A small torrent of encouraging news hit me yesterday in the course of a couple hours - just when I really needed it.
1. My publisher told me that they are sending Year of Faith resource packets to all the bishop and that Forming Intentional Disciples will be part of that packet. While it is true that someone of the Bishop's staff will probably determine whether or not he will ever see the packet, at least the book will be circulating around the Chancery so there's a fairly good chance that someone will actually crack the cover. And it wouldn't be the worst thing if all that happens is that it ends up in the Diocesan library.
2. A friend and pastoral leader wrote yesterday:
Yesterday, our associate pastor came walking out of his office after finishing the book and said to my pastor and I, "I'm scared." We asked why, and he pointed to the book and said, "this changes the whole paradigm." He is a young priest and is "all in."
He told me today that he believes the woman who styles his hair is a Seeker or at worst at openness. He invited her to Eucharistic Adoration at our parish. He said, "just sit there for 5, 10, 15 minutes...whatever time you have. If you don't experience anything, that's totally fine. You can leave when you need to. But if you do experience anything at all, you HAVE to come and talk to me!" He then plans on talking with her about Jesus Christ, the doorway to the Father's love!
He gets it and is on board. He is preaching at a neighboring parish this weekend and is going to use their own mission statement to talk to them about intentional discipleship."
3) Minutes later, another friend shared the story of another breakthrough:
You know God is at work when my crusty old pastor read (the book), and then on his own ,drops his copy in the mail to his buddy at a prominent parish with the words, "you must read this!" ...simply miraculous!
4) And to top it all off, a few minutes later, I received a personal letter from a very famous and highly respected Catholic figure who said:
"I'm writing you because I agree that this is the absolute #1 priority of the Church in America and throughout western civilization: they have been sacramentalized and institutionalized and even catechized without every having been evangelized! . . . Your book should be required reading for every pastor of every parish in the nation."
One of the continual mysteries of this work has been how God has faithfully blessed it and opened doors like the book, which from the beginning (when my publisher bought the as yet unwritten book in 24 hours) has been entirely an initiative of God and not my idea at all.
All I can say is "Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!