Now through Sunday 2/27/22, my retreat book is free to download. Give it a look, and please share the good news. Thanks!
If you’ve been looking for ways to cut ninety-nine cents from your book budget, Lord You Know I Love You! is free to download now through this coming Sunday evening (expires midnight PST). Since e-books aren’t that easy to thumb through, below I’ll lay out what’s inside and how to use it.
Please share the sale info ASAP (if you’re reading this in your inbox you can just forward the e-mail) with your book club members, your retreat planning committee, your ministry group that wants to do a group discernment process this summer, etc., so that they already have the free version even if you aren’t intending to use it until much later.
I mean yeah, sure, I’ll skim some coffee money off you if you that’s the way you want to live. But otherwise, just go grab it while it’s free.
If you’re intimidated because you’ve never used a Kindle book before, a few things to know:
You don’t need an e-book reader to read. You can send the book to your any-brand phone, tablet, or computer.
Once you hit the “purchase” button on Amazon, you can send it to all your household-members’ devices associated with your account, so you can have a copy on your phones and your tablets and your laptop and your desktop . . . . whatever you own.
Free e-books really are free, there’s no tax or delivery charge or anything. (Double-check that it still says $0 for the “buy” option, it should revert back to $0.99 when the coach turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of west-coast midnight on 2/27/22.)
FYI when an e-book isn’t free to purchase, you’ll often see the “Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited” which would be great if you had Kindle Unlimited, but if you don’t then you don’t. (I don’t think I do.) Check the “buy” price to confirm what’s going on there.
A nice long five-day sale is a great time to make your first attempt at downloading an e-book, since you have a little time to figure it all out.
What is this book?
Way back in 2014, I was invited to give a retreat for a local chapter of the Council of Catholic Women. Alas, I got super sick a couple weeks before the event and had to find a last-minute substitute. So I wrote up my retreat notes into a PDF workbook for the organizers to print out and distribute, gave my replacement some tips on how to take that info and present it to a large group, and he said it all went amazingly well.
That event was scheduled for February 22nd, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, so the title Lord, You Know I Love You! comes from one of my top two St. Peter quotes I identify with most.
The retreat itself is a super-simple concept. We use the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The retreat walks you through an examination of your life and how you’re doing, right now, in each of the four ways of loving God.
The goal of the retreat is not to grade yourself or feel guilty or anything like that. The goal is to choose one thing as your takeaway item to focus on for the coming weeks, months, or year ahead.
Who is this book for?
In terms of difficulty, it’s written about how I’m writing right now — conversational, and intended for a generally-Catholic audience, but with no assumption that you know bunches of theology or anything.
As you work through each chapter, you write down your answers to questions about where your current strengths and weaknesses are in loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. There are actually three different sets of questions you can use:
You can answer the questions for yourself, personally, in your private relationship with God.
You can answer the questions alone or in collaboration with other ministry partners, discerning on behalf of your ministry.
If your ministry is catechesis, you can do questions specifically for either your own individual work as a catechist or for your religious-education program overall.
So the whole thing is super flexible. You can do a chapter a week during Lent, you could do a five-day retreat, you could do the entire book in a weekend (it was originally written for a full-day single-day event), whatever suits. It can be done alone or in a group.
If you’ve been told you’re responsible for giving a retreat and frankly the idea of prepping one more thing makes you want to fall over, you absolutely may use this as the framework for that retreat, no problem, that’s what it’s for.
How do we avoid misery if leading a group retreat with this book?
There are way more words in each chapter than you have time to say when giving a retreat talk. What you want to do is read through the chapter ahead of time and prayerfully highlight one or two key ideas that seem especially important to you. You may have a personal story to share to go along with those ideas. Present only that to your audience, then skip straight to the journaling questions and walk your audience through those.
—> Let the other introductory text be there for that person who wants to ignore you and just read, or for your audience to go through later at home.
During the journaling time, for a large-audience event I recommend letting people choose whether they want to work in silence or work with a partner discussing answers as they go. If you’re super-smart you’ll set aside a couple introverts’ tables for the people who want uninterrupted reflection time and create group-discussion tables for the people who prefer that.
Naturally you are also going to break up your day with music, prayer, fun stuff, meals, all that. I laid out my Saturday retreat so that we took a break during the already-scheduled confessions at the host parish, so that retreatants could have reconciliation as part of the retreat even though we didn’t have a priest actually attending the retreat itself. (But please . . . Forewarn the priest you’re coming if you’re gonna try that one at home.)
What else is good to know?
The retreat works in Kindle format because it’s designed to be read and completed in order, starting at the beginning and not skipping around as you go. (I often skip around as I read books . . . this is not that type of book.)
You’ll need paper to write your answers down as you go, because you’re going to look back through them during the final discernment phase. If you’re leading this one for a group, it is possible for someone who doesn’t have the book to look on with a neighbor, but everyone needs their own paper (or equivalent).
And seriously: Just tell people to download it now while it’s free, and then you can totally dodge having to lead the retreat because someone else will get all excited about it and volunteer, and you see how much Lent-a-Claus loves you? Yes I do. Enjoy.
Lord You Know I Love You! is free on Kindle from 2/23/22 until midnight PST on Sunday 2/27/22.