Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life (Servant, 2017) is a compelling, well-written narrative which engages the interest of modern readers while explaining traditional Catholic teaching and history at the same time. Msgr. Peter Vaghi reveals a unique talent to pierce the hearts of modern Catholics with his honest, personal reflections on the core message of the Gospel as well as the words of Pope Francis. His authentic spirituality shines through the entire book, enticing the reader to enter his or her own ‘upper room’, to enrich and develop his own inner spirit.
A masterful storyteller, Msgr.Varghi snags the reader from his opening sentences with a tight, fast-paced narrative starting with his own pilgrimage to the Holy Land interspersed with down-to-earth reflections which are honest and real not sweetly pious or overly sentimental. This author does not lecture; he travels with his readers into the heart of God. His tone is not condescending but inclusive which further wins over the hearts of his readers. Monsignor Peter reveals a deeper appreciation and understanding of living the Christian life in prayer, worship, and service to his readers.
A Future Spiritual Classic
A book tagged as a future spiritual classic should inform, encourage, heal and nourish the inner spirit but it should also challenge the reader to grow spiritually. Msgr.Varghi does exactly that as he discusses the history and importance of the Upper Room based on Gospel accounts as well as meditating on prophecy, sacraments, and Catholic social teaching. Through detailed analysis of Scripture and by asking insightful questions, Vaghi engages the reader and draws him into the narrative, sparking curiosity and encouraging personal reflection.
Preparing Your Upper Room
Then, every chapter ends with a challenge entitled “Preparing Your Upper Room” because the Upper Room is not simply a historical place, it is a holy space, “an icon of the fruitful Church and its fruitfulness continues in and through each and every believer”. Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi calls the Upper Room, or the Cenacle, “the most important room in Christendom” because the Church was birthed in this humble space with the institution of the Last Supper, the Resurrection appearances to the disciples, and the fall of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. In the Upper Room believers “were given a new understanding of God’s love and the revolutionary power of the Holy Spirit was unleashed”. Just as the disciples were transformed by the power of the Resurrected Christ in the Cenacle, the reader is also invited to encounter Jesus’s transforming love and answer a personal call to discipleship. For:
one need not travel to the Holy Land to encounter Christ. Inside each of us is an ‘upper room,’ where we experience the living presence of God. Wherever we are, whenever we take the time to find and speak and listen to God, we can experience his life-giving, sacramental, and transformative presence.