Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review: "A Willing Heart"

A Willing Heart: How to Serve When You Think You Can't
by Marci Alborghetti
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2011

What does it mean to practice Christian service? Do we really love Jesus if we ignore His frequent exhortation to service? How do we open ourselves to the God-given grace that makes service possible? These are the questions Marci Alborghetti sets out to answer in “A Willing Heart: How to Serve When You Think You Can’t.”

Jesus instructs us to “love our enemies.” How can we possibly love someone we don’t even like? Alborghetti states that “we must think of love as an act of will, an action we take and not a feeling that overwhelms us – a verb and not a noun. . . The best way to actually love is through service.” Alborghetti goes on to explore the many forms that service can take and ways to make it a natural part of life.

Service can (and should) be a family activity. Children who see their parents engaging in service will soon incorporate it into their own lives. Prayer is an important form of service in itself. An easy way to begin incorporating service into one’s life is to choose one person in need to pray for each day. Prayer also “strengthens and prepares us for active service.”

We need to allow God to choose who we serve. While we may have inclinations about where we would like to serve, “we must follow where God leads us when it comes to service, even when we are uncertain about the results or have no expectation.” God will both stretch our comfort zones as well as teach us valuable lessons. “No one is off-limits. We are not allowed to reject anyone.”

Alborghetti also discusses how to cope when we are tired and worn out by service. She acknowledges the need to rest from time to time, but emphasizes that God will provide the grace we need to persevere.

“A Willing Heart” is full of inspiration and practical advice. It will help readers progress in their ability and willingness to serve.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

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