9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Let's hear it for the good stuff ...Yeah !!!!!,
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This review is from: Why Stay Catholic?: Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book and have already bought five copies to share with friends. It had me laughing, choked me up in places, very often letting out a "Yeah" or a "right on." It's just brim full real stuff definitely offset the sad, incomprehensible,tragic stuff diminishing the light, the celebratory, the human, embrasive reality of the "people of God," the Catholic Church. Here Mike so magnificently lifts up all that up those truths, people, events, places, stories - and helps us to stop, look, listen. I was doubly blessed by the fact that while reading it I also was playing some of my CDs and happened upon the glorious "Magnificat" of Elyse O'Kane. It begins slowly, a solo voice, Eastern music, building into a swirling, whirling, Jewish women choral, dancing, ever speeding up into an outburst of praise, celebration that leave one breathless. Putting the parts of this book together pulled me into that kind of near ecstatic moment - pulled out of stuck in a sense that nothing good is happening in our Church. But wow, the stacking together of the ethnic parish festivals. How did I forget? I lived in Italy for 15 years. Neighborhoods had all kinds of those things with saints I never heard of providing those occasions. Yeah, somehow Catholics have not forgotten how to turn the water of our ordinary days into the firing-up-let's-sing-and-dance spirit of wine and all the rest that goes with it. Belloc had it right - Benedicamus Domino. Mike you brought all those bits and pieces together. For me the book is also like the Irving Berlin song, reminding us that as Catholics we should be singing, "Come on along, Come on along .... everyone, ....... this is Jesus' rag-tag band ...." how come? because I have come to give you LIFE - and life more abundantly ... come to give you JOY - and joy to the full --- to the brim." And Mike doesn't just say the words, but paints the pictures, and gives the photos of the people who have/or do live that kind of life. I love the book because it knocks the bee-jee-baas out of those who superciliously are always hunting down the orthodox, or more accurately, the unorthodox. Where does Jesus say, "come into my Father's house because you were right"? And how beautiful is to receive this book for what it is, a gentle, smiling, chiding invitation - "See, these great things ARE happening - if they are NOT happening where you are, then start and try to make them happen." That spectacular example of St. Patrick's parish in Chicago. Over and over again, all over the place, people and clergy and religious hold their heads and bewail the lack of vitality in so many Catholic parishes. The story of St. Patrick demonstrates that it's not the American Catholic people's fault. It's not completely the fault of our culture of consumerism, materialism, pleasure, etc. Much of the blame may very well rest with Catholic leadership itself who don't have true, radical gospel, faith, cojones that they trust enough to make that the message of God's unconditional love, the invitation of the gospel of inclusion, the capacity hold with mercy, to embrace and not judge - all those things that reveal the face of Jesus and don't set up walls and barriers that people often slam into when all they want is to know they are loved and will be carried over the abysses of their brokenness. Sounds like St. Patrick's offer that kind of community. Mike shows us the essentials. And how it stirs the soul. At least the souls of those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and are not afraid to move out of their comfort zones.
I'm a 71 year old priest, living with small cell carcinoma. This book, like Walter Burghardt's Long Have I Loved You, has been/is a banquet to my Spirit. It has certainly fired my own booster rockets as I continue to work on my own book. Michael, you have made the Word delightfully flesh. You make "Come follow me" so real and possible.