When I was trying to find a new book to review, I came across Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice by Rev. Joseph E. Classen. What initially attracted me to this book was not the hunting and fishing exploits of Fr. Joe. I am certainly not an outdoorsman. I've never been hunting and the last time I went fishing was....well I can't remember when. I don't even own a gun. What intrigued me about this book was the author. When I saw Fr. Joe's name listed as the author, my mental rolodex started spinning. I kept trying to figure out where I had heard that name before. Then it finally dawned on me. I was in the seminary with Fr. Joe! And, he and I went to the same high school. Even after realizing that I knew Fr. Joe, I still had reservations about reading his book. I just don't have any interest in hunting and fishing and I did not think that I would get much out of it or enjoy reading it.
I decided to order a copy anyway. I was pleasantly surprised! Fr. Joe is a brilliant story teller. I felt like I was right there with him as I read the stories of his hunting and fishing expeditions. He has had some amazing adventures and tells his stories in an entertaining way. It almost made me want to go out and buy a compound bow to do some deer hunting.....almost.
In addition to being a great story teller, Fr. Joe does a fantastic job at helping his readers see the vices that they have in their own lives and how to overcome them with virtue. So often when we think of the vices of gluttony, greed, envy, etc. we don't see ourselves as being guilty of them. Fr. Joe makes the connection between these vices and human behavior that may be sinful. He also gives us practical advice on how to overcome these vices with virtue.
I highly recommend anyone who wants to grow in virtue to pick up a copy of Fr. Joe's book, whether or not you are an outdoorsman. You will come away with the inspiration to become a better person.
(Required disclosure: I received this book free in return for giving an honest review of it.)
You can purchase this book here.