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Showing posts with label CTSFamilyMatters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CTSFamilyMatters. Show all posts

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Prayer in the Family - John Viatori and Beth Viatori - CTS Family Matters Series

Prayer in the Family
CTS Family Matters Series
John Viatori and Beth Viatori
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823909
eISBN 9781784694449
ASIN B073GZ5QBL
CTS Booklet PA5


In the last years and a half I have read nearly 100 books and booklets from the catholic Truth Society. And I have that many on my wish list currently. I have yet to encounter a bad book in the lot. And there are some incredible books and series. This is the second volume I have read in the Family matters series, and both have been excellent reads. And as far as I can tell it is the only book written by John and Beth Viatori. The description of this volume is:

“For many children, the experience of prayer in the family shapes their attitude to prayer and their faith for the rest of their lives. For parents, insecurity with their own prayer life and the practical problems posed by small children or teenagers can make the practice of prayer at home seem impossible. This eBook gives practical advice on how the home can become an authentic school of prayer.”

The sections in this booklet are:
The Necessity of Prayer
     Why should we pray in the family?
     The Domestic Church
Personal Prayer is the Foundation for Family Prayer
     Unity in family prayer
The Liturgy of the Domestic Church
     Sanctifying the day
     Grace at Mealtimes
     The Angelus
     Bedtime and morning prayers
     The Rosary
     The Liturgy of the Hours
     Sanctifying the Year
Praying with our Whole Life
     The sacraments
     Grounding the spiritual in the natural
     Using the five senses
     Reconciliation and the Eucharist
     The Eucharist and the Mass
A Final Word
Useful Prayers for the Family

The booklet is listed as coming in at under 50 pages, and the last few of those are a short collection of prayers. Nd yet while I read this book through twice now, I have highlighted over 21 passages. The first passage I highlighted is from the section on the Necessity of Prayer:

“One’s relationship with God is as delicate and unique as any relationship in one’s life, while being more important because, unlike other relationships, it touches every aspect of our lives and encompasses the goal and end of our lives.”

And the second highlights the need to be intentional, especially as our children are in their formative years. 

“To leave the spiritual life of our children undeveloped until they are old enough to seek it for themselves would be to do them a great disservice. It would mean depriving them of the love that every human needs most because they are too small to know where to find it. This is why we want to cultivate prayer in our families.”

The book draws from their own experience, but also from friends and family. Some examples are of young children, and even up to late teens. There are examples of things that have worked, and things that have not. And even one where teen children asked to take part in a family ritual. A great example in the book is to use prayer for others:

“Prayers of intercession for others are often a very good entry into the life of prayer, for those of us who are shy about praying in front of others. Often even when we can’t bring ourselves to go to God in prayer on our own behalf, the needs of our loved ones or acquaintances compel us to pray.”

One of the passages that was so striking to me was:

“A family’s prayer life stands or falls with the personal spiritual lives of the individual family members. As parents, we cannot establish a relationship with God in our children or train them to turn to him. However, we can adopt practices that will provide the conditions for our children to “meditate on the Word of God.” We can provide them with an example of praying with faith, humility, and perseverence, and we can teach them prayers that will unfold in their understanding as they grow.”

We cannot force a prayer life upon our children, but we can live an example of a life of prayer. And this book provides a lot of great examples and ways to pray as a family and for our families. This is something I strive to live:

“A father who leads the family in prayer is a tacit but convincing sign to children that prayer is not something wishy-washy or soft, but important and powerful.”

And it is not always easy. But part of our role, maybe the most important part of our role as parents if to raise our children in the faith, and raise them by our own example. But we are reminded we are not in this alone:

“Despite the many obvious obstacles and challenges that face us as we try to ensure that our family’s prayer is personal, we have a powerful ally in this struggle. God himself is our greatest advocate in our efforts to pray better.”

In the conclusion the authors state:

“What these diverse families hold in common is that they are ambitious to find ways to raise their children in a life of prayer. Speaking to them and observing the practices that they cultivate in their own homes has merely shown us how much more we might do to place Christ at the centre of our family.”

And the book does a wonderful job of that. It is an excellent little volume I am sure I will return to often as a refresher. As my children become teenagers, and beyond. I will end my review with a final quote:

“At the heart of prayer, whether it takes place in words or through actions, is the recognition of the presence of God with us and the enjoyment of his company.”

This is an excellent little book and would be of value to any family that picks it up! Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Family Matters Series:
Facing Difficulties in the Christian Family Life - Peter Kahn
Passing on Faith to Your Children - Peter Kahn
Prayer in the Family – John Viatori & Beth Viatori
Sex Education A Parent’s Guide – John Timpson
The Family’s Mission to Love – Rod Isaacs & Peter Kahn
The Role of a Christian Father - Keith Chappell
The Role of Christian Grandparents – Keith Chappell
The Role of a Christian Mother – Anna Melchior
Work and the Christian Family – Peter Kahn


Other Books by Keith Chappell:
The Role of a Christian Father
Role of Christian Grandparents
Catholic Social Conscience: Reflection and Action on Catholic Social Teaching
A Teacher's Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom (Editor)








Monday, 8 July 2019

The Role of a Christian Father - Keith Chappell - CTS Family Matters Series

The Role of a Christian Father:
Fatherhood in the Modern World
CTS Family Matters Series
Keith Chappell
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825149
eISBN 9781784692742
ASIN B071W3S35C
CTS Booklet PA11




I love the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have read over 90 books from CTS in the last year and a half. Some over 100 years old, other just published this year. And to date there is not a bad one in the lot. This is my first book by Keith Chappell, and also my first in the Family Matters Series. I made the mistake of reading a book in another series from CTS. I have just added six other titles in this series to my wish list and I already have another half dozen series from CTS on the go. But back to this specific book. 

