I just had the pleasure of reading Fr. Mark Mossa's Already There Letting God Find You. Does the title have you thinking to yourself "What? God doesn't already know where I am?" Well, yeah, He does unless maybe you have some stupendous ability to hide yourself from God or maybe you've got an invisibility cloak [which I'm pretty sure only exists in Harry Potter]. We can try to hide ourselves from God, but God does not hide himself from us and really, that's sort of the root of this book. Fr. Mark essentially takes us on a journey and shows us that God is already there and waiting for us to engage. In this book he helps us to see how God is present even when we might think he's not there or worse, is just standing by watching us struggle.
Fr. Mark's approach to spirituality is rather unique. He uses bits of pop culture to show us how we can deepen our faith lives. He makes some connections that I'm not sure I'd have made on my own and others that I've noticed in the past. Some of his pop culture references will have me looking at a few books and movies a little differently. Of all the pop culture references he makes in this book, I think there was only one that I was not familiar with. I suspect this book will resonate best with people in the 20-40 year old age range (I know, it seems like a big gap, but when you're smack in the middle of it, it doesn't seem that way.).
I liked how incredibly readable the book was. While reading Already There I just got the feeling that I was hanging out with a good friend. It's engaging, it's interesting, it's humorous and it has the ability to be life changing.
This book is not one that you just read for a couple of days and pop on the shelf. Ideally, one would want to take their time with this book in order to reflect on a certain aspect of letting God find you, or rather letting yourself become open to a deeper relationship with God. For the purpose of writing this review, I read this book over the course of a week which is a shorter time span than I anticipate needing to read this book a second time around. It's truly a book that you'll want to mull over. Ordinarily I would zip through an easily read book such as this in the span of a day or two, but I took it easy because of the warning in the introduction not to rush through the book. Having made myself the victim of spiritual indigestion in the past, I now take caution when there are warnings about rapid consumption. And really, how can I push through to the next chapter when I come face to face with a chapter that tells me at the conclusion that "this would be a good moment to close the book and just pray in silence. The book's not going anywhere and neither is God."? Since it was evening when I read that particular chapter I couldn't argue. As long as the kids were in bed the statement held some truth. The book wasn't going to walk away (They have in the past, it's a problem that goes with the territory of having kids--things disappear and mysteriously no one is to blame.). Having read through the book at a moderate pace, I have to say that I truly believe that this book will reward those who read it slowly.
I was provided with a complimentary review copy of Already There by the publisher, Saint Anthony Messenger Press in exchange for my honest review.
I had the joy of living in community with Mark at Loyola University New Orleans. We took in many a movie, some of which Mark comments about in his book. Mark was also responsible for Holy Grounds, an occasional late evening gathering on topics pertinent to college students. He captures these and many more with-it events in his book. Students loved his courses and we enjoyed hearing about their enthusiasm! Now a much larger audience can check out this excitement! "So get to it! Stop moving around so much, and let him (Jesus) find you. He's already there. Just start talking."
Father Mossa writes like a funny bright person you'd want to have a cup of coffee with. His book is unlike any other religious book I have ever read.There ain't no preachin heah, instead a meaningful book that encourages thought and exploration. It even provides space for reflection and personal experiences. Mossa advises the reader to read slowly but it is hard with his interesting writing style. I can only advise that one pick it up and enjoy it for themselves, perhaps more than once. I plan to buy a second copy to share as I don't need people to read with my thoughts in the journalling but to purely experience it for themselves!
Sometimes it's wonderfully satisfying to be proven wrong. This was one of those times. To be honest, when I chose Already There: Letting God Find You based on the title and brief summary listed on the website, I assumed the "weird" connections the author makes between spiritual/religious things and pop culture might be corny and rather loose, but still moderately effective in getting the attention of young adults more steeped in modern culture than the Catholic faith tradition.
My assumption was completely wrong. Not only are the connections between pop culture and spirituality/fundamentals of the human condition well thought out and thoroughly explained, but they also serve as profound models of basic human truths, needs, and longings evident throughout the Bible.
It is truly a God-incident that I chose this book and began reading it when I did, as I've spent quite a bit of time recently looking at how my past experiences have in many ways created and/or contributed to my current fears when it comes to being vulnerable before God and others. So many of the thoughts and questions that have come to my mind regarding God's love and mercy, especially as they relate to my past, present, and future, are found in this book.
Fr. Mark Mossa invites the reader to recognize God in everyday living and more importantly, in who we are and who He calls us to be. The portrait of a spiritual life isn't painted with profane or shocking, yet irrelevant associations to pop culture. If anything this book provides more of an inspiration and some wisdom to paint or envision then live out a spiritually enriching life, one in which we glorify God by using the unique palette of talents He's given us in order to draw others closer to Him.
Instead of prescribing each person follow an elementary paint-by-number approach to finding God within and building that relationship, the author as artist shows us the complex canvas on which he depicts his own story, blends in popular movies, TV shows, music, etc. with in-depth Scripture reflections, and very moving insights from well-known saints. Regardless of what genre of art typically resonates with you, you're likely to see in this work the unmistakable beginnings of a masterpiece: a life lived for God.
I appreciated the personal stories, deep insights about what it means to be human, and the acknowledgments time and again that we are each special and irreplaceable. God has given us different gifts and our spiritual journey to Him might vary considerably from another's though the motivation to love and be loved by God and others flows from the same source.
I only have two qualms about this great read. The first is that it's marketed mostly for a young adult audience when people of all ages will be able to relate to the fundamental truths contained in this treasure of a book. The second is that there are numerous typos and missed copy edits bound to bother the average English major, journalist, and/or editor at least a little.
I highly recommend reading this book to discover or rediscover how God is already there...in your heart, in the people around you, in your past, in your present, and in your future.
A friend of mine told me about this book. It was definitely a fun read. However, I was glad that it had stuff that was worth writing down just so that those words stayed with me! All the cultural links were very helpful because those made the reading feel like a conversation I would have with a friend.
On a personal note, this book has been eye opening. As an engineering student and a guy, being in control and asking 'Why' has become second nature, at this point of time. Making things work is what I like to do. However, the book has helped me realize that if one truly believes in God's love, one should also let things happen to themselves in life. Of course, putting your best efforts is important. But, if it gets to a point where it hurts you, it is time to realize that you are ALREADY THERE and let God be God.