--> Saving page now... https://www.bookreviewsandmore.ca/search/label/Catholic2017 As it appears live September 28, 2020 12:23:27 AM UTC

Showing posts with label Catholic2017. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic2017. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 November 2018

In Conversation With God Volume 4 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 19-23 - Francis Fernandez

In Conversation With God
Volume 4 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 19-23 
Francis Fernandez
Scepter Press

eISBN 9780906138915

I love this series. And I especially love these eBook editions. In fact I enjoy the eBook version so much, I just gave away my physical copies. I have been reading this series since I was a student at Queen's University back in the late 80's and early 90's. I started reading them as they were coming out. They are an incredible series and I highly recommend them. Mike Aquilina states: "Now we can travel with more books stored in our telephones than the ancient Egyptians kept in their vast library at Alexandria.".  And I love having my eBooks available any time and where. And with this series I can travel with all of them with me at all times. There are also features in the eBooks that I consider an advantage over physical. I love highlighting when I read the eBook, I also like being able to select from a number of different colors. I use a different color each year I read. I also love that you can click on the link for a reference for a quote and jump to it, and then immediately jump back and keep reading. And with the eBook you can change the font, color, size to make it easier to read, and as someone with Dyslexia this is my favorite feature of eBooks. Another great feature is using accessibility features on some mobile devices and some dedicated eReaders and use text to speech, and listen to the text.

This specific book, Volume 4 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 19-23, has a meditation for each day Monday-Saturday, and three different meditations for Sundays, 1 each for year A, B, and C. Each reading is roughly 6 pages long, and each days reading is separated into three sections, roughly equal in length most days. Reading through it this year I highlighted 54 passages over the 6 weeks. I will share a few of those as samples of the writing in this book:

“There are many good Marian devotions. There is no need to practise every single one of them. But anyone who doesn’t live some of them, who doesn’t express his love for Mary in some way, does not possess the fullness of the faith. Those who think that devotions to our Lady are a thing of the past seem to have lost sight of the deep Christian meaning they contain. They seem to have forgotten the source from which they spring – faith in God the Father’s saving will, love for God the Son, who really became man and was born of a woman, and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us with his grace.”

“If you look for Mary, you will necessarily find Jesus; and you will learn, in greater and greater depth, what there is in the Heart of God. Let us consider how our own lives reflect this ancient Christian practice of special devotion to our Lady on Saturdays.”

“In the Most Blessed Virgin we find the perfect model of one who listens with attentive ear to what God is asking, in order to put it into practice from a standpoint of complete availability. Indeed, at the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with ‘full submission of intellect and will’ (Dei Verbum, 5), manifesting ‘the obedience of faith’ to him who spoke to her through his messenger. We go to her, in finishing our prayer, asking her to teach us how to listen attentively to everything that comes from God, and to put it into practice.”

“Fullness of grace and fullness of freedom went together in our Lady, since one is more free in so far as one is more holy. As a result, she gave a most faithful response to these gifts of God, and through that response she obtained abundant merits. Let us, who are her children and who have such great need of her help, go to her now.”

“Jesus never stops loving us, helping us, protecting us, talking to us, not even in our moments of sheer ingratitude, or after we have committed the greatest disloyalty. Perhaps it was during such sad circumstances that our Lord has been most attentive to us, as today’s parable suggests. Among the hundred sheep in the flock, only the one that was lost had the honour of resting on the good shepherd’s shoulders. I will be with you always,[76] in each situation, at every moment, our Lord tells us. And especially when we begin that final journey towards him.”

Across the 7 Volumes in this series; or 14 eBook volumes because each book is split in two there are over 450 meditations. There is a meditation for each day of the church calendar, Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Eastertide and of course the 34 weeks of Ordinary time. There are also 2 volumes dedicated to special feats, specific feats, novenas, Saints, and holy days that fall on specific calendar days. I have used the eBook editions for the last few years now and they are excellent.

These books are incredible for your spiritual life. Every time I read them, every day I am challenged, challenged to become a better version of myself, challenged to live more joy, more hope, more dedication. These books will change your life, and as you read them again and again you will only grow to appreciate them more.  

