US Catholic Faith in Real Life

On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men

By Alfred J. Garrotto | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men by Father Richard Rohr (Loyola Press, 2010)

Something has gone terribly wrong when a Catholic parish with wise leadership, vibrant liturgies, consistently challenging homilies, and more than 60 active lay ministries reports a weekly attendance of 20-25 percent of registered parishioners. In On the Threshold of Transformation, Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, offers the clearest connect-the-dots reasons yet for our current Roman Catholic ennui: absence of a focused male spirituality and disinterest among church leaders for encouraging men to develop their unique inner lives.

His solution? Churches must "validate, encourage, structure, and teach men an inner life." What is at stake if churches continue to stand on the sidelines and simply watch as disenfranchised men drift away? Rohr's high-alert warning is, "I'm not sure what the church's reason for continued existence might be."

For generations, traditional parish ministry has promoted a unisex spirituality, one designed even to meet women's needs better than men's. Rohr has made it a central work of his ministry to identify men's particular spiritual needs.

In his latest book, he draws a year-long roadmap of one-page meditations, challenges, and journaling prompts that free men to honor their distinctly male way of being with God. On Day 363, he offers a summary statement: "At the heart of male spirituality is the knowledge that we are imperfect, that we come to God not by doing it right, but ironically and wonderfully by doing it wrong!"

In a grave assessment of parishes' failure to promote male spirituality, he says, "More transformation is taking place . . . with things like 12-step meetings, than in Sunday morning sanctuaries."

On the Threshold of Transformation is a book that needs to be in the hands of every Catholic priest and every adult male parishioner—now. We can only hope it is not too late.