Resources on the Identity of the Catholic Communicator

A few articles I’ve run into lately have helped me to reflect further on the challenges we face as Catholic communicators in today’s world: as artist, artisan, evangelizer, apostle, communicator of Christ, entrepreneur. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

The Death of the Artist and Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur by William Deresiewicz, posted on the Atlantic’s website, is a thought-provoking article about how the role of the artist has radically changed again in our society…and may now be disappearing. It traces the development of the role of the artist in society, but my favorite part is the author’s perspective on how artists today are being challenged to go wide and not deep, to be entrepreneurs rather than artists. His perspective is either/or; I’m not certain that it needs to be so black and white. Nonetheless, if you have felt challenged as a writer or artist to promote your own work, you will greatly appreciate this article as I did.

I found the article as part of the invitation to the next Thought/Bar Series, presented by the LAFSC in Los Angeles on March 23. If I lived in Los Angeles, I would attend because it looks so intriguing: Risk and Courage: the Filmmaker as Artist and Creative Entrepreneur (RSVP required.)

Another interesting article is by CatholicMom.com’s Lisa Hendey, The Blogosphere as Mission Field: Catholic Women on the Web Transform What Women’s Leadership Means. Lisa explores how she has experienced the “feminine genius” first highlighted by St. John Paul II in the work of several women who are dedicated to the New Evangelization.

Finally, all kinds of lovely resources for Lent have been made available online. One of my favorites is the series of youtube videos put together by my own community for each week of Lent. They combine just a few prayerful lines with religious images that help us reflect on and concretize the week’s spiritual step on the Lenten journey. Here is the video from week 5, available at www.visit.pauline.org/ifollowlight:

Update on #SoulofChrist Book Tour & Other Miscellany

St. Edward's Parish in Newark, CA

St. Edward’s Parish in Newark, CA

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph! (Click here for a quick spiritual take on what we can learn from St. Joseph–after you click, read pages 9-12.)

The first stage of my book tour for Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer is now completed! Since November, I’ve been making frequent trips around the USA and Canada to our various Pauline Book & Media Centers: Toronto, Chicago, Redwood City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Saint Louis. I should have kept a running count from my trips of all the people I’ve met who have read, are reading, or will soon read Soul of Christ, but it’s easily in the area of 500-600 people. In addition, I’ve tried to reach out through Catholic radio–and I’ve been impressed with the dedication of the Catholic radio producers that I’ve spoken with! (Spirit Catholic Radio in Nebraska, Radio Maria’s Community in Concert in Toronto, Relevant Radio–both the Morning Air and Wendy Wiese’s On Call shows, Covenant Radio in St. Louis, and Salt + Light Radio).

At Pauline Books & Media in St. Louis, MO

At Pauline Books & Media in St. Louis, MO

displayinRedwoodCityctr

Most of my books on display at PBM in Redwood City, CA

 

 

 

The entire experience has been filled with grace, as I’ve witnessed so many people’s tremendous love for our Eucharistic Lord, and their excitement to deepen their Eucharistic amazement and love with the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ prayer).

The Goodreads Giveaway that I ran for one week back in February also worked out well, even with the confusion of the first three days where people couldn’t find the giveaway–looking for it on the wrong book. In the end, almost 400 people requested the book–and I had the joy of sending out the book to the three people who won! That was exciting, and I can’t wait to hear their feedback.

Leading Eucharistic adoration at the retreat at our PBM Center in Chicago, IL

Leading Eucharistic adoration during the See Yourself Through God’s Eyes Advent Women’s Retreat at our PBM Center in Chicago, IL

For the next three months, I’ll focus on the apostolic writing I’ve let slide during my travels. My inner introvert is very happy about getting back to writing–rather than talking about writing! This also means that I can be more active online–blogging here at least once a week, more present on Twitter, etc. I’ve run into some good articles and resources on various aspects of writing, which I hope to share in the near future.

Soul of Christ Book Tour Continues

I’ve eagerly started and re-started two blog posts for this blog in the past couple of weeks, but with the last stage of my traveling book tour coming up fast, I haven’t completed any of them. Thank you for your patience with me! When I return from my trip in mid-March, I am looking forward to picking up my blog here. I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of reading on communication spirituality, and have lots to share…

Until then, if you are in the St. Louis, MO, area or listen to Relevant Radio, I’d love to connect with you! (I’ll be on Wendy Wiese’s show “On Call” on Relevant Radio on Thursday, March 12th, from 1-1:30 PM CST, talking about media, faith, and families.)

Soul of ChristflyerStLouis

 

Seeing a Movie for Valentine’s Day?

