Well, I messed up. I was supposed to do this book review last week, but life got in the way. I lost a friend. And worse than that, my friend left behind a beautiful wife, (also a friend of mine), and four wonderful children. Loss is hard. Trying to understand loss and death and why things happen is difficult, if not incomprehensible. Like my previous post about the dead cat, we all must realize that bad things happen, yes, even to good people. Life is hard.
That is why (I apologize now for the shoddy segue) books like Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life are so beautiful. This is a very short and easy book to read. Some may argue that it is in fact, too simple. But I think that faith is simple. Really, all it takes is to give everything to Him. That's pretty simple. But we humans seem to make things very complicated. I am definitely someone who has done this.
Sitting in Mass this morning, I had the honor to listen to a homily from a Deacon who works with the LA Diocese Missions. He has travelled the world, bringing his family to East Africa a couple decades ago, and most recently, visiting Haiti, where a diet staple is literally, a mud cake.
He reminded us that everything we have is a gift. And it can be taken away at any time. So, instead of fretting, we should enjoy our lives. And thank Him for what we have, as little as it is, as small as it is, as short in time as it may be. To not dwell in what should have been, but to be thankful for what we have, or had. And to go on living and giving to others.
These reminders are reflected in Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steve Lumbert's book. The fact that the author was born into the faith but her father was not, gives this book depth that makes it identifiable to many. I love hearing conversion stories, but as a cradle Catholic myself, I have to live with the fact that my faith lies in the mundane; I've never had a major 'ah ha' moment as a Catholic Christian; I've just always had to rely on the little bits and blurps of life and the small signs that God is present. God is in the mustard seed, not in the fireworks at the 4th of July, but as a narcisstic human, I'd like some fireworks now and then. It's nice to have a simple book bring me off my high horse and remind me that faith takes work, patience, and prayer.
As a practicing Catholic, I enjoy reading books from other Catholics' perspectives on how to incorporate faith into daily life. That is another reason why this book works; Catholicism, for all its beatiful pagentry and traditions, leaves many outside of the faith thinking that Catholicism is shrouded in mystery and hard to understand. But, we are ordinary people too, as this book exemplifies.
I would love to attend a bible study, I would love to attend a daily Mass. But the circumstance of my life make it not so. I would love to pull out my Bible and read a scripture or two each night, but I haven't quite acheived this, either. I should really read the daily Mass, or the Magnificat, but I'll be honest, I'm not too great at those either. This book is a quick read, especially if done a chapter a day for some reflection. This was a nice way to spend some time reflecting on my faith, remembering why I think there is a God, and realizing that I must continue to live in the Christian spirit.
It's nice to rely on some one else's rudder once and a while and see if you too, can steer yourself on the right path. I recommend this book to anyone needing a little nudge now and then, a reminder of what we espouse as Christians, whether Catholic or not.
As one of the speakers said to my beautiful friend during the funeral of her beloved husband and father to her children. He leaned on the podium and spoke into the microphone: "Look around you," he said to her as he pointed to the enormous crowd of friends that had gathered to pay their respects and show their support to the family. "You will be okay."
And, that is how faith works. To give it all up and realize that even in the darkest moment, He is with you and supporting you. It's in the faces of those around you. We are all loved.
Have a wonderful Sunday.