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Roxane Salonen shares her impressions of a new book by Rob Marco, an ordinary Catholic dad and husband doing his best to honor God and his family. 

In a reflection in his debut book, Wisdom & Folly: Essays on Faith, Life, and Everything in Between, Rob Marco asks the question, “What should a Catholic family look like?” He then brings readers inside the mind of an ordinary Catholic dad and husband striving to do the right thing by God. 




Who is Rob Marco? He describes himself as a happily married, 43-year-old Catholic father of three, but mostly “just an ordinary guy trying to get his family to Heaven and leaving some breadcrumbs along the way.” Borrowing a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, he adds, “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” 

He's learned from the past, including from the time, in his late teens, he set out to survive a several-day experience alone in the wilderness, ultimately confronted God and his dependency upon him, and ended up converting to Catholicism at 18. His story is recounted on this episode of EWTN’s The Journey Home.  



In his collection of essays, which covers everything from family and friendship to marriage and manhood, Marco asks the questions that the everyday Catholic might be thinking—but not always voicing. Though definitive answers don’t always come, in the asking Marco traces the thoughts of the ordinary, revealing how extraordinary ordinary life can be when lived out with intention and prayer.  

In the earlier-mentioned essay, Marco reveals his occasional questioning of whether his family makes the mark of a good Catholic family. Not only does a consistent family Rosary night not always transpire, he says, but “we have been known to have family dance parties in the kitchen to top-40 pop songs from the radio,” and his humor “is sometimes off-color.” 

At the same time, this family of five has made sacrifices to homeschool their kids and never misses saying grace before meals. Throughout their home, visitors will find Catholic books, art, and crucifixes displayed. “We love the Lord, we love our faith, and we try to live it out where it matters.” 

Just as quickly as he begins drifting off into the black hole of comparisons, Marco’s mind refocuses, with the help of the epistle from that morning’s Mass, from 1 Pt. 4:7-11, which exhorts the faithful to live with charity above all. From that, he gladly concludes, “Catholic families should have charity as their mark, and joy as the plate it is served on.” 

Wisdom and Folly is filled with such ruminations: thoughts that a young Catholic family will especially appreciate as they’re trying to figure out how to do this Catholic life without a blueprint. I can see Catholic wives appreciating the chance to peek inside their husbands’ minds through these essays—and coming to a greater understanding of the worries of their mate, and Catholic husbands who seek a meaningful faith life within family also benefitting greatly from Marco’s candid, down-to-earth sharing.  

In a world in which confusion and lack of clarity and division within the Church seems loud, it’s a balm to know that away from the clamor of the press, real lives of ordinary people are happening; that the good life can still be grasped; and that something meaningful and beautiful can unfold for us, even among the messy—which is what this book accomplishes most of all. 

Marco is a solid and thoughtful writer, a man who once thought himself cut out for monastic life before realizing his greatest joy and calling would be found in marriage.  

Wisdom and Folly is categorized as a devotional, which fits Marco’s stated desires. The book began as a blog in 2007 under the same title, and now Marco hopes those same reflections, in book form, can be a place for people to go to nibble on bits of Catholic life and insight as they’re able—a gift in these days of information overload. 

Within the pages, you’ll find both humor and heart, consternation and consolation, and, as the subtitle says, “a little bit of everything in between.”  

Ask for Wisdom and Folly at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com.



Copyright 2024 Roxane Salonen
Images: Canva