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All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters Paperback – March 3, 2017
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"We humans acknowledge that we are 'body, mind, and spirit' and, as such, when we're nourishing our bodies, we seek out what is 'all natural.' When we pursue wisdom, philosophy and healing we look for what is 'whole' and 'wholistic.' When we tend to our spirit, we search for what is 'sacred' and 'holy.' With All In, Pat Gohn has managed, through simple personal stories and the application of her fine reasoning skills, to prove that the Catholic Church perfectly answers the modern quest for the natural, the whole, and the holy. All In is a book full of warmth and clarity that, to a mind that is open, can be a true revelation and a great assist in the journey toward the fullness of Truth." --Elizabeth Scalia, Editor-in-chief of Aleteia and author of Strange Gods
"More than a spiritual guidebook, All In tells a great love story--and the lovers at the heart of it are God and his people. With clarity, wisdom, candor, and joy, Pat Gohn reminds us that to fall in love with the Lord is to be 'all in' love. Count me as someone who was won over by this wise book's tender charms and penetrating good sense. I'm all in for All In, and I think a lot of people will be, too!" --Deacon Greg Kandra, Catholic blogger and journalist at Aleteia
"Pat Gohn quotes scripture and cites the Catechism in the intimate way a good friend shares happy news over a cup of coffee. When she shares why staying in the Church and actively participating in the faith is essential for all of us, I am--as her title suggests--all in." --Maria Morera Johnson, Author of My Badass Book of Saints
"Pat Gohn knocks it out of the park with this honest and compelling treatment of our disappointments with the Church. She offers encouragement for staying Catholic and engaging in an active faith life for our sake and the sake of Christ's Bride, the Church." --Kelly Wahlquist, Founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and editor of Walk in Her Sandals
About the Author
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, retreat leader, conference speaker, catechist, and author of the award-winning book Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.
Host of the Among Womenpodcast, she also is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television. Her writing has appeared in a number of Catholic publications and blogs, including Catholic Digest, Catechist, CatholicMom.com, Patheos, and Amazing Catechists. Gohn also has contributed to eight books in recent years, including Walk in Her Sandals, The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion, and Word by Word. She is the editor of Catechist magazine.
Gohn earned a master's degree in theology and certificates in adult faith leadership, theology of the body, and spiritual direction. She and her husband, Bob, are empty nesters in Massachusetts.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a Church we are very good at teaching the doctrines and dogmas, but not so much why these things should matter to the Catholic Christian. Pat Gohn, through her amazing personal story-telling, is able to give us some serious adult catechesis, pulling in material from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Fathers of the Church and some heavy-weight theologians (St. John Paul II, anyone?) without making you feel like you are sitting in a boring classroom lecture. This is her story introducing us to her friend Jesus and how, in him, everything and everyone is connected: God, Church, Holy Trinity, friends and enemies, theology and personal experience, Saints, sinners, and those who have gone before. While reading her story, you will be challenged to reflect on your own relationships and faith and what you can do to strengthen and deepen your connection with Jesus and in him, with all the people in your life.
Each chapter of the book, ends with prayer, suggestions for prayer, study and engaging the material. The book would be a wonderful book to spark discussion in a book club.
All In, answers many of the questions, concerns and even criticisms of the Catholic Church with clarity and love. As an RCIA coordinator, I find this book a valuable resource for my adult students learning about the Catholic Faith!
Honest discussions of sin, mercy, grace, the Sacraments, and human dignity fill out this book. Each chapter concludes with a 3-part reflection: pray, learn and engage. This last section includes concrete action steps readers can take to heal or deepen their relationship with God and with the Church.
Jesus, our Bridegroom, went all in out of love for us, to bring us all into his Church where his kingdom “already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full...manifestation” (CCC, 865). Yes, Pat is fluent in the Catechism and encyclicals and uses their authority when necessary to solidify the soundness of her spiritual guidance.
