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Showing posts with label ShaunMcAfee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ShaunMcAfee. Show all posts

Friday, 13 March 2020

Epic Saints - Shaun McAfee - Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes

Epic Saints 
Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes
Shaun McAfee 
TAN Books
ISBN 9781505115123
ASIN B083Y67LD7


I love books like this one. I love reading about saints and am currently reading books from 4 different series about saints. But what a book like this does is introduce me to a few new saints, it gives me some more information and examples from saints that I am more familiar with. This was an EPIC READ that I could hardly put down. It is mostly eBook about specific saints and But there is also a lot of great information about the process of saint making, and the canon and calendar of saints. But the volume is not just the work of Shaun McAfee there are several contributors. Those contributors are:

Alex R. Hey
Sarah Spittler
Jessica Mcafee
Theresa Zoe Williams
Brooke Gregory
Deacon Marty Mcindoe
Shaun Mcafee
Laura Hensley
Mike Panlilio
Maggie Van Sciver

The essays interspersed through the biographies are:

Have Saints Always Been Canonized The Same Way?
What Is The General Roman Calendar?
Can These Stories Be Allegorical?
Are We Really Expected To Believe These Stories?
Why Are Some Saints Not On The Calendar?
What Is The Process For Canonization?
What Should We Do With Saint Narratives That Contain Errors Or Inconsistencies?
Why Are Some Canonized Quickly While Others Have Been In The Process For Centuries?
Can I Become A Saint?

And on top of that are profiles of 74 saints. Shaun and the other contributors do an amazing job or highlighting so many saints in such a short space. There are almost a dozen saints I need to go find further readings on. And my son is already looking forward to my rereading this book with him. 

In this volume there are a few tales about dragons. Saints pulling practical jokes and pranks. A bilocating death and many, many more. Stories of saints, of Martyrs and holy men and women. 

Though I will be honest with you, the pieces in this volume are so well written you might have a hard time picking a favorite. And you will definitely want to read more on at least some of the saints. An excellent read, that I highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...






Sunday, 29 December 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Fourth Quarter 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Fourth Quarter 2019

This quarter I have read 95 books, and a total of 392 this year. I am reading at the pace of about a book and a quarter a day.  Of those a total of 49 books received 5/5 stars and 45 are first time reads and are therefor eligible for this quarters top ten list. That left me to choose from 22 non-fiction and 23 fiction.

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the fourth quarter of 2019.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Memento Mori: Prayers on the Last Things - Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP
2. Learning to Love: Journeys Through Life with the Rosary - Father Nigel Woollen
3. How to Make Great Decisions - Fr. Mike Schmitz
4. Reclaiming Catholic History Series
5. 12 Life Lessons from St. Thomas Aquinas: Timeless Spiritual Wisdom for Our Turbulent Times - Kevin Vost
6. 20 Answers Conversion - Shaun McAfee - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers 
7. Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory A Powerful Devotion for the Holy Souls - Seven Swords Publications and Susan Peek
8. Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion - Pope Benedict XVI, Amy Welborne and Ann Engelhart
9. Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae - Edited by Todd Aglialoro and Stephen
10. Whatever Happened to Friendship? - Henry Menzies

Bonus:
In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
Be Strong in the Lord: Spirituality for Men - Harold Burke-Sivers
Saint Maximillian Kolbe Martyr of Charity - James E. McCurry

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. From Afar - Roger Thomas
2. Father William's Daughter - Fiorella De Maria
3. The Last Ugly Person: And Other Stories - Roger Thomas
4. Ungifted - Gordon Korman
5. All in Good Time - Carolyn Astfalk 
6. The Watchful Sky Series by Roger Thomas
7. The Attic Saint - Tim Drake and Theodore Schluenderfritz
8. Ella's Promise - Ellen Gable - Great War Great Love Book 3
9. The Advent of Christmas - Matt Maher and Merce Tous
10. Blue Moon - Lee Child - Jack Reacher 24

