In today’s hectic, secular world our relationship with God often takes a backseat. Likely there comes a point in everyone’s spiritual journey Where they realize this relationship needs attention. Father John Bartunek has provided us with a book to aid in this relationship. That book is his latest, Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength.
As Father Bartunek states part way through the book “Loving God with all your heart means desiring him above all things and making your intimate, personal relationship with him into the highest priority of your life, the center around which every other facet of your existence finds its proper and glorious place.” That’s a keen observation but leaves many people with the question …..How do I do that? The answer will be on your hands as you utilize this book of meditations.
The book is divided into five parts with six meditations in each. There are a few suggestions prvoided by the author in the introduction on how to use the book. “The thirty short chapters of this book provide explanations and reflections that can help you seek Christ’s kingdom and love him with everything you’ve got, intentionally and intelligently. They are meant to be used for personal meditation or spiritual reading and also for group study and discussion. Praying through one chapter a day can give you a month-long spiritual retreat. Working through one chapter a week together with a group of friends can provide a richly rewarding path of Christ- centered fellowship.”
One point made early in the book is that this relationship with God is 99% effort on God’s part and 1% of effort on our part. That might sound easy on paper but I think we all realize how difficult that can be. This world we live in today is full of distractions. The Devil knows this and uses those distractions to keep us from forming this relationship with God. Thankfully Christ combats theses distractions with his own tools in the Sacraments. A key way to know God is to come to him frequently in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and confession. Couple These two with a daily prayer life (in no particular form other than personal time with God) and you have a firm foundation for a growing relationship.
Mid-way through the book Father Bartunek deals with forming our emotions. “We are made for God and for authentic good, and that is our deepest yearning, but our wounded human nature is easily distracted and deceived, and it often leads us astray.” Don’t many of us find this true? We are bombarded daily with what the secular world tells us we should be doing and very low on that list is following God. We need to strive daily to work at this and realize what is most important for our eternal salvation.
Seeking first the kingdom in today’s world can seem a daunting and confusing task. Thankfully Father John Bartunek has provided readers with a 30 day meditation that will help with that task. This is a highly accessible book for everyone at any stage of their faith journey. If you have the desire to strengthen your relationship with God, than this is the book for you. After completing these 30 meditations you will surely be well along the path to eternal friendship with your creator.
I received a copy of the book for this review from the publisher, ministry23 and their sales and distribution partner Catholic Word.