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Showing posts with label BeaconPublishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BeaconPublishing. Show all posts

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Good Night, Jesus - Matthew Kelly and Josh Nash

Good Night, Jesus
Matthew Kelly
Josh Nash (Illustrator)
Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266869


My children and I have read Why Am I Here?, by Matthew Kelly countless times. They will often ask to read it, we have lent it to our school, and purchased a copy for the teachers resource section. And this is a book we have wanted to read for years. The day it arrived, as soon as they were home from school my children wanted to read it. First my youngest read it to me, and then later my middle child read it to me. And we have decided to give it to friends who are expecting their first child.

This is a wonderful little board book on prayer. And specifically on ending the day in prayer. There are 16 pages. Some are prayer, some are prayer prompts , and some are suggestions of things to pray for. Both children loved the … where they could fill in their own prayers.

The illustrations in this volume are wonderful. Both children though well beyond board books loved this volume and especially the illustrations. A softer pastel pallet is used, but there is also great details in the art work.

It is an excellent early prayer book for children. If we had this when our three were younger it would have been read hundreds of not thousands of times by now. This is a wonderful little volume. That is a book we will want to keep copies of on hand to be able to give away when young children visit and for friends who have new children.

Another amazing read from Matthew Kelly.







Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
Beautiful Hope
Beautiful Mercy
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...
...

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality











Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Theology of the Body for Beginners - Christopher West - Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex and Gender

Theology of the Body for Beginners: 
Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex and Gender
Saint John Paul II Edition
Christopher West
Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820072

eISBN 9781929266456
ASIN B07B8WT4KJ


This book is the third revision of this text. And is in some ways a culmination of almost two decades work on this topic by Christopher West. Previously I have only read one book by Christopher West, Love Is Patient, But I'm Not: Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist, and it was an amazing read. And I doubt you could find a Catholic that has not heard about Saint Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. So it was about time that I dove into this topic myself. This book was first published in 2002, revised in 2009 and this third edition was released in 2018. I have the eBook of the second edition, and it has been sitting in my 'to be read pile' for a long time, but when I read about this new edition I picked it up and devoured it. The chapters in this book are:

Introduction
One: What Is the Theology of the Body?
Two: The Creation of the Body
Three: The Redemption of the Body
Four: The Resurrection of the Body
Five: Celibacy for the Kingdom
Six: Marriage as a Divine Gift
Seven: Marriage as a Human Sign of Divine Love
Eight: Theology in the Bedroom
Conclusion

The beginning of the description of this book is:

"Divorce. Broken families. Sexual abuse. Addiction. Pornography. Same-sex marriage. Gender issues. Everywhere we look, we find more and more confusion about the most fundamental truths of human life. As we lose our basic understanding of the meanings of man, woman, marriage, and sex, the question becomes ever more urgent: What does it mean to be a human being? The human race seems unable to answer this question."

If we look at secular culture today we can see the world turning itself over to every kind of identity issue. The sexual revolution has run amok and we have the #me2 movement and the clergy abuse scandal of 2018 that highlight the opposite ends of those failures. In this book Christopher West gives an introduction, and summary of Saint Pope John Paul II's teachings on the theology of the body. He delves into questions on the meaning of life. How do we fulfil our deepest desires? Questions around God having created us male and female, and what that means to us as individuals and as societies.  And he draws us to conclusions around finding true happiness on earth and eternal life through finding God's will and pursuing it.

In many ways this book is a crash course or 'Coles Notes' on decades of writings from Pope Saint John Paul II. It is an easily accessible read, and would be good for high school students, university students and adults beginning their study of this subject. Looking back on my own life and my years away from the Catholic church a book like this would have caused me much less hurt, and helped me to hurt others less. 

