Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Heaven Starts Now

I’ve often heard Fr. John Riccardo speak, with clear, insightful and piercing words, and so I guess I had expected something bigger-looking than this short 140-page, 8-chapter ditty with a common-sounding title.  Glancing at the chapter titles though, I noted the book IS well-organized (in typical Fr. Riccardo fashion), starting with questions about the reader’s plan to grow in holiness, and then moving on to discuss the biggest obstacles faced by most people, and ending with key points to focus upon to gauge one’s progress.  And each chapter ends with questions, to meditate upon or discuss. 
Reading the book, I loved all the saints, insightful authors and Scriptures quoted to re-enforce Fr. Riccardo’s words, in part because over the years I’ve read all those referenced books and authors myself and even used some of the same quotes in my own writings!  And when I read Fr. John mentioning that he had been to a Final Four game in Atlanta, the very same one which I attended, I thought:  “Heck, I could have written this book”!! 
But then I thought again of the smallness of this book, and I realized a great truth:  It has taken me many DECADES to read, to pray and to learn my way to what Fr. Riccardo has (yes) clearly, insightfully, and piercingly put into this small book.  I’ve read many hundreds of books to find the key truths which Fr. Riccardo has boiled down, for those who may not read so much, into this one.  And I am so humbled.
The operative word in the title of this book is:  “Starts”.  You need to start by buying this book, and then moving forward, as the sub-title states, day by day.  For teens, for friends, and for those you know who want to make a difference in this world, this book should be on your Christmas list; it will be on mine.  But do as I did, read it yourself before you give any copies away.  Don’t wait decades to learn what this book can teach you in minutes.

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