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We are living in a post-Christian culture. We have lost sight of our reason for being. God has been eclipsed from our culture and we are left to our own devices to answer the really big questions of life:

Why am I here?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?

Lacking a moral compass, our culture has become a collection of self-serving mini-gods, with each individual determining what is right and wrong. Life has no purpose so do whatever you like, as long as no one gets hurt. Sadly, many people are left wounded by this culture of power, pleasure-seeking, and money. The prevailing emotions are hopelessness and despair.

Fr. John Riccardo in his new book Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel contends that a biblical worldview is required to answer the important questions of life. The book succinctly tells “the story” of God’s determination to get His world back through the radical gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. This book will help you to move from head knowledge of the gospel story to a radical transformation of your heart.

To gain this biblical vision of our world, Fr. Riccardo says “we must ask the fundamental questions: Who is God? Why did he make everything? Why is it all messed up? What, if anything, has he done about it?[2] The kerygma, or the proclamation of the gospel, answers these fundamental questions. Unfortunately, we have lost an understanding of “the incredible, life-changing proclamation of what God has done for us in Jesus.”[3] In knowing and understanding the explosive, life-changing story of gospel, life now has meaning, work has meaning, marriage has meaning, and even suffering has meaning.

In response to God’s life-changing work in our lives, Fr. Riccardo lays out the part we can play in recreating the world according to God’s magnificent plan. As part of this plan, God has created two things: marriage and the Church. The family is the foundation of this plan and the love of husband and wife in marriage is to image God himself in the Trinity, a community of love. St. John Paul II called the family the “domestic church” and our mission is to show God’s love to our spouse, any children we may have, our neighborhood, community, and the world.

Using an example of his parents’ lives, Fr. Riccardo’s maternal grandfather abandoned his family causing incredible wounds and pain. “The abandonment was so painful that my mom didn’t speak to my grandfather for many years…[and] didn’t invite him to her wedding.”[4] Fr. Riccardo’s dad knew of these wounds when they married and it “took many years and a lot of work on my father’s part to facilitate healing and reconciliation between my mom and her father.” His mom even cared for her father in the last years of his life.

Part of the husband and wife’s mission in marriage is to bring healing to each other’s woundedness. Fr. Riccardo said that although his father was a successful business man, his priorities in life were “God, family, and work.”[5] He recalls a situation where…

…my dad was in negotiations to save his company, and he had out-of-town meetings every day. It would have been easier for him to stay out of town, but he didn’t. Instead, every single night, Dad flew home after exhausting meetings, woke up early the next morning, prayed, and then got on a plane to do it all over again. He did this for over a month, and he did it for one reason: to be with my mom every night so that her abandonment wounds wouldn’t be broken open again.[6]

This is just one example of the extraordinary love that his dad had for his mother. Fr. Riccardo’s dad passed away a few years before his mom, after 66 years of marriage. At his funeral…

Mom said something that I will never forget. Everyone had been seated, except Mom and me. She was in her wheelchair, looking at my dad’s casket, and she said, to no one but Dad, “Honey, because of you, I know who God is.”

Because of his kindness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity, compassion, long-suffering, and especially love, he made God tangible and present to my mother. Increasingly, ever since I heard those words a number of years ago, I’ve thought, “That’s the single point of marriage. [7] [emphasis added]

This is our task in helping God get His world back, it starts with our marriages and families. We need to bring our marriages into alignment with God’s plan, to give living witness to a world in darkness to the love of God for His children. We are called to “make God tangible and present to others, one action and one day at a time.”[8]

Fr. Riccardo ends his book with the reminder that “the gospel is power, that lives can change. Obstacles that seem insurmountable can be removed, and things that seem impossible can happen.”[9] God is sending us on mission to tell the good news of the transforming love of Jesus Christ. “He wants us to tell others about him and to live as active agents of transforming the world, doing what we can to turn it upside down.”[10] Let the Holy Spirit use you in bringing about this transformation in your marriage, family, neighborhood, and the world.

[1] John Riccardo, Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary New of the Gospel (Maryland: The Word Among Us Press, 2020), 11.

[2] Ibid., 17.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 174.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 174-175.

[7] Ibid., 175.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., 177.

[10] Ibid., 179.