Book Notes: A Storytellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life



In his new book, A Storytellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life, Tony Agnesi connects with ordinary folks because he writes in a straightforward way, using everyday vocabulary in an authentic and down-to-earth voice. 

The resulting collection of 75 stories are not only appealing and charming, they pack a powerful punch, triggering self-reflection and a desire to grow in the faith. Because his stories are themselves imbued with grace, they have the same effect as the simple parables of Christ – they teach, heal and inspire.

Consequently, Tony’s Sunday blog, Finding God’s Grace, and his Wednesday podcast are resonating with other Christians. In 2015, Tony was a finalist in the Religion/Spirituality category for the 15th Annual Weblog Awards, the Bloggy’s. Shalom Tidings magazine publishes his pieces and he is a frequent guest on Catholic radio. 

Basically, A Storytellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life is a collection of 75 stories and reflections, categorized by subject, all revealing the grace of God.  Scripture and three questions for reflection follow each story. Although The Storytellers Guide is divided into five chapters, each with a theme, every story stands on its own, which means this book is a perfect starting point for personal prayer; simply flip through the book and allow the Spirit of God to guide you to a story meant for you each day.

Tony’s reflections on Scripture are always rooted in personal experiences and never fail to connect with his reader’s lives. For example, before making insights into the real meaning of Lent, Tony recalls humorous examples from his own childhood which dramatize Catholics’ misconceptions surrounding the season of Lent.

I’d give up candy for Lent only to gorge myself on chocolate Easter bunnies, Peeps and marshmallow Easter eggs on Easter morning.

Another time I gave up broccoli and asparagus, both of which I disliked, and watermelon which is out of season during Lent! (pg. 91)

The effect is to open people’s hearts so they are receptive to the wisdom which follows his stories.

That is the problem I have with rule-book Catholicism. We are so fixated on following the rules we miss the reason for the tradition. (pg. 91)

The real reason Tony’s book rings with authenticity is he writes about what he knows, what he has experienced as a child, a husband and father, and through his prison and homeless ministry.

Every time Tony offers advice, the reader knows experience and his own personal struggles to grow in the Lord are the foundation for his wisdom.

Many of us are heavily burdened when we go to Mass. Even Easter, the most joyous day of the year, may be tainted with the burdens we carry.

Sometimes these burdens just seem to big to handle.

It’s time to leave it at the altar. It is time to release these feelings to a God who will never let us stumble. It’s time to unburden ourselves of these problems that eat away at us. (pg.84)

Yes, Tony is a humble author, but contrary to how some people picture Christians, Tony understands true Christians have good self-esteem and live in triumphant joy when they follow the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. Every Catholic can make the best of bad situations when they put their trust in God.

Tony’s stories are delightful, engaging, and amusing. However, do not be fooled for at the same time his message is deep and powerful if we allow his words to be vehicles of God’s grace in our own lives.

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Copyright 2018 Melanie Jean Juneau


About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.

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