This book is thoroughly Catholic. It clearly and concisely explains many aspects of the Catholic world view around sex, sexuality, and intimacy. I know that Christians of other denominations have used this book for study, but if you are not Christian there is likely much in this book that would be opposite your world view. It was an excellent read and I wish I had read it earlier. And I give this new edition top marks.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Christopher West:
Good News About Sex & Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching
Heaven's Song
At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization
The Love That Satisfies: Reflections on Eros & Agape

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Invest Yourself: Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World - John M. Abbate

Invest Yourself:
Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World
John M. Abbate

Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820232
eISBN 9781942611875
ASIN B07B3GDB8D

 


I need to start by saying that I enjoyed this book. But I believe that some people will give up on it, or not engage because the examples so often come from McDonald's. John Abbate is an owner operator who has spent years investing in his business, and the people who work for him. There are some incredible stories in this book. So please if you give it a change I am sure you will be challenged, and inspired by this volume.

Lately I have come across a number of books on work and faith. In the last few months I have read this book and two others on similar topics. The books I have read recently are:

Working well, working for love: On the sanctification of work in the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá by Javier López Díaz
Force for Good: The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity by  Brian Engelland

And my favourite book on the topic is from a few years back by Kevin Lowry called: 'Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck' This book is a good read and really does approach it from a different perspective. This book was on my radar for a while. But because I had already picked up and read the two books above I hesitated investing in a third book on the same topic in such a short time. And yet I kept encountering this book, on Facebook, on twitter, and even a few friends mentioning it. So I decided to give it a chance. I am very thankful that I did.

The chapters in this volume are:
Choosing Prosperity
In the Beginning … There Was Economics
From "Me First" to "Daring to Be the First"
Pilgrimage: Who Do You Say That I Am?
Realizing Our Christian Identity
A Novel Perspective: Work as Vocation
Finding Our Strength in Humility
The Power of Christian Hope
A Journey toward Happiness
Discovering Joy in Sacrifice
Living a Legacy Today
Leadership at the Service of Life
Afterword

This book is part personal story but also includes stories from many people Joh, his wife and his organization have worked with. In the first chapter on prosperity John states:

"My experiences with Catholic conferences, pilgrimages, and professional business organizations such as Legatus have opened my eyes to the abundance of talented and faithful men and women who are willing and able to carry on the mission of the Church. These heroic people are the future of this great faith. Their enthusiasm, sacrifice, and talent are infectious."
Knowing Beacon Publishing I was not worried the book would begin with a 'Health and Wealth' gospel so popular with TV Evangelists.  But even so I was not sure exactly what to expect. From this chapter the above quote and this one below both really had an impact on me:
"We have all received an abundant inheritance from our forefathers. We stand on the shoulders of so many resilient and courageous figures of our past. Today we must choose to be the link that keeps our Catholic history alive in our families, our communities, and our culture. When we choose to learn about and share our own family history and embrace the richness of the tradition of our Catholic faith, we become the instrument that continues the mission of Matthew 28. We spread the Good News to all corners of the world."
John talks about his own failings in an open, honest and vulnerable way. He takes us through his own journey from being a business man, to his encounter with God in a new way, to being a Christian in business. He shares with us stories about working with his team members through difficult times. And he shares about what being an owner does in allowing him to give more flexibility and support to his people.

Nearly every business these days talks about employee engagement. John walks us through how his faith changed his management style and how employee's became the purpose and not the process. It is a great read and I highly recommend it. And if you do enjoy it I am sure will be engaged with the others listed above.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan


Books about Faith and Work:
Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck - Kevin Lowry
Working well, working for love: On the sanctification of work in the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá - Javier López Díaz
Force for Good: The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity -  Brian Engelland
Invest Yourself: Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World - John M Abbate



Thursday, 17 May 2018

Rediscover Catholicism A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose - Matthew Kelly

Rediscover Catholicism:
A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Matthew Kelly
Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781937509675
eISBN 9781937509019
ASIN B005FHXSQ6


In the last three years I have read 17 books by Matthew Kelly. And I have found that all of them have helped me grow in my faith. From reading 'Why Am I Here?' with my children, many times over to finally getting around to reading this book. I say finally because this book along with The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, were the first titles of Kelly's that I kept hearing about. But it would be a while before I got around to reading either. I think part of it was fear if disappointment. I had heard so many great things about this book, it was going to be hard to live up to the hype. And I loved the other Rediscover … books by Kelly that I had read. But I should have known better. This book is an amazing read. And why this book has been so popular for the 16 years since it was first published. When this book was first published, in 2002, the subtitle of the book was: 'Journeying Toward Our Spiritual North Star', but the subtitle changed around 2010 to the current one of 'A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose'. But no matter what the subtitle of the book is it is an incredible read. For devote Catholics it will help deepen your faith, for those considering Catholicism or a return to Catholicism I would considerate almost essential reading. It will lay the ground work for a devoted, committed, and vibrant practice of faith. 

