Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Suffering and Burnout (EWTN Publishing)

Mother Angelica was a remarkable woman who may one day be a saint. Unfortunately for people of my generation, the bulk of her writings have long been out of print. Thankfully, Sophia Institute Press' partnered with EWTN Publishing to start reprinting hers and other out of print books. Today, I would like to tell you about her book On Suffering and Burnout.

On Suffering and Burnout is a small purple hardcover book that is actually six previously publishing mini-books that were originally published in the 1970s. The current book is divided into three sections - suffering, burnout, and consolation. Each section has two "chapters" within it. The first chapter addresses the concept of the healing power of suffering. This starts off by talking about the purpose of suffering and then leads into different types of suffering - preventative, corrective, repentant, and redemptive. The chapter then further develops redemptive suffering by talking about how Jesus suffered and what we can do to make our suffering matter instead of wasting it. The first chapter in the Burnout section talking about spiritual dryness. She explains that this dryness, though it happens to everyone, is paradoxical because it seems the more we strive to be closer to God, the further we grow apart. She then goes on to tell us that we must not become discouraged by this dryness, but use it become more patient, more humble, and learn to persevere. The chapters on consolation talk heavily on God's silent presence and how God needs us. That sounds so odd to say, but we play an important role in salvation history, so God uses us and relies on us to accomplish his mission.

As I sat reading this book recently, I kept saying to myself, "Giving this book a purple cover was brilliant." I know that's a weird thing to say, but this is the perfect book to read about halfway during Lent. Why? Because Lent can be a difficult and challenging time. We are out in the desert, sacrificing, and trying to become better people for the glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The other thought I had while reading this book is that, Mother Angelica was a very wise woman who had a powerful relationship with Jesus. I read that she wrote these mini-books while before the Blessed Sacrament, and reading through her words you definitely pick up on that. Her writing is full of truth that is both personal and universal. If you are experiencing suffering or burnout in your spiritual life, then this is a must-read book for you.

This book was provided to me for free by Sophia Institute Press in exchange for an honest review.