Sunday 11 December 2016

Lights Along My Path - Friar Jack Wintz - A Friar's Journey in the Footsteps of St. Francis

Lights Along My Path:
A Friar's Journey in the Footsteps of St. Francis
Jack Wintz OFM
Martin Sheen (Foreword)
Tau Publishing
ISBN 9781619560352

I do not recall how I came across this book. Not sure if it was recommended to me, or I stumbled upon it when looking for Martin Sheen's Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son. But either way that it came across my path it proved an interesting read. But to be honest if I had looked through the authors other book titles before picking this one up I likely would not have grabbed a copy. But this book was an enjoyable read.

In the most basic of ways this book is a biography. But it is a biography written in travel around the world serving as a member of Order of Friars Minor. For the book follows Jack Wintz from role to role, mission, to mission and working various religious jobs around the world. The chapters in the book are:

An Angel of Light
Learning to Lighten Up
'Let There Be Light'
God's Word Gets Results
The Light of Saint Francis
The Secret of Saint Francis
Finding God's Goodness in Me
The Word in Literature and Art
Saint Francis and the Glory of Creation
Christ, the Head of Creation
A New Dawn of Liberation
Light in the Philippines
The Long Way Home
Lights Upon Dark Waters
The Real Meaning of God's Light
A Prophet's Light
Light for Those Sitting in Darkness
Fiery Seraph Wings
Letting God Love Us
A Dozen Red Roses
Gifts From Clare

Wintz writes about his early years in Indiana, to three years serving in the Philippines and a long trip home including a stop in India. But he also encountered numerous people along his path, including interviewing Carroll O'Connor about his role as Archie Bunker. To interviewing the actor Martin Sheen about his experiences during filming of Apocalypse Now. Even to interviewing the dancer Gene Kelly.

But throughout while crisscrossing he globe time and again, the focus in this book is on light. The light reflected in others and the encounters with them. The light of events lived and experiences gained. And also the personal darkness and struggles to maintain the presence of the light and come out of the dark periods.  And throughout it all is the power of prayer. And each chapter ends with a prayer.

Martin Sheen in the introduction states: "I took his book with me to Europe-and what a revelation! I read the book from cover to cover. It became my spiritual reading while filming in Ireland and Spain. What a wonderful book. I'm deeply grateful to Father Jack for writing this book, and for sharing it with me. I was moved by his personal struggles and deep insights." The film Sheen was filming was The Way about the Camino de Santiago. His experiences reflect Wintz's own words: "Our mission-our destiny, too-is to let God's word shine through our humanity. We open our hearts to God's light. We let it soak in. And then, in loving response, we go out to convey that light to others." Then the book concludes with the prayer for light: "All good and gracious God, we open ourselves to the brilliance of your love. Make our sin-darkened hearts white as snow. As flame glows through crystal, so let your light and goodness shine in us. May you be praised and glorified for ever and ever! Amen."

I know I was challenged by reading this book. It was not what I expected, but sometimes that is a good thing.

Books by Jack Wintz:
I Will See You in Heaven
I Will See You in Heaven (Cat Lover's Edition)
Will I See My Dog in Heaven
Will I See My Pet in Heaven?
St. Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions
Anthony Of Padua: Saint Of The People
St. Francis In San Francisco
Elf Making Sense Out of Suffering Therapy
Lights Along My Path
Lights: Revelations of God's Goodness
Keeping Up with Our Catholic Faith
Living Our Faith After the Changes
A Retreat With Pope John Paul II: Be Not Afraid

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

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