Suffering is indeed a mystery. How often have you asked yourself, “Why, Lord?” when faced with your own suffering or that of others. After that initial question, likely you asked something like, “How am I supposed to get through this?” Those questions and more are adeptly answered in Father Jeffrey Kirby’s latest book, Manual for Suffering. Father Kirby delves into the questions and concerns we all have but seem never to reach satisfactory resolutions. “Manual” is exactly the right word to describe this valuable and evergreen book.

I’m excited to share with you some background and my author Q&A with Father Kirby.

Who is Father Jeffrey Kirby?

Father Jeffrey Kirby, STD, is a Papal Missionary of Mercy, the Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina, an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Belmont Abbey College, a Senior Contributor to the Crux news site, and an author of several books on spiritual, moral, and pastoral subjects.

Father Kirby holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome and a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. 

In 2016, Father Kirby was recognized by Governor Nikki Haley and granted the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, for his service to local communities and young adults throughout the state.

Father Kirby has authored several books, including Lord, Teach Us to Pray; Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday LifeWe Are the Lord’s: A Catholic Guide to Difficult End-of-Life QuestionsThy Kingdom Come: Living the Lord’s Prayer in Everyday LifeManual for Suffering, and, the award-winning Doors of Mercy: Exploring God’s Covenant with You.

Father Kirby grew up in West Germany, backpacked through Europe while in graduate school, ran two marathons while in seminary, served in the Army National Guard, attended seminary in Rome, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship, eaten breakfast in the White House, and served as a Guest Chaplain to the US House of Representatives.

Every Wednesday evening at 8:30 PM (ET), Father Kirby hosts a weekly show, Father Kirby LIVE, on Patreon.

More information on Father Kirby can be found at frkirby.com. He can be followed on Twitter @fatherkirby.

Questions

1.            For who is Manual for Suffering meant? 

The Manual for Suffering is meant for every Christian believer and person of goodwill who wants to know the meaning of suffering and the value it can have in our spiritual lives.

2.            How did the idea for the book develop?

The Manual was born from a series of homilies I gave at the beginning of the pandemic. My parishioners were asking good questions about suffering and I wanted to give them the biblical answers to their questions. These homilies eventually developed into a full collection of teachings and became the first part of the Manual. The second part was added. It’s a collection of prayers, litanies, and novenas from the spiritual treasury of the Church.

3.            How long did it take from concept to publication?

The whole process was probably about a year. TAN Books wanted to get the Manual out in a timely manner since the pandemic highlighted the question of suffering.

4.            What interesting story or stories do you have about the writing of the book?

The most interesting response from people about the content of the Manual was the reaction to the world before the Fall. Most people were intrigued by this part of our theology since it was new to them, or they hadn’t really thought about it before. The reality that the fallen world of today is not the world that God wanted for us is a consoling and challenging truth to many people.

5.            How is the book organized?

The Manual has two major parts. The first part is the biblical teaching on suffering. The second part is a treasury of spiritual resources.

6.            How is the book best used?

The Manual is best used as a part of our regular Christian formation. We are best prepared for suffering when we have used our time to be ready for it. As such, the Manual can be used as a personal formation in suffering and spiritual theology. It can also be used while we are undergoing some type of suffering. It could also be a gift to a friend or loved one who is suffering. Sometimes, we don’t know what to say when. A small collection of wisdom and prayer can help another person to determine for themselves when to read and re-learn some spiritual truths.

7.            What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

It’s my great hope that the Manual for Suffering helps people to understand that we are not alone in our sufferings and that, in Jesus Christ, our sufferings can have meaning and purpose.

8.            What are your hopes for the future of this book?

I pray that many pastoral outreaches and ministries of the Church see the Manual as a resource and help to their work.

9.            Any last thoughts or remaining points to cover?

Already the Manual has received a wide reception and high praise from readers. People are finding it to be instructive and encouraging in their discipleship. Here is the link to purchase the book:  https://www.amazon.com/Glory-Unto-Primer-Ascetical-Theology/dp/1621388239/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1LJREJABPJLOM&keywords=glory+unto+glory+jeffrey+kirby&qid=1646853332&sprefix=%2Caps%2C45&sr=8-1


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