His is a short booklet. The text comes in at just under 60 pages. But it is a great little read. I stumbled across this title the week after father’s day and decided to give it a read. I have of course read several books about fatherhood and parenting. But I know there is always room for me to improve. Sometimes far more room that I want to admit. In the introduction Chappell states:

“This booklet cannot be, and would never seek to be, the “manual” for fathers, but perhaps it will lead you to reflect on your role as a father and to become aware of the huge internal resources each father has which are given by the grace of the one Father we all look to.”

 And also:

“There is, however, an important question raised by this insecurity of fathers: why has fatherhood become so devalued in society when historically it is portrayed as a central, if not the central, relationship in each person’s life?”

 I completely agree with both sentiments. The book is not a how to, but more of a blueprint. And the book does an excellent job looking at the role of fathers, how they have changed over time, and how ‘patriarch’ has become a bad word in our society today. The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction
The Loving Father and the Prodigal Son
Shaping the Father
The Perfect Father
Fatherhood as Sacrament
Being a Hero
The Unchanging Father

The book is an easy book to read. It can be read over an afternoon sitting in a hammock. Or over a large mug of tea on a rainy day. But it is a book that has advice that will take a lifetime to implement and master. If in fact it ever can. I can only hope that 20 years form now I am striving to be a better father still, and if so blessed grandfather. I want to share with you a few of the passages I highlight my first time through this volume:

“The need to work away from home separated both parents, but especially fathers, from their children and disrupted family life. It was partly this disruption of family life that led Leo XIII to publish his encyclical Rerum novarum (The Condition of Labour) in 1891. In this encyclical Leo XIII argued for a living wage for workers in what was perhaps one of the first attempts to address the issue of ‘work/life balance’. Unfortunately this call was not heeded by wider society and men became increasingly seen as fulfilling their role as fathers through earning money.”

“This provided a great way to discuss the Incarnation but it also prompted me to look at images of St Joseph, patron of fathers and a model for all fathers, biological and adoptive. A quick search on the internet or through books of images reveals different images of St Joseph in his many patron roles such as worker, happy death and father. It is remarkable how many of them don’t have “the baby”. It turns out that this is something of a historical phenomenon. Early icons and statues rarely, if ever, show St Joseph without the Christ child but as we move through the Middle Ages towards modern times we find increasing images of St Joseph as worker, contemplative or dying a happy death.”

“Whether we agree or not, it is a reality that the notion of patriarch is no longer one that is valued in our culture. This is perhaps not surprising as the term has become increasingly abused over the centuries to the point where it is now virtually unrecognisable from the biblical notions seen in figures such as Abraham. In Abraham and the other Old Testament patriarchs we find men with whom God deals directly and who worship Him faithfully. The God they worship is not one tied to a particular place or time but one who walks with His people at all times; these were nomadic people after all. The God of the patriarchs is one that we can have a personal relationship with and that is not bound to formal religious structures such as shrines or holy mountains.”

“It is also important for fathers to remove themselves from the role of primary disciplinarians. Again, this is an area for joint responsibility. The days of “Wait ‘til your father gets home” should be as far behind us as the times when a man arrived home expecting his dinner on the table and all the housework done by his wife. For one parent to be identified with discipline risks making them less approachable, the other a ‘soft touch’ and means that discipline is something that children can associate with something outside themselves.”

“For a Catholic father today a recapturing of the image of the patriarchal father who helps his family to have a deep personal relationship with God, through His Church and all its gifts, is one that would be deeply helpful.”

“However, the father we are is shaped by many things and I would like to look at three of them: our parents, our own choices and personality, and our children.”

“Each child is unique. Sometimes you wish they weren’t, sometimes you are glad they are. Each is created in the image and likeness of God but bring with them an infinite variety of characteristics that require us to be a different type of father to each child. Sorry to say, but one size does not fit all.”

“So, our children and the reality of parenthood open us up to grace and looking beyond ourselves. Even more than this, in becoming fathers we are called back to the moment at the creation of humanity itself where we stood in original grace and walked with God. As parents we cooperate with God in His continuous act of creation and gain a glimpse of what we were created for and what we are called to.”

“At the heart of being a father in a Catholic family is the realisation that our children are God’s children. We are called not simply to love them as “ours” or “mine” but as His. There are few activities that give an insight to this as much as praying together as a family. We see our children building a relationship with their other, even more real, Father and can see that we are simply stewards called to make His love present to them.”

I hope those few quotes will give you a sample of how good this volume is. This is a great read, and it looks like it will be another great series from the Catholic Truth Society.  I look forward to reading more in the series and from Chappell.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Family Matters Series:
Facing Difficulties in the Christian Family Life - Peter Kahn
Passing on Faith to Your Children - Peter Kahn
Prayer in the Family – John Viatori & Beth Viatori
Sex Education A Parent’s Guide – John Timpson
The Family’s Mission to Love – Rod Isaacs & Peter Kahn
The Role of a Christian Father - Keith Chappell
The Role of Christian Grandparents – Keith Chappell
The Role of a Christian Mother – Anna Melchior
Work and the Christian Family – Peter Kahn


Other Books by Keith Chappell:
The Role of a Christian Father
Role of Christian Grandparents
Catholic Social Conscience: Reflection and Action on Catholic Social Teaching
A Teacher's Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom (Editor)