God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude By Daniel P Horan, OFM (Franciscan Media)
Unlike most book reviews - I selfishly seek to tell you more about how the book inspired my spirituality then what the book was about. While a synopsis of the book should be apparent through my experiences, I have enclosed a link to the well-composed marketing if you would like more information. This type of review is done very purposefully as I believe the true test of spiritual reading is how deeply it effects your spirituality. If I can read a book and find myself underlining, highlighting and jotting notes all over the page then I know I have stumbled across a great work that warrants to be shared.
You will also quickly discover I only take the time to write reviews on books that fit that criteria. Although, I am blessed to receive many books that touch my heart and inspire my spiritual life; I can usually only find time to write about a few. God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude found its way to the top of my reading pile at the perfect time!
The Month of May has been trying but also one of the most spiritually fruitful of my life. After putting off a routine mammogram for nearly 5 years, I finally went. The test revealed an enlarged lymph node - I am happy to report it was finally determined to be due to inflammation [You can listen to the MIRACULOUS story evolving that on this special episode of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras - it is NOT everyday one receives a favor from an Almost-Saint].
As the Lord, slowly walked me through this valley, Fr. Horan's words were equal parts comforting and inspiring. This was a time of acute awareness to pray always with urgency but without anxiety. Here are some other "WOW" moments gleaned during that time from the pages of God is Not Fair:
We are not better than anyone else. Regardless of what blessings God has allowed in your life, what talents you posses, or how you use them. Additionally, those gifts that God bestows only bless you to the degree to which you use them; and more importantly recognize from Whom they have come. Praise and Thanksgiving are powerful prayers.
"If you want to succeed, you need to learn to fail well." How many ideas has this ADHD brain concocted? Far more than have either been realized, or more importantly, been implemented with any real success. The more I contemplated Fr. Horan's words, the more I realize that my measure of whether an idea or activity was fruitful is not the same as God's. Happily, it is only HIS gauge that matters!
Catholics do not pay enough attention to the Word of God. As a Catholic who did not include Scripture as a part of her life until she was in her mid-30s, I whole-heartedly concur with this statement (which I have paraphrased). We seek to hear God speak in our lives but overlook the one place His voice is clearest - His Word! The Holy Spirit moves all around us. As Fr. Horan reminds us the Bible is still relevant today, and when open our minds and hearts to the Spirit's moving there, we'll never be disappointed.
But Jesus intervenes to remind his followers that being a Christian is not about belonging to an organization or being a card-carrying member of anything. Being a Christian is about what we do and how we live. ~ Daniel P. Horan, OFM, God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude
Our Daily Bread
Bread, has taken on an entirely different connotation to me over the last 2 years, as I struggle to come to terms with my body's inability to tolerate gluten. For years, I have fought through horrendous stomach issues blaming my Irritable Bowel Syndrome and family genes. However, after a very serious health scare (do you recognize a pattern in my life), I realized this "sweet-bread loving Portuguese" girl had to make significant changes to her diet. I'm not going to lie, this is still an ongoing battle, as food is addicting and saying good-bye to some of my favorites has been extremely difficult. My daily bread, the nourishment of my body, that was once mindless has become some days all encompassing.
This daily bread seeking can lead to an unintentional self-absorption. This inward turning behavior can actually happen whenever we are on a quest for something to satisfy our hunger especially when we leave God and others out of the search. Our bread should be as it was for Jesus' - to do the Will of the Father. When we seek to satisfy our hearts by obeying the Will of the One who created us, we find not only what is good for us but also see how to do good for those to whom we are blessed to share this World. It is amazing what we can learn to live without when we are feasting on the beautiful banquet laid before us. We discover new ways to be nourished. More importantly, this seeking inevitably brings our eyes outward where there are so many other joys to be discovered.
Our Call to Sainthood
"Sainthood is a complicated and at times, controversial subject," author Daniel P. Horan, OFM, reminds us in God is Not Fair, "saints are sinners too." It is not about our perfection but our fidelity. Our faithfulness to continue to seek God in all things. The ordinary of our every day presents opportunity after opportunity to encounter Christ; sainthood is when we persevere in that quest regardless of how many times we fail at it.
Conversion is a daily process. God provides more than enough love, mercy and grace for us to succeed at sainthood; as long as we remember without these gifts from Him, it can not be attained. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is cultivating a sense of awe at the presence of God all around us. I call those "godcidence", Fr. Horan referred to them as "vestige" or "footprints". The are the invisible God made visible, which makes perfect sense to me though I cannot explain how or why I see these things. The mystery of God, the inability to explain all that He is, precisely makes faith the beautiful gift that it is. God is not fair, and I for one am so grateful for that!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Disclaimer: Complimentary Book offered for a fair and honest review. Of which I feel confident I have given. Links to book are affiliate links meaning I get a wee-bit of cash if you purchase through that link. I am just as happy if you find a nice Catholic Book Store from which to purchase!