How do ministers, whether lay or ordained, form their spiritual life? What practices do they need to foster in order to become good and to be holy in their service? To answer these questions, Richard Gula invites readers to think along with him about the kind of minister they want to be: "If we don't know where we want to go," he writes, "we will easily end up somewhere else." Gula then presents a variety of virtues?including gratitude, self-care, humor, and courage?and explains how developing these qualities is essential for a minister?s moral and spiritual life. By grounding a spirituality for pastoral ministry in the virtues, Gula provides a way for ministers to bridge the gap between who they are and who they hope to become in imitation of Christ Jesus.
Richard M. Gula, a Sulpician priest, has been involved in ministerial formation and seminary education for many years. He has become a popular lecturer and workshop presenter for pastoral ministers throughout the country. Gula is the author of several books on spirituality and the moral life: Moral Discernment, The Good Life, The Call to Holiness, and Just Ministry (all published by Paulist Press).
A key axiom of sound spirituality is: reflect, don't merely react. When we do this though, one of the results is an uncertainty that we may find disconcerting. However, it is at these very unstable moments in our life that we are given the opportunity to deepen spiritually and grow psychologically. Richard Gula in The Way of Goodness and Holiness helps us welcome these opportunities-not with ready-made answers but with wise guidance on how we can better live with these questions honestly and fruitfully. I like that kind of book.
Robert J. Wicks
Author of Prayerfulness: Awakening to the Fullness of Life
Professor, Loyola University Maryland
Richard Gula's The Way of Goodness and Holiness could not be more timely. With clarity, insight, sensitivity, and a welcome straightforwardness, Gula deftly explores the fundamental qualities of character that anyone ministering in the church should embody. In a text that is eminently readable, refreshingly practical, and unusually wise, Gula shows why the most authentic and effective ministers are those in whom virtues such as gratitude, humility, generosity, compassion, and not least of all, humor, shine. Moreover, by integrating morality and spirituality, Gula reminds us that ministering well is both more fulfilling and more challenging than we customarily think, precisely because it is a call to ongoing conversion. This book is a gift and a summons for anyone engaged in ministry today.
Paul J. Wadell
Professor of Religious Studies
St. Norbert College
De Pere, Wisconsin
The title of this volume captures two of its dimensions: it defines the way to goodness and holiness with rich descriptions of thirteen virtues, and charts the way with suggested steps to foster each. Rooted in a Trinitarian and Christological vision, and using the framework of the components of formation familiar today (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral), Richard Gula draws upon varied sources to enrich his exploration: Scripture (sometimes with fresh interpretations), tradition, and insights from literature, psychology, and contemporary writers from varied fields. With keen observations about contemporary cultural realities and psychological insight he realistically assesses the difficulties inherent in growing in virtue today. A valuable resource for those who wish to be more intentional about growth in goodness and holiness.
Professor of Pastoral Theology
[The Way of Goodness and Holiness] is engaging and enlivening and reminds pastoral ministers of the inclusive nature of the reign of God that Jesus announced.
Barbara J. Fleischer, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Pastoral Studies, Loyola Institute for Ministry, Loyola University, New Orleans
Father Richard Gula's book, The Way of Goodness and Holiness, is not a manual or how-to book of spirituality for pastoral ministers. Instead, he provokes the hearts and souls of pastoral ministers. He persuasively insists that they embrace fully the life in God that they proclaim and serve in others.
Reverend Louis J. Cameli
Cardinal's Delegate for Formation and Mission
Archdiocese of Chicago
What a splendid job Richard Gula has done in closing the gap between moral theology and spiritual theology. His key is the pursuit of virtue by which we become both good and holy. This book is of such importance that lay ministers, religious, and clergy-at whatever stage of formation or ongoing formation-will recognize that The Way of Goodness and Holiness is required reading. Indeed anyone who wants to understand how morality and spirituality inform one another should take note of Gula's extraordinary achievement.
Editor, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality
Father Richard Gula's The Way of Goodness and Holiness is a wonderful invitation for ministers-whether ordained or lay-to reflect on just what kind of minister they want to be. A veteran moral theologian, Gula bridges the gap between ethics and spirituality by grounding a spirituality of pastoral ministry in the virtues. He suggests that developing and cultivating these qualities-including gratitude, humility, generosity, compassion, and humor-make us more effective and authentic ministers. This is not a `how to' book or manual, but one that provides wise guidance for reflection in a very accessible style. This book is a great source of information-and inspiration-for all who minister in the church, as well as a great resource for formation for ministry programs.
Rev. John Molyneux, CMF, Editor, U.S. Catholic
Christianity is not a set of doctrines, but a way of life. How that life may be nourished is the subject of Gula's book. A veteran ethicist, Father Gula combines the best insights of virtue ethics with classical Christian spirituality. This work will repay anyone who is serious about the one who says, 'I am the way.'
Lawrence S. Cunningham
John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology
The University of Notre Dame