Being an extraordinary Catholic is no easy task, but Randy Hain’s new book Joyful Witness – How To Be An Extraordinary Catholic gives examples and insights of just those Catholics – those joyful witnesses. These are people who, as Randy writes, have become “better versions of themselves.” Not everyone he writes about planned on being so extraordinary – it was grace and determined will that led them on their mission.
Each chapter outlines a unique person called to be a special servant using his or her God given talents. Some struggled before they reached their goal, others saw a need and responded. These Catholics are the ‘quiet’ servants – ordinary people. They never seek affirmation or recognition, but serve unselfishly. They are not startled by their witness, but find deep satisfaction in what they do. They have given themselves over to Christ – unreservedly.
The stories are not just for enjoyment, but for illumination as well. At the end of each chapter each person presented offers suggestions for consideration the reader’s own journey. As well, Randy has added several in-depth questions for reflection. These two exercises round out the chapters and encourage meditation.
There are many examples.
- Joe Zuniga started a Catholic school when he and his wife found themselves struggling to find good Catholic education for their eleven children – quite an accomplishment. And all the while struggling with his own career.
- Staci Gulino, a Catholic convert from a fundamentalist Baptist upbringing, spent a lot of time searching for God. As a mental health professional she came to realize that Christ is part of the overall healing of a person. Her strong faith has enabled her to combine her career, marriage, children and host a Catholic radio show.
- Andy LaValee from Boston grew up in a strong Catholic family and drifted away, put his business first, and generally did not live an honest life. A chance encounter with Jim Caviezel, star of The Passion of the Christ that started his turnaround. Jim invited him to go to Medjugorje. Reluctant to go at first, he had a conversion experience on the trip that turned his life around. Not only did he renew his personal life, he changed his business practices and became a servant leader. And, Andy says, “It works.”
The following are just a sampling of the practices that brought these Joyful Witnesses to a “better version of themselves.”
- See Christ in everyone.
- Turn adversity into ministry.
- Be a lifelong student of Catholicism.
- Pray throughout the day.
- Hold nothing back.
- Get involved.
- Be good stewards of your gifts and talents.
- It all matters.
- Model the Catholic faith everywhere.
- Take any opportunity to pray with and for your children.
- Doing something is better than doing nothing.
. . . . there are many more . . . .
After reading this book you’ll want your Catholic joy to show on your face! The book concludes with ways to recognize Catholic Heroes. “Make being Catholic inviting and attractive.” Modeling the love of Christ in our lives, everyday, everywhere, in any circumstances. This takes grace, trust that God knows what he’s doing for you in your circumstances, courage and patience.
Take up the challenge to be an extraordinary servant. Everyone is needed and called.
“Start with the end in mind.”