I was once asked, “What is your trigger that makes you most angry?” Pre-kids, my answer was simple: repeating myself. To this day, three kids in, my temper starts to boil when I hear myself repeating instructions once, twice, four times. Boiling temper leads me to yelling, which leads the kids to (sometimes) crying, and lands me in the confessional more times that I care to admit.
As I sat with the newest installation of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women, produced by Allison Gingras, I paused. Would the author of the most recent, Sara Estabrooks, be able to help me curb my yelling? Would I be able to identify my faults without getting overwhelmed by the burdens of falling short? Ultimately, would the book assist me in “Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time”?
Sara’s book has a simple format – after an introduction, the reader is invited to connect deeper with the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, Love) and the four cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude). In fact each chapter of the book focuses on one virtue. This allows for the reader to engage deeply, ponder the virtue, and truly work through the virtues with precision focus.
Throughout Stay Connected: Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time, Sara weaves anecdotal experiences, theological insight, and biblical knowledge to target each virtue. There are areas in the book to write thoughts on our hearts, invitations to ponder lessons a little more, and even ways to connect with scripture by opening up the Word at home, and diving deeply into one’s Bible.
Each chapter opens and closes with reverent prayer, gently reminding the reader of the importance of communicating with God, especially when we work toward change in our daily lives. And, as Sara reminds us at the outset of Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time, “Holiness is for saints,” and we are all called to sainthood … which means that holiness is for each of us. Ultimately, holiness rests in our relationship with God, and at the cornerstone is the power of prayer.
At the end of the day, I haven’t entirely stopped yelling. However, I would say that Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time has certainly caused me to pause a little more, and reflect a little deeper on the virtues I lack at the time I am losing my anger. Is the vice of anger rooted in my temperance (or lack thereof), my prudence (or lack thereof), or fortitude (or lack thereof)? Depending on the scenario certainly depends on that answer. When everything is said and done and I am doing an examination of conscience before bedtime, have I lived a life of faith, hope, and love? And, I am challenged with Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time to identify those areas that need a little more work.
Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time is a great starting point for familiarizing readers with the virtues, but also a phenomenal experience to growing further toward holiness. It would be a great study with other like-minded women in all various stages of their spiritual journey, and is an equally powerful study just as an individual.
Have you experienced a Bible study which is able to touch your heart, and in doing so, impact your life? If so, I would love to hear about it. And, if you are looking for one to touch your heart and impact your life, you will not be disappointed in Stay Connected: Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time.
Win a copy of this Stay Connected journal
Our Sunday Visitor is offering a copy of Stay Connected: Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time to one CatholicMom reader! To enter, answer the following question in the comments:
Do you plan to use this Stay Connected journal for personal study or with your prayer group?
Winner must have a mailing address within the USA. This giveaway is open through 11:59 PM Wednesday, March 4. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply and claim the prize. If the prize is unclaimed, an alternate winner will be chosen.
Copyright 2020 AnnAliese Harry