As the Synod on the Family continues in Rome, Catholic families around the world are refocusing on the importance of transmitting the faith in a vibrant, intentional way at home. At this particular moment in history, spiritual leadership and growth in holiness within the family really demands our attention as sons and daughters of the Church, and as spouses and parents within our families.
If there is one thing I’ve discovered as a Catholic wife and mother of six children, it’s this: there are no prescriptions for holiness. When I started reading Katie Warner’s new book Head and Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders For Your Family, I quickly realized that rather than a book that attempts to instruct the world on how to be holy, it was written as a handbook for Katie’s own family, in the hopes of inspiring other families to take their own unique steps to grow in spiritual leadership as well. She set to work to discover what good spiritual leadership actually entails, and through her research, which consisted in reviewing the teachings of the Church, consulting scriptural wisdom, and interviewing men and women who strive to live vibrant faith lives, Warner composed a manual of best practices for Catholic families desiring to become the spiritual heads and hearts of their homes.
Head & Heart outlines for readers the seven characteristics of strong spiritual leaders. These characteristics include things like possessing a strong marriage, prioritizing prayer, and taking up personal crosses. Each chapter fleshes out a particular characteristic of the spiritual leader and illustrates what these characteristics look like through specific examples from Catholic husbands and wives today. Finally, the chapters conclude with leadership action steps for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced family.
Warner’s book is chalk full of information and tips for anyone looking to grow into their role as a spiritual leader, especially young or newly married couples. As Katie mentions early on in the book, it would be impossible to implement all of the suggestions presented, so readers are given the chance to be selective in choosing ones that will work with their particular family. To grow a strong Catholic culture within a family effectively, it would also be helpful for both partners to implement the strategies suggested.
The truth is, a commitment to family is especially needed today. Civil law is redefining the nature of marriage and parents must constantly combat a rancid culture content to destroy traditional family values. For husbands and wives who desire to nurture authentically Catholic family systems today, Warner’s new book is most definitely a helpful tool in aiding parents to become stronger spiritual leaders in their homes. I think the world could use those kinds of leaders the most.
Note to reader: Visit CatholicKatie.com for several free supplemental resources that accompany the book, Head & Heart. Follow Katie online for additional spiritual leadership resources during the Synod.