Bonus:
Hunt for Jack Reacher Books by Dian Capri

My reading has been up over each of the last few years. I attribute part of it to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Last quarter was an almost 2/3rds fiction and non-fiction, this quarter it was split almost equal.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are in the bonus section. It was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996




Sunday, 22 December 2019

20 Answers Conversion - Shaun McAfee - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

20 Answers Conversion
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers
Shaun McAfee
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683571346
eISBN 9781683571360
eISBN 9781683571353
ASIN B07SVJYNQ1


Over the last few years I have read 30 of the books in the 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers. And I have also read most of the books by Shaun McAfee. And most by both are excellent reads. My favorites by Shaun is Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation, but this book is a very close second. I love the idea that Shaun presents that we are all in the process of conversion. It does not matter if we were born and raise Catholic or were a ‘Convert’ latter in life, we are all in process. In fact, the introduction of this volume begins with these words:

“Conversion is for everyone. 

Conversion is the master theme of the entire Bible and the enduring message in salvation history. Every prophecy, every proverb, psalm, chronicle, law, commandment, parable, beatitude, and moral insight is proclaimed for the purpose of conversion: of the soul, of the heart, and of the mind.”

Shaun also states:

“Christianity is about conversion because our faith is something that is grown, our hope is something continual, and our love is something that is worked unto perfection.”

And the introduction concludes with:

“Many of the answers in this small book are directed at those who are new to the Catholic Church or are moving towards fuller communion with it. But conversion doesn’t end with that communion. It’s a lifelong duty even for “cradle Catholics”: our work of participation in God’s saving grace. Conversion is for everyone because its fruits of faith, hope, and love are for everyone.”

As such it is an incredible read for all Catholics. The 20 Questions answered in this volume are:

1. What is conversion?
2. What is the process of entering the Catholic Church?
3. What exactly am I required to do and believe as a Catholic?
4. What challenges do new converts face?
5. How do I choose a parish?
6. What are some pitfalls that new converts should watch out for?
7. Catholics have a lot of customs and traditions. What are some important ones I need to know?
8. What are the liturgy and the liturgical calendar?
9. Do I have to pray to Mary and the saints?
10. Do Catholics still believe in purgatory?
11. Do Catholics have to pray for the dead?
12. How can I understand the Catholic hierarchy and all the different kinds of clergy and religious?
13. Is it true that we don’t have to accept certain Catholic moral teachings if we don’t agree with them?
14. Are there any Catholic teachings that I can choose to believe or not to believe?
15. What if I don’t understand something the Church says I have to believe?
16. How do I handle reports of sexual abuse scandals in the Church?
17. I’ve heard that the pope is changing a lot of Church teachings. Is this true?
18. Does the Catholic Church tell me how I have to vote?
19. What can I do if my spouse or family isn’t Catholic?
20. Okay, I’m Catholic. How do I discern what God has in store for me next?

As you can see Shaun attacks some hard questions. Being Catholic and voting, the sexual abuse crisis, and the question of accepting the church’s teaching. Shaun has written an excellent volume. It is a book all Catholic would benefit from reading.

Many of the books in the 20 Answers series I have read more than once. This is one I will enjoy returning to from time to time as a reminder. When I was involved with Campus Ministries, specifically Campus Crusade for Christ, they have a series of ‘How To’ booklets, by your second or third year in the ministry you had them memorized and could use them in random evangelization. The 20 Answers Books remind me of them. They are great tools, for growing your own faith, deepening your knowledge and to provide you with sills to be able to answer friend, family and coworkers on many topics. It is a great series, and this is one of the best in the series. 

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


Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...

