The Catholic Commentator 

“You are gods.” 

This may sound blasphemous for some, but according to the book “Hope, Healing and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart” by Dr. Gregory K. Popcak, just as Jesus indicated “as written in the law” (Psalm 8:26) that “You are gods,” Catholics are intended to be holy, immortal and sharing in the life of  the omnipotent God. Church parish and home-based small faith-sharing groups throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge are studying this book as part of the “One Book, One Church” reading project for Lent. 

The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has sponsored “One Book, One Church” for the past three years. 

The book looks at the seven deadly sins and provides hope for overcoming them, according to Darryl Ducote, director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life, who composed the study guide for the program, which can be accessed by visiting 

“We’re inviting the whole diocese to read and reflect on the same book at the same time. It offers a positive view of who we are in the sense we are intended to share in God’s life – which is where the title comes from. We are intended to become gods by sharing in God’s life,” Ducote said. “But because of broken humanity, we are sinful gods. 

“In the majority of the book (Popcak) does something clever. He takes what is traditionally known as the seven deadly sins and looks beneath those sins and looks at the those desires (divine longings) those sins represent.” 

Ducote noted that Popcak has degrees in psychology and theology and is a recognized expert in pastoral counseling. 

“He blends both of those disciplines (in this book),” said Ducote.


The book advises that the way to conquer the seven deadly sins is by understanding the divine desires, or longings that only God fulfill, beneath them and re-orientate one’s life to pursue those desires rather than the sin, according to Ducote. 

“God created the desires to direct our hearts toward him,” said Ducote. “And we’re broken in the sense that we misunderstand those desires and redirect our energies towards things that cannot fulfill those desires ultimately. 

“So I think the value of the book, besides giving us a positive view of humans as open to divine life, its that it also helps us to direct our energies in a more positive way and recognize the desires we all have in common. In other words, it offers hope.” 

The basic meaning of Lent is that it is a time to re-evaluate one’s life and make changes, according to Ducote. 

“In ‘religious language,’ it’s an ongoing conversion in preparation for the celebration of new life at Easter,” he said.

The study guide is meant to be used in a group setting, Ducote noted. 

“The real intent is to have groups of faithful read the same materials, reflect on the questions in the study guide and share their thoughts so they can support each other in that ongoing conversion process,” said Ducote. “The advantage of doing this kind of reflection in the small group setting is the fact that the Holy Spirit speaks to each person. So by sharing in a group, we have a more complete understanding of how the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. It helps create a sense of community in each parish (or home).”

For more information about the project, contact your church parish office or the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis at 225-336-8760.