Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Isles: Is It All a Lie - Sara Francis - Terra Testimonies Book 1

The Isles: Is It All a Lie?
The Terra Testimonies Book 1
Sara Francis
ISBN 9780998993300

This is the first full length novel by Sara Francis and boy does it deliver. With hints at the Six Million Dollar Man, Ender’s Game, Starship Troopers, and the science of Batman Beyond, it is a science fiction tale to entertain and enthrall. This book is a science fiction tale on a grand scale. It has cyborgs, humans genetically spliced with animals, tech geeks, and weapons galore.

The Isles is a small colony of humans living on 6 islands, protected from discovery by invaders. The invaders have taken over most of the world, or at least that is what the children have been told. Each of the islands has a different speciality. The Islands are run by island Keepers, and the children for the most part do not remember their past. They are being raised and trained to help take back earth.

Island I Bionics
Island II Saviors (Healers)
Island III Research and Development
Island IV Assets
Island V Seers
Island VI Genetic testing

The story is told as a series of alternating first person accounts, journal entries, either written or recorded. They are told by Alison, Sami, and Aaron. Aaron is one of the head geeks from Island III, Sami is a test subject from island VI she was spliced with a house cat genome, and Alison is from island I and has robotic prosthetics down the whole right side of her body. She was the first successful test subject for biomechatronic implantation.

Because the story is told in journal style each of the three go back and tell what they remember, or what they were told about the time before. Now they are members of the island, and this year during the inter island meetings they become part of a team that wins a competition and end up being selected for a mission to the mainland. But they soon realize a team member knows more than he is letting on, and that all may not be as they have been led to believe.

This is not hard science fiction along the lines of Arthur C. Clark. It is more along the lines of Robert A. Heinlein, Alfred Bester, and Frank Herbert. It is a great story and looks to be a very promising series. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The style alternating voices was intriguing. The characters are very well written. The plot jumps around a bit because of the format used, and the style but works well. There are some subtle religious undertones to the story. It will be interesting to see what that part of the plot goes in book 2. When you finish this book, you will be desperate to read book two.

The story is written with a Young Adult audience in mind but can be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good sci-fi story. So give the book a try and see who a group of young adults, teens and children who have been trained are preparing to take on the invaders and liberate earth!

Books by Sara Francis:
Stardust: A Collection of Poems

The Terra Testimonies Series:
The Isles: Is It All a Lie?
The mainland: It Has Begun!

The Adventure of Wobot Series:
Wobot and the 3 Technicians
Wobot, the Gear, and Motion

Monday, 12 November 2018

Family Grace A Story of Conversion Through Friendship - Father Michael E. Giesler

Family Grace: 
A Story of Conversion Through Friendship
Father Michael E. Giesler
Scepter Publishers

ISBN 9781594172236

After reading the amazing Junia Trilogy I have tracked down all of the books I can by father Michael Giesler. And this book did not disappoint. In fact, it was an incredible read. While reading it I kept forgetting it was a fictional account. But the events, and people in the story could exist and do. They are our neighbours, our friends, and our co-workers. The story is set within contemporary north American families. One for whom their faith has become relatively irrelevant. And another an immigrant family who have a bright dynamic faith and family life. When the two mix the spirit moves.

Part of the description of this book is:

“In Family Grace Fr. Giesler tells a similar story, but within the context of a contemporary American family that discovers the Catholic Faith in gradual and unexpected ways. He vividly narrates their temptations, failures, and victories in a setting very similar to what the early Christians faced: a society often hostile to the truth and goodness of the Gospel. 

As he did in his previous novels, Giesler uses the message of St. Josemaria Escriva as his inspiration---with his call to become saints and apostles in the middle of the world, a calling very similar to that of the early followers of Christ. 

“It was the family that converted the Roman world. Pagans saw that Christian homes were happy, and they wanted a piece of that happiness. This novel shows us the truth: the family is, still today, the key to evangelization and the key to happiness.” -- Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church.”

The story follows Frank and nan from their first date, through courtship, marriage, children, and drifting apart and away from the church. But their daughter Kim has a close friend Rosa for whom faith is integral to her life. And Kim comes to depend upon Rosa as a rock in her turbulent life. When tragedy strikes the two families grow together and faith is renewed.

As mentioned I forgot that this was fiction a few times while reading it, and got chocked up. It is a powerfully written story. And I pray it will spark new hope and new faith in the families of all who read it. Another excellent offering by Father Giesler.

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

Books by Rev. Michael Giesler:
You See Me, You Hear Me
Guidebook for Confessors
Family Grace: A Story of Conversion Through Friendship
Called by Name: Twelve Guideline Meditations for Diocesan Priests


Spanish Editions:
Dios te ve y te oye


Christian Historical Fiction Trilogy:
Grain Of Wheat


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018 Remembrance Day 2018

Remembrance Day 2018

Thank you to all the men and women who have served. May we always remember and honour your service and your sacrifice! To the families who have lost members either in the field of battle or who came home changed, thank you. 

Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading 1 Kings 17:10-6
Responsorial Psalm 146:6-10 Response 1
Second Reading Hebrews 9:24-28
Gospel Mark 12:38-44

The first reading of this week has the miracle of the meal and oil. Elijah comes to the poor widow. He asks of he something to eat. And her jar does not empty and the prophet, the widow and her son have provision through the drought. This example of God’s blessings and provision is called out by Jesus as an example in Luke 4:25,26.

The second reading this week again speaks to us about Jesus as the final High priest. But it also speaks to his return a second time to those who are awaiting him. And yet almost every generation since that time has believed it was the last. From the apostles on there has been a believe that the second coming was imminent. And I believe that is a good thing. As Christians, as Catholic if we believe Christ is coming back soon, it should inspire us even more to live lives worthy. To live sharing our possession. To live to serve others. 

And as today is Remembrance Day, it calls to mind those who served in the military and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And this ties to our final reading. Jesus judges the widow’s mite as worth more than all the other gifts. Those we remember today gave their lives. 

Related Posts:

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Prayer of the Day A Prayer for Priests and Bishops

Prayer for Priests and Bishops:

O Jesus, 
I pray for your faithful and reverent priests; 
for your unfaithful and tepid priests; 
for your priests labouring 
at home or abroad in distant mission fields; 
for your tempted priests; 
for your lonely and desolate priests; 
for your dying priests; 
for the souls of your priests in purgatory. 

But above all, 
I recommend to you the priests dearest to me: 
the priest who baptized me; 
the priests who absolved me from my sins; 
the priests who absolved me from my sins; 
the priests of whose Masses I assisted and who gave me 
your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; 
the priests who taught and instructed me; 
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way 
(especially ....) 

O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart, 
and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. 

Composed by Saint Thesese of the Child Jesus. 

Note: I do not know where this prayer came from. I copied it to my evernote prayer book and forgot to attribute the source. With all that has been going on of late I have been extra faithful in praying for priests. For priests I know, and for priests in general. I can count on one hand the number of priests I have encountered in life that I have had a bad experience with in some way or fashion. and I could count many many priests that I have encountered that were great pastors, prayer warriors, and exceptional men. And I have read some incredible books by priests, and about priests.

Last month I posted a different 'Prayer for Priests'.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Why Deacons The Teachings of Pope John Paul II - Michael Evans

Why Deacons
The Teachings of Pope John Paul II
Michael Evans
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9780851839431
ISBN 0851839436
CTS Booklet Do630


This is another of the CTS books that I have stumbled across that is out of print, but I really wish was still available. I know a few dozen men who are considering the diaconate, or who are deacons that I would want to get this book into their hands. I have read this through twice now and know I will read it again. The description on the back of the booklet is:

“The Second Vatican Council restored the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy. This 'permanent diaconate' is, unlike the priesthood, open to married men; it has importantly enriched the life and mission of Christ's Church.”

The chapters in this booklet are:

The teaching of Pope John Paul II
Selected official and liturgical texts

The introduction is really an overview of the diaconate, and its restoration within the Roman Catholic Tradition. It is also about half of the length of the book. So it is not a traditional introduction, but is truly an introduction to the topic of Deacons. The Sections in the Introduction are:

An Exalted Office
A Sacrament of Jesus Christ
A Service Person in a Servant Church
What Kind of Service?
The Bishops Man
A Distinctive Ministry
Priests and Deacons
Unity and Diversity
A Three-Fold Ministry
The Ministry of Love and Justice
Raising the Dust
Treasure the Poor

The Primacy of Love
A Bridge Person
The Worlds of Work and Family
A Ministry of the Cross
An Important Enrichment of the Church’s Mission

From that broad overview it moves on to excerpts from three of Pope Saint John Paul II’s addresses. The specific Addresses drawn from are:

Address to the Deacons of the United States and their Wives – September 19th, 1987
General Audience ‘Deacons serve the Kingdom of God’ - October 5th, 1993
General Audience ‘The Deacon has many pastoral functions.’ – October 13th, 2993
General Audience ‘Deacons are called to a life of holiness.’ – October 20th, 1993

And finally, the chapter ‘Selected official and liturgical texts’. This chapter contains

Article 29 from Lumen Gentium
Pope Paul VI Apostolic Letter, 1972
Homily for the Ordination of a Deacon
Examination of the Candidate
Prayer of Consecration (Second Part)
Presentation of the Book of the Gospels

Over the past two years I have read several books about the Diaconate. This one is the shortest. I have been praying about the diaconate even longer. This year I started the formal application process, and this book convinced me even more so of the value of pursuing this.

This little volume is a treasure trove of information on the diaconate. It draws from sources spanning 20 years. And I found it very moving and stirring. The book inspired me to be praying for the deacons I know, their families, and for the men discerning the vocation.

If you can lay you hands on this, it is an excellent read.

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.

For all reviews and articles about the Diaconate click here.