Thursday 7 November 2019

How to Make Great Decisions - Father Mike Schmitz

How to Make Great Decisions
Fr. Mike Schmitz
Wellspring Publishing
ISBN 9781635820669
eISBN 9781635820805

I have been a fan of Father Mike’s videos through Ascension Presents for a few years now. And I enjoyed his contributions to Beautiful Hope and Beautiful Mercy. And have been waiting for a book by him. And it was worth the wait. I had this book on my wish list from the movement it appeared. And I picked up the eBook the day it released. I read the book slowly over three days. Each of those three days I attended mass and at some point, later in the day read two of the chapters. The sections in this book are:

The Cure For Expressive Individualism
Three Levels Of Vocation
Decisions And Discernment
Three Questions
The Door
Questions And Answers

And it was so worth the wait. I highlighted 37 passages in this volume the first time I read it through. There is so much valuable advice in this book. It is one of those books I will read over and over again. I will likely reread this book each year for at least the next few years. And it is a book I would love to see put in the hands of every Catholic High School graduate. This is a book I would have benefit greatly from reading in my teens, 20’s, and even 30’s. And as I approach 50 I still consider the lessons valuable and life changing. The first passage I highlighted was:

“Now, that word my is a really interesting word. It implies some sense of ownership. But in a deeper Christian sense, even my life is not really mine.”

Right from the beginning of this second paragraph of the book I knew it was not only going to meet expectations but exceed them. I will share some of the passages I highlighted to give you a feel for some of the knowledge and wisdom in this volume.

“True discernment is more than just thinking about something. Discernment involves action. It also involves a decision. And the very first decision is whether it’s about my life and my vocation or whether it’s about God’s will for my life and my vocation.”

“Vocation means that we are called out of ourselves. We’re living our life, and at some point, God steps in and says, “Okay, I’m calling you out of yourself. Calling you out of your life. I’m calling you to participate in my life. I’m calling you to look up from yourself and look at others.””

“The point is, no matter what God calls us to, there will be sacrifices. I always say that the vocation of marriage and family is where bad people go to die. Marriage is the vocation where bad people go to die to themselves out of love for their spouse and their kids.”

“That’s what your vocation is, and that’s also what holiness is. St. Maximilian Kolbe explained holiness this way to the novices in his community. On a chalkboard he would write this equation:

w (your will) + W (God’s will) = S (Sanctity)

Sanctity is when my will conforms to God’s will. That’s sanctity; that’s holiness. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Holiness is not a matter of not sleeping because you’re praying all night. It’s not a matter of fasting all day. It’s never a matter of serving this way or that way or the other way. It’s all about your will conforming to God’s will. That’s holiness. That’s sanctity. That’s what it is to be a saint. That’s what your vocation is about. There’s nothing less and nothing more than that.”

The Three Levels of Holiness:

“When it comes to vocation, there are three levels. The first is the universal call to holiness—your will conformed to God’s will. Every human being on the planet is called to be a saint.”

“The second level of vocation is what we typically think of when we think of vocation: the call to the priesthood, to married life, to consecrated single life, to religious life.”

“The third level of vocation is: What is God calling me to today? What task has he given me today? What is the season he’s placed me in today? How is he calling me to say yes on a moment-by-moment, day-to-day basis? This sense of vocation changes a lot over the course of our lives.”

“The point is when we are discerning our vocation, what we’re really discerning is the primary relationship God is calling us to focus on. This kind of vocation might change once or twice in our lifetime.”

“That’s why this is a secondary vocation. Your primary vocation is to be a saint. Knowing that, where is God leading you right now? What will lead you closer to that? That’s what we discern. That’s why we get to make decisions.”

The two truths and three questions sections are amazing. And ones I will come back to frequently. Father Schmitz states:

“If you make it a habit to ask these three questions, I can absolutely guarantee you will never, ever, ever miss your vocation. You’ll never ever miss God’s call for your life. The channels will be open and connected to him. You’ll say yes on a regular basis. And by giving him at least twenty minutes every day, you’ll be giving him time to say, “Hey knucklehead, wake up—here’s what you need to do.” You will never, ever miss out on discerning God’s will for your life.”

This is an incredible read. And no matter what stage of life you are in you will benefit from reading it. And while you are at it pick up a few extra copies to be able to give away to friends and family.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books By Father Mike Schmitz:
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attraction and the Catholic Church
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike Volume II
The Catechism in a Year Companion, Volume II
The Catechism in a Year Companion, Volume III

Contributed to:
Pray, Decide, and Don't Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God's Will
Don't Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Young People

Audio Talks by Father Mike Schmitz:
Living Life by Design, Not by Default
Love - Sacrifice - Trust He Showed Us the Way
From Love, By Love, For Love
True Worship
The Four Last Things
Jesus Is …
Changed Forever - The Sacrament of Baptism
We Must Go Out - The Sacrament of Confirmation

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