LoveisOldFashionedIf you’re planning to see a movie for Valentine’s Day tonight or this weekend, I encourage you to pick one that doesn’t involve the color gray but represents the true color spectrum that God intends for us.

In theaters right now, Old Fashioned is an independent romantic comedy that doesn’t get everything right, but has some intriguing character development and a strong ending. Above all, it explores what true romantic love can look like in the context of today’s society of wounded young adults. For a fuller commentary, visit the Pauline.org Blog.  If you are interested in an eclectic collection of worthwhile romantic films, look no further than the list of  Theology of the Body ‘s popular expert speaker, Sr. Helena Burns, fsp: Show Me Real Love: Romantic Movies Worth Watching.

And if you can, say some extra prayers this weekend: pray in reparation for those who have produced, promoted, or are going to see the gray film that objectifies women and glamorizes abuse; pray for the healing of the minds and hearts of those who watch it, and pray also for those who have or are suffering from an abusive relationship, that they will have the courage and wisdom to seek the help that they need to stay safe.

Brilliant Must-Read for Writers: The Art of Spiritual Writing

ArtofSpirWritingcoverMy current favorite book on writing is The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life by Vinita Hampton Wright. So I was really excited when I saw the cover for her newest book, The Art of Spiritual Writing: How to Craft Prose That Engages and Inspires Your Readers. I decided to give myself the treat of reading her book while I was on my California #SoulofChrist book tour, and I have not been disappointed!

The Art of Spiritual Writing is really a manual for Christian and Catholic writers that focuses on the craft of writing, listening to one’s audience, nurturing one’s self as a writer delving into (and sometimes wrestling with) spirituality, and the vocation to write about spirituality, but all from the unique needs and challenges of someone writing about spirituality who feels called to communicate the Truth. I truly wish this book had been available fifteen years ago when I was writing my first book; it would have been invaluable for me.

The Art of Spiritual Writing is a huge service for beginning writers, or writers whose skill is just blossoming to the point that they can begin to think about publishing, because it addresses the issues of craft, audience, and nurturing the writer that are unique to writing faith-based content. (If you are writing a spiritual memoir, this is essential reading!) This book will help one to avoid the typical pitfalls of beginning writers, especially those who are convinced of the urgency of the New Evangelization.

Unfortunately, many Catholic and Christian writers (as well as artists, filmmakers, musicians), feel that their mission to write supersedes the need for quality in their art. Vinita addresses this brilliantly, persuasively, and succinctly. The Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione, used to tell us Daughters of Saint Paul that the “form” of the media that we create needs to be worthy of the Truth which they contain. But so many writers assume that because they want to convey the truth, they don’t need to put in the immense amount of effort that it takes to hone their craft, making their manuscript publishable. Vinita not only calls out these issues, explaining why it’s so important to address them before submitting your manuscript (and in some cases, before even thinking about publication), she also explains how to address them. The chapter about the difference between writing for one’s self and writing for publication needs to be read by every writer who submits a manuscript or proposal to a Catholic publisher!

But this book is extraordinarily helpful even for those writers well-established in the field of spirituality. Although I skimmed several chapters rather quickly because of my experience in publishing, I found at least half of the book invaluable for writers at any level of experience, including myself. All of her reflections on the following topics really hit home for me personally:

* our mission to authentically communicate the truth

* the need to write with humility (humility being an essential virtue for spiritual writers today),

* the special care needed for someone who writes in the area of spirituality

The Art of Spiritual Writing is completely different from Wright’s The Soul Tells a Story, which really focuses on how to develop and nurture your creative process. While The Art gives some brief helpful tips about nurturing your creativity, it mostly covers different areas. Indeed, if you have these two books in your writer’s library, then you simply need a grammar guide, a couple of books on writing craft, and a book on marketing, and you’d have what you need for a beginner’s writing reference library.

The Art of Spiritual Writing is also a carefully honed, crafted book that exemplifies its message. This is a brilliant book for writers that I highly recommend!

Praying for Ongoing Conversion with Saint Paul

Continuing the Pauline feast days–today is the feast of Saints Titus and Timothy, renowned followers of Saint Paul–I wanted to share the video that Sr. Elizabeth Tebo created for yesterday’s feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Although Sunday’s liturgy “trumped” the Conversion, we members of the Pauline Family in Redwood City celebrated Saint Paul’s Conversion by making an hour of adoration, asking for the grace of living in ongoing conversion! We also prayed for Saint Paul’s intercession to help convert our continent’s “culture of death” into a “culture of life” as we concluded the 9 Days for Life Novena.