The sections n this book are:

Prologue Imagine This...
Introduction Where to From Here?

PART ONE We Become What We Celebrate
Our Universal Hunger
The Prevailing Philosophy
Is Jesus Still Relevant?
Searching For Identity
What Are We Celebrating?

PART TWO The Authentic Life
What Is The Authentic Life?
The Path Is Well Trodden
Even A Blind Man Knows...
What Sets Them Apart?
Their Attraction And Influence
Who Will Be Next?

PART THREE The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality
Confession
Daily Prayer
The Mass
The Bible
Fasting
Spiritual Reading
The Rosary

PART FOUR Now Is Our Time
Time For A Change
Leadership
Return To Virtue

Once I started reading this book I could hardly put it down. And with how many of Kelly's book I have read and talks I have listened to, much of the book was familiar. Some of the stories he uses, and examples from his life or lives of others are uses elsewhere in his works. There was so much in this book that we need to learn and learn again. This book is an incredible read if all you walk away with is the 7 Pillars of Catholic Spirituality. But there is so much more than that in this volume. 

This is one of those spiritual books I will return to often. I believe in the years and generations to come that it will become a spiritual classic, along the lines of Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. It is a book that has been impacting lives for 16 years and shows no inclination to slow it's impact and reach. This is a book I would be comfortable giving to any Catholic, fallen away Catholic, or friend interested in knowing about Catholicism. It is hard not to read this book and feel your faith invigorated and inspired. 

This book is an easy read, in that it is accessible, and the material is presented in a clear and concise manner. But it is not an easy read in that you will likely be challenged, some of the stories may hit close to home. Once you have been awakened by this book you will have a choice, either to follow Jesus and the Catholic faith, or to try and go back to sleep. But that second option will be harder than you think. 

Another incredible read by Matthew Kelly, and after reading this I really look forward to his forthcoming 'Rediscover the Saints'! I can give this book, all the Rediscover books, and likely anything by Kelly mu highest recommendation. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!



Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
Beautiful Hope
Beautiful Mercy
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...
...

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality








Friday, 4 May 2018

Moving in the Spirit - Richard J. Hauser

Moving in the Spirit
Richard J. Hauser

Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266258
eISBN 9781929266555
ASIN B075VQPX5Z



This is not a large book. The print edition comes in at under 115 pages. But it is a book that can have significant impact. A few years ago, Hauser's book Moving in the Spirit was recommended to me. I did pick it up, but it has sat in my to be read pile. I just do not get around to reading physical books. But after how much I loved this I am going to put in the extra effort and read that one. Richard J. Hauser, SJ was a professor of theology. He was also a directory of graduate programs n theology, spirituality, and ministry. He only published 3 books and if the other two are as good as this one as readers we will be blessed.

This book was originally published in 1983 by Paulist Press, this new edition is from Beacon Publishing and was released in 2017. And it is available in paperback, eBook, and Kindle editions that are currently in print. Thankfully Beacon Publishing is making this book available through Dynamic Catholic. It is one of the best Catholic books I have read in the last few years. The five chapters in this book are:

Awakening to the Holy Spirit
Recognizing the Holy Spirit
Obstacles to the Spirit
Seeking God's Will
Keeping a Spiritual Journal

And there is a section of notes and a selected bibliography in this book. This book is written from Hauser's personal experience. Spanning his years from Jesuit novice to a more mature Jesuit who 's experience of God and specifically the Holy spirit shifted over the years. He states:

