STEUBENVILLE, OH June 7, 2015 -- Catholics for the Common Good Institute Advisory Board member, Dr. Gregory Popcak gave the National Catholic Register an interview about his new book, Broken Gods: Hope, Healing and the 7 Longings of the Human Heart.
BY Katie Warner, Register correspondent
Dr. Popcak, please introduce your new book. What inspired you to write it, and how do you think it will inspire Catholics to view their ultimate destiny in a new way?
|“This is the vision of the early Church Fathers — their understanding of salvation in Jesus Christ. But it is applied as never before, by a renowned psychologist, to our lives and relationships today. This book is a prelude to true and lasting happiness, not only in heaven, but right now in our homes and workplaces. Broken Gods is life-changing.”
-Mike Aquilina, author of Roots of the Faith
The ideas in this book — ideas that are widely acknowledged by faithful Catholic theologians but almost completely unknown to Catholic laypeople — completely changes the idea of what it means to be a Christian and why we follow Jesus in the first place.
Christians often talk about how we’re “broken” and how we need to be saved, but that doesn’t resonate with a lot of people. They think Christians mean that people are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad creatures and that God wants us to sit around all day in our awfulness feeling awful about ourselves. But that’s not it at all! Human beings are wonderful creatures! God himself pronounced us “very good” (Genesis 1:30) at the beginning of time.
And yet, as good as we are, we were made for so much more. We were made to be “gods” — perfect, immortal, utterly confident in who we were, where we were going and how we were going to get there.
Jesus himself says so in John 10:34, and the Catechism affirms it (460). Our first parents’ sin ripped all of that away from us, and we became, in a sense, “broken gods” — separated, lost in the cosmos, alone, naked and ashamed.
But God never gave up on his original plan for us, and he continues to work through all time and space to complete in us a work so wonderful we can’t even begin to imagine it. He intends to restore the divine light within us and make us the “gods” we were always meant to be.
In what ways do you practically approach this topic in your book, helping people bridge the gap between their brokenness and who God desires them to become?
We’ve all had the experience of going to confession and repeating the same sins, over and over. We hate ourselves for it. We feel guilty about it, and yet we’re powerless to stop it. Why? Because we’re going about the healing process in an entirely wrongheaded way.
Each sin, especially the deadly sins, represents a distorted attempt to fulfill one of the seven divine longings that God has built into every human heart. If we try to simply “not sin,” we also frustrate the longing that drives the sin in the first place, eventually causing us to explode and indulge again and again.
By contrast, if we simply indulge the sin out of frustration, we become obsessed with the sin because we never actually satisfy the underlying need driving it, and you can never get enough of what you don’t really want.
The best way to break this cycle of failure and cooperate with God’s plan to make us “perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect” is to identify the divine longing that drives the sinful behavior, embrace it and find Godly ways to satisfy the longing.
Broken Gods walks readers through this process step-by-step so they can stop running from their sins and start running toward their ultimate destiny.