The journey of faith is at the heart of why we are in this earthly life. Our God has issued an invitation to us… He has called us to a life of holiness and a communion of love with Him in this life and the life to come. He has called us to faith.
So often in this life, we lose sight of this important truth and gift. The demands of our daily living distract us from our true purpose and we find that our spiritual growth stagnates. We tend to compartmentalize our lives. The practice of faith is restricted to our time at church. Our family time is focused on earthly concerns of raising children and tending to spouses according to the expectations of the secular world. Work and career seem to override other considerations as we seek economic survival and professional success. The role of faith beyond the walls of the church is sometimes restricted to occasional prayers before meals, turning the religious education of our children over to others and the occasional pangs of guilt that arise when we discover that our decisions in all areas seldom consider the will of God.
For many of us, we recognize this deficiency and disconnect between the life of faith to which God has called us and the lives we lead. We may even try to correct this, but are we making progress?
We are in the midst of a Year of Faith, announced by Pope Benedict XVI, that began on October 11, 2012 – the Fiftieth Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. This is a great gift for us; a time to rededicate ourselves to the journey of faith and a deepening of our life of prayer and a renewal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Along the Way – Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith
A quick search on the internet and your parish book racks will provide you with many tools and resources to aid you in this effort. But, I encourage you to obtain a copy of Randy Hain’s new book, Along the Way – Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith, Liguori Publications, 2012. In this book, you will find practical guidance for allowing the ordinary challenges of daily living to become moments of grace and spiritual growth.
I have known Randy since 2006 when he was preparing to enter full communion with the Catholic Church through the RCIA process. A former, nominal Southern Baptist, Randy manifested an intensity for knowing and loving Christ and His will for him. Shortly after he was received into the Church, Randy made an appointment to meet with me (I am the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization at my parish) to discuss his next steps. Randy was looking for help in two areas: he wanted to continue his spiritual growth and formation and he wanted to offer his skills and talents to the parish in general and to me in ministry.
Something about Randy led me to conclude during that meeting that here was a man who was on fire for Christ and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit… a man who was willing to offer more than words to his new-found faith. My assessment was correct and Randy and I have collaborated in many ways to spread the Gospel. I look back on that meeting as a blessing from Almighty God to me and the local church.
Many of you who are reading this have come to know Randy through his articles on The Integrated Catholic Life™ that he and I co-founded in 2010. And some of you have read his first book, The Catholic Briefcase, published by Liguori Publications in 2011.
For those who do not yet know Randy, his writing is always focused, clear and relevant with practical lessons of faith that are ready to apply to ordinary daily living. His new book, Along the Way, provides exactly what its subtitle promises – lessons for an authentic journey of faith. He writes about the purpose of the book in his introduction:
Along the Way is about my faith journey and the lessons I have learned. All meaningful journeys have destinations. Where will mine take me? I know we are called to lead lives of holiness, and we are made for heaven, not the world. Despite feeling unworthy most days, I realize that I must be faithful, humble, obedient, loving, and actively engaged in the practice of my Catholic faith for me to reach my goal. I am also called to share the Good News with others.
Most productive journeys have road maps to guide travelers on their way. I feel incredibly blessed to have found the Catholic Church after living more than two decades with no faith in my life. Almost at the same time as my reception into the Catholic Church in 2006, I began writing about my faith experiences. This book is a candid and practical retelling of the lessons I have learned on my journey, my struggles, the knowledge I have gained, and how I have applied the teachings of the Catholic Church in my daily life. I hope the sharing of these experiences will illuminate the path and provide that road map for other Catholics and seekers of the Truth, a Truth that can only be found in our beautiful Catholic Church. ~ Randy Hain
This easy-to-read book is a wonderful and effective aid to assist you to integrate your faith throughout your daily life. It is a story of a new Catholic who meets the demands of daily life and applies the truths of his new faith to turn ordinary daily challenges into moments of grace for spiritual growth. His love for Jesus Christ and his gratitude for the gift of faith is apparent throughout.
Do yourself and your family a favor and read this book. The lessons Randy shares will surely help you deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ during the Year of Faith.
Into the deep…
Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and appears each Sunday.
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.
He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.
Looking for a Catholic Speaker? Check out Deacon Mike’s speaker page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.
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