Such is the case with a woman I am privileged to count as a friend, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. I first met Donna-Marie when I was but a lowly, first-time author with absolutely no idea how to promote my new book Faith at Work. Donna-Marie’s gracious intercession and encouragement during this time period was, and has been ever since, a tremendous witness of Christian charity in action. She’s the real deal.
Well, this real deal has a new book out, The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross. If you’ve ever had a cross to carry in your life (and who hasn’t?) this book will help put your struggles into perspective – and give you hope.
You see, back in 2011 when we first met, what I perceived in Donna-Marie was a warm, friendly individual who seemed to radiate Christian charity and holiness. In some ways, I suppose, I also saw her as a truly professional author, a quasi-celebrity even, who had written a bunch of books, appeared in her own EWTN television series, and who really had it all together. The image in my mind was sort of like the ultra-successful cousin you haven’t seen in years but hear has founded a successful tech firm, lives in a mansion and drives a Ferrari to the grocery store. Oh, and gives millions to support the poor and attends daily Mass with nigh unheard of reverence. Yeah, sort of like that.
I have actually been waiting for this particular book to hit the shelves for months, since Donna-Marie sent me the original manuscript some time ago. In re-reading the book now, it resonates in a special way, having just completed the manuscript for my own second book. In Donna-Marie’s case, she was often the victim of circumstance, and more often than not, relationships gone bad. In my case, I was more a victim of my own stupidity and hard-headedness (and hard-heartedness). Yet in both cases, God used our struggles to draw our hearts to Himself.
In becoming Catholic many years ago, I recognized that faith doesn’t make life easier. In fact, it’s often quite the contrary. However, our faith does give purpose to the struggles. No struggles, no growth. No growth, no holiness. No holiness, no heaven. This is how a Cross can be beautiful, even though that seems completely counterintuitive.
Since our initial interactions several years ago, I have had the pleasure of hanging out with Donna-Marie in person on a couple occasions and can attest that she truly is well on her way to sainthood. Maybe her personal friendship with Mother Teresa (another fascinating element of her story) helped her along. Maybe she has other saints in heaven praying for her (Fr. John Hardon, perhaps?) No matter what the case, you will be blessed by reading The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross. Order this book in bulk, you’re going to want extra copies to pass along to friends. By God’s grace, they can be made holy too.