Randy Hain is one such person. He's written a pile of books and he's one of the dynamic duo behind Integrated Catholic Life. Randy's latest book, Journey to Heaven: A Road Map for Catholic Men, is, in a word, GREAT. I don't say that just because I like Randy, either. I've read his other books, and they're good. This, though, is something remarkable. I can't help but think there's a dose of Holy Spirit in it.
Though this is, without a doubt, a book for every Catholic man you know, it's also a book that I think benefits women. Dare I suggest that you buy it for the man in your life and then read it too? Yes, I do. For the same reason we have a small community of men here on our site... :)
SARAH: Introduce us to your new book, Randy. Tell us what it's about, who it's for, and why it's important.
RANDY: Journey to Heaven has been on my mind and heart for the last few years as I frequently encounter Catholic men of all ages who are lost and looking for help.
The book is broken into three sections: Faith, Family, and Work/Public Square. Each section has five or six chapters focused on a topic relevant to the section.
The book weaves Church teaching with the candid stories of Catholic men who share how they practice or exemplify the topic in the chapter in which they are included. Each chapter ends with challenging reflection questions to help the reader stay on course and hold himself accountable for concrete actions to stay on the path that leads to Heaven.
I wrote the book for every Catholic man, from teenager to grandfather, and my hope is they will find encouragement, helpful examples, honesty and the spiritual road map they are seeking in this book.
SR: What made you feel like you had to write this book, Randy?
RH: I am a Catholic husband and the father of two teenage sons. As I recognize my own daily battles to stay on track with my Catholic faith and live out my vocation to help my family (and everyone else) get to Heaven, I felt the need to share something meaningful and helpful to this generation of Catholic men and the sons who will follow in our footsteps.
I only have to look at my own children and ponder the difficulties and obstacles which await them in them in the secular world to know they will need to have a strong relationship with Christ and His Church if they are going to navigate an uncertain future. My sons will find out when my copies of the book arrive at our home that I dedicated Journey to Heaven to them.
SR: What was the biggest challenge as you pulled this book together?
RH: Time! As a business owner with a family and various commitments to non-profit boards and the Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine I co-founded with Deacon Mike Bickerstaff, I am always time-challenged. But, since my conversion to Catholicism in 2005, I have felt led to write and speak on important topics relevant to my fellow Catholics. I carve out the time needed to get this done. I typically wake up at 4:00 a.m. for prayer, reflection, and writing before I begin my busy day.
The other challenge was to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me. I struggle with pride and can be headstrong at times, so during the course of the writing, I prayed a good deal for help and guidance.
SR: You tapped into some really big names in your interviews throughout the book. How did you pick who you spoke with on each topic?
RH: I am blessed to know a number of wonderful Catholic men through the Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine, the Catholic ministries I lead, the speakers we invite to our parish, and my travels around the country when I am asked to speak. This national Catholic network has been a wonderful resource for my writing and a source of strength as we often encourage, help, and pray for each other.
What your readers may find interesting is that I did not have a “master plan” for the people I included. There were a few men I had in mind, but I prayed about each chapter during the writing and usually thought of someone I knew who exemplified the topic or had something meaningful to offer about it. Their involvement in the book and the candid way they opened up about their own struggles will resonate with reader in a powerful way.
SR: What's your favorite part of the book? What do you think will be its lasting resonance as people read it and share it?
RH: I think the Family section of the book was the most enjoyable for me. There is a real need for Catholic men to be courageous in today’s world and embrace their roles as husbands and fathers. We are faced with constant challenges from the secular world and the media to our manhood and we are often viewed as Homer Simpson instead of modern versions of St. Joseph.
My sincere hope for the readers of the book is that they will find the help they are seeking to grow in their spiritual lives and live up to our responsibilities as Catholic men. I also hope it will become clearer that we are all made for Heaven and not this world and that we will honestly reflect on whether or not we are on the path which will lead us there.
SR: Anything you want to add, Randy?
RH: I am thrilled by how interested Catholic women are in the book! Although it's written for Catholic men, there is much in the book for women which can lead to a deeper understanding of how they can help their sons, husbands, and even their fathers stay on the right track.
Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.
Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.