20 Answers Series:
20 Answers Abortion - Trent Horn
20 Answers Angels & Demons - Fr. Mike Driscoll
20 Answers Atheism - Matt Fradd
20 Answers Death & Judgement - Trent Horn
20 Answers Divorce & Remarriage - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers End of Life - Jason Negri
20 Answers Faith & Science - Trent Horn
20 Answers God - Trent Horn
20 Answers Islam - Andrew Blezad
20 Answers Jehovah's Witnesses - Trent Horn
20 Answers Mary - Tim Staples
20 Answers Miracles - Karlo Broussard
20 Answers Mormonism - Trent Horn
20 Answers Salvation - Jimmy Akin
20 Answers Scripture and Tradition - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Bible - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Eucharist - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Papacy - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Real Jesus - Trent Horn

20 Answers The Church - Trent Horn
20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult - Michelle Arnold
20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill
20 Answers Bible Prophecy - Jimmy Akin
20 Answers Homosexuality - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Reformation - Steve Weidenkopf
20 Answers The Sacraments - Fr. Mike Driscoll

20 Answers Bible Difficulties - Jimmy Akin  
20 Answers The Reformation - Steve Weidenkopf
20 Answers Bioethics - Stacy A. Trasancos
20 Answers Conversion - Shaun McAfee
20 Answers Faith and Works - Jimmy Akin
...  

Other Books from Catholic Answers:
Hard Sayings: A Catholic Approach to Answering Bible Difficulties - Trent Horn
A Daily Defense: Apologetics Lessons for Every Day - Jimmy Akin
The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church - Rod Bennett
Answering Atheism - How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity - Trent Horn
Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk About Our Culture's Toughest Issue - Trent Horn and Fr Frank Pavone
The Protestant's Dilemma: How the Reformation's Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism - Devin Rose
Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines - Tim Staples
Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Christians - James L. Papandrea
Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World - Fr. Mike Driscoll
Navigating the Tiber: How to Help Your Friends and Family Journey Toward the Catholic Faith - Devin Rose
100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura - Dave Armstrong
The Drama of Salvation: How God Rescues You from Your Sins and Brings You to Eternal Life - Jimmy Akin
The Truth is Out There (Brendan and Erc in Exile Book 1 - Brother Amadeus and Amadeus
...Memorize the Reasons! Defending the Faith with the Catholic Art of Memory - Kevin Vost
Marching Orders: A Tactical Plan for Converting the World to Christ - Dan McGuire

The Fathers Know Best - Jimmy Akin
Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love - Trent Horn
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did - Eric Sammons
What the Saints Never Said - Trent Horn
...

Monday, 16 December 2019

I'm Catholic Now What? - Shaun McAfee

I'm Catholic. Now What?
Shaun McAfee 
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9781681923437
ISBN 9781681925653
eISBN 9781681925660
ASIN B081G765BJ


I have very mixed feelings about this book. I absolutely loved Reform Yourself! by Shaun. And have very much enjoyed the other books he has written or contributed to. But this one just did not really do it for me. I am not a convert, but I am a revert. I also went to a Catholic Primary and Secondary schools, and have a university degree in Religious Studies with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. And to be honest the books is ok, but it took effort and discipline to finish it. Parts of it are very repetitive. And from my background there was nothing new, or drastically inspiring. I found it intriguing that at the time of writing this review on Amazon there are 10 reviews each  5 star and on Good reads only 2 reviews both 3 star.

I agree with some of the other reviewers, everything in this volume should have been covered in a Catholic education, or in even just an OK RCIA (Right Christian Initiation of Adults) program. To be honest if you come out of RCIA and need to read this book, you should go back to your parish and demand better. The information in the books is not bad, and Shaun does have a great deal of passion and zeal. It is evident in the writing. 

The sections in the volume are:

Read This First 
GETTING STARTED
1. License to learn 
2. Get a Bible and read it 
3. Know your way around the Catechism 
4. Know (and practice) the precepts of the Church 
5. Don’t be afraid to genuflect 
6. Heaven is the goal 
7. Knowledge isn’t holiness 
8. Remember that the Church is perfect, but her members aren’t — yet 

THE SACRAMENTS
9. Live the sacraments 
10. Know how to make a good confession 
11. Go to confession regularly 
12. Get to Mass on time and stay till the end 
13. Where should you sit for Mass? 
14. Receive holy Communion worthily 
15. Reserve Sundays for their true purpose 
16. Try the Latin Mass 
17. Go to Eucharistic adoration 
18. Celebrate the day of your baptism 
19. Get your marriage normalized 
20. Pursue the graces of your marriage 
21. Live out your confirmation 
22. Don’t forget the anointing of the sick 
23. Attend an ordination 