Of all the devotionals and spiritual books, I have read over the last nearly 30 years I can recommend this series as one of the best. You can read it again and again and always get something more out of it. I was recently asked to come up with my all-time Top Ten Catholic Books this series came in at number 4 but to be honest 2-5 are almost all interchangeable. So this is one of my all-time top Christian reads!

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

Books edited by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
Year of Faith Treasury: The Sacrament of Confession 
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Faith
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Fortitude 

In Conversation with God:

In Conversation with God eBooks:
Volume 1 Part 1 Advent 
Volume 1 Part 2 Christmas and Epiphany
Volume 2 Part 1 Lent and Holy Week
Volume 2 Part 2 Eastertide
Volume 3 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 1-6
Volume 3 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 7-12
Volume 4 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 13-18
Volume 4 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 19-23
Volume 5 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 24-28
Volume 5 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 29-34
Volume 6 Part 1 Special Feasts January-March
Volume 6 Part 2 Special Feasts April-June
Volume 7 Part 1 Special Feats July -September
Volume 7 Part 2 Special Feats October -December

Books by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
Through The Winds and Waves
The Day that Changed My Life

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Just a Servant - Patricia Ann Moore and Michelle Ann Moore

Just a Servant
Patricia Ann Moore
Doriano Strologo (Illustrations)
Michelle Ann Moore (Designer)
Prancing Panda Press
ISBN 9781523826865

This book was a bit of a surprise for us as a family. My youngest two loved it. My oldest was on the fence, and I am sort of in the middle. It is a story that has a good message. The illustrations are very well done. But the story is just so implausible that I have a tough time personally enjoying it. Last year I reviewed a graphic novel, that had a modern rosary in usage 400 years before it existed. That inconsistency just stuck with me and made it very hard to enjoy the story. I feel the same way about this, there is no way a servant, even a child who was a servant would dawdle or hang out at the market when they had tasks to do. The punishment would likely have been severe. Also, in biblical stories names and their meanings are important. The main characters name is made up and from what I can tell has no meaning. Because of that I would only give the story 3/5 stars, but because my youngest two children loved it so much it gests bumped to 4/5 stars.

This is they story about a young servant named Marciper, he hates being a servant and that his master is cruel. Marciper is hanging out at the market trying to meet this 'Jesus', whom he keeps hearing about.

I asked my children to rate this book and this is what I got:
7 year old 5/5 Stars
10 year old 4.5/5 Stars
11 year old 3/5 Stars
Me 3/5 Stars

So, we rounded up to 4/5 stars. All three children really liked the illustrations. I cannot tell from the book if they are watercolors, marker or computer generated but they are bright, vibrant and lively. My son loves that Marciper gets to spend a whole afternoon with Jesus. And he loved that Marciper was no longer afraid of his master's anger because he knows his worth from spending time with Jesus.

Overall it is an interesting little picture book with a good message. Younger children will love it. And the illustrations on excellent. We would definitely be willing to read more from the author or illustrator.

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

Books by Patricia Ann Moore:
Just a Servant
The Angel with One Wing
First Winter
Please, Miss Gooding!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Dying for Revenge - Barbara Golder - The Lady Doc Murders Book 1

Dying for Revenge
The Lady Doc Murders Book 1
Barbara Golder
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970005

This was the third book from this small publisher that I have read, and the second by Dr. Barbara Golder, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I read the second book in this series first, Dying for Compassion, and loved it. I started reading this book even before I had written my review of book two. I just could not put them down. It has been years, likely more than 20 years since reading mysteries was a big part of my reading each year. But I must say if more books were to be released in this series I would grab them up and bump them to the top of my reading pile.  And it is not a small pile, I currently have just over 100 books in my to be read list.

In my review of the other book in this series I stated that reading this book was like "watching Quincy M.E. with my dad. It also brought to mind Diagnosis Murder. But with an undercurrent from three of the main characters Catholic faith and its influence on them and their world view." That faith element is in many ways even stronger in this volume. Having read the books out of order I was familiar with some of our cast of characters. Jane Wallace, a widow, who is the Medical Examiner in Telluride. A ski town in the mountains. And we have the Eoin Conner and Irish writer, who has been through more than his status as world famous writer would let on. Father Matt a youngish priest at the local parish, a parish that only has a full time priest because of an endowment from Dr. Wallace. 

