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Showing posts with label CTSLivingFruitfully. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CTSLivingFruitfully. Show all posts

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Living Fruitfully Joy Learning from the Saints - Mgr Paul Grogan

Living Fruitfully Joy Learning from the Saints
Mgr Paul Grogan
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784691912
eISBN 9781784694500
ASIN B075P3G8JD


Currently there are five books in the Living Fruitfully series on the fruit of the spirit from the Catholic Truth Society, and this is the last I have read. I might have left it to last because I might need it most. I have been praying for a few years to learn to live more joy. This is an excellent read in a wonderful series. The description of this book is:

"Joy comes to us from the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This title in the Living Fruitfully series reflects on the theological foundations for this understanding of the Holy Spirit as the answer to our thirst for joy and looks at the life in the Spirit which makes Christian joy possible. 

By drawing on examples of several saints like St Bonaventure, St Margaret Mary Alacoque and St Paul, the author then helps us to consider three ways in which we can experience such joy: through remaining close to Jesus in prayer; through speaking of Jesus to others; and through following Jesus according to our personal vocations."


I hold a Religious Studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I could have used this booklet as a resource during my university career. I would have drawn from it for several essays. The chapters in this volume are:

The 'Knock-On' Effect
Life in the Spirit
Closeness to Jesus
Speaking of Jesus to Others
Listening to Jesus
Conclusion
     Appendix 1: Examen
     Appendix 2: Prayer

Monsignor Grogan states:

"If we are to be joyful, it stands to reason that we have to know what we are being joyful about. Our faith tells us that God has saved humanity through the death and Resurrection of his Son. It also tells us that God is with us now in his holy Church. In other words, faith helps us to see both God's actions in the past and God's actions in the present. Through the virtue of faith we know that our joy is well-founded. We grow in this virtue through our sharing in the life of the Church, which is the herald and the guardian of our faith. Through participating in the sacraments our faith comes alive. Through our fellowship with other Christians our faith becomes stronger."

And the saints that we journey with in this volume are:

St Bernard of Clairvaux
St Ralph Sherwin
St Bonaventure
St Margaret Mary Alacoque
Blessed John Henry Newman
St Philip Neri
St Philip at St Girolamo
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
St Thérèse of Lisieux
St Rafael Arnáiz Barón
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

There are some incredible examples of living joy in this book. A few of the saints examined I am familiar with, a few were new to me. But the examples are so varied that I am sure you will find one or two that you feel an affinity for, and learn from those specific examples. The conclusion of the book starts with these words:

"Many of our contemporaries perceive deep down that we were created for happiness. Yet they disconsolately imagine that real, lasting permanent joy is something that will forever elude them. It is not surprising, therefore, that a good number of our fellow citizens reject the Christian faith almost out of hand. They do not want to get their hopes up for fear of being disappointed.

The Christian faith does not offer something that will solve all our problems. It takes human suffering very seriously. At the same time, it refuses to allow that suffering to snuff out the joy which is an essential part of discipleship. As Pope Francis writes with proper apostolic boldness in The Joy of the Gospel: "I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust…""


This book can easily be read in a single sitting. But I have a feeling that at least for me it will be a book revisited again and again. It is a book that any Christian would benefit from reading. It is a book based upon the truth. The Examen and Selection of prayers at the end of the book are great resources. And there are a few prayers throughout the text. Monsignor Grogan's writing style is very engaging. As soon as I finished this book i picked up one of his books on Mercy to add to my reading pile. I am very impressed with this book and with the 5 in the series. I can only hope CTS chooses to continue the series.  

An excellent resource from CTS that I give my highest recommendation. A great series and excellent book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley


Books by Mgr Paul Grogan:
Living Fruitfully Joy Learning From the Saints
Agents of Love: Spiritual Works of Mercy
A Simple Penance Book







Thursday, 12 July 2018

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints - Fr John McKeever

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints
Fr John McKeever
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784692001
eISBN 9781784694593
ASIN B075P2R7HL


This is the fourth book in the Living Fruitfully series and 15th book from CTS that I have read in the last few months. These are great resources for personal, family and community use. This book, and the others in the Living Fruitful series are especially needed with all that is going on in the world today. The description of this book is:

"This latest title in the Living Fruitfully series addresses the provocative and often misunderstood subject of chastity. Too often considered an exclusively 'religious' option, the author makes the case for chastity, showing us that as a Christian virtue, we are all called to lead a chaste life in keeping with our particular state of life: whether married or single, ordained or lay, young or old.