MARY, THE CHURCH, AND THE SAINTS
24. Cultivate a devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts 
25. Know the approved Marian apparitions 
26. Pray to the saints 
27. Get to know some saints 
28. Go on a pilgrimage 
29. Consider joining a Third Order 
30. Adorn your home with religious articles 
31. Start a holy card collection 

PRAYER
32. Make the Sign of the Cross 
33. Pray daily 
34. Pray with your family 
35. Prepare a prayer corner 
36. Learn to pray the Rosary 
37. Practice mortification 
38. Learn more about discernment and your vocation 
39. Holy water — keep it close and use it often 
40. Have your house blessed 
41. Grow in appreciation for sacred art 
42. Get a spiritual director 
43. Go on a retreat 
44. Stay at a monastery or rectory 
45. Seek the grace to pray 
46. Indulge yourself, categorically speaking 
47. Attend funerals and pray for the deceased 

CATHOLIC LIFE
48. Realize you’re going to sin again and again 
49. Invite your priest over for dinner 
50. Become a part-time vegetarian 
51. Have a beer 
52. Don’t be superstitious 
53. Discover other ways to live your faith 
54. Read the documents of the Second Vatican Council 
55. Find your people 

CUSTOMS, RULES, AND BASIC ETIQUETTE
56. Bishops, priests, and deacons 
57. The role of the bishop 
58. Papal elections and how they work 
59. Get comfortable with nuns and monks 
60. When to genuflect and when to bow 
61. Names of objects used in Mass 
62. Use your missal (not missile) 
63. What’s the priest wearing? 
64. Learn some Latin 

BEING A MODERN CATHOLIC
65. Catholic in the modern world 
66. Never forget: Evil is real 
67. Combat relativism 
68. Don’t believe everything you hear 
69. Read Humanae Vitae 
70. The truth about contraception 
71. Save sex for marriage 
72. What the Church teaches about homosexuality 
73. Break free from masturbation and pornography 
74. Teach your kids about healthy sexuality 
75. Know how to respond to abuse scandals 
76. Speak out against abortion 
77. What the Church teaches about euthanasia 
78. The Church’s stance on immigration 
79. Stop gossiping 
80. Give, and give out of love 
81. Reject consumerism 

KNOWING AND DEFENDING YOUR FAITH
82. Become an apologist 
83. Read the Church Fathers 
84. Can we prove that God exists? 
85. What the Church teaches about evolution 
86. Defend against sola scriptura with confidence 
87. Know your heresies 
88. Veneration vs. worship: An important distinction 
89. What is the Immaculate Conception? 
90. Why can’t women be priests? 
91. Papal infallibility and other common misconceptions 
92. Discover Church history 

EVANGELIZATION: IT’S FOR EVERYONE
93. Share the Good News with other Catholics 
94. What is the New Evangelization? 
95. Watch or read a good conversion story 
96. Evangelize using these simple actions 
97. Become a philosopher 
98. Seek reform, not revolution 
99. Let your silence speak 
100. Evangelize your kids 

Conclusion 
Where to Go from Here 
Appendix: Helpful Resources 
Notes 

The book begins with Shaun stating:

“Before diving in, I want to give you a huge welcome to the Catholic Church. Or maybe you’re coming back to the Church — welcome! No matter your background, upbringing, or demographic, I am personally invested in making sure you get off the ground right, and that you always know that this is your family. And if you’re a lifelong Catholic reader, thank you for your fidelity to the Faith.”

I feel that this might be a good read for Catholic high school students. Especially those at Catholic high school with less devout parents. Or it might be good reading during RCIA. But as a follow up I feel it misses the mark. I wish I could rave about this book the way I do, Reform Yourself!, but I just can’t. Another thing that is frustrating is that Our Sunday Visitor eBooks are almost never available in Canada. Just another layer of disappointment.

