Michael Yankoski. The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice—-How Contemplating Applies, Living in a Cave, and Befriending a Dying Woman Revived My Life. Nashville: W Publishing Group (An Imprint of Thomas Nelson), 2014.
Michael Yankoski was feeling empty as a Christian motivational speaker, even though his friends told him that they were jealous of him because he was making a difference. The last straw for Michael came when he was at a Christian conference, and the featured Christian comedian was someone who had earlier acted obnoxiously on the plane Michael was on. Michael also saw a heated argument between a band’s manager and the organizers of the Christian conference. Michael retreated to a monastery in search of answers.
Michael would meet with Father Solomon. The book hooked me on page 12. Father Solomon was about to suggest to Michael some spiritual practices, and Michael was initially skeptical. Michael said: “Most days I have a hard enough time just keeping my head above water, and, to be honest, I don’t have the strength to try and make God love me or even like me.” Father Solomon assured Michael that God already loved him, and that spiritual practices were a way for people to become more receptive to God. That started Michael on an adventure.
The Sacred Year covers a lot of territory: slowing down to observe one’s surroundings, prayer that breathes in the words of Scripture rather than analyzing them, Sabbath, finding wholeness in nature, God’s wrath and love, social justice and how our consumption may be on the backs of the oppressed, gratitude, service, and living in community. In my opinion, the best parts of the book were Michael’s stories. I especially liked the story about Michael’s interaction with Virgil, a man who had lost his wife and sister and now felt lonely, even though he could come and go as he pleased. Michael at first did not want to have a conversation with this stranger, but he decided to listen to Virgil’s story.
How many of the suggested practices in The Sacred Year I will put into practice, I do not know. I do, however, feel that reading this book was rewarding.
Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/) book review bloggers program. The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.