WASHINGTON (CNS) — For Kathryn Jean Lopez, her new book “A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living” is a comprehensive collection of prayers that offer love, support and guidance to withstand the world’s challenges.
“Wherever you are, you can take some time to get to know God better, which is really my prayer for this book, that it essentially helps people and helps them to respond to God’s will for them, ” Lopez said.
Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and a nationally syndicated columnist.
Lopez’s 365-page book contains short daily meditations and prayers that require readers to carve out a few minutes of each day. Lopez pulled inspiration from her colleague Gary Jansen’s book titled “The 15-Minute Prayer Solution.” In the book, Jansen mentions that 15 minutes equates to only 1% of the day.
“I can give God at least 1% of my day to exclusively focus on God,” Lopez told Catholic News Service.
She understands, however, that setting aside specific time for prayer and reflection is challenging, especially for mothers with young children whose quiet and alone time may be extremely limited.
Lopez believes that committing to at least 15 minutes of prayer each day is possible, although it may require some dedication and experimentation.
“Maybe at the beginning of the day is the best time, maybe waking up 15 minutes earlier just so you have those 15 minutes before you have to prepare breakfast or get out the door. Everybody can do 15 minutes,” Lopez said.
Lopez noted that she intended to make the book user-friendly to accommodate the busyness of everyday life while prioritizing prayer. The book’s approach is to provide “bite-sized pieces” of the fruits offered by the numerous saints and other holy figures featured in the book.
“I don’t want anyone to feel pressured by this book. There should just be joy. Do with it as the spirit leads you. Do what you feel comfortable with,” Lopez said.
Lopez considers her book as a type of love story because it is centered around God’s love for all being made more intimately known. She stated that this is key so that God’s love can radiate within people’s lives.
The passages in the book, she said, are filled with a real, deep love that she describes as a “magnetic force that draws you deeper into the life of the Trinity.”
One of the temptations that interfere with getting to know and understand God’s love is the large amount of noise surrounding us, according to Lopez.
“Some of it is self-inflicted, and some of it isn’t. We’re almost addicted to noise, and that can’t be healthy for us. It’s definitely not good for the soul. We do need some time for silence,” Lopez said.
Lopez believes that as the reader spends more time with the content in the book, he or she might find a greater desire to spend more time with God in prayer and in other ways, such as going to Mass during the week. She said that these are steps to a deeper prayer life, and ultimately, a more integrated life where God is part of our entire day.
“Everything we do, we do it with a deeper knowledge of God’s heart, and then the world doesn’t quite look the same. We certainly can’t act the way we did before we really knew his love with such depth,” Lopez said.
Lopez discussed how the book, published by Tan Books, has impacted the lives of others since its release in September.
She recalled the testimony a male colleague sent to her before he died of cancer in October. After receiving a copy, he wrote to Lopez and thanked her for the book and told how on several occasions it was helping his peace of mind. He said that God was showing him that there was nothing to be afraid of.
“If I’ve put this book together for him, thanks be to God,” Lopez said.
Additionally, Lopez mentioned that another reader uses the book’s meditations within her women’s group in the Baltimore area. Lopez is grateful for the book’s response, and she emphasized that people are hungry, and the book appears to be a resource for people and their spiritual needs.
Lopez explained the mystics she chose to feature in her book were a result of a lot of reading, prayer and a lifetime of being Catholic. She included well-known figures, such as St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Kolkata, because it represents sanctity.
“Sanctity is not something from the past. It’s not something that these remote people lived. It’s something that we’re all called to,” Lopez said.
Other additions include Father Donald Haggerty, a priest from the Archdiocese of New York, Mother Angelica, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Lopez said their doing was “fueled by the prayer that they never let go of.”
Lopez is certain that the book can reach people who are not necessarily practicing Catholics and invite them to open up and learn about the heart of the church.
If a person is at a place where he or she thinks there is likely something more in the world, Lopez said this book will help to open some doors. For people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, Lopez believes the book is perfect for them because it demonstrates the church in a personal and intimate way.
“You see the love within these meditations, yet there is suffering and there are struggles that are evident in the book. It’s real life, and it’s real life with the Trinity,” Lopez said.
“A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living” is available for purchase online and for download on mobile phones and the Kindle E-reader.