A good effort from an author I greatly respect and trust. But one I really struggled with giving a rating and finally settled on 4/5 stars. 

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

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...


Monday, 18 November 2019

Inseparable Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae - Todd Aglialoro and Stephen Phelan

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
Todd Aglialoro (Editor)
Stephen Phelan (Editor)
Raymond Cardinal Burke (Forward)
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683570912
eISBN 9781683570936
ASIN B07H7XG49F


I read a lot of books, averaging well over 100 a year. Many books that I read are good, some are great, and a few are exceptional. This book was exceptional. In fact, it was so good that as soon as I finished it I started reading it again. I wish I had been forced to read a book like this when attending a Catholic High School. Or that I had come across a book like this during my 20 years in post secondary education. Reading a book like this would have saved myself, and others a lot of heart ache and hurt. Even as I approach my 50th year this book has had a massive impact on my thinking and understanding. It is transforming how I think about and see my wife, and how I am praying for my children. I have only read books by one of the contributors prior to reading this but will be looking for more from each of them.

The contributors are:

Joseph Atkinson
Paul Gondreau
Mark Latkovic
Allan Carlson
Shaun and Jessica McAfee

And the chapters are:

Foreword
Introduction: The Truth Is One
1. “Let Man Not Separate”
2. The Meaning and Purpose of Human Sexuality
3. An Integral Vision of Sex and the Person
4. Body, Mind, and Soul: A Couple’s Conversion
5. A Prophetic Witness to Creation

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke states in the introduction that:

“In 1962, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council were presented with drafts of the constitutions and decrees they were to discuss and vote upon. Most of these, with the exception of the document on the sacred liturgy, were famously eliminated from consideration during the first session of the council. 

One of those eliminated from discussion was a dogmatic constitution entitled, “On Chastity, Matrimony, the Family, and Virginity.” This document is barely mentioned in subsequent histories of the council, but today it bears close scrutiny. The hardy theologians of the Roman School, whom some of the prelates and periti from Northern Europe mocked and marginalized as out of touch with modern conditions, had produced a document that would have been of tremendous assistance to pastors of souls and Catholic thinkers, and one that in retrospect was prophetic and almost preternaturally precise about current challenges regarding human life and its cradle, the family. The discussion and approval of the document might have spared the Church so many trials!”

He also states:

“What had they foreseen and addressed in the abandoned dogmatic constitution? Well, just about everything we take as normally controverted and discussed today. For example, already in 1962, they addressed sexual dysphoria and mutilation and the nature of sexual identity, sex education, same-sex attraction, the indissolubility of marriage, feminism, genetic manipulation, overpopulation and demographic shifts, and they dealt as well with contraception. Regarding which last, this would have been in the text of a proposed dogmatic constitution Christifideles Universi:”

And this sets us up for this volume which is an expansion upon the teachings of Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Saint John Paul II’s theology of the body. The book is very well researched and written. It could easily be used in an academic setting but is also so well written and engaging that any lay person can read it and benefit from that reading.

Each of the essays in this book is powerful in its own right, as is the introduction. But combined as they are in this collection, they provide a broad overview and cohesive approach to the Church’s teachings, the worlds believe, and the impact on believers and the world at large. It is a phenomenal read and she be in every Catholic High School, and every Catholic University. Honestly, every Catholic home would benefit from having and reading this book.

If you only read one Catholic book over the next year, I highly recommend that you read this one! 

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

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...

Other reviews of books from Catholic Answers.

