed life-changing, life-assuring stuff and I believe if I were to read it every night for a month it would indeed start changing my life for the better. It starts with this:
Take counsel. I hear your cry. It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with the starlight, and finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam.And it ends with:
Wipe away your tears. Reach out, grasp my hand, and stand straight. Let me cut the grave cloths that have bound you. This day you have been notified: YOU ARE THE GREATEST MIRACLE IN THE WORLD.Pretty powerful stuff.
After I read the whole book I decided to return it to the church library and have decided that I need to recommend that we read this book as a church book club selection. There is a pretty good chance that most gals in the club won't have read it before because it was published so long ago. It would generate a great discussion for sure. See if you can find a copy of this gem languishing in your library. It is very short, just 120 pages. I recommend it highly.