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Posted July 1, 2010

Book: The Gentle Road to Jesus: Bringing Christ to Every Classroom and Home
Author: Alexander J. Basile
St. Pauls/Alba House. New York. 2010. Pp. 109

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

We are all teachers of the young in one setting or another, and not always in the classroom or by the words we speak. Our actions convey as much or more to others than do our words. Thatís why the spiritual life of all those who interact with young people is so important. This book is a remarkable down-to-earth resource for anyone wh has the joy and privilege of passing the Catholic faith to those who live in the world that is preaching a gospel that is entirely different from the one that Jesus taught. Our young people today are dealing with an environment that encourages them to experiment in ways we can only imagine. He points out how those who are troubled and confused can be identified and helped in a compassionate and understanding way. He insists on the need for creating a fruitful environment in which the young can grow in their faith. To make Christ real to those who are often very self-centered and to encourage them to reach out to others in a community of faith can be a daunting task. But it can be done. And Alex Basile shows ways in which parents, teachers and lay leaders can do just that. Most of all he shares with them his enthusiasm and love for leading others down the gentle road to Jesus.

An Excerpt from the Book:

A few years ago, I taught Kevin in my senior religion class. Kevin made his presence known within the first few weeks of September. He participated in class by joining discussions and asking thought-provoking questions. Kevin quickly became one of my star students. In early October, Kevinís demeanor suddenly changed. Instead of participating in class, he chose to hold court for those around him. He distracted the other students and disrupted my class. I reprimanded Kevin on several occasions, but he ignored my gentle, but firm correction.

The previous year I had taken a course on family therapy by Dr. Vincent Ciaramella at Fordham University. He told the class that ďNo one gets in trouble alone.Ē When I saw Kevinís attitude change, the professorís words came back to me. I decided to send Kevin a pass so that we could discuss the situation. I told him that I was disturbed by his slow and steady deterioration and asked him how things were at home. Kevin explained that his mother had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Kevin cooked and cleaned each day when he returned home after the many hours of school. Kevinís eyes filled with tears as he told me that his most dreaded moment each day was having to listen each night to his mother weeping in her room as she cried herself to sleep.

Kevin admitted that he worried about his mother all the time. When he goofed around in class, he forgot about his troubles, at least temporarily. The quiet moments were difficult for Kevin, so he would do anything for a reprieve from his pain. I have lived by Dr. Ciaramellaís creed ever since my meeting with Kevin. I wondered how many times that I had rushed to judgment without uncovering the truth behind the behavior of a particular student. Kevinís story illustrates the importance of asking questions when confronted with a difficult student or situation.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: The Most Noble

Part 2: The Battlefield

Part 3: The Tip of the Iceberg

Part 4: Practicalities

Part 5: The Face of Christ

Part 6: One Heart, One Mind