Some Catholics, including members of Pat’s family who were victimized by bad Catholics and unholy priests, have cause to reject the Church and view it as splattered with the mud of scandal. Pat’s imagery of the Catholic Church, as the “mud splashed Bride” of Christ is brilliant!
Some quickly adopt that misguided view and write off the mud splashed Bride rather than explore her hidden beauty. Pat reminds us that the holy marriage between Jesus the Bridegroom, and the Church, to date have never divorced, and never will.
God created marriage as a sacrament, to make his love visible on earth. That’s a huge gift for us and a huge risk for God to take! Pat learned that this gift of God’s love being made visible in her marriage was a microcosm of something much more vast and cosmic. The invisible God is all about making his love visible.
His plan of sheer goodness holds a secret remedy. “The most powerful gift of God’s love made visible was in the coming of his very self to redeem us. The gift of God’s love made visible is another way of describing the Incarnation,” she writes.
The Incarnation is the antidote for what Pat calls the “mud-splashed-Bride syndrome.” Jesus is the gift of God’s love made visible. His love, poured into the Church makes her a radiant Bride, resplendent with graces.
Pat writes about the identity crises we experience when we separate ourselves from the reality that God gives himself personally to us in the sacraments. God baptizes us, making us his beloved children, giving us our greatest sense of identity. God nourishes us in the Eucharist. Jesus enters into us, his True Presence hidden in the bread and wine. God’s life is alive in us through the sacraments.
When we disassociate from our baptism or when we fail to live the promises of our baptism, we step away from the family of God, the Church. “We divide ourselves from our true identity as beloved ones. We have identity crises, and often lose a sense of our dignity.”
Pat reminds us that we can choose to mature in the spiritual life as we do in our natural life. To have an adult faith, we must grow up in our union with Christ, “while being ever mindful of the gift of our spiritual childhood. To be a child of God is to learn to live with ongoing conversion, ongoing renewal. We are not going backward, we are being ever renewed.” We make adult decisions about following Church teachings while keeping our child-like faith. We keep our faith fresh and alive so that we develop an intimate friendship with God.
Her personal story of maturing spiritually from a cradle Catholic of the John Paul II generation runs through All In. As a teen, she committed her life to Jesus at a retreat. She was nourished in her faith in ongoing ways “through God’s voice in the Bible, the graces I received in the sacraments, and through the people in our parish faith community that surrounded me. But, for me, God used my marriage to profoundly shape my understanding of his love. God’ s love became visible to me.”
Desperately needing to be a more nurturing and gracious mother, Pat turned to Mary, “to coach me, to mentor me, to allow her good influence to find a home in me.”
Pat’s faith, tested by cancer and other surgeries, brought moments of heart knowledge, not head knowledge of Jesus more closely. She writes, “My life with Jesus was a slow burn, a friendship that grew over time. His divine friendship called me to participate in the community of my local church. He wanted me to form relationships with members of his Body, and to have Mother Church to nurture me and school me in her wisdom.”
The result? “Today, I know Jesus not only as my friend, but as my healer, my redeemer, and my deliverer. He has accompanied me through some scary times and through the best of times.” Pat writes that Jesus works in her life as a good friend, always wanting what’s best, even when he needs to confront her to change.
“His love that I receive, especially in the Eucharist, gives me the confidence to change. . . .With Jesus as the Bridegroom, I am all in!“
What God has joined together, let us not separate – and Pat applies this to God’s family, the Church who share a common Father and Mother. “We have a Beloved Brother in Jesus, whose blood we share as we hold to a common creed, sacraments, and worship. The Church as Mother was part of the Father’ s will for us, to nurture the divine life in us. We never outgrow our need for our Mother Church, the Mater Ecclesia, until we reach heaven.”
God’s plan is to unite his family into the Church with the dignity he gives us at our baptism. Pat writes, “I’m all in when it comes to the Catholic Church, not just because it preaches heaven, but because it holds sacred all human persons.”
I received a free copy of All In via NetGalley and my thanks to Ave Maria Press for that.