You meet the nicest people while blogging.

A great example of this happened just recently. After posting the last installment of my Workplace Witnesses article, I received a very gracious note from a reader who said she liked the section on freewill. She offered to send me her book that deals, among other things, with this topic. I wrote back, and offered to reciprocate.

Turns out it was a great trade.

The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church is a fantastic book. If you have anyone in your life who has left the Church, you need to get a copy. If you don’t have anyone in your life who has left the Church, you need to get a copy. This book is a gift to its readers… and throughout, I was struck by how the author’s voice was warm, almost familiar. By the time I was done reading, I had come to think of her as a sister.

Of course, that was easier since the author is a Sister, namely Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble. A former atheist with a terrific reversion story, she weaves personal anecdotes throughout the book, resulting in a powerful, resonant, and memorable read. Oh, she also blogs – see Pursued by Truth at Patheos. It’s awesome!

Among the themes that Sr. Theresa Aletheia writes about is the foundation of humility – in fact, it’s the title of the second chapter. I was completely blown away by Sister’s ability to treat this subject so effectively, while maintaining a spirit of gentleness throughout. She speaks often of the foundational nature of the virtue, something I have attempted to write about many times in the past, but not nearly as persuasively. In a spirit of full disclosure, I also suspect that Sister is better at living this foundational virtue…

Other chapters deal with topics such as balancing truth and love, accepting doubt and embracing doubters,  the power of suffering, and yes… freewill. Each chapter contains at least one illustrative story, insightful analysis, practical suggestions and wraps up by relating the topic back to the timeless parable of the prodigal son. When I finished the book, I wanted to keep reading. There’s always the blog, I suppose.

If you’re looking for inspiration and encouragement – especially if a loved one is away from the Church at present – this book will help. Thank you, Sr. Theresa Aletheia – from all of us who long for our loved ones to come home.