We sometimes may find ourselves wondering through life aimlessly. The temptations and distractions of our modern society weave their way into our lives and grab hold. If we pause and consider this, we may discover that the gadgets and games have no real purpose in our fulfillment. So, what does matter? Pat Gohn tells us what does matter is our Catholic faith. Her latest book is entitled All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters and it serves as a gentle yet direct reminder to us about our place in life.
Being a faithful Catholic with a home in the Church pays incredible dividends in one’s faith journey. To be in the Church means you are in union with millions of Catholics around the world. Not only that, belonging to the Church connects you to the millions of saints that have come before you. How does one become “all in”? How does one find the confidence to foster a life of faith in a relativistic society that attempts to marginalize the role of the Church?
As Pat rightly points out our relationships with the Church are formed by our experiences. Some of those can be positive, but others can have a negative effect. In the book, Pay lays bare some of the experiences that have formed her into the Catholic she has become today. One aspect that was intriguing to me was the self-assessment she poses in the introduction of the book. Before proceeding with the meat of the book it is important to determine exactly where one is on their faith journey. The personal inventory goes like this. Are you
- deliberately devoted? That is, trying to be a disciple of Jesus?
- dedicated but doing the minimum?
- dabbling or discovering?
- discouraged or done with the Church?
- unsure where you are?
While looking back over own faith life, I discovered I had fit into a number of these categories. I believe many will find as the look back over their paths to and in the Church that they will see the same. An ever changing, maturing and flowing relationship with God. In my assessment, I found that very early in my conversion process I was dabbling and discovering. My own discovering was a little less of a questioning phase than others may have. My wife introduced me to the Church. As smitten as I was with her when we first met was equally smitten with the Church. My first introduction to the Church occurred in 1995 at Christmas Vigil Mass, and I was hooked!
Then something happened. Within a few years, the shine had worn off. Mass become a required ritual each week, something I attended out of obligation. I was dedicated but doing the minimum. How did this happen? I’m not certain, but it did. When we have these dry spells, I’m convinced we may never be able to understand why. Thankfully that period of my journey is behind me. Five years ago a close friend of mine gave me a copy of Be A Man by Father Larry Richards, and I was back on track. That book changed my life and attending a men’s conference with Father Larry sealed the deal. I was back. Today I find myself a blogger, a podcaster and a team member of a Catholic marketing firm. I am deliberately devoted attending daily Mass and trying to be a disciple of Jesus.
How does this pertain to you? I’d encourage you to pick up All In and learn why this matters and applies to each and every one of you reading this post today. Our relationship with the Church and ultimately God (they go hand in hand) matters significantly in our lives and those around us. Pat has done and exceptional job in ten chapters explaining, through her example, as to why belonging to the Church matters. No matter where you are on your journey this book is going to give you a few gentle reminders, a few ah-hah moments and much to chew on and think about. There is not better home for us than the Church, found out why with the help of Pat Gohn.