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Lindsey Mitzel shares her enthusiasm for a new edition of a classic spiritual work by Fr. Leo J. Trese.

You will want to dog-ear page after page of Fr. Leo J. Trese’s book, You Are Called to Greatness. Originally published in 1964 and republished by Sophia Institute Press in 2022, You Are Called to Greatness is an inspiring and affirming read to help you attain holiness now. Fr. Trese writes clearly and relatably without mincing words or watering down truth. Not only does he affirm our Baptismal call to greatness, he encourages us to be great through the choices we make every day. Most importantly, he conveys that it is possible to attain greatness, holiness, through our everyday prayers and actions. It’s the kind of book that can be read slowly, a chapter at a time, or in one sitting.


You Are Called to Greatness


I was impressed with Fr. Trese’s balance of thought that pervaded this book. On the one hand, he writes,

We begin to wonder, "Is it possible that the infinite Power who created all this can be interested in us, little microbes that we are, crawling about on this pinhead earth of ours? Could God possibly have taken a human form and become one of us?" . . . We forget that this is precisely what God’s infinity means . . . It would be no strain upon God’s infinite power to create this unmeasured universe just so that it might produce the one little speck of earth that is ours—a space platform for souls on their way to eternity. (37-38)


On the other hand, he reminds us,

In Baptism, the greatest thing that happened to us is that we were made one with Christ; incorporated with Christ is the theological expression. We were united with Christ in a way that our human mind cannot quite fathom ... There is no example adequate to illustrate the nature of our union with Jesus. The closest that we can come by way of parallel is to imagine the intimacy of union that would exist between two humans who shared one and the same soul between them. In a sense, each would be the other. Similarly, after Baptism, there is a sense in which you are Christ and Christ is you. (52)


The book starts off with a call to sanctity, aptly titled “Sainthood Is For You,” and proceeds to discuss detachment, the theological virtues, cardinal virtues, prayer, doing, and that as parents, we can be saintmakers. The book is worth its weight alone in its reminders of who God really is and His crazy bold love for us as well as many reminders of how we can and should teach our children about God, His love for them, and His infinite Goodness. Just as valuable, Fr. Trese affirms the absolute challenge of desiring holiness. He writes,

Indeed, it has been observed with some truth that often it is easier to die for Christ than to live for Him. (71)


Reading this book felt like going to spiritual direction with a kind director who understands souls and also wants to call them on to even more and to greater. I imagine Fr. Trese meant to encourage us to keep fighting and racing onward. He offers so much encouragement for mothers as well; how many times do I think of myself, for example, as “just a mom”? Fr. Trese writes,

It may seem to us that we are making a ridiculously weak impact upon the world. We may see very little "creativity" or long-range importance in what we are doing. However, this is not a matter that needs to concern us ... For us, God is the helmsman—and our contribution to God’s own final objective may be far more important than we think. (55)


I really enjoyed this book, and would suggest it as good spiritual reading to encourage, uplift and inspire one as they strive after Christ and a holy life. While not in any way being a substitute for a good spiritual director, it may also provide some benefit to those seeking spiritual advice and direction as a starting point, or again, encouragement along the way.

Ask for You Are Called to Greatness at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon or Sophia Institute Press.




Copyright 2023 Lindsey Mitzel
Images: Canva