Seeking To Live

By Conrad A. Saldanha

Published by Authors Up Front; 2021 - 224 pages - MRP: ₹ 295/- (Kindle); ₹ 495/- (Paperback)

ISBN: 978-8195410019 - Available on Amazon

We are not machines. We are human beings.

Many people say these phrases, but few understand their true significance. Catholicism has taught us that humans are different from machines, because of the whole and part theory taught to us by the Fathers of the Church. This theory states that in a human, the ‘whole’ in the form of the soul with God’s essence is present in each ‘part’ or human individual; such a spiritual combination not only helps a person develop, but also allows the person to live for the sake of the whole, and vice versa. The parts cannot, however, represent the entire whole, because the parts exist for the whole, who is the Triune God. Therefore, the organs of a human being work for the sake of the betterment of the individual, and vice versa.

Machines, however, are ‘wholes’ that do not care for the ‘parts’ nor do the ‘parts’ work for the sake of the whole. In his book 'Seeking To Live', these and other Catholic-based soul food and philosophies for living a more authentic life are discussed in simple heartfelt words by the corporate teacher, trainer and mentor, Conrad A. Saldanha. In this uplifting book, he discusses various life questions that trouble us in a secular tone, but with a Catholic touch that is unmistakable and difficult not to perceive. Very few self-help books in the world live up to the Catholic values we stand for; this book is one of them.

The book is divided into several easy-to-read parts with lively illustrations, moving poems and topics of interest like the COVID-19 pandemic, the current climate crisis, our entering into the age of metaverse, our current scientific issues, our frustrations at work, our lack of contemplative reflection, etc. – all dotted with Catholic messages for everyday living. The articles have been gleaned from posts that Saldanha regularly publishes on his blog conrad-saldanha.medium.com. The articles or blog posts discuss our need to have a renaissance worldwide, a new renaissance to make people celebrate what it really means to be human. In the words of the experienced author, we realise that civilisation has indeed been purchased by the ruin and betrayal of Mother Nature. The greatest paradox in life is that, in losing oneself in service for the fulfilment of a higher purpose, one finds oneself at last, echoing the words of our Lord in the Gospel of John – to constantly lose ourselves in Him.

In the school of Jesus, nothing comes “out of syllabus” of the Gospel. Only application questions in the form of trials and temptations come our way, which we can tackle according to this erudite former Times of India top management expert through a simple process of seeking truth, beauty and goodness for all. We see several authentic Catholic themes in the book. We see that we are all called to be nomads in life, always seeking to be better people, like the Patriarch Abraham. We also see how Jesus lived authentically while tested three times in the wilderness; He did not give in to fake glory, temporary satisfaction and distractions.

Conrad Saldanha affirms in a secular tone that suffering matures us, and we know we must embrace our suffering in the school of Jesus. In the early days of civilisation, we never made a great show of living community life and helping others; we just did it because it was the most natural thing to do. This is similar to the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the selfless service rendered by Catholic saints like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Don Bosco, Saint Catherine of Siena, and like our Holy Mother Mary during the wedding at Cana. From what it means to fulfil the unforgiving minute to the real value for money; from ecological harmonising to man’s true search for inner healing and inner meaning – all this and more are tackled in this book that reads quickly, yet is profound.

We need to get back to our roots. We need to see the world in a new light where our anger and many failures towards perfection do not fog our way on the path towards the New City of God, as mentioned by Saint Augustine of Hippo. We must not allow a few in the world to decide ‘whose life is unworthy of existence.’ We are all humans with twenty-three pairs of chromosomes; we are truly equal and are truly parts of the whole, and the Whole is in our parts. Read this uplifting book to get back to harmonising yourself with Creation which was ruined by the Fall in the Garden of Eden. We need to harmonise ourselves with God’s Creation and our own broken selves and ‘Seeking To Live’ is just the book to teach you how to do so.

As described by the Biblical scholar, Scott Hahn, in his book ‘The Father who keeps His Promises’, let us be people who have both Faith and Trust in God. If we do not do so, according to Conrad Saldanha, we will merely be shadows of fakeness, rather than entities filled with the Spirit of God and His Triune nature. Let’s give our hearts a defibrillator. Let’s give them an electrical jolt of compassion, mercy, love and service, and bring them back to their normal rhythm by reading this book. And when our assumptions are properly tackled, keep re-reading the pages as the scales fall slowly from our eyes, the way they fell from the eyes of Saint Paul in Damascus. As the author says, don’t inoculate yourselves against the pain of others. Everyone is going through a tough time in this post-Truth Era. The question is, are we parts that don’t care for the machine, or are we dedicated to serve those in need?

FIZA PATHAN