“No matter how trapped you are, know this: there is always an exit,” Michael H. Brown writes in his latest book, A Life of Blessings.
In the material world, such a statement is not always true but in the spiritual, it is. For sometimes, even death is the escape since it is not the end but a new beginning. But between birth and death, for most of us, there are many days to navigate. In A Life of Blessings, Brown lays out the tools and inspiration to find our way through this life with a sense of entitlement. Not the self-centered variety but the entitlement that comes from being an heir of Christ.
This book is a contrast to today’s New Age books that promote the ability to control your own destiny. Brown promises even more: miracles, joy, forgiveness, success, freedom, a good sense of humor…. He says everything is there for the asking and none of it is magic.
What is the catch? Miracles are as much a part of life as crosses and of equal value. So, while anything is possible, as Christians, there is the understanding that ultimately God calls the shots and our holiness demands that we take the good with the bad. Everything is based on God’s promises as given to us through the Bible.
Each of the forty-six chapters offers encouragement. Pitfalls of the human condition are identified such as, stress, harassment from evil, emotional baggage, inner turmoil, lack of faith, fear, unforgiveness, and antagonists. Using the teachings and promises of Christ, Brown turns them into sound bites of spiritual psychology. For example:
- Keeping our mouths shut opens the Kingdom of Heaven.
- God designed the world so that our greatest joy is closeness to Him.
- Anxiety solves nothing and spoils everything.
- Handled well, suffering leads to resurrection.
- When you hit rock bottom, then you have located a foundation on which to build.
- God’s a builder and sometimes that involves demolition.
- He never said life would be easy, just worth it!
- Stop marching to the beat of the enemy.
- What blinds, binds.
I originally came across Brown when I read his first book Love Canal and the Poisoning of America, about the impact of toxic chemicals on the community in Love Canal, New York, whose residents had to abandon their homes in 1980. It was a reading assignment for me while I attended graduate school. At the time, I was an uninformed Catholic and Brown was not practicing his Catholic faith. He had achieved prominence as a writer and speaker. It was in the early 1980s, while writing a book about the Mafia for Simon & Schuster; he experienced a dramatic return to his Catholic faith.
It was a delight to meet again on the other side of our reversions. Some of his earlier books (He’s published 25 in all) helped to fuel the flames of my faith many years ago. He inspires and informs many through his is popular Catholic website, “Spirit Daily” with news from around the world of topics ranging from the mystical and spiritual to the political and physical phenomena.
In A Life of Blessings Brown reminds us clearly that Jesus stated many times that God would answer our prayers — “Knock and the door will be opened…Whatever you ask the Father in my name it will be granted, Seek and you shall find….” Brown challenges us to believe and be bold enough to ask for even big miracles. To encourage such confidence, he includes real life stories from his own life and others as examples of answered prayers and touches with the Divine.
To those uninitiated in faith and miracles, it would seem that Brown promises the world. In reality, he is merely reiterating what Jesus has already taught and shown us — everything in the world is possible and everything in heaven is attainable. Ultimately, aligning ourselves with God will empower us beyond our imaginations and strengthen us for the journey.
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