Lionel Valdellon's Reviews > A Guy's Guide to the Good Life: Virtues for Men

A Guy's Guide to the Good Life by Robert P. Lockwood
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's review
Jan 21, 2010

it was amazing
Read in December, 2009

When was the last time anyone talked to you about the seven virtues? Outside of Catechism or RCIA classes that is. And yet, without naming them, we know that these standards exist and are expected of us as Catholics — as Christians following in the way of Christ.

Still, aside from Justice (which we have a shallow understanding of due to a lifetime of legal procedural TV shows), how does one practice the Cardinal virtues of Prudence, Temperance or Fortitude on a daily basis? Much clearer are examples of the 3 Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, especially if you look through scripture for examples of the struggling but also the very frail people of God, and if you read about the lives of the saints. But how exactly does one live out these virtues?

Robert P.Lockwood’s book A Guy’s Guide to the Good Life – Virtues for Men discusses how by using examples. The book is written in a very easygoing way, weaving bits of everyday sports trivia with Sacred Scripture, Dante Alighieri and real-life vignettes filled with nuggets of wisdom and touching situations.

In each of the 7 chapters Lockwood defines the 7 virtues before providing ample illustrations of a virtue put into action. Some examples which I like:

- “Saving our passion for the things that really matter — that’s temperance.”
- “Fortitude means a willingness to speak out for the faith, especially in public — and when it’s not altogether comfortable to do so.”
- “Maybe prudence also means a better understanding that there are things worth knowing about and many things not worth knowing about. Wisdom is knowing the difference.”

And here are several more quotable quotes from the book:

- “The goodness we can create in the small moments of our lives can reach far beyond us in ways that we never know.”
- “And every moment has a chance for grace.”
- “Sacraments are our encounters with divine love that give us the grace to live lives of charity.”

Lockwood, who is a Catholic columnist, editor, author and director of communications for the diocese of Pittsburgh, has a knack for bringing the lofty ideals down to everyday practical advice. This book is not a manual — far from that. It is a cross between dinner conversation, a talk given at a recollection and a personal journal. There are moments in when he is able to distill the essence of our Catholic faith into a single memory from his own journey, and when he does, it is brilliant prose which makes the heart ache. Don’t expect a tearjerker though. After all, this is a book written for men in particular. And if you can get past the title (which I feel could’ve used more explicit Catholic verbiage or maybe a subtitle like “Living out the 7 cardinal virtues”) then what you have is a fascinating examination of our vibrant life as sons and daughters of God. And that’s what I consider “the good life.”

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Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from The Catholic Company as part of their Product Review program.

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