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Start talking: Real communication in a virtual world

Put your hands up and step away from the screen. That’s the Cliff Notes version of Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day. Okay, I may be taking some liberties, but that’s definitely the general idea, and I couldn’t agree more, even if I am terribly addicted to all of my various screens.

The pope’s message and related comments from Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, are spot on, and I’m not just saying that because they affirm what I wrote in my book Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship or in numerous columns and articles on parenting, marriage, and life in general. Read more

Holy Trinity as model of spiritual friendship

On this Feast of the Holy Trinity, I thought I’d share this excerpt on the ways the Father-Son-Spirit model for us what spiritual friendship and right relationship are all about. This is from Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual FriendshipRead more

Join me for Theology on Tap tonight!

Attention all New York Capital Region readers:

I’ll be talking about spiritual friendship at Theology on Tap at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Jan. 19) at The Orchard Tavern on North Manning Boulevard in Albany. Please come by, grab a drink, and stay for the short talk and discussion.

The talk is based on my book Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship (Ave Maria Press, 2010).

See you at the Tavern…

A nice surprise in my inbox today

I love it when I open an email only to find an unexpected and wonderful surprise. That’s what happened today when I was sent the link to this review of “Walking Together” by Sarah Reinhard over at just another day of Catholic pondering. Thank you, Sarah.

Here’s what she had to say:

I remember, years ago, being shocked to silence when my boyfriend (who’s now my husband) told me that his best friend was his older brother. He said it so matter-of-factly, in such an “of COURSE he is” way.

I didn’t yet consider any of my siblings friends, and couldn’t quite picture what he meant. Now, many years later, I have a glimpse of it. I’ve become friends with some of my siblings and some of his.

It’s a wonderful thing, this siblings-as-friends experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’ve come to realize, over time, that I have quite a few different kinds of friends. There are friends who are with me for a season, friends who I know through social media, and friends who I have the joy of being related to. There are friends who are more like acquaintances and friends who are more like family.

One of my favorite recent reads, Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship, by Mary DeTurris Poust, which I received as a review copy, has made me consider another kind of friendship that’s essential: spiritual friendship.

And you know what? After reading this, I realized something wonderful: I have a spiritual friend! I do! (Actually, I think I may have more than one, but one came to mind right away.)

This book is a gem of wisdom and insight, especially in an age of digital isolation. We need true spiritual friends now more than ever, when information is instant and feedback is constant. We need to be able to tap into the holy and sacred in other people, and this book will guide you.

You might find yourself nodding and recognizing those spiritual friends who already exist in your life. You might, on the other hand, find yourself longing for a spiritual friend after reading Walking Together.

DeTurris Poust offers suggestions that will strengthen existing friendships and help you take them to the “next level” and perhaps transform what began as “BFF” into “BFF…eternally.” She taps into both the ancient stories of saints and current lives of living Catholics to build what I’ve come to think of as a manual for growing into a better Christian.

I highly recommend this book, whatever your state in life.

Now, go visit Sarah’s blog. She’s got lots of great stuff there. Click HERE.

Can men and women be friends?

I tackle the somewhat controversial subject of whether men and women can be “just friends” on this Christopher Closeup podcast with host Tony Rossi.

Some of you of a certain age may remember this pop culture debate from the “When Harry Met Sally” era, but what I’m talking about isn’t just friendship but spiritual friendship. The short answer is, yes, men and women can have purely platonic but deeply intimate spiritual friendships when they are grounded in God. Curious? Check out the podcast link below.

Click HERE and listen.

First review of 2011

This was a lovely way to start the new year. Thank you to Karen Edmisten for this review:

Walking Together : Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship, by Mary DeTurris Poust, was a Christmas present from Atticus. I read it yesterday and found it so touching and encouraging. If Mary DeTurris Poust did not have such a clear personal understanding of what a spiritual friendship is, she may not have been able to write such a lovely book about it. Interweaving accounts of saintly friendships with her own experiences (including a lovely tribute to her mother, who was also her dear friend), DeTurris Poust has written an uplifting book that will lead you — if you don’t already have such cherished soulmates — to seek out what she describes. Though Mary and I have connected briefly online professionally, Walking Together made me want to invite her over for coffee and get to know her much, much better.

Visit Karen’s wonderful blog and learn more about her books (one on Mary and one on the Rosary) by clicking HERE.

Tune in today for a discussion on friendship

I will be a guest on “In the Heartland with Bishop Pates” of Des Moines at 10 a.m. CT today. You can catch the show live online at www.kvss.com, or listen on KWKY 1150 AM in Des Moines and KVSS 102.7 FM in Omaha.

Also, for those of you looking to buy my new book “Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship,” please let me know if you have trouble getting a copy. Word on the street is that smaller bookshops cannot get the books in stock because the larger distributors are back ordered. Folks in New York’s Capital Region should contact me directly and I will get you books in time for Christmas. Other folks can send an email and we can work something out by mail.

Or visit the usual spots, including Amazon, and, of course, my publisher, Ave Maria Press. (B&N and Borders are back ordered at the moment.) And, remember, if all else fails, please contact me directly for signed copies.

UPDATED: Just found out that my book tops the list of Christmas gift suggestions over at The Anchoress. Plus lots of other friends have books on the list. Check it out HERE.