The work draws heavily on the teaching and example of the saints, beginning with a retelling of the story of St Augustine and weaving gems from St Thomas Aquinas, St Philip Neri and many others. There is a specific chapter on tools and spiritual weapons for the fight against temptation, and a short selection of prayers to help readers striving for chastity."

And it is a fascinating little read. I have a religious studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I could have used this booklet as a resource during my university years. I would have drawn from it for several essays that I wrote. The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction
A Moral Miracle
Life in the Spirit
The Beauty of Chastity
In Every Walk of Life
Weapons and Remedies
     Appendix 1: Examen
     Appendix 2: Prayers

This book opens with these words:

"Chastity is a term that is rarely heard nowadays. It may seem dated or even irrelevant in an era when sexual attitudes and behaviour are liberal and very much regarded as one's own business. The idea of having a set of rules or even a virtue to regulate sexual behaviour is unthinkable to many. Moreover, chastity is sometimes confused with celibacy, which is the choice not to marry and therefore to abstain permanently from sexual relations. Chastity does not mean simply not having sex. It means living sexuality in accordance with the truth of our human nature as it was created by God. This includes avoiding sex with anyone who is not one's spouse. But it also means knowing how best to love one's spouse, regulate one's fertility in a moral manner, and to live one's sexual identity as a man or woman in a way that respects one's own dignity and the dignity of everybody else. It is a way of loving that gives joy and life. As Pope St John Paul II said, "Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love"."

And it goes from there to explore what the church teaches about this fruit, chastity. It draws extensively from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, from YOUCat the youth Catechism. And also makes reference to the church documents; Humanae vitae, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio, and Deus Caritas Est

The final section of the book Weapons and Remedies begins with these words:

"In previous chapters we have already examined some ways of exercising chastity. Some ways, for example, prayer, are indispensable and are suitable for every person in every walk of life who wants to be chaste. Others might work for some but could be totally counterproductive for others. The main rule here is the rule of prudence, the mother of all virtues. St Augustine gives a very succinct definition of prudence as "love choosing wisely between the helpful and the harmful". It means applying our knowledge of moral principles to the individual situation at hand so that we can find the right means to achieve a good result."

What I love about this book is it is not a simple self-help book, do these 10 tings to be chaste. But it does provide a number of tools and tips and provides some guidance, so you can discern what methods work for you and encourages you to strive to live in that way.

Another amazing resource from CTS that I give my highest recommendation. A great book in an excellent series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley






Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints - Father John S. Hogan

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints
Fr. John S. Hogan
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781784691721
eISBN 9781784694517
ASIN B075P2HZ3P


In the last few weeks I have read three and am currently reading a fourth book by Father John S. Hogan. His writings were my introduction into modern books by the Catholic Truth Society. I came across them while trying to track down some booklets by Alice Curtayne written between the 1930's and 80's. I am so thankful I came across this series, this author and, books from the Catholic Truth Society. This booklet is an excellent read and part of a great series. Being completely honest this is one of the fruit of the spirit that I need to work on most and have been for year. 

In the introduction of this booklet in the section 'Called to Holiness' Father Hogan States:

"In the Sacrament of Confirmation each one of us experienced a personal Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on us and conferred upon us what the Church calls "the fruits of the Holy Spirit". These are not just pious-sounding attributes of God, but rather, thanks to the effects of the Sacrament, real graces offered to us to be embraced and used in our daily lives to help us advance in holiness. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that we are all called to holiness; indeed, one of the main themes of that Council is the universal call to holiness - it is one of the aims of the reforms of the Council. Our life here on earth is one in which we are meant to grow in holiness, become saints and offer to the Church and the world an example of faithful Christian living - to be, as St Elizabeth of the Trinity understood, a praise of glory for God.

This series of booklets, Living Fruitfully, is concerned with the battle for holiness in contemporary life, exploring the fruits of the Spirit, and drawing modern Christians' attention to the reality of grace, its powerful work and the fact that Christ's victory can be proclaimed in the soul even now in our earthly lives. This is the testimony of the saints who, though still struggling and suffering with their weaknesses and sins, lived their lives in Christ's and were sustained by the fruits of the Spirit in their manner of life, be they popes, bishops, priests, or religious, or laymen and women, married or unmarried. While the gifts of the Spirit are given to individuals and may differ - some are called to be apostles, some to be teachers, for example - the fruits of the Spirit are to be given to all and can be lived by all regardless of their state in life and particular vocation. That includes all of us. It is God's intention that you and I may act upon what the Spirit seeks to give us, so that we may be sustained and transformed; strong and holy; fit for mission and for the kingdom of heaven."