Monday, 12 March 2018

St. Robert Bellarmine - Shaun McAfee

St. Robert Bellarmine
Shaun McAfee
Proving Press
Enroute Books and Media
ISBN 9781633370807
ASIN B01BX0NS7W




After I finished reading Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation, I immediately picked up this book to read. I loved that book and I loved this one. I did not even read what the book was about. Shaun wrote it and I wanted to read it. And because I got the eBook I was able to start reading right away. The description of this book is:
"St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) was a prolific author of the Counter Reformation and great defender of the Catholic Church. This book tells the story of the great saint who went from obscure title to become one of the most famous saints of his time."
But this book is more than just a biography it was also written as a history of a specific parish for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska. The sections in this book are:

Introduction
St. Robert Bellarmine Parish History and Timeline
St. Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Doctor
Die as You Were Living: Bellarmine's Teaching on a Proper Death
Prayer to St. Robert Bellarmine
Special Thanks

And the prayer to St. Robert Bellarmine is:

V. The Lord loved him, and adorned him, alleluia.
R. He clothed him with a robe of glory, alleluia.
O Doctor right excellent, O light of Holy Church, O blessed Robert, lover of the divine law, entreat for us the Son of God. Alleluia.
Let us pray.
O God, who didst adorn blessed Robert, thy Bishop and Doctor, with marvelous learning and virtue to expose the deceptions of error and to defend the rights of the Apostolic See, grant by his merits and intercession, that love for the truth may increase in us, and the souls that do wander may return to the unity of thy Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
V. Right dear in the sight of the Lord, alleluia.
R. Is the death of his saints, alleluia.

This book is a slim volume coming in at just under 100 pages. But it is also a wonderful little book. Even though I am unlikely to visit the specific parish, reading its history was fascinating. And reading about Saint Robert Bellarmine was inspiring. And reading about his teaching was challenging. After reading this book I will be reading more about and by Saint Bellarmine, but also keeping an eye out for anything that comes from the pen of Shaun McAfee. And to be honest I am likely to go back and reread this little volume again, and in a few years with my children, especially my son who has been saying for a few years that he wants to be a priest.

The dedication to study, of both Saint Bellarmine and Shaun challenge me to become even more focused and determined in my own studies. Shaun states of the saint:

"To continue his devotion to study, he rigorously took up the study of Hebrew in order to gain better insight into the original meaning of Old Testament Scripture. This was an impressive undertaking. First, Bellarmine did not have the time to learn, study, and apply his findings. What's more, he lived in the sixteenth century! This would be a hard enough undertaking with the Internet, or for the generations before us, with lexicons, dictionaries, catalogs, and so forth. Bellarmine completed all of this with a high standard and a high dose of independent judgment, remarking once that the Scripture master St. Jerome's interpretation of the first word of the Bible was "non valde probabilis," "not very likely." His determination for scholarship was meticulous."
And on his works, he states:
"Among the literary and academic saints are those whose work has been so important that these saints have been elevated to Doctors of the Church. They receive this recognition for their particular contribution to the study of theology and doctrine. Robert Bellarmine, for his exceptional defense of Catholic theology and doctrine during the Counter-Reformation and for his continued devotion to academic and spiritual works, was named Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. St. Robert's works are vast, but his works that are most popular today were completed at the end of his life and were less academic and more devotional in substance and style. One need not read very far into these works to find that Bellarmine is a master of eloquence and communication. His stirring words reveal a man truly versed in the literary arts."
As stated this is a wonderful little volume. I recommend it for the last two sections of the book alone. But the whole book is excellently written. The only thing I wish was that it has more photos of the church to go with the first chapter. And I give it my highest recommendation.

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

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...



Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Reform Yourself! - Shaun McAfee How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation

Reform Yourself! 
How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Paul Thigpen (Foreword)
ISBN 9781683570547
eISBN 9781683570561
ASIN B077F4TCPH


