Book Review – The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work
By Randy Hain
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
Liguori Publications, Liguori, Missouri
160 pages, Paperback $9.99 (Amazon).
Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, freelance writer, wife and mother, graduate student in theology, retired educator, psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.
The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work by Randy Hain is a wonderful treasure chest of tips and practical suggestions for Catholic professionals, which enables them to bring the power of their faith into all aspects of their daily life. Author Randy Hain, the partner in an executive recruiting firm and co-founder of the site An Integrated Catholic Life, shares the secrets of living a balanced life and serves as a spiritual mentor, guiding us along the path to live holier lives by applying Catholic principles in the office.
In The Catholic Briefcase, Hain shares his own conversion story, inspiring personal anecdotes, and the uplifting faith stories of business colleagues. He also interviews faithful and successful Catholic professionals who live out their faith in their lives to give us expert advice. When reading The Catholic Briefcase, you can not only expect to read about the faith journeys of other Catholics, but expect to reflect on and re-live your own faith journey. There are reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter to help you to examine your own faith life. Wherever you are at in your faith journey, you will find some good, solid advice on how to improve your relationship with God and how to integrate your Catholic faith into all aspects of your life.
Hain writes in a personal voice – that of a Catholic friend and mentor – who opens up the door to a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith. Providing practical, sound advice while countering common objections, Hain makes it easy to understand why we need live a more balanced life and explains precisely how to do so in simple steps through his very down-to-earth, commonsense approach. His writing style is direct and business-like, yet interesting and inspiring. The Catholic Briefcase captured my interest from the very first page and held it throughout. It was so hope-filled – it nurtured and renewed my inner spirit. It is the perfect antidote for anyone whose faith life needs a lift. At less than 200 pages, organized into easy-to- read, concise chapters, The Catholic Briefcase is a quick read. Two features of this book that were particularly appealing to me include: the wonderful discussion on Catholic networking and social media, as well as the useful appendices which provide additional spiritual guidance to the working person, e.g. “A Road Map for Building a Catholic Business Group” and the “Daily Examen for Busy Business People” adapted from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
The Catholic Briefcase is a must read for all Catholic adults who desire to lead holy, balanced, and integrated lives. I believe it would be a particularly valuable tool for: adult education groups, marriage encounter groups, professional/business groups, Catholic networking groups, job support groups, and those involved in career ministries, job counseling, and marriage counseling. I highly recommend it.
~ copyright Jean M. Heimann January, 2012