This book and this series are great tools. They can be used for personal study, group study. And I believe that anyone who reads these books with an open heart will experience growth. Speaking about the fruit of the spirit being multiple fruits Father Hogan states:

"Scholars are divided as to whether this was intentional on Paul's part, but whether it was or not, it serves to remind us that the life of a Christian, governed by the work of the Holy Spirit, is an integrated life, a fully human life, a life ordered and graced."

And as such the fruit are not singular but part of a whole. As we work on one, we will see progress and development in other area's. Each of us has areas where we struggle more than others. Hogan declares:

"They are given by the Holy Spirit to those who are struggling to live their lives in Christ, but who have embraced the Christian life and are practising virtue as well as they can. They are not habits, and so are not virtues; rather they are actions which reveal that the one that produces them is living a life conformed to Christ. While they are given freely as gifts, we are to co-operate with them in order to be brought to complete conformity with Christ and so to perfection. They are not given to those who have already achieved heroic sanctity, but rather they are means through which a human being is brought to heroic sanctity. They are medicinal, healing and strengthening and are intended to be given to all."

And those words are so encouraging. I really needed to hear that. In Galatians 5:24 Saint Paul names the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And Saint Jerome adds three to the list generosity, modesty and chastity; bringing the list to 12. Currently there are books for 5, I have read three of them and they are excellent reads. I recommend the book; the series; and I sincerely hope that the series continues to cover the rest of the fruit. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley

Other Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales

Devotions to St Thomas Becket


Author profile and interview with father John S. Hogan
.






Thursday, 7 June 2018

Living Fruitfully Patience Learning from the Saints - Christopher Mc Camley

Living Fruitfully Patience Learning from the Saints
Christopher Mc Camley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784695606
eISBN 9781784695903
ASIN B07B6M3KTL


This is the second booklet in the Living Fruitfully Series, and the fourth by the Catholic Truth Society that I have read over the last 2 weeks. I was doing some research into old booklets from the Catholic Truth Society by Alice Curtayne that were written between the 1930's-60's and came across this series. It really grabbed my attention and I picked up all 5 books currently available in the series. I often pray with my children about living the fruit of the spirit; and know that I need it more in my life, especially patience. 

Christopher Mc Camley is the only author in the series today who is not a priest. Maybe his roles as husband and a father make him especially suited to writing a book on patience as a fruit if the Spirit. The description of the series is:
"What does it mean to live as a Christian? How should we live our daily lives? One way we read of in Scripture is to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  
The new Living Fruitfully series addresses each of these fruits in turn, beginning with Chastity, Joy, Self-Control, Generosity and Patience. The series explains how we can live out the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, drawing from the wisdom and experiences of the saints.  
The saints, far from being perfect, battled as we do to embrace these fruits daily, like St Augustine who famously prayed, "Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" and St Therese of Liseux who was a very wilful child. Seeking inspiration from them in these booklets, we can learn to live our lives in a way worthy of believers in Christ."
And the sections in this booklet are:

Introduction
Patience
Growing through Struggle
The God of Patience
Parables of Patience
The Patient People of Old
Suffering and Martyrdom
Patience in Marriage and Vocation
Praying for Patience
Daily Examen

In the introduction Christopher states:
"Fruits grow from seeds, and seeds are found within fruits. We live in a world of tremendous technological advancement. We have explored the inner workings of the atom, and sent probes into the furthest reaches of the solar system and beyond. We can modify the genetic structure of a plant to improve its yield and crop resistance. Yet, we cannot produce a single seed from scratch. This is true of spiritual "seeds" as well. In our own lives it is God who plants the seed of love within us all; we cannot produce that seed ourselves. But with our choices and actions and free will we determine whether this seed will blossom into virtues, and ultimately grow into spiritual fruits."
And also:
"When a seed is planted we have to trust it will grow - we care for it, nurture, feed, water and protect it - but we cannot keep digging it up to check it. Spiritual fruits require trust in God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit all reveal an aspect of God, at least by analogy. When we speak of God by analogy it goes both ways: sometimes we apply a human term to God, to help us to understand him; other times, we apply an aspect of the divine to ourselves. When we talk of patience, is it an attribute of God we apply to ourselves?"
Christopher also reminds us that it is the fruit of the spirit, he says:
"All of the fruits of the Spirit are a single fruit, St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) tells us in his commentary on St Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Why does St Paul use the singular? Because they are all aspects of the one fruit, which is love. When we say "God is love", we are not speaking by analogy or metaphor, but something simple and true."
One of the passages that impacted me th most in this excellent booklet is:
"Although the fruits of the Spirit reflect different aspects of the one fruit that is love, they build upon and rely upon each other. Patience requires self-control, and kindness in dealing with others. Sometimes, when we conquer a sin, the virtue we develop will bear fruit in a different way. The person who is naturally patient may never see the spiritual fruit of patience grow in him. The fruit tree grows stronger in the face of a wind; it must put down deeper roots. We may continue struggling with patience, but bear fruit in generosity and kindness."
Another incredibly powerful passage is:
"The spiritual fruit of patience comes from patience practised by and for love, with faith and in hope. The bible uses two words for patience in the Greek, makrothumia and hupomone. Makrothumia is patience with people, while hupomone, is putting up with things or circumstances. Makrothumia is especially related to love, while hupomone is especially related to hope. It's also helpful to understand their opposites. The opposite of makrothumia is anger or revenge, whereas hupomone is opposed to cowardice or despondency."
The saints that are given as a sampling of examples of patience for us are:

