US Catholic Faith in Real Life

USC Book Club: 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness

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March 2013:

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness: Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul

By Joe Paprocki


In the contemporary dualism that sees spirituality as distinct from religion, Joe Paprocki admits that Christianity is too often confined to the latter and considered “less as a spiritual path and more as a code of ethics.” In his compact book, Paprocki offers seven deceptively simple keys to recovering the rich spirituality of the Christian faith. The keys correspond to unexpected questions, such as “Who is your court jester?”, “What is your dream vacation spot?”, and “What gives you heartburn?”

Signaling a departure from the ego-stroking found in most contemporary self-help books, Paprocki instead insists first on the importance of humility and offers this mantra: “It’s not all about you.” Honest as a physician and compassionate as a true friend, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness is a book worth having on call.

Meghan Murphy-Gill, Associate Editor, U.S. Catholic

Loyola Press says: Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic tradition. He identifies seven strategies for achieving spiritual wellness and seven persistent dangers to our spiritual well-being.

Paperback: $12.95

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General Book Club guidelines

Questions for Discussion


1. How do you define spirituality?

2. What is Christian spirituality?

3. What do you currently do to maintain spiritual wellness?

Chapter One: Seeing Yourself as You Really Are

4. Who in your life plays the role of the court jester? Who keeps you humble?

5. What are recent examples of celebrities or athletes “tooting their own horns”?

6. Why are spiritual wellness and tooting your own horn incompatible?

7. How does gratitude help us to practice humility?

8. Who are examples of humility from Scripture, and how can we emulate them?

Chapter Two: Actively Seeking the Good of Others

9. What do you most fear losing?

10. What prevents you from actively seeking the good of others?

11. To whom do you most often compare yourself?

12. What situations cause you to compare yourself?

13. What situations cause you to compare yourself with others?

14. What can we learn from the examples of St. Paul, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, and Mother Teresa with regards to “playing by the new rules” of Jesus?

Chapter Three: Thinking Before Acting

15. What is some good advice for discerning when under fire?

16. Who are your “lifelines?” e.g. who do you turn to for help when discerning?

17. How do you understand the notion of God’s anger?

18. How can anger be a good thing?

19. What does it mean to you to “wear the helmet of salvation”? (Eph 6:17)

Chapter Four: Holding on Loosely

20. What security object did you hold onto when you were a child?

21. What adult security blankets do we sometimes turn to?

22. What does it mean to be a steward of God’s creation?

23. How can the Lord’s Prayer be considered our “declaration of dependence”?

Chapter Five: Recognizing and Setting Limits

24. What are some events in life that “take the bite” out of us and cause us to develop a spiritual itch?

25. What are some of the most prevalent ways that people today try to “scratch” their spiritual itches? What way do you turn to?

26. How can we identify when a behavior has become excessive (become an addiction)?

27. What advice is there for “scratching the itch the right way?” Which suggestion resonates most with you?

Chapter Six: Seeking Beauty

28. What is your dream vacation spot? What is most beautiful about this place?

29. Where and how do you experience transcendence?

30. What biases does our contemporary culture have against beauty?

31. How can focusing on the notion of God as Beauty aid us in our spirituality?

32. What does it mean to fall in love with God?

Chapter Seven: Unleashing Your Imagination

33. What sparks a fire in your heart? What stokes your imagination?

34. Which of the following is the biggest challenge to you: Indifference? Distraction? Cynicism? Relativism?

35. Who is the most imaginative person you know personally?

36. What are some of the forms of expression in the language of the soul (imagination)? Which one most resonates with your experience?

37. What are some concrete ways to “light the fire of imagination”? Which suggestions are your favorites?


38. What does the story of Frank Abignale Jr. (from the movie Catch Me If You Can) teach us about healthy spirituality and holiness?

39. What traditional Catholic teachings (doctrinal formulae) are at the heart of this book?

40. What evidence do you see that supports the notion that people today are hungry for spirituality?