This book is written for the over-fifties to help develop an understanding of what Chrsitian life is all about, how it is relevant to today, what it means to get to know Jesus and how that relationship affects all the other relationships that we will ever make.
The author emphasises the practical nature of the love, compassion and teaching of Jesus. He talks about building and repairing relationships on the basis of a personal relationship with Jesus and illustrates the nature of servant hood and what it means to be salt and light to a broken world.
Most of us have heard the saying "If life deals you a lemon, make lemonade". This book by Patrick Coghlan has that positive, faith-filled attitude. Clearly the author endeavours to live the joyful attitude he is writing about. Yet he does not overlook the pains and sorrows of life nor the understandable mistakes. He is helping his readers to face these with equanimity and a hand in the hand of God.
Patrick Coghlan claims to be writing this book as "A Guide to Spirituality for the Over-fifties". But anyone who is moved to learn more about Christianity will benefit from a reading. He asks "Where is our focus-on the values of God or those of society?" What is your motivation for doing whatever you are doing?
He points to the love and compassion it takes to be Light to the world, salt for the earth. The author deals gently with the difficulty of being seen as a do-gooder. Being seen as a do-gooder can amount to being dull and preachy or being a joy for other people to share with - a Light. Patricks approach to living the Faith we are trying to live, is distilled with clarity. It has challenge and understanding. Clearly he is writing of relationship with Jesus Christ.
The chapters take different aspects of living the Christian Life. Each chapter begins with an imagined advertisement such as "Wanted: all kinds of aptitudes and skills..." These advertisements relate to the skills it takes to live different aspects of the spiritual life.
The subsequent chapter indicates that it is not easy to hone our special talents in the service of Christ. It is not only a matter of perfecting skills but of meeting the day-to-day situations with (I dare to call it) holiness. Situations such as Failure; Coping with suffering; Listening and Doing, encouraging others to feel Loved and Valued; Patience and Faith.
I particularly like the chapter "The Power of the Tongue, because, as people grow older, it often seems that they can go in for unkind gossip, and "the tendency to over?¼use the voice'! We can so easily talk too much about ourselves and our health and our families and forget to offer "words of gratitude, truth, encouragement and unconditional love and acceptance.
Each chapter concludes with A guide to spirituality for the over-fifties - a summary of what we have just read. These guides are good last-before-bed readings. During the night they may well sink in , for our great benefit.
- Angela Macnarmara, 8 May 2008 Irish Catholic