"I now know that all growth in union with God flows from the Holy Spirit; my efforts, therefore, ought to be focused on responding to the Spirit. I also know that my human nature is fundamentally trustworthy because redeemed by Christ and that the grace of Christ in me is stronger than sin in me. Finally, I know that the cutting edge of my growth in union with Christ flows from the generosity of my service to others day by day and not from the length of time I spend in explicitly spiritual activities."
And he attributes his growth and change to three main sources. First The thought of Thomas Merton. Secondly a growing appreciation of the Holy Spirit's life in the Christian life. And finally, his growing understanding of the life and spirituality of St. Ignatius. In the first chapter Hauser states:
"Each of us is led by God toward an understanding of Christian spirituality that best meets the needs of our temperament and life situation."
He then looks at three main trends for Christians living in the spirit, historically and today. But he draws readers to understand that each approach is good, but they are better when lived in reference to each other.

At the end of each chapter is several questions for reflection. These questions are great for person use, either just thinking on them or journaling out full answers. These questions would also be excellent for using this book for use in a book club or group study.

One of the things that impacted me most in this book was Hauser's honesty about his own struggles. His faith in action. How he was open and honest about some of his own weaknesses. I really appreciated his openness about his first response to be to turn down new opportunities. And the process he has created to reflect and see the spirit's guidance in those situations.

Of note 14 of the 16 references in the bibliography are from fellow Jesuits. And I have already added 8 if them to my wish list to read in the future. This book is an excellent read. It is one I know I will come back to again, and one I look forward to sharing with my children when they are older. This is the type of book I wish I had read in my late teens or early 20's. It would have helped my journey not have been so rough. This is a book I believe will benefit any Christian who reads it and prays to be receptive to the Holy Spirit while doing so.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Richard J. Hauser:
In His Spirit
Moving in the Spirit
Finding god in troubled Times





Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Mindful Catholic Finding God One Moment at a Time - Dr. Gregory Bottaro

The Mindful Catholic: Finding God One Moment at a Time
ISBN 9781635820171
eISBN 9781929266463
ASIN B0792H55KT


Reading the beginning of this book was great, I loved the introduction, by Dr. Peter Kreeft. I appreciated the first chapter. But then when it came to the first exercise, and I stopped immediately. I immediately stopped reading. I felt a check in my spirit and reached out to a spiritual director I really respect, he confirmed that this would be a spiritually risky read. I would recommend anyone interested in this book check out A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness by Susan Brinkmann if this is a topic they are interested in.

A few years ago I wrote a piece for The Maccabee Society called Yoga Not Worth The Risk. And this book brought up the exact same uneasiness that had developed around the practice of Yoga. So I did not finish this book and stepped back from it. Peter Kreeft in the introduction says "Try It. You'll like it."  But that is the same thing drug deals say when they offer the first hit free. 

There are many great books on Christian or Catholic meditation. This is not one of them. It is the first book from Beacon Publishing, and Dynamic Catholic that I have not finished. It is the first book by them that I did not enjoy. It is the first book in a long time that I wish there was a way to give 0/5 stars when writing a review. 

I will state it again, this book is just not worth the risk! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

You can read my review of A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness by Susan Brinkmann.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Peace Promise: Trusting God to Solve the Unsolvable - John Kuypers

The Peace Promise:
Trusting God to Solve the Unsolvable
John Kuypers

Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820225
eISBN 9781635820294
ASIN B078Z2LQXN





This book was an incredible read. In fact, before I had even finished it, I was recommending it to others. This is one of those books that I believe anyone would benefit from reading. I should note this book was formerly published as: The First Rule of Inner Peace: Jesus' Sensible Way to Be Happy. And I know that it is a book that I will be reading again, and likely again after that. But this is one of those books that is hard to describe or write a review for. I have been trying to word this review for over a week now. The description of this book, the write up on the back-cover states:

