by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff | April 22, 2014 12:01 am
There is an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that is very evocative of one or more of life’s greatest philosophical questions.
“‘Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. ‘Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
“‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
“‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.
“‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
“‘—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
“‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’”
This exchange is often paraphrased and attributed to Carroll as, “If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.”
Maybe Yogi Berra said it best (also paraphrased), “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else!”
Do you know where you are going in life?
Do you have a plan?
Have you laid out your route on a map and checked on your progress lately?
If you are a Catholic man who wants practical help to live a deeper faith and to have a stronger relationship with Christ — or you know someone that fits this description — Randy Hain’s fifth book, Journey to Heaven – A Road Map for Catholic Men (Emmaus Road Publishing), is a must-read.
In my various roles — as a Catholic deacon, as a Parish Director of Adult Education and Evangelization, and as a Catholic speaker, writer and editor — I encounter growing numbers of Catholic men of all ages who are being led by the Holy Spirit to seek a deeper and more vibrant life of faith within their lay vocations. This is good! But, I also see the challenge many of these men face — a lack of practical guidance and other helps to pursue this life of faith.
We invest years and dollars into our children’s and our own secular, academic education. We spend millions of dollars buying self-help books that promise to show us how to lose weight, eat healthy, make money, find love, gain power, influence people and live longer. If only we would expend as much for our God!
Fortunately, there is a growing interest in seeking help for deepening one’s faith, learning to pray, and finding God… and a growing body of resources available to help. Next time you visit a bookstore, take a look at the shelves in the Religion section — notice the large number of books to help you pray better! Knowing which books and resources one can rely on will save valuable time and money.
The book starts with the premise that you are a Catholic man who wants a more lively and fruitful faith; that you already desire (or soon will desire) to attain heaven and lead your family and friends there. From this starting point, the author takes you through a series of questions and observations pertaining to Faith (in Part 1), Family (in Part 2) and Work and the Public Square (in Part 3).
Each of sixteen chapters addresses a different question or insight crucial to the life of faith and provides clarification, establishes relevance, and offers practical advice — often in the form of easy-to-follow checklists. Further, each chapter concludes with an interview with a subject-matter expert and a series of questions for reflection.
I cannot more strongly and enthusiastically recommend Hain’s Journey to Heaven.
While the book is written for men, I believe it is also relevant and important for single women, wives and mothers to read this. In many instances, the advice and insight is as helpful for women as it is for men. But the real reason I suggest this book also be read by women is so they can encourage and help the men in their lives to become the men God intended them to be.
Blessed John Henry Newman wrote, “God has created me to do him some definite service… I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.”
This is true for each of us. In Journey to Heaven, Randy Hain offers encouragement and very practical lessons to help Catholic men discover a deep life of faith and live out their vocations responsibly and fruitfully as husbands and fathers. This may be one of the most helpful books on living the Catholic faith that you will ever read.
Journey to Heaven – A Road Map for Catholic Men, is available on Amazon and would make an excellent gift for Father’s Day. Also, check out the newly translated Spanish version of this excellent book: Camino Al Cielo: Una Guia Practica Para El Hombre Catolico
Into the Deep…
Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™.
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