This book begins with a young women finding of that her husband has HIV and that likely she and her unborn child have it because of his behaviour. Shortly after that he ends up dead. But soon someone starts killing of random people in Telluride. And the body count might be higher than many at first expect. The corners own son starts piecing it together, as he is digitizing the medical records at his mother's lab. We have a nosy reporter that is willing to more than bend the law to get a story. We also have another young woman sexually assaulted, and because of her illegal status things are complicated.

That is a lot of plot elements rolled into one story. But what an incredible story it is. This book starts with a scream and goes on a roller coaster ride from there. It was nearly impossible to put this book down. The few times I had to all I could do was keep thinking about it, and wanting to read that next chapter. While reading this I could think of a dozen friends that would love this book. I also want to get a copy for my dad and step mom because I believe they will love it also. Fans of Andrew M. Greeley's Blackie Ryan books would appreciate this novel. As well as fans of Robert B. Parker's Spencer for Hire books. When you add the smattering of Catholicism, and a female lead this book is an excellent read!

As mentioned previously this book is from a smaller publisher.  Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line on their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading a few books from them I have a great appreciation for what they are trying to do and the works coming from this publisher. I can highly recommend this book; and really hope we get more from Golder's pen to read soon. Give it a chance I am sure the writing will grab your attention and keep you glued to the page, and desperately wanting more.

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

Books by Barbara Golder:
Lady Doc Murders:
Dying for Revenge
Dying for Compassion

Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Julia's Gifts - Ellen Gable

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House - Manuel Alfonseca - The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 5

The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House
The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 5
Manuel Alfonseca

ISBN 9788416558629

I was introduced to Manual Alfonseca's books earlier this year. Over that time, I have read the give books in this series and one other. Each of the books have been excellent reads. And as this is the fifth and final book in the Sleuths of the Spanish Transition series, it is with some sadness that I write this review. This book released in English before the Spanish version, which is a first for the works from Alfonseca. I have enjoyed this series immensely and plan on read many of Alfonseca's other works that are available in English. But back to this specific book. 

This book is a few years after the adventure of the honeymoon. Vicky is working as a researcher for a large firm. Gonzalo has continued his career as an engineer. And now they have a small child. The child is young enough that it is still sleeping in a crib and breastfeeding, but old enough that Vicky is back to work. As part of her work Vicky has made a new discovery that her employer is trying to sell. So, Vicky has been invited to the Egyptian Vulture Country House to present to two prospective buyers. 

But as we know from other adventures in this series Things are often not as easy and simple as they seem. There is an apparent attempted kidnapping. Then on the first night at the country house, a giant ruby is stolen from a Saudi price, and the next night there is a murder. Vicky is at the estate, Gonzalo is at a hostel in town to be close by in case he is needed. And Gutierrez ends up on site to investigate, but he has been promoted from inspector to superintendent. We have a group of thugs. There is suspicion of influence from the growing Communist Party. And maybe a prank that has gone very bad.

It is interesting to watch as Vicky, Gonzalo, and Gutierrez. All of them work the case from different angles. And yet come to the same conclusions from different line of thought and inquiry. 

This book mostly takes place over 2 days at a country estate in Spain. There is less action and less danger than some of the other adventures. But it is still a great mystery to read. I really enjoyed this book and to be honest the development and growth of the characters over the five books in this series. The story follows Vicky and Gonzalo who meet at the library, through their courtship, marriage and now a young family. And yet they keep encountering new and different mysteries. This book was a great conclusion, even If part of me still hopes we encounter the mystery solvers in another adventure down the road. This book was translated by the author. It is an excellent read, and I recommend both this specific book and all five in the series!

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

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Descent into the Hell of Venus
Jacob's Ladder
Under an Orange Sky
The History of the Earth-9 Colony
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntle
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future

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
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266531

eISBN 9781929266951

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 
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

Monday, 18 December 2017

Monday the Third Week of Advent - Welcome Baby Jesus - Sarah A. Reinhard

Monday the Third Week of Advent from:
Welcome Baby Jesus
Sarah A. Reinhard
Liguori Publications

ISBN 9780764819971

(Note: This devotion always gets to my kids. They love the task of telling each family member one thing they appreciate about each other. Two years ago, the last time we worked through this book we did this exercise a few nights in a row.)

