Introduction to “Back to the Basics”

I recently finished writing a book called “Back to the Basics: Rediscovering the Catholic Faith”. It is currently in the process of being published. For those of you who wanted to get a better idea about what the book is going to be like, here’s a sneak peek at the introduction to the book:

“So many marvelous life lessons can be taken from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There’s a scene where a king is trying to convince his son, Prince Herbert, to get married by showing him all of the land that he will someday inherit. He tells his son the story behind the kingdom that he had spent his whole life developing; ‘I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ’em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one… stayed up! And that’s what you’re gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.’

You don’t need a Construction Management degree to know that building a castle on a swamp is indeed an incredibly “daft” idea. Without the proper foundation, you can’t expect a structure to last for very long. You can have the largest most decorated castle in all the land, but if it’s built on a swamp it’s just going to sink (or burn down, fall over, then sink).

If you think about your relationship with Christ as a castle, what is your foundation like? Does it feel like your castle has been built on a swamp? Or has it been built on solid, level ground? Could a big bad wolf come by and huff, puff, and blow your castle down? Or did you construct it out of stone and solidify it with mortar, making sure to build off of a firm foundation?

I did not have the best foundation in my understanding of Christ and the Catholic Church when I was in my mid-teens. I went to Mass and catechism class every week, but I never really paid attention or cared about what was really going on beneath the surface. Before long, I found myself asking questions like “Why should I continue being Catholic?” “What’s the point in going to Mass every week?” “How do I even know God exists?”  In those years, I struggled to keep faith and spent most of my time pondering the relevance of religion.

The more I tried to figure out why I was having so many problems with my faith-life, the more I realized that I wasn’t simply failing to fathom complex church teachings or theology; I realized I had been overlooking the basics. I had been calling myself Catholic for sixteen years without really knowing what it truly meant to be Catholic. I was praying prayers in Mass every Sunday without really knowing what it was that I was saying. I had become a victim of ‘rolling-through-the-motions’, failing to see God’s love and the beauty of the Catholic Church right in front of me. At that point in my life, I didn’t need to read complex philosophical literature and brush up on my knowledge of the history of the Church; I needed to get back to the basics.

This book is for anyone out there, practicing Catholic or not, who has been or is still in that rut. Who sometimes struggle to see the point in Mass, prayer, or believing in something that can’t be seen. Whether your castle needs a simple renovation or your foundation needs a complete destruction and reconstruction, I’m confident that this book can at least get you thinking more about your relationship with Christ. You can work on your foundation today by just getting back to the basics. I’ll walk you step-by-step through ten concepts that are often overlooked or discouraged in our fast-paced, secular society.

The purpose of this book is not to provide in-depth teachings of Catholicism or explain complicated theology issues. There are plenty of those books out there available to you and I am not qualified to write such a complicated piece. What I hope to accomplish in this book is simply to remind you of the resources that already surround you on a daily basis that you should take the time today to develop or tap into. In doing so, I’m hoping you’ll develop a stronger foundation for your relationship with Christ and develop a better appreciation for the Catholic faith.

. . .

“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown… When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown”

-Matthew 13:3-8, 19-23″

jjk

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