Small Things With Great Love
A review of Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith and Get to Heaven by Patti Maguire Armstrong
+JMJ+ Most people who know me well know that I generally prefer to take everything life throws at me little by little and with a gentle approach. My own book, Glimmers of Grace, was written to offer a gentle approach to healing, offering readers achievable goals and simple advice. I have from time to time picked up a book (self-help type) and had to put it down fairly quickly because the suggestions/tips within were just too daunting.
My preference for simple uncomplicated tasks is one of the reasons I have always been so attracted to the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. There was nothing overly complicated about Therese or her way of life. Quite simply, she did everything out of love for Jesus and even the smallest, seemingly meaningless tasks became an opportunity for her to grow closer to Him. They were anything but meaningless! There are many, many Catholics who have been influenced by this little saint's life and her “Little Way” has been an important part of my life as well.
In a world where all too often things are made to be overly complicated, I think a lot of us crave simple, uncomplicated tips and tricks for living out our Catholic faith. I know I do! Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith and Get to Heaven by Patti Maguire Armstrong offers just that! This gem of a book is a breath of fresh air! Patti gently offers simple, achievable tips and tricks for Catholics to live out their lives faithfully and to the fullest. In a society where we are bombarded with the idea of “biggest and the best” and we feel like we have to constantly be “on the go,” this little book is really rather counter-cultural in a way. Holy Hacks has reminded me to slow down, examine my prayer life, and to meditate on my relationship with Christ. Am I truly living each day for Him? Am I growing closer to Christ? I think these are important questions that all Catholics should be asking themselves. It's all to easy to become overcome by the chaos of life and the world around us. Our faith lives (our relationship with God) can easily be lost in the hustle and bustle. Holy hacks are wonderful, easy ways to keep that relationship at the forefront of our lives.
So, what exactly are holy hacks you may ask? Holy hacks are small sacrificial acts performed simply, quietly, and out of love and help us grow closer to God. In the words of St. Mother Therese, “Do small things with great love.” This is what holy hacks are all about! They mirror St. Therese of Lisieux's way of life, her Little Way and the lives of many great saints who used these simple and uncomplicated methods of putting Christ into everything. When a lot of us think of prayer, we think of saying specific prayers such as the Hail Mary, Our Father, or the Glory Be. But in actuality every part of our lives can be turned into prayer, into communication with God and holy hacks really allow us to pray without ceasing.
The tips given in this book are meant to be performed quietly and humbly. The idea here isn't to dress in sackcloth and publicly writhe around in piles of ashes whilst wailing and grinding your teeth (ouch – the thought of that always makes me cringe). In other words, they aren't about attracting attention to ourselves. This is quite the contrast to our society that puts prestige and glamour on such a pedestal. Holy hacks are small, humble actions done to honor God each day such as picking up even a small piece of trash and offering it up, kneeling during prayers, praying in gratitude, praying for someone but not telling them, or refraining from criticism. Holy hacks are meant to be simple, achievable, gentle, and creative!
Patti does a wonderful job of offering various suggestions for different kinds of holy hacks. For example, she has different chapters dedicated to talking about holy hacks for humility, holy hacks for relationships, holy hacks for evangelizing, and holy hacks for certain times of year (Lent and other times of year). All the holy hacks listed in the book are suggestions and I found that they opened my mind and heart to thinking of holy hacks that will work in my own life. I came away with some really wonderful tips I would like to try but I also thought of some new ones that suit me personally.
Everything you do can become an offering to God. When put into practice, holy hacks will truly transform your life. Author Patti Maguire Armstrong has gifted us with quite a treasure! Holy Hacks is the kind of book that will meet any Catholic wherever they are at on their faith journey and is sure to become a favorite in any book collection, one that you will reach for over and over again.
Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored by Ave Maria Press. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest feedback and am simply sharing my thoughts in this blog post.