Jesus gives John the Baptist a very high compliment in today’s quote from Scripture by saying that none are greater, but there seems to be a contradiction when Jesus says the least in the kingdom of heaven are greater than John. What does this mean? 

Jesus is reminding everyone how important it is to be small and humble. This does not mean that we do not stand up for ourselves when we are mistreated. It means, instead, that we do not forget that God is first and that his will should determine how we live our lives. John the Baptist never tooted his own horn; he always gave God all the credit. 

We are all called to be like the least in the kingdom of heaven; God wants us to serve those around us, to help the poor and feed the hungry. Some people are called to be rich and famous, and there is a lot of responsibility in that. Our goal should be to try to follow God’s will for our lives, to love him enough to say “Yes” to what he is asking from us right here, right now. 

Maybe we have a bed that needs to be made, an assignment that should be finished, a friend who could use a hug. There are many ways to show love in our everyday lives, and when we are generous with our love, we not only show God to those around us, but we find him in the people we meet.


Jesus, it’s hard to show love to other people when I have so much else to do. Guide me in my day-to-day activities so that I show your love to other people. Amen.

It’s easy to forget that we should always be looking for the good in other people, especially those we’re around every day. Tell every member of your family one thing you appreciate about them.

"Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." 
Matthew 11:11

Books by Sarah A. Reinhard:
Welcome Baby Jesus
Welcome Risen Jesus
A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy
Catholic Family Fun
Word by Word

Do I Really Have to Give Something Up for Lent?
An Examination of Conscience for Teens: Grades 6 and Up

Author Profile and interview  with Sarah A. Reinhard

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Catholic Guide to Loneliness - Dr, Kevin Vost - How Science and Faith Can Help Us Understand It, Grow from It, and Conquer It

Catholic Guide to Loneliness:
How Science and Faith Can Help Us Understand It, Grow from It, and Conquer It
Dr. Kevin Vost 
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781622824144

I have read many books by Dr. Vost over the years. They have all been excellent reads. But after finishing this book I have an ever greater respect for the man, and the author. I have known so many people in my life who have suffered from loneliness, some were aware of it, and some not. This is a book I wish I had access to 30 years ago when a friend committed suicide. I do not think the book in and of itself is the answer but it can be a tool for the person themselves, or friends and family to help understand and support those who suffer from loneliness. This book is a tool that should be in every parish office! 

The dedication of this book is as follows:

"To all who are lonely and all who reach out
to lighten the load of their neighbor's loneliness"

Before we even get to the table of contents Kevin is speaking to the hearts that are hurting, and to those who are trying to help and support. The specific chapters in this book are:

1. Rethinking and Relieving Loneliness
2. The Virtues of Loneliness
3. The Solace of Solitude
4. He Came to Call Us Friends
5. The Loneliness of Christ
6. Lightening the Burden of Our Neighbor's Loneliness
Conclusion: With You Always

Chapter one of this book Rethinking and Relieving Loneliness begins with this quote from 1st Corinthians 13:11; 14:20
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. . . . Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature."
And then the first paragraph of that first chapter is:
"Loneliness is a product of our God-given human capacity to think and reflect about things. It is defined as a "perceived social isolation." Note the importance of the word perceived. We feel lonely when we think there is a discrepancy between the social connectedness we would like to have and that which we do have. This is not to say that loneliness is "all in one's head," something to be dismissed or ignored, since the lonely person's perception of a serious lack in social connection may be very accurate indeed. A quarter of the adults queried in a 2004 study reported that they had no one to confide in about serious matters. So, if you or I are feeling lonely, this may in no way imply that we are engaging in the kind of childish thinking that St. Paul has warned about. There may be many valid reasons for us to feel lonely, but what may be childish, or at least inaccurate, distressing, and self-defeating, in our thinking is how we proceed to think about the fact of our loneliness."
The example that follows about a perceived slight is an incredible insight. The breaking of the old stimulus/response paradigm to a newer more stoic model of stimulus (actual event), us (our beliefs about that event), and response (the consequences or emotional behavioural response). One of the key focuses of the second chapter is a striving for balance based on the belief that we have been created for both earthly and eternal happiness. And that this is done through deliberately striving to develop 

