There is a wealth of writings that can enrich our souls in many ways. St. John Paul II teaches us about love, marriage, and sexuality in his writings on the Theology of the Body. Saints like Therese of Lisieux and Bernadette show us that holiness is possible for the “littlest” of us. Many saints had mystical experiences that can serve as great lessons to us: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John Bosco, Padre Pio, and the children of Fatima. Conversion stories, like St. Augustine’s or Bl. John Henry Newman’s, shine a light on the great value of our faith. The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that He continually blesses the Church with saints, century after century.
In this, his last novel, Huxley uses a lifetime of thinking about human possibilities to create an island utopia that illustrates his hopes for the future of humankind. The Indian Ocean island of Pala is a kind of paradise, created with the inherited wisdom of its two founders, a Buddhist Raja and a commonsensical Scottish physician. The goal of life on Pala is to merge with the clear light, not to accumulate possessions; the island’s philosophy is a mix of Eastern thought (particularly tantric Buddhism, which does not retreat from the world, but uses it for higher purposes), Western science (but with limited technology), unrepressed sexuality, and constant mindfulness. (The island’s fauna include mynah birds trained to say, “Attention! Attention!”) Huxley’s ideas about childrearing, psychedelic visions, and tending to the dying were far ahead of his time, and his portrait of a utopia in which those ideas are implemented will intrigue anyone who is interested in a more spiritually directed society.
St. Edith Stein, Patron of Europe, converted to Catholicism after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Ávila on a holiday in Göttingen in 1921, at the age of 29. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Ávila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." She went out the next day to buy a missal and a copy of the Catholic catechism.