St John of the Cross
Thomas à Kempis
St Thérèse of Lisieux
Father Willie Doyle

In the book we not only examine these four examples, we also look at a number of parables with a focus on patience and numerous bible examples of patience. After that there is an examination of two martyr's as examples of patience. And then we we look at four more saints:

St Rita
St Monica
Servant of God Léonie Martin
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Then the book concludes with a sample daily examen and a number of prayers for patience. This is a wonderful little booklet. I know few people in life who would not benefit from reading this book, or even the whole series. It is an excellent little resource in your spiritual toolbox. I recommend the book and the series wholeheartedly. 

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


Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley







Thursday, 31 May 2018

Living Fruitfully Generosity Learning from the Saints - Father John S. Hogan

Living Fruitfully Generosity Learning from the Saints
Fr. John S. Hogan
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784695613
eISBN 9781784695811
ASIN B078TM7B2W



I came across this book and this series by chance. I was looking to track down some booklets from the Catholic Truth Society by Alice Curtayne that were written between the 1930's-60's. But the title of this series really grabbed my attention. To be honest I bought all 5 books that are available in the series. I was immediately drawn to the series because it is based on the fruits of the spirit. But has the focus on living them out. I have been praying with my oldest child about both of us doing a better job of living the fruit of the spirit and these book were very timely. The description of the series is:

"What does it mean to live as a Christian? How should we live our daily lives? One way we read of in Scripture is to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 
The new Living Fruitfully series addresses each of these fruits in turn, beginning with Chastity, Joy, Self-Control, Generosity and Patience. The series explains how we can live out the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, drawing from the wisdom and experiences of the saints. 
The saints, far from being perfect, battled as we do to embrace these fruits daily, like St Augustine who famously prayed, "Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" and St Therese of Liseux who was a very wilful child. Seeking inspiration from them in these booklets, we can learn to live our lives in a way worthy of believers in Christ."
Each of the booklets in the series is under 100 pages. And can easily be read in a single sitting. However after reading this first booklet, I feel that these will be books I come back to again and again. This volume the first I have read is by Father John S. Hogan, this booklet was my introduction to his work but I will be pursuing more. The sections in this booklet are:

Introduction
Generosity as a fruit of the Holy Spirit
Generosity in God
Material generosity
The gift of self
Martyrdom
Conclusion
Appendix: Examen

In the introduction Fr. Hogan states:

"This booklet is one in a series, Living Fruitfully, which explores the fruits of the Holy Spirit - what they are, how they operate in the life of a disciple of Christ, and how the saints show us the way these fruits are manifest and reveal the process of sanctification at work. The fruits are given liberally by God, and among them is the fruit of generosity."
And that is exactly what the book does. It shows us how the fruit of the spirit of generosity can work in our life. And it gives us numerous examples from the lives of saints. And in conclusion Fr. Hogan declares:
"Generosity is a fruit that is given so we can fulfil Christ's command to love God with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength (Mk 12:30), and love our neighbour with a selfless and Christ-like love. It is no wonder that this call to give love to God is the Jewish profession of faith, the Shemà (Dt 6:5): it is meant to be the expression of ours."
And then the book has an examen focusing on this specific fruit that concludes with a prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This book was released in January of 2018, it was preceded by three volumes and has been followed by one. I can only hope the series continues and we receive one volume on each of the fruit. This book is a great little read, I look forward to the other volume by Father Hogan, and if the rest of the series. If is as good as this book we are in for some life changing reads!

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


Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley

Other Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales

Devotions to St Thomas Becket


Author profile and interview with father John S. Hogan
.