Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Review: Spiritual Freedom

When we got home from vacation last month, this book, Spiritual Freedom by Fr. Dave Pivonka, T.O.R. was waiting for me from The Catholic Company's Reviewer Program. I opened it, and read through it very quickly... marking pages and underlining passages throughout.

But I wasn't ready to review it yet. There was too much information here. I needed to set this book aside for a bit.

I picked it up again last week, ready to delve in more deeply. Fr. Pivonka lays out a path for us to achieve true freedom... that freedom which comes from God. "We need to be able to ask God for the grace to see ourselves as He sees us. It is imperative for us to remember that, first and foremost, you and I are children of a loving Father and that we happen to make mistakes; we sin. [...] We must define ourselves in the positive -- who we are, children -- not in the negative by what we do, sin." (p.27-28)

Filled with personal anecdotes and lots of examples, this easy-to-read book is not the least bit fluffy. It is deeply spiritual, and very practical. I have no less than eighteen pages dog-eared, and I have returned to sections again and again. For example, in the chapter on prayer, Fr. Pivonka offers straightforward advice. "Prayer is not an option. [...] Prayer is not simply a duty, it is one of the primary ways to approach God." (p.123-124) He follows this up with examples and suggestions to deepen our prayer lives.

When I first sat down with this book in July, I thought I would read through it quickly and pass it along. But after a few chapters, I gave up that notion. There were too many useful nuggets of information, too many new ways to approach my relationship with God hidden in these pages. I picked up a pencil and began marking the book for places I needed to return over and over.

Spiritual Freedom sits on my nightstand, in a highly coveted spot. I pick it up several times a week, and always, always, gain something in perspective or insight when I do. I will recommend this book to others, but they can't have this copy... I'm too busy using it.

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