Recently Richard Maffeo was kind enough to send me a copy of his book Lessons Along the Journey and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It’s a compilation of reflections, mostly around 2-3 pages each, over an incredible 13 year period. To be honest I generally don’t like these kind of books because I’m an impatient reader. I’ve never been the read a chapter a day kind of girl. I generally consume books, rather than savor them. But Lessons Along the Journey (pleasantly) surprised me…I had to put it down.
Unusual as it may seem, “I had to put it down” is a true compliment. Each short story was so filled with meaning, so powerful that I found myself willingly putting down the book to ponder and reflect. I’ve rarely had the experience of a book that made me feel “prayerful”, but every time I read another reflection I found myself drawn toward prayer.
It seemed like each story reminded me of a similar experience with the Lord, or of a lesson I had learned (or am still learning), or just reminded me of the many blessings I have. Whatever the case, I found myself inexplicably with the desire to spend time with the Lord in prayer. I say inexplicably because I very rarely have the desire to pray. I build it into my schedule, and am always glad I prayed once I’m done, but it usually takes effort to begin (kind of like going to the gym). So the effect Lessons Along the Journey had on me was a wonderful surprise.
Reading about some of Richard Maffeo’s lessons has led me to reflect more on my own lessons, which is a gift in itself. You can check out his blog and book here at The Contemplative Catholic Convert. Either way I encourage you to take a little time out of your busy schedule and spend some time with the Lord, reflecting on the many things He has taught you and asking Him what He’s trying to teach you right now. He’s so good to us all the time and we’re too often oblivious. And as one of the the reflections in the book reminds us, “Our journey with Christ should deepen our love for Him.” May each step of your journey do so!
I just finished reading “Finding God’s Will For You” by St. Francis de Sales, which I would definitely recommend. While not as good as Treatise on the Love of God (it’s hard to top!) it’s still definitely a worthwhile read.
I was excited to read this work by St. Francis because his love for and trust in God are infectious. And as usual he tackles God’s will with simple but powerful advice, and lots of stories to match. (I have such a soft spot for stories!)
There’s one quote in particular that stuck with me. “I might desire one thing, whereas another would be needed. Do I not gain more by leaving all this in my father’s care, since he has the knowledge, the ability, and the will to do for me whatever is necessary…?”
I’m sure you’re all nodding your heads in agreement. We’ve all experienced wanting one thing when what we need is entirely different. Yet despite our better sense sometimes we still resist God and His will.
And I definitely need reminders not only to follow God’s will, but reminders that doing so will make everything work out for the best. My wavering faith needs almost constant reinforcement that God not only can do what’s best for me, but wants to and will because He loves me. An ideal version of myself would have obedience be the only motive, but alas. My left-brain craves all the data it can get about why following God’s will is good for me.
But that’s part of the reason I find St. Francis’ words so encouraging – he addresses both the person I am now and the person I want to be. He meets me where I am and tries to bring me to higher and deeper levels in my obedience to God. And who doesn’t want that?
You can find out more about the book by clicking on the image. God bless!
I just finished reading “Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron – a book NavPress was kind enough to send me for free (hands down the best perk of being a blogger because I’m a HUGE bookworm!). The book follows Chase Falson, a Protestant pastor, who is struggling through a religious crisis/meltdown. Desperate for answers, he visits his uncle, a Franciscan priest in Italy. There he rediscovers his faith by going to Catholic churches, shrines, attending a peace conference, volunteering in a soup kitchen and visiting the homeless.
It took me a while to get “into” the book, and it wasn’t until about 120 pages in that I finally found myself engrossed in it. But my patience was rewarded. The book is a great introduction to the life and beliefs of St. Francis (or refresher, depending on your familiarity with him) and a nice reminder that faith is more communal than personal. That being Christian is more about serving God by serving others than any self-focused, individual concerns.
Come the end of the trip Chase clarifies the goal for his life: “serving Jesus completely and unreservedly.” No doubt this would mean different things to different people, but how many of us are even willing to take on such a bold goal? To be committed to working past all fears and insecurities so that we can learn how to serve Him completely and unreservedly by serving others?
Though I don’t consider myself a lukewarm Christian, I felt renewed and fired up after finishing the book. Ready to do more and impatient to get started. Worth the read!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.