Each section of the book contains an Action Plan, that plan is broken down into five sections:
I found that these sections were amazing. I plan on printing them out and rereading through them from time to time just as a reminder to start working on these areas again and again. And then before the next chapter there is sort of a mini essay, basically a summary of that chapter in a one page synopsis. The one at the end of chapter four titled 'Have We Crafted a "Culture of Loneliness"?' was especially insightful. Some of the statistical comparisons between 1985 and 2004 on people we confide in is staggering. I was blown away by the numbers. And what that says about society today.

This at times was not an easy book to read. But it was a much needed read by me personally. And I am sure there and many out there who will benefit from the wisdom contained within these pages. Dr. Vost has written a book that can be used to help oneself, but also and maybe more importantly a tool we can use to help each other. This is another incredible read by a gifted author and I highly recommend it.

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

Books by Dr. Kevin Vost:
Full Range of Motive (2001)
Memorize the Faith! (2006)
Fit For Eternal Life (2007)
From Atheism to Catholicism (2010)
Unearthing Your Ten Talents (2010)
St. Albert the Great (2011)
Tending the Temple (2011)
Three Irish Saints (2012)
Memorize the Reasons! (2013)
One-Minute Aquinas (2014)
Hounds of the Lord (2015)
Seven Deadly Sins (2015)
Memorize the Mass! (2016)
Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (2016)
The Porch and the Cross (2016)
The Catholic Guide to Loneliness (2017)
The Four Friendships (2018)
How to Think Like Aquinas (2018)
Memorize the Latin Mass! (2018)

Books Contributed to:
Man Up! (2014)

Author profile interview with Dr. Kevin Vost.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Prayer of the Day - Prayer Before Using the Internet

A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.  


I came across this prayer today from the writings of Father Z. or Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, has it available on his site in a number of languages in both written and audio formats. He was asked to write this prayer and it is based upon Saint Isidore being the patron saint of the internet. Working in IT and spending a lot of my free time writing for this blog I spend a lot of time on the computer, and I am going to be incorporating it into my daily prayers. 

You can find the prayer in many languages here.

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Dying for Compassion - Barbara Golder - The Lady Doc Murders Book 2

Dying for Compassion 
The Lady Doc Murders Book 2
Barbara Golder
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970067

I picked up this book to give a read because I had read another by this small publisher and really enjoyed it. The title and description of this book really caught my attention. I really enjoyed this book and before writing this review have already read about a third of book 1 in the series. I can state that this book is more than strong enough to stand on its own. Even though it is the second book in a series, I could hardly put it down and did not feel like I was missing anything by reading them out of order. And to be honest for me that is a sign of good writing, that each book in a series can stand alone.

In some ways while reading this I could not but help to remember back to my youth and watching Quincy M.E. with my dad. It also brought to mind Diagnosis Murder. But with an undercurrent from three of the main characters Catholic faith and its influence on them and their world view. And I do believe that this book could be made into an awesome movie. But as much as I would love seeing a film based on this book, I loved the book. While I was reading it, I could not think about how much my father would enjoy this, and how I need to get him a copy. I also thought of many friends who were fans of Andrew M. Greeley's Blackie Ryan books back in the day, and how much they would appreciate this novel.

In this book we have Jane Wallace, a widow, who is the Medical Examiner in Telluride. A ski town in the mountains. And we have the Eoin Conner and Irish writer, how has overcome a lot in his life. They have a budding romance, and Everything blows up when Eoin's ex-wife Fiona walks in on them in a restaurant. Fiona warns Eoin that if she can't have him, no one will. And when she turns up murdered the blame and all evidence points to Eoin. But not fully believing in his innocence, but also unwilling to leave the matter in the hands of the Irish, Jane travels to Ireland to do her own investigation. And she brings her years as a medical Examiner, Lawyer, and investigator to find answers even if only for her own peace of mind. Fortunately, Eoin has other friends in Telluride, Both Father Matt and Tom Patterson, the local Sheriff are working the case from back home and calling in favors to get to the bottom of the mystery. 

