Have you read Bishop Barron’s book Letter to a Suffering Church? Did you think “Wow, every Catholic and religious news junkie needs to get their hands on it”? Well, we have something in common!
I’ve been on a journey back to the Church. Something I put off doing for years. I became of this world—not just in it. Temporal things had their place with me; anything spiritual did not. I was content . . . but not really.
Truth be told I wasn’t just “putting off” my spiritual exploration—I had intentionally squashed it. There were too many hard questions on the one hand, too many things that angered me on the other. The sex abuse scandal was smack among the top offenders. How could an institution that fostered sexual predators be good for anything? That train of thinking gave me an out. I could put off tackling tough questions, bury them deep inside me, and could instead spend my time binging on Netflix. And as easy as that, I chose not to explore truth—any truth. on any of life’s big questions. I instead held on to my opinions, my relativism, my way of doing things. I was in control . . . but not really.
After twenty-plus years of thinking this way, my hard shell started to crack. My brother, my living guardian angel so to speak, patiently chipped away to create the opening. He started me on some of Dynamic Catholic’s books by Matthew Kelly. I quickly came to realize I wasn’t content. I wasn’t in control. Then he upped the game and introduced me to Bishop Barron and the great work being done at Word on Fire. That encounter lived up to the namesake and literally lit a fire inside me. I began exploring other great evangelists, apologists, clergy, and resources—a long list of great people and minds who have been fighting and continue to fight for Jesus and the Church. Throughout all my years of lazy atheism, I couldn’t have dreamed that I too would one day join the fight.
I remember vividly this spring when Bishop Barron and Brandon Vogt began talking about the then-pending release of Letter to a Suffering Church. I couldn’t wait for its release. In my excitement, I ordered a case of the books—you know, just in case I wanted to read it more than once! But seriously, I just knew that it had to be good. And it is! I devoured the book in one sitting. It gave me context. It gave me clarity. It gave me resolve to not give up. It made me want to fight.
This book gave me a lot. What could I give back? With the box of books by my door, I began handing them out, first to friends and family. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to reach more people. I then started placing copies in Little Free Libraries while on walks in my neighborhood. While most books languish inside those tiny doors, every copy I placed disappeared within a day or two. “Wow! The people are hungry,” I thought.
That wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more. In a conversation with my spiritual director, Msgr. Charles Pope, I mentioned the success my limited distribution had had. We decided to do more, to do one step better. We worked together to create a flyer with a personal message from the Monsignor. We then put copies of it in the front covers of the books, and yes, hit the streets to distribute more. We’ve been putting hundreds of copies into circulation. The people are indeed hungry. I pray our efforts help those seeking clarity.
To quote Bishop Barron: “Don’t give up on the treasure just because the vessels that bear it are flawed and fragile. Stay and fight.”
What ideas do you have to help spread this important message? Leave a comment. Spark a conversation!