Holy Hacks to holiness

Since the days of the Amazing Grace book series, Patti Maguire Armstrong, author of Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith and Get to Heaven, has been one of my favorite authors. I admire her wisdom, casual style and thorough presentation. I recognize that much of that comes from her journalism background and much from her steadfast Catholic faith.

Originally, hack meant ”a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well.” Secondarily, it means “An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed.” In today’s jargon, it can mean either of these but usually denotes a quick shortcut that cuts to the core of the problem or need and produces practical results.

In Holy Hacks, Patti skillfully combines practicality with backstory insight. She gives the reader a brief introductory commentary on the kind of hack – humility, relationships, spiritual protection – and then dives into those little things we can make a habit of doing to persevere in faith and become the person we aspire to be, which is the purpose of the book.

As an evangelist, I devoured Chapter 6: Holy Hacks for Evangelizing, and learned a few holy hacks:

1. What an effective witness the little things can be like flashing a smile, wearing a crucifix or saying, “God bless you” to those who serve us.

2. At school, using assignments to express your beliefs or showing love to a student sitting alone at lunch.

These last three are hacks inspired by Steve Dawson’s St. Paul Street Evangelization ministry:
3. Ask people where they are in their faith. Without criticizing, share what you believe.

4. Be on the lookout for opportunities as you go about life. Have your radar up, and make deliberate intentional efforts.

5. Don’t tell people what they should do. For instance, don’t say, “You should believe in God.” Instead, say, “This is why I believe.”

Holy Hacks promised me ways to help make me holy. We’ll see about how I do with that, as I keep the book handy for a quick reference to a hack on relationships or prayer. Right now, I’m finding ways to incorporate new holy habits to keep me on the right path, thanks to Patti Maguire Armstrong.

Patti Maguire Armstrong is an award-winning Catholic journalist and award-winning and bestselling author who is a correspondent for Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register and a contributing writer for Legatus. She also works in marketing for Teresa Tomeo Communications. Armstrong’s books include the Amazing Grace series, Big Hearted, and Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious. She has appeared on EWTN, CatholicTV, Fox & Friends, and numerous local and national radio programs. Her work has also appeared at CatholicMom.com, Epic Pew, Catholic Lane, Integrated Catholic Life, and Catholic Exchange. She and her husband, Mark, met in the Peace Corps in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia. They now live in North Dakota where they are raising the youngest of their ten children.

Nancy Ward

Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward, author of Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story, was once a shy convert. She has spent decades writing about conversion, Christian community, and the Catholic faith. After earning a journalism degree, she worked for many years for the Texas Catholic (newspaper of the Diocese of Dallas) and the Archbishop Sheen Center for Evangelization, and later began her own editing service. An active member of the Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to a number of high-profile Catholic publications online, she also has a busy blog on spirituality called Joy Alive.net. She’s a contributing author to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. Now, through her Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story workshops, retreats, book, and DVD, she shares her conversion story at Catholic parishes and conferences, equipping others to share their own stories.

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