"How much time do we spend scrutinizing others, judging them, finding fault with them, being disappointed in how they've treated us? How much unhappiness could be avoided if we had a different way of dealing with the anxiety, stress, and broken relationships in our lives? In this new book, author John Kuypers shows how Jesus' teaching in the gospel of Matthew can revolutionize our relationships and our approach to the issues that trouble us. If we stop and get rid of the log in our own eye first, we will reach a place of peace even before we know how to deal with the speck in our neighbor's eye. And in that place of peace, the Holy Spirit can reveal what needs to be done to resolve things. 
Whether you're a spouse, a parent, a teacher, an employee, or an employer, this is a practical, real-world teaching anyone can apply in any situation. Experience for yourself the wonderful peace of seeing clearly and its transforming effect on your relationships."
The way I summed this up to a few people when talking about it, is that, it teaches us to stop focusing on the speck in other people's eyes and more on the plank in our own. Or another focus of the book is that our attachment to thinks, situations, or perceptions. And it all started with his own personal changes. At 34 John blacked out and after the fright of that event started a journey toward physical and emotional health.

The chapters in this book are:

PART ONE: Admit You Lack Peace
One: The Peace Promise
Two: How to Recover Your Peace
Three: Your Soul's Deepest Fear

PART TWO: Get Committed
Four: Four Ways to Get Committed
Five: Why You Can't See Clearly
Six: The Rewards of His Peace

PART THREE: Let His Peace In

Seven: Hundreds of Hidden Beliefs
Eight: The Three Nothings
Nine: Two Ways to Successfully Apply the Peace Promise

PART FOUR: Stop Resisting
Ten: Experiences of Others
Eleven: Do You Want Results or Peace?
Twelve: You Are Lovable
TAKE IT FURTHER

This book begins with these words:

"Jesus promised us life's greatest reward: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you" (John 14:27). But there is a catch. "I do not give to you as the world gives." A friend once said to me, "That's exactly the part that troubles me!" In this book, you will see how radically true that is. It takes courage to receive the peace of the Lord because his ways are not our ways. Only by personal experience will you discover that his ways are also better than our ways."
I found that I was applying lessons from this book as soon as I had finished specific chapters. This book is full of examples from the authors life and from the lives of people he has worked with or who have read his earlier books. The concept of people reacting as either the hammer or a doormat really hit home for me. The premise is that people often overreact in one of two ways they become a hammer trying to force their view or decision, or they act like a doormat letting people walk over them and not even respecting their selves. I have come to realize that if either of these are happening then that person or I am not acting and living from a place of peace.

As I stated this book is hard to describe, but it is an incredible read! One of the best books I have read for personal and professional growth in years!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by John Kuypers:
The Non Judgmental Christian: Five Lessons That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships
What's Important Now: Shedding The Past So You Can Live In The Present
The First Rule Of Inner Peace: Jesus' Amazing Remedy For Unhappiness
Every Couple's Dilemma: To Be Truthful Or Protective
Who's The Driver Anyway? Making The Shift To A Collaborative Team Culture
Pay Now, Fly Later With Time Frame: Why Your Long Term Success Is Hidden In Your Organization Chart
Comfortable In Your Own Skin: What It Means To Be Present
The Peace Promise: Trusting God To Solve The Unsolvable






Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Beautiful Hope Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World - Matthew Kelly, Pope Francis et al.

Beautiful Hope:
Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World
Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis et al.
Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266531

eISBN 9781929266951
ASIN B076BTDRLZ


Almost two years ago I read and reviewed Beautiful Mercy, a different anthology edited by Matthew Kelly. It was a transformative read, and has sparked a renewal in my reading of Catholic books, and taking my faith to a next level. It was a book that stayed with me for weeks. And now two years later the book is still having an impact on my thoughts, my actions and my striving to become the best version of myself. So, when I found out that there was a new volume out I grabbed it the day I became aware of it being available and have devoured it. The sections in this book are:

Prelude By Matthew Kelly
Introduction: Never Lose Hope By Pope Francis
Part One: Choosing Hope
A Powerful Force 
The Triumph Of Hope 
Expect The Impossible 
A Father's Hope 
The Path Of Hope 
Part Two: Hope In The Church
This Little Light Of Mine 
Live Differently Cardinal 
If It All Depends On Me 
Answering The Call 
Part Three: Hope In Action
A God Of Miracles 
Soul Searching 
Nadia 
An Anniversary To Remember 
Ordinary Grace 
Part Four: Becoming Hope
School Of Hope Archbishop 
Instruments Of Giallo 
The Abc's Of Hope 
Hands Of Hope 

