Year of Trial, Year of Grace

A Catholic's Search for Faith

Christian - Living
126 Pages
Reviewed on 12/25/2013
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Author Biography

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Clayvon C. Harris attended Swarthmore College and the graduate school at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She wrote for various primetime television series while living in Los Angeles, and has worked extensively in marketing communications. Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic’s Search for Faith is her first book.
Notes Harris, “The last decade has been a difficult one for Catholics. Our religion has been maligned and overshadowed by the priest scandal and its ongoing spiritual, emotional and financial impact. But with new leadership in Rome, I think we’re turning the corner. My hope is that the reflections in Year of Trial, Year of Grace will not only encourage and help strengthen the resolve of Catholics, but anyone who has struggled with faith and acceptance in the face of life’s day-to-day challenges.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers' Favorite

Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic’s Search for Faith, by Clayvon C. Harris, is a surprising and delightful book of devotions. It was written as a series of reflections for a weekly church bulletin, and evolved into an examination of Harris’ own faith. Occurring during a crisis time within the Philadelphia Catholic church, many topics are covered including New Age teachings, love, guilt, and God’s occasional silence. Faith is extolled as the only remedy that matters when nothing else can make a difference, when no solution is humanly possible. Studded with Bible verses, these reflections convey hope and God’s sovereignty in any situation. The reflections are meant to ask a few questions about a topic, make the reader think, and ultimately draw him/her back to Christ.

Health problems? Conflicts with today’s carnality? Gross unfairness in circumstances? There is a supernatural answer and it is God. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress,” according to Psalm 46:2, and if God is all He says He is, who should we fear? Who can harm us? I found this book full of comfort as I, like everyone else, go through tough experiences at times. If I had never learned to lean on God, in fact to let Him carry me, I would never make it. When a person is young, they may feel they are invincible, that if they plan well nothing can go wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Death spares no one and so there are losses of loved ones or our own untimely illness to upset our plans. There is nothing like losing someone to make you reevaluate your life. But God is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us. Year of Trial, Year of Grace by Clayvon C. Harris would be a great comfort to anyone you know experiencing difficulties. I feel any Christian would enjoy it, although it is written especially for those of the Catholic faith.

Bil Howard

In agreement with Socrates, that an unexamined life is not worth living, Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic’s Search for Faith” by Clayvon C. Harris is one person’s attempt to relate the self examination of her faith in short pieces as those examinations bore fruit for her. Having been “volunteered” to write a weekly article for the bulletin in her church, Clayvon set out to attempt to do just that. What she discovered was that in order to write those weekly articles, it required a great deal of self examination of her faith and, in turn, she grew in her faith. As she expounds her findings in weekly bits, she has in many ways created a devotional guide. Each of the topics are dated on a specific date. Those dates could act as a guide or the reader could simply refer to each item topically. The end result, however, is an opportunity for someone who is of the Catholic faith to grow in their faith and in their understanding of God’s grace.

The short, thoughtful writings of Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic’s Search for Faith have a profound impact on bringing a Catholic Christian to the fullness of their faith. Clayvon C. Harris has examined her own issues of faith and has revealed them as an aid to others. Her scriptural references ground her discoveries in the Holy Word of God and can help the reader apply those scriptures to their daily living. Thought-provoking, encouraging and honest, Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic’s Search for Faith will help the reader navigate through the complicated labyrinth of their faith and find grace at the end.

Katelyn Hensel

In Year of Trial, Year of Grace: A Catholic's Search for Faith, we join Clayvon C. Harris on her path of discovering God and herself. It's both thoughtful and thought provoking as it explores Clayvon's religious faith, her beliefs, her trials, and her faults. While it was a very personal exploration, the book was also readable and contemplative. Many Christian books put me off because they get to a point where they are just preaching at you. Not this one. Here was an easy to read, truly wonderful look into the questions that are brought before the faithful to answer. This is a wonderful tool to use if you are beginning or continuing on your journey with the Lord, and are searching for a more personal relationship with Him. This was a truly inspirational religious work that clearly came from the heart.

Year of Trial, Year of Grace is a surprisingly warm book that can be looked at both through the lens of religion and the lens of pure humanism. This is a book in which readers of all ages will find comfort and warmth, where denomination doesn't separate out who should be reading it. Whatever you believe, if you are looking to experience a journey towards discovering God's love, His message, and His direction in your life, look no further than Year of Trial, Year of Grace by Clayvon C. Harris. It's an inspiring read for both the steadfast Christian and the struggling layperson. The book is both timely and directly relevant as the headlines about the new pope continue to make newsworthy statements.