This was a fantastic read. The characters are wonderful. The details in the science of forensics are enough to inspire without becoming too much. The scenery from the mountains in the states to a small island off Ireland's coast are masterfully written. It has been years since I have read mysteries except for the occasional novel here and there. But I would read anything in this series as soon as it comes out. It is a great product from a wonderful publishing house. Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line on their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading a few books from them I have a great appreciation for what they are trying to do and the works coming from this publisher. I can highly recommend this book; my only concern is that Golder only has two novels out to date. I already want more to read from her pen. So, give it a chance I am sure the writing will grab your attention and keep you glued to the page.

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

Books by Barbara Golder:
Lady Doc Murders:
Dying for Revenge
Dying for Compassion

Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Julia's Gifts - Ellen Gable

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
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 978-1635820065
eISBN 9781929266661

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:

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

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

Monday, 11 December 2017

Brothers A Prequel Novella - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Book 0.5

Brothers: A Short Prequel Novella
I Am Margaret Book 0.51
Corinna Turner
UnSeen Books an Imprint of
Zephyr Publishing, UK
ISBN 9781910806586
eISBN 9781910806616 UK Editon
eISBN 9781910806593 US Edition

This short novella is an extension of the incredible I Am Margaret series. The series is one of my favorite reads over the past few years. And Corinna Turner is fast becoming one of my favorite fiction authors. She currently has works out in three series and soon two stand alone works. I have read almost everything that she has published today, and think the writing is very good. My only fear is that her work will be prophetic. But her speculative fiction in this and her Tomorrow & Yesterday series present a bleak look for the future. But a look that we need to consider. For far too often life has ended up imitating art. But let's get back to this specific story.

This short story is an excellent read. For those familiar with the I Am Margaret series, or for those who just love short stories and want an introduction to this dystopian world. The story is told in alternating chapters by the two main characters Joe and K. Joe Whitelow is a young boy whose birth was unregistered, this means he is not a citizen, he is just spare parts and his number is up. But Joe did not know this fact until they came to collect him. K is Kyle Verrall, older brother of Margaret from the I am Margaret books. He is also trying to flee the EuroBloc and make his way to the Vatican Free State so that he can study to become a Priest and join the underground. He has spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this. But on the night he executes his plan things take a turn he never expected. Now Joe and K are travelling together trying to escape EuroBloc. The chapters sometimes tell current events, and sometimes the two remembering back, to give the back ground of how we ended up here. 

This story deals with an oppressive government. Two strangers that are thrown together and must learn to trust each other. It is the story of learning when to forgive. And it is the story of learning about faith, and for one learning how to share your faith. It is also in a big way about trust. 

This novella is an excellent read. I read it through twice. The day I got it and again the next morning because I could not stop thinking about it. It is more than strong enough to stand alone, but also fills in some back story for the I Am Margaret series. I highly recommend both this novella and the series so give it a try I am sure you will not be disappointed.  

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

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:
0.0 The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles (A prequel)
0.5 Brothers (Prequel)
1.0 I Am Margaret
1.5 How Snakey Got His Name (Short Story)
2.0 The Three Most Wanted
3.0 Liberation
4.0 Bane's Eyes

5.0 Margo's (Attempted) Diary & Notebook
5.5 An Unexpected Guest
6.0 The Siege of Reginald Hill
6.5 Buttons (Short Story)
7.0 A Saint in the Family
I Am Margaret The Play - Fiorella de Maria

Yesterday and Tomorrow Series:

Tomorrow's Dead

unSPARKed Series:
0.0 Breach
0.5 A Mom with Blue Feathers
1.0 Drive!
2.0 A Truly Rapror-Ous Welcome
3.0 Panic! 
4.0 Farmgirls Die in Cages
5.0 ???

Mandy Lamb Series:
Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon
The Wolf The Lamb and the Air Balloon

Elfling Series:
The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London

Other Books:
Three last things or The hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin
The Raven & The Yew

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens

Author profile and interview with Corinna Turner.