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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

The Parable of the White Fang

By David G. Smithson, M.D.

This book is based on the classic Jack London novel White Fang. White Fang is the story of a wolf/wild dog named White Fang, born and raised in the Yukon wild with wolves, He was initially captured and tamed by his first owner and used as a sled dog, guard dog and human companion. His next owner, unfortunately, abused and maltreated him, using him in illegal dog fights with the result that be became nothing short of a vicious beast. The story then takes us on the long and difficult process of White Fang being gradually re-tamed and eventually domesticated by a new, extremely patient and very loving owner.

In this book we look at the relationship between God and man with some insights learned from the above story’s relationship between man and dog. It attempts to see one faith from a different perspective; it is not meant to be a dry doctrinal text but instead considers thought-provoking and even un expected aspects of our faith and attempts to look at them from this different vantage point. Some of the many topics discussed include: the ancient covenant, the new covenant, the awe of God, suffering and abuse, the reality of evil, the reality of love, laws of obedience, expiation, redemption and salvation, heaven , temptation and the spiritual battle, the dark night of the soul, learned restraint, examination of conscience, role of conscience, stain of sin Confession/reconciliation, imperfect versus perfect contrition, holy leisure, expression not repression and the process of taming versus the process of growing in holiness. Other topics include the nature of God, the nature of man and the nature of animal. And yes, all of this involving a wild wolf dog!

Each chapter is arranged into two major sections. The first section is in standard print and includes background information and direct quotes in bold print from Jack London’s White Fang. The second section is in italics and is a contemplation which I compile discussing the ussies raised in the first section. Some chapters have more than one contemplation, again referring to the initial section, and some have endnotes. These contemplations discuss spiritual dimensions between God and man as analogous to the relationship between man and dog. In the end, this book tells a story of love. A deep, enduring life changing, other centered, compassionate, mutually joyful and triumphant love. This love involves not only man and dog but also God and man.

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