As soon as I saw the title and cover of this book I wanted to read it. And to be completely honest I did not know what it was about, other than the words REFORM YOURSELF! screaming at me. Part of the description for the book is:
"The sixteenth-century Catholic Church was definitely in need of reform. Too many of its leaders were worldly and corrupt; too many of the faithful were living in laxity or ignorance. Unfortunately, Protestantism brought revolution rather than reform, but the saints who rose up in response to it helped renew and transform the Church for generations to come.  
Our own souls, too, are in constant need of reform, of re-conversion to God and his will for us. We struggle with sin, we become distracted in prayer, we find it hard to be loving and easy to be selfish. In Reform Yourself!, Shaun McAfee (founder of Epic Pew and author of Filling Our Father's House) shows you how these magnificent saints can be guides in your own personal transformation." 
So drawing from saints from the Counter Reformation he does that. He gives clear concise guidance on how to work on yourself. For nearly 20 years my tag line in emails has been 'Learing to be' and when I was asked about it I would say I am striving to learn to be, and be good at being. This book uses the examples of 10 Saints to help us do just that. The saints that Shaun calls out in this book are:

St. Francis de Sales: The Apologist Next Door
St. Ignatius of Loyola: Reformer of Education and Spirituality
St. Teresa of Ávila: The Mystical Reformer
St. Robert Bellarmine: Our Model Apologist
St. Aloysius Gonzaga: Reformer of Youthful Piety
Pope St. Pius V: Reformer of Faithful Leadership
St. Philip Neri: Reformer of Solemn Humor
St. John of the Cross: The Contemplative Reformer
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: The Simple Reformer
St. Charles Borromeo: Our Consummate Pastor

Paul Thigpen begins the forward with these words:
"More than thirty years ago, I was a Protestant pastor working my way through a Ph.D. program in Church History at a Methodist university. The process was an essential factor in my eventually becoming Catholic. As Blessed John Henry Newman famously observed, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant."  
As I studied, I learned almost daily not only how much I didn't know, but also how much of what I thought I knew was actually untrue. 
One of the great surprises awaiting me when I studied what Church historians call the "Reformation Period" was the Catholic movement known as the Counter-Reformation. Many prefer to call it the Catholic Reformation, and for good reason: it was not just a reaction, a "counter," to the Protestant revolt. The spirit of genuine reform within the Catholic Church, as opposed to her attempted reform through fragmentation, long preceded Martin Luther's posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on October 31, 1517-the episode commonly considered the birth of the Protestant movement."
And looking back on this the 500th anniversary of the reformation One can only hope and pray for the unity that Christ called for among his followers. And Thigpen ends the forward with these words:
"In these pages you'll read about ten of these genuine spiritual heroes and what they have to teach us today. Their stories should stir us with admiration for their exceptional holiness, wisdom, courage, and perseverance-and often a fine sense of humor as well. But the author has given us much more than simple biography; he connects these stories to our everyday work of self-reform, of ongoing conversion, as well as to our baptismal call to explain and defend the Faith. Always, he approaches these saints with an essential question in mind: What can we learn from their example?  
I trust this book will find a wide audience. My hope is that readers will respond eagerly to the challenges it issues through its perceptive look at ten extraordinary saints with profound lessons for ordinary Catholics."
And after devouring this book I agree. I can think immediately of numerous friends and family who would benefit from reading this book. And I will likely read it again within the next few months. Shaun in the forward states:
"It is said that if you want to become a saint, you must read the saints. But I say, if you want to become a saint, you must do more than read: you must study the saints! You must read the saints in detail, analyzing them to the degree to which you come to know your own friends and family, taking an interest in every detail of their characters. To know these saints, we must devote ourselves to them. Only when we do this can we become like them." 
And this book is the beginning of that journey. The first saint covered in the book is St. Francis ds Sales, his feast day is my birthday and this chapter begins with this quote from him "Be who you are and be that well". Then the chapter on St. Ignatius of Loyola begins with this quote "To conquer himself is the greatest victory that man can gain.". Each chapter of this book begins with the key dates for the saint. It starts with a quote. Outlines the example that saint is in our process of reforming ourselves and then each chapter ends with one or more prayer. 

This book is very well written. It was hard to put down. The bibliography at the end it excellent for going deeper with one or more of the saints highlighted in the book. The only thing I fell the book really needed was a conclusion. It has a wonderful forward, and great introduction, incredible teaching and then just ends. But even with that it is a great read that I highly recommend.

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

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 
...

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
...

Other reviews of books from Catholic Answers.