There are some absolutely incredible pieces in this book. A few of them immediately hit the mark for me, and a few require more thought. I have already added this book to my Lent reading list for next year so that I circle back and revisit it. There are 5 cross-over authors from the previous volume including Matthew Kelly writing the forward and Pope Francis the introduction. I have read a number of books by one of the other contributors. But there are 14 authors that I had not read yet. And the contributors in order of appearance are:

Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis
Fr. Mike Schmitz
Sr. Miriam James Heidland, Solt
Fr. Jacques Philippe
Tom Pagano
Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ
Jessica Lusher Gravagna
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Pat Mckeown
Fr. Jonathan Meyer
Linda Maliani
Derek Gazal
Rebecca Recznik
Marguerite Brambani
Talia Westerby
Archbishop José H. Gomez
Msgr. Geno Sylva, Std
Dr. Allen R. Hunt
Grandpa Hess

In the first price Fr. Mick Schmitz states: "We live in a hopeless age. Don't get me wrong-there is an awful lot of optimism, but very little hope. The source of this hopelessness is a profound lack of meaning in most people's lives. Many of us live our lives looking forward to "the next thing." We say things like, "It might be rough now, but once I get that promotion, then I'll be fine." Or, "I know that I'm lonely now, but once I find someone, then I'll be fine." Or, "I know that my spouse and I are discontented now, but once we have kids, then we will be fine." Or the thousand other things we look forward to that will help us to be "fine." There is nothing wrong with looking forward to something, but sooner or later we discover that it just doesn't deliver. We go on to the next thing and are no better off. We miss the meaning of the moments of our lives because we have forgotten that all of life is meaningful." he then concludes his piece with these words: "How does a person grow in hope? By reconnecting with God's story. By being reminded that we believe that there is more to this life than just this life. By being committed to the truth that God is in all things and all moments and that our decisions matter. And then … then simply beginning to make choices. Decide. Act on those decisions. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Do what you can, and you will find that hope has become a powerful force in your life." Choosing to read this book will be an act of Hope, it will move you from the realm of wishing to growing in a knowledge and more than likely experience of true hope. 

Each chapter concludes with a Focus and Reflection Section just a line or two to help bring home the chapter. A sample from the chapter called Nadia is:
"FOCUS: One life can change so much. With each YES, we give Christ a chance to enter the world and let the light of God shine amidst the darkness.
REFLECT: What is God giving you the chance to say YES to today?" 
And after these two sections is a brief biography of the contributor 2 or three lines at most. 

Dr. Allen R. Hunt's chapter The ABC's of Hope is literally that. He has a short paragraph for each letter of the alphabet with between 2 and 5 sentences in that paragraph. It is a unique piece of work, compared to the rest of this collection.

The final chapter by Grandpa Hess Ends with these words: "In my life, hope has been found in people. It is through people that God has shown me how he loves to do the extraordinary through the ordinary. My wife is my hope. My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are my hope. Padre Pio is my hope. Jesus is my hope. You are my hope.
Yes, you reading this, you are my hope. You are a gift from God to the world. You hold within you the hope of a greater and more beautiful Church. You hold within you the hope that this can become a nation of holy families and saintly priests and religious. You hold within you the hope that love can prevail over hate. You hold within you the hope that God will bring the wonderful message of salvation to every corner of the earth.
You are the hands of God in the world. Go now and make him something beautiful." And by opening ourselves up to hope, through this book, the people in our lives, and the people God brings into our lives.


This book was an amazing read. I have been praying for a couple of years now to learn to live more joy. After reading this book I will start praying to live more joy and more hope. I am not sure which of the two come first, but based on my first reading of this book there is definitely a relationship between them. I honestly believe that if you read this book with an open heart, you will be transformed, you will learn to live more hope, and you will become an agent of hope to those God places in your path. I believe that any Christian who read this book will be challenged and be changed. So give it a try for we could all use a little more real hope in our lives.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
Beautiful Hope
Beautiful Mercy
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
...

