In order to promote his books,
Fr. Timmins prepared what he refers to as his 'sales pitch' which he presented at a number of
parishes. It is included below because it reveals something about him, how he perceives his
writings, and who they are intended for.
Here's what he had to say...
Forty years ago, when, for the first
time I stepped into a pulpit... I did so with mixed feelings. I was nervous, I was proud and I was awed
by the responsibility. I was 26 years old and all of the people in St. Patrick's Basilica, including my
mother and father, were sitting down and composing themselves to listen to what I had to say!!
...It was unreal,... they trusted me to nourish their minds and hearts with the authentic, challenging,
healing message of Jesus. If one can feel extremely proud and profoundly humble at the same time...
then, surely I did.
Forty years later nothing has changed... at least not essentially. I am no longer 26, but I am still
proud and yes, still awed by the fact that now you are sitting here, in front of me ready to trustme.
God, who continues to call me, trusts me too and that is truly awesome! I know that without him, I am
literally nothing and yet that without me, God is to some extent muted. For whatever reason, that is the
way He wants it to be.
Over the years, I have frequently reflected upon my instrumentality... particularly within the context
of preaching and in the process I have become somewhat frustrated. It is in response to that frustration
that I stand before you today.
Each time one of us preaches a homily, we are obliged to take a lot for granted. For example, we assume
that everyone out there not only believes in God but believes in the same God in whom we believe. The
preacher takes it for granted that such words as Trinity, Spirit and even Father conjure up the same images in everyone's mind... and yet we know that
they do not! You see, we have no choice but to take for granted a number of common denominators which
we know are not necessarily there. That is frustrating!
My own modest response to that frustration is a book which I have written called...
"Nothing for Granted." In it I attempt to do that which I am unable to do from a pulpit...
to share the Good News while, at the same time, taking nothing for granted. In a sense it is a
journey of faith reviewed and considered step by step and expressed in what, I am assured is a style
characterized by simplicity and directness. It is sub-titled "Stepping Stones to God,"
and is the precursor of a second volume which concentrates upon the Church and the Sacraments.
It is not my intention to sound like a snake-oil salesman but I do want you to know something about
this book which, after all, has been written for you.
There are many good books out there that tell us when and how to pray... Many that explain how our
suffering can be joined to that of the Lord... and others, particularly of late, that help people to
see their own lives reflected in the natural life, death and resurrection rhythms of our universe.
There are also learned works, brilliant in their scientific analysis of the divine reality. But so
many of these various and worthy texts take so much for granted. After all... even convinced believers
sometimes wonder if it all makes sense... If there really is a loving God. They desperately want to
relate to Jesus but they are obliged to do so blindly because they are
among those who have but the vaguest appreciation of the nature of God as revealed in and through the
The intelligent Christian cannot afford to take the Trinity for granted and yet, I fear that most of us
do just that. We accept it as a given but as being of interest to only the theological elite. Though the
central focus of my book is Jesus as the ultimate revelation of God, the Blessed Trinity is not taken for
I think it is fair to say that this book is for all Christian men and woman but that it is aimed in a
special way towards those among us who suspect that, regardless of their age, they might still be living
their parents' faith without yet having made it their own... aimed towards those who have
been praying to Jesus without really getting to know him. And finally, there are some books which seem to
be able to speak to the mind and to the heart and to do so with respect for logical sequence so that
a reader is not encouraged to pray to Jesus when he or she is not all that sure if there is a God...
Books born out of an author's experience of his and other peoples', not necessarily articulated, confusion,
doubt and frustration. It is my hope that "Nothing for Granted" fits into this category. It is
not a text to be learned. It is not a treatise to impress a scholar. It is a sharing of what I believe
and why I believe it. It speaks the language of the heart as well as of the mind. I believe in this work
and because of the mail that I am receiving, I remain convinced of there being a real need for it.
I believe it to be a valid extension of my ministry and, as such, hopefully worthy of your attention
"For the wonders that astound us... for the truths
that still confound us... but most of all that love has found us... thanks be to God."