“A Spiritual Guide to the Unemployed” by Timothy Mullner. Liguori Publications (Liguori, Ill., 2011). 128 pp., $10.99.
What was Timothy Mullner going to do without his vice-president’s title, a staff to direct and an expense account?
Terminated — by phone yet — the life-long Catholic turned to God to ask where God was calling him.
One of the answers was to write “A Spiritual Guide for the Unemployed.”
This is a book filled with realistic, down-to-earth, from-the-gut emotional releases that will likely resonate with most of the 9-plus percent of the U.S. population that is out of work. Yet it’s a prayerful, powerful work with touches of humor, anecdotes that will make you misty-eyed, and will probably have many of the unemployed among God’s children nodding their heads in agreement.
Easy to read and relate to
Mullner, who once was a youth minister at St. Stephen in Anoka, writes about asking for God’s grace — “Help me be gracious” upon learning that his position was being eliminated. Among the thoughts and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter he suggests: “Write a prayer or poem about ‘Hearing the news.’” “Don’t think, just write,” he says.
There’s both prose and easy-to-read poetry — prayers in poem form, really — in this unique self-help book. Readers will find it full of understanding. Having been unemployed myself at one time, I could relate to thoughts like, “I kept wondering what I could do and whom I could talk with to correct this ‘obvious’ error.”
There’s this great line in a prayer/poem to the Lord: “Your will be done, and quickly wouldn’t hurt.”
Advice and encouragement
Mullner’s unemployment period wasn’t over quickly, however. His 15 months without a job meant selling a house, moving in with friends, and taking a call from an adult son who says, “You’ll be OK, Dad.”
Now employed, Mullner advises, “Choose hope over fear and faith over despair.”
The book’s closing section is a useful “Top Ten List for Finding Your Way Through Unemployment.”
As beneficial as I think that will be, I can’t help but wonder if these words of Mullner’s may not be even more supportive — yet challenging — to those still looking for work: “God is waiting to see what you’ll do with the gifts you’ve been given.”
It’s beautiful writing, not unexpected from Mullner, who contributed to The Catholic Bulletin during his time in Anoka.
Thanks to Liguori for publishing something so helpful.
Bob Zyskowski is associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit. Read more book reviews on his blog, Bobz Book Reviews.
Book signing dates
Dates, times and sites where Timothy Mullner will speak and/or sign his book:
- Nov. 29 — 7:30-9 a.m. Unemployment group at Easter Lutheran Church, Eagan.
7 p.m. Unemployment group at Epiphany, Coon Rapids.
- Dec. 1 — 2 p.m. Unemployment group at Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis.
6:30 p.m. Potluck and talk to follow with unemployment group at St. Peter Claver, St. Paul.
- Dec. 3 — 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Book signing only at St. Patrick’s Guild, St. Paul.