How can Catholics sway society?
By their ‘walk.’
HUNTINGTON, Indiana, March 25, 2013 – Jesus called his followers to strive for perfection, but is that possible in such an imperfect world? Was he exaggerating? Not according to Catholic convert, renowned speaker and author, Matthew Leonard. Jesus came to save us, “to help us toward sainthood, to get our mugs on a holy card so that we might join God’s divine family and the other saints in heaven.”
The bar is set high in the opening pages of his new book for contemporary Catholics on living well, now and later. “Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic” (Our Sunday Visitor, 2013) began to take shape when Leonard realized he wasn’t setting his own standard high enough.
After watching an interview with Hollywood legend, Andy Griffith – a Christian actor who expressed regret in the twilight of his life that he hadn’t been more useful to God – Leonard was left stone-cold in his own self-assessment. He knew he needed to change. So he followed the lead of the Church and looked at heroes of the Faith to discover the true art of Catholic living.
“Because we tend to focus on their highlight reels, it’s easy to forget that saints – like Peter, Paul Augustine, Therese, and others – were real people,” says Leonard. They battled the same things we do: career pressures, hot tempers, irresistible temptation, impatience, disgust, and the desire to just be left alone. Ultimately, through grace they triumphed over themselves for love of God, and the good of others.
“Saints are game-changers,” states Leonard. “And let’s be honest, the game is in need of change.”
Catholics have lost sight of who they are, says Leonard. More than a billion strong, Catholics are often indistinguishable from the rest of humanity. Their beliefs don’t seem to affect their behavior. “We’re called to evangelize others, but what’s making us or our message stand out?”
“It’s no secret actions speak louder than words,” says Leonard. “And you don’t have to be a mystic or possess extraordinary gifts to become a neon sign that points to Christ.” Full of wry wit and engaging stories, Louder Than Words chronicles ways Catholics can proactively humanize their faith, making it authentic, powerful, and contagious, attractive to even the most cynical.
Leonard encourages Catholics to ‘be real’ in approaching others, to meet people where they are, to love them regardless of their sin, to inconvenience themselves for another’s benefit, to familiarize themselves with Scripture, to be in union with God at Mass as often as possible, and to develop a deep prayer life while keeping an eye on life’s ultimate end.
“The story of our lives has a final chapter with the possibility of a perfect ending,” says Leonard. “The goal is to cut through all the distractions of this world and connect with a God who loves us more than we can possibly imagine, who wants nothing more than to guide us to an eternal destiny that will blow our minds.”
“We all need help to grow spiritually, especially when it comes to cultivating a life of prayer and holiness; only then will we have a living faith to share with others. This is the key both to spiritual growth and the New Evangelization. In this book, Matt Leonard shows us the way. Full of biblical wisdom and practical insight, readers will be inspired and challenged to grow, and then motivated and empowered to go forth.”
-- Scott Hahn, author, speaker, and Professor of Scripture and Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville
“It takes a skilled communicator to connect with a modern reader on both intellectual and emotional levels, and in Louder than Words, Matthew Leonard does just that. Leonard knows the Catholic faith and, even more impressively, he knows how to articulate it in a way few others can. The truth shared within these pages is so effective specifically because it offers clarity to a culture steeped in confusion.”
-- Mark Hart, Best-selling author and Catholic speaker, Executive Vice President, Life Teen International
||Our Sunday Visitor
||208 Pages, Paperback
The world’s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Benedict XVI, children’s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute. For more information, visit www.osv.com
Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic
1. Tell us a bit about your own interior turning point, in realizing you needed to do more yourself to live as God would want.
2. What about your conversion to Catholicism? You were raised as the son of a pastor. What brought you to the threshold of the Catholic Church?
3. You’ve been Catholic about 15 years and this is your first book. Most converts start their writing career with their conversion story. This is a little different. Why did you write this book?
4. Is there a difference between how you approach evangelization as a Catholic as compared to when you were Protestant?
5. What can we learn from the saints being people just like we are - flawed, stressed, and too habit-ridden - to help change how we live our lives?
6. So here’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question: what do we need to do as well-meaning Catholics to really effect a tidal change in society?
7. So living out our faith is primary, but should we talk about religion and politics in social settings? If so, how exactly?
8. The point of your book seems to be that we need to make faith relevant to modern society. If we can do that, we can get people to turn a new corner, to take notice of Catholicism and what it espouses, and to change. That’s a tall task….can we really do it?
About The Author
Matthew Leonard is an internationally renowned speaker and author, and is Executive Director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, an organization founded by Dr. Scott Hahn, in Steubenville, Ohio.
A convert to Catholicism and former missionary to Latin America, Matthew has been a guest on numerous radio and TV programs. Focusing on Scripture and the teachings of the spiritual greats of the Church, Matthew emphasizes deep prayer and the interior life for inspiringCatholics to strive toward sainthood. He is a featured speaker at conferences, parish missions, and retreats, and leads “Journey Through Scripture”, the St. Paul Center’s parish-based Bible study program.
He earned a Master’s degree in Theology from Franciscan University.
Matthew and his wife, Veronica, have four children and live in Ohio. More information is at www.MatthewSLeonard.com.