Matt C. Abbott
A tale about virtue and strife
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By Matt C. Abbott
February 12, 2020

Pro-life Catholic Roger R. Klass has written a story titled Virtue and Strife: A Christian Adventure, recently published by Resource Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

An overview of the book:
    Phillip Carson, Indiana born and raised, is faced with the decision of moving to California in early adolescence for the sake of his mother's health. He follows his parents to the Los Angeles area, where the adventure of his life begins. There he meets Susan Giles who becomes a light in his life during the more innocent time of high school. During the eleventh grade, Phillip also meets retired fireman William Jones, who commits his retirement years to reaching out to inner-city juveniles. Phillip learns from William and must later grow in his own faith to complete the challenges set before him. This is a story of the shadows of strife being overcome, and virtue left standing.
Click here to listen to a nine-minute interview with Klass that originally aired on Catholic Spirit Radio's Spirit Mornings program. (Klass once rode a bicycle from Barrington, Ill., to Bakersfield, Calif., to raise money for a pro-life charity. Initially planning to ride with two friends, he ended up going solo, staying at several Catholic churches along the way.)

Klass was partly inspired to write Virtue and Strife: A Christian Adventure when remembering how certain aspects of life were better when he was growing up.

"Kids were always outside and not online in different homes," he wrote in an email to me. "Telling right from wrong was easier, more people went to church on Sundays, and there was more face-to-face or voice interaction instead of relying on technology to do it for you.

"I mention bicycle rides with your friends. When in high school, I bring up picking up your girlfriend in a vintage ride, cruising around, and then pulling into a drive-in for a burger – now that's American! Finding support from your significant other and beating the favorite from another high school in a cross-country race. Overcoming struggles in high school, college and beyond."

Click here to purchase a copy of Virtue and Strife: A Christian Adventure directly from the publisher. It can also be purchased through other online booksellers. An excerpt is below.

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There are six principal players in our story, and the first of these is William Jones. William went through his own suffering, began reaching out to others, and later became a good friend to Phillip Carson. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area years ago, and an only child. Three generations of his family grew up in California, and he became one of those who would neither move nor change neighborhoods. William is a large man, about six feet one and weighs 195 pounds. Although he is now turning sixty-five, he is still in excellent shape and works out with weights in his basement. The older he becomes, the more effort he gives, like one of his favorite major league pitchers did.

"If this guy can pitch a no hitter at forty, I can still keep up with the younger generation around here at my age," he says almost weekly.

His personality prevents anyone from thinking of him as old, and his physical prowess reinforces that. William also has a reputation of having good character. He developed good habits which were put into his weekly routine forty years ago after his wife died in a car accident. Five years of dating his beloved, William finally proposed, and they were married for one year, only to have his whole future change in the blink of an eye. William was not in the car at the time, but always wondered if he was driving could he have avoided the reckless driver she was not able to. This notion became so strong it turned into a cross he had to bear for a time.

Months after the accident William heard the other driver was having issues in holding down a job and providing for his family. He could not sleep and was racked with guilt from memories of running the red stop light hitting the car with William's cherished driving. After hearing of this and a few more months of getting to the point of forgiveness, William sought him out and met him for coffee. The driver did not know what to expect, but if William wanted to punch him or verbally eviscerate him, he felt he had it coming. William approached him in the coffee shop and could see immediately the torment this man was in. William knew his wife would have forgiven him, and that is what he did to this man.

"I know my wife would have forgiven you, and so you know I do as well."

Hearing this brought some instant relief to him, and a rash of emotion at the same time. The man sat there looking down at his coffee over the next ten minutes with watered eyes, and William sat there with him. He finally looked up to William and said:

"Thank you, this means more than you know."

They talked for another twenty minutes and William then said: "Go home and be good to your family and raise your kids right."

This is exactly what the gentleman did, and he was a better father, husband, and man going forward. Forgiving this individual also helped William, and he was able to move forward with his life one day at a time.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at
mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

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