Seemingly small decisions can echo across time and affect entire life paths— a conceit that drives the action in The Miraculous Mission, a slim narrative that fuses time travel elements with musings on the meaning and nature of Catholicism. Here, author Steve Polski seeks to address profound questions of faith, destiny and determinism, while undertaking an adventure story that spans time and space.
Jim Clark is a Catholic priest freshly arrived at a small parish in the 1960s. While earnestly dedicated to the faith, community and teachings of the Church, Clark still harbors regret regarding the loss of his high-school sweetheart. Indeed, it was the dissolution of Clark’s relationship with Eva as a teenager that led to his spiritual calling and his path in the Church.
When Clark learns that his breakup with Eva stemmed from her mother’s meddling, he begins to rethink his decisions. This element of doubt is only magnified when a fellow priest reveals his discovery of a “time portal,” a gateway leading to a future steered by alternate realities. Eventually, Clark makes his own trip through the portal, a voyage that forces him to rethink his priorities and true destiny.
Polski’s exploration of religious questions is largely superficial, and those looking for a more satisfying religious treatise may be left wanting more. Nonetheless, his prose is earnest and heartfelt, a quality that generally makes up for the narrative’s sometimes rambling nature. He juggles these legitimate queries about faith and free will with a fairly dynamic adventure story in a short span of 134 pages, writing with an obvious personal investment. All of these elements add charm to a tale that may have otherwise seemed simplistic or preachy.
This is an adventure for time-travel fans and those with a casual interest in theology, specifically Catholicism. While no great questions of fate and faith are likely to be resolved in these pages, the story offers a fun and compelling getaway.
Also available as an ebook.