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality





Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Love Is Patient, But I'm Not - Christopher West - Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Love Is Patient, But I'm Not:
Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist
Christopher West

Wellspring Publishing
formerly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 978-1635820065
eISBN 9781929266661
ASIN B076F4JVM9



I came across this book last month in an email from Dynamic Catholic. I was immediately captured by the title. I knew this was a book I had to read. And I picked up the eBook the day after that email. And boy did I need to read this book. And I know I will read it again and again. I read this book in one day over three sittings this first time through. And have already put it back in my reading list to reread it in a few months and take my time with each chapter as I do.

The introduction of this book begins with these words:

"I grew up believing that I was only "lovable" if I got my act together. I had to be a "good boy" to be worthy of God's love, or anyone else's. Be perfect (read: be a "saint") and then you'll be loved. Such was the impression made on me by a falsely pious upbringing. 
Having shared my story with audiences around the world, I know I'm not the only recovering perfectionist out there. It's a sadly common but tragically misguided impression of what it means to be Catholic. There is so much wrong with this view, not the least of which is what it means to be a saint. Saints are not perfect people. They are people who know that they are perfectly loved in all their imperfections. They abide in that love and it fills them with the infectious joy of the gospel."
And further on he states:
"While many of the lessons I've learned flow from my experience as a married man, these reflections are not only intended for married people. Regardless of a person's state in life, every one of us is involved in a great variety of human relationships, all of which can benefit from entering more deeply into St. Paul's hymn to love."
And from this starting point Christopher West goes on to give so many personal examples from his own life and his own struggles that You cannot help but be inspired to work for change in your own life.

The chapters in this book are:

Introduction
One: Love Is Patient
Two: Love Is Kind
Three: Love Is Not Jealous
Four: Love Is Not Boastful
Five: Love Is Not Arrogant
Six: Love Is Not Rude
Seven: Love Does Not Insist On Its Own Way
Eight: Love Is Not Irritable
Nine: Love Is Not Resentful
Ten: Love Does Not Rejoice At Wrong, But Rejoices In The Right
Eleven: Love Bears All Things
Twelve: Love Believes All Things
Thirteen: Love Hopes All Things
Fourteen: Love Endures All Things
Conclusion

Throughout the book are a series of grey boxes, they contain a short quote and then a series of questions for reflections or action. An example from chapter one is:

"Love is patient. Oftentimes, I am not. Lord, teach me to love. 
How do I respond when others inconvenience me or act in some way that I'd rather they didn't? Am I quick to react with dismay, disdain, or aggression? 
What experiences shaped me growing up that may be affecting the way I respond to others' and my own faults throughout the day?"

There are between 1 and 4 of these reflection sections in each chapter. The chapters with only one are at the end of the chapter, those with more are interspersed through the chapter.

At the beginning of the conclusion to this book Christopher states:

"In his Theology of the Body, St. John Paul II spoke of three "infallible and indispensable" means for living an authentic marital spirituality (these apply just as well, of course, to any Christian life): 
A deepening life of prayer Regular confession of our sins Frequent reception of the Eucharist 
At first, this might just sound like "standard Catholic stuff" that you've heard before. Sure enough, it is. But John Paul II's "spousal theology" gives us a fresh, mystical perspective that you probably didn't hear about growing up in the Church. I'd like to conclude this book by taking a brief look at how his "spousal lenses" illuminate this path of authentic marital spirituality."
And then he proceeds to expand on each of those three points. As stated this was a book I really needed to read. And will read again and again. This might become one of those books I read yearly for years to come. The lessons are simple and clear. The examples at times warm and encouraging and at times raw and completely transparent and vulnerable. Thank you, Christopher, for sharing so much or your own story in this book. And thank you Beacon for publishing it for Dynamic Catholic. Last year I was pressured to create a list of my Top 10 Catholic Books List if I were to be doing it today this book would be on it! It is a book I need and a book that will help almost anyone in their relationships, with spouses, children, coworkers, and with friends. An excellent read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!



Books by Christopher West:
Good News About Sex & Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching
Heaven's Song
At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization
The Love That Satisfies: Reflections on Eros & Agape