Get Serious! Fr. James Farfaglia's New Survival Guide for Catholics
Fr James Farfaglia is emerging as one of our Catholic treasures
In his new book, Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, Fr. James Farfaglia issues a challenge to each of us, and he ain't beatin' around the bush. In his typical straight-up fashion, he's calling all of us to stop merely warming the pews with our behinds. Our culture is sick and depraved and literally crumbling around us. Holiness is the cure! Don't leave sainthood to someone else. Pursue it yourself.
As a young college freshman, Fr. James accepted the challenge of one of the founders of Magdalen College to get his life in order and stop "fiddlin' and diddilin'". In short, it was a challenge to get serious - about life, about the Faith, about the soul, the will, the mind and body.
In his new book, Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, Fr. James now issues the same challenge to each of us, and he ain't beatin' around the bush. In his typical straight-up fashion, he's calling all of us to stop merely warming the pews with our behinds. Our culture is sick and depraved and literally crumbling around us. The good news is, there is a cure. And it's not a "what" but a "who."
By God's grace, you are the cure. But only if you get serious.
When you look at a holy card featuring a saint, do you see a real human being? Or do you see an intangible image of a mysterious someone from a different world who succeeded in doing the impossible, which of course, you could never do? I know what my answer usually is, sadly. And that's precisely the trouble. We have stopped aspiring to sainthood. While all hell breaks loose outside our door, the would-be saints on earth have grown cold, timid and lazy, or are simply MIA.
We can't long for an age we weren't born into (as tempting as it is). We can't dream of easier times and grow discouraged at the challenges we face today. This is our hour in history. This is the culture we must transform. Only saints can dispel the darkness closing in on us with the light of Christ. Only saints can dismantle the lies and deceptions of our "enlightened" age with eternal Truth. Only saints can tell about the irrational Mercy that all our sin cannot exhaust. Those saints are staring back at us in the mirror.
Are you ready to get serious about your faith? To snap out of your lukewarm, semi-comatose state and make some profound changes in your life? Good! Fr. James has laid out a clear instruction manual to get you moving toward a meaningful spiritual life. But first, let's get one thing straight. As part of the laity of the Church, your call is to sanctify the temporal order. Father explains, "Your home, your neighborhood, your place of work, your school, the supermarket, the restaurant, the ball field and the movie theatre are all part of the temporal order." It's in your everyday life with its everyday problems that you need to be holy.
In fact, Father writes, "You should not be walking around with rosary beads hanging from your eyeballs. You can't look like some kind of weirdo or religious fanatic. If you want to bring people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you need to look normal and professional."
He begins with some very practical advice that may not seem all that "spiritual" at first glance, such as the necessity of a daily schedule. Consider it the foundation of your spiritual house. It's precisely because our modern lives are so round-the-clock and chaotic that we must establish and maintain the discipline of a schedule.
Included in this daily order are what Fr. James calls the "basic aspects of human formation. Clean rooms, well-groomed hair, ironed clothes, polished shoes, and personal hygiene all make up the fundamentals of what it means to be human. Grace does not work without human nature, it builds upon it. First a man, first a woman, and then the saint."
"Discipline is essential. You will not be able to live out a serious spiritual life without it." he says simply. The moments of quiet and calm we need in order to experience God will never come if we don't organize our time.
Maintaining a schedule is what allows us to prioritize prayer and actually make it happen, because we all know that when the day runs away with us, prayer time is the first thing to be postponed and neglected.
Without a disciplined prayer life, we'll never grow out of our "spiritual kindergarten" as Fr. James calls it. I was encouraged to hear him acknowledge, "prayer is not an easy enterprise. The spiritual life will always be a battle." Phew! It's not just me!
For those wanting a concrete "how-to", Fr. James lays out three levels of a daily prayer routine that anyone can follow, so there's no more wondering, "What do I do?" All that's stopping you now are your excuses! Father reminds us, "There will be moments ...
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