Takeaway: One of the most inaccurate titles ever. Actually a series of letters to lay Christians working around the world.
This is a book that I picked up because it was free on Audible (I think it was given away to commemorate his death.) Obviously I did not get right to it. I stumble across it when looking back through my audio archives.
It is very short, just over 2 hours of audio (did not realize until now that it is an abridged audiobook). The full book is actually a collection of 150 letters (fairly short blog/newsletter length) that were written to the Secular Institutes. My understanding from the introduction is that these are people that live and work in the secular world, but take on vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Mostly they are lay people (not ordained) and unlike monks or nuns (which are also often not ordained) live alone outside of a community. I had never heard of this status before, but according to Wikipedia, there are about 60,000 people that live as ‘consecrated persons’.
These letters are a mix of basic instruction on how to live in and evangelize the world and encouragement for living a full, deep Christian life. There is actually a lot of good advice and biblical teaching. Part of it won’t make sense for most
Best quote was “If you have met Christ, proclaim it in the first person.” Other letters focus on devoting ourselves to proper teaching and using our intelligence to learn more about the faith so that we can better communicate to the world. One letter focused on Christians ‘being a herald of the newness of life in Christ’. Pope John Paul II then tells a short illustration about a faded sign having no purpose (clearly referencing Jesus parable of salt). I would not recommend running out and buying it. But if you see it in a used book store or find it free somewhere, I think it would be an interesting devotional.