Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you read any good books lately? I sure have! Since beginning my studies for the diaconate a few years ago and experiencing a renewed interest in professional development at both school and church, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Some of it very good material, and some of it no so much. But, regardless of the content, the active practice of reading leads to enrichment, learning, and reflection. Now, I’ll be completely honest. For years, reading was not something that I did at all. It was much more fun to dive into a television show or spend a Sunday afternoon taking in an action movie from the comfort of my living room sofa. And while that was entertaining, as I grew into my role as seasoned educator, team leader, spouse, minister, and perhaps my most important role, that of father, I realized that in order to develop myself into one who can give sound advice and counsel, and to parent with intention in a day where good parenting seems to be a novelty, I needed to be well-read.
And while reading which leads to enrichment is wonderful, it cannot replace the greatest source of all our treasure – the reading of the Holy Gospel. As deacon, it is my distinct privilege to proclaim the Gospel to the faithful gathered each week at Mass, but it is not something reserved for Sunday morning! As Christians, it is our responsibility to read, absorb, adhere to, and spread the Gospel to everyone we meet. It starts in in the home; a responsibility to our spouses and our children alike. As parents and grandparents, we must develop and model non-negotiable daily habits and practices that center on prayer, reading, reflection, confession, worship, and adherence to the Word of God.
It is clear that we are observing our culture and society grow deeper into a hostile state towards tradition, faith, and Christianity itself. This modern world, influenced by the will of the secular makes no room for the traditional, but radical message of our faith proclaimed by Jesus Christ. What is a Christian to do? Well, that is a discussion far too large for such a small space in a newsletter.
I’ve recently read a book recommended to me by Pr. Hoffman, entitled The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher.
It’s a very thought-provoking book. I devoured it over my week-long Christmas break (which is a real feat for me, a painfully slow reader). Kasey then read it in about three hours (this should be a surprise to no one who knows my very smart wife). But, it really got my mind churning about the future of Christianity in our country, which as time ticks on is becoming anything but a Christian nation. And as a father raising two boys in the faith, the ways in which the author suggests Christians may need to regroup and live just to survive as faithful stewards of the Word are eye-opening to say the least. I invite you to read this book.
In 2020, I have chosen to use this section in our newsletter to briefly review books that I’m reading in hopes that you too may find interest in them – perhaps even inspiring some healthy and much needed discussion about the future of our parish, parenting (or grandparenting), and the many challenges we face as faithful Christians living in this ever-changing, ever-advancing modern world. Brothers and Sisters, serving as your deacon continues to be a true blessing in my life. Peace be with you. +
P.S. – If you have a great faith-based book that you found to be a good-read, let me know and I’ll do my best to check it out!