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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Peace Promise: Trusting God to Solve the Unsolvable - John Kuypers

The Peace Promise:
Trusting God to Solve the Unsolvable
John Kuypers
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820225
eISBN 9781635820294
ASIN B078Z2LQXN





This book was an incredible read. In fact, before I had even finished it, I was recommending it to others. This is one of those books that I believe anyone would benefit from reading. I should note this book was formerly published as: The First Rule of Inner Peace: Jesus' Sensible Way to Be Happy. And I know that it is a book that I will be reading again, and likely again after that. But this is one of those books that is hard to describe or write a review for. I have been trying to word this review for over a week now. The description of this book, the write up on the back-cover states:

"How much time do we spend scrutinizing others, judging them, finding fault with them, being disappointed in how they've treated us? How much unhappiness could be avoided if we had a different way of dealing with the anxiety, stress, and broken relationships in our lives? In this new book, author John Kuypers shows how Jesus' teaching in the gospel of Matthew can revolutionize our relationships and our approach to the issues that trouble us. If we stop and get rid of the log in our own eye first, we will reach a place of peace even before we know how to deal with the speck in our neighbor's eye. And in that place of peace, the Holy Spirit can reveal what needs to be done to resolve things. 
Whether you're a spouse, a parent, a teacher, an employee, or an employer, this is a practical, real-world teaching anyone can apply in any situation. Experience for yourself the wonderful peace of seeing clearly and its transforming effect on your relationships."
The way I summed this up to a few people when talking about it, is that, it teaches us to stop focusing on the speck in other people's eyes and more on the plank in our own. Or another focus of the book is that our attachment to thinks, situations, or perceptions. And it all started with his own personal changes. At 34 John blacked out and after the fright of that event started a journey toward physical and emotional health.

The chapters in this book are:

PART ONE: Admit You Lack Peace
One: The Peace Promise
Two: How to Recover Your Peace
Three: Your Soul's Deepest Fear

PART TWO: Get Committed
Four: Four Ways to Get Committed
Five: Why You Can't See Clearly
Six: The Rewards of His Peace

PART THREE: Let His Peace In

Seven: Hundreds of Hidden Beliefs
Eight: The Three Nothings
Nine: Two Ways to Successfully Apply the Peace Promise

PART FOUR: Stop Resisting
Ten: Experiences of Others
Eleven: Do You Want Results or Peace?
Twelve: You Are Lovable
TAKE IT FURTHER

This book begins with these words:

"Jesus promised us life's greatest reward: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you" (John 14:27). But there is a catch. "I do not give to you as the world gives." A friend once said to me, "That's exactly the part that troubles me!" In this book, you will see how radically true that is. It takes courage to receive the peace of the Lord because his ways are not our ways. Only by personal experience will you discover that his ways are also better than our ways."
I found that I was applying lessons from this book as soon as I had finished specific chapters. This book is full of examples from the authors life and from the lives of people he has worked with or who have read his earlier books. The concept of people reacting as either the hammer or a doormat really hit home for me. The premise is that people often overreact in one of two ways they become a hammer trying to force their view or decision, or they act like a doormat letting people walk over them and not even respecting their selves. I have come to realize that if either of these are happening then that person or I am not acting and living from a place of peace.

As I stated this book is hard to describe, but it is an incredible read! One of the best books I have read for personal and professional growth in years!

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

Books by John Kuypers:
The Non Judgmental Christian: Five Lessons That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships
What's Important Now: Shedding The Past So You Can Live In The Present
The First Rule Of Inner Peace: Jesus' Amazing Remedy For Unhappiness
Every Couple's Dilemma: To Be Truthful Or Protective
Who's The Driver Anyway? Making The Shift To A Collaborative Team Culture
Pay Now, Fly Later With Time Frame: Why Your Long Term Success Is Hidden In Your Organization Chart
Comfortable In Your Own Skin: What It Means To Be Present
The Peace Promise: Trusting God To Solve The Unsolvable






Monday, 19 February 2018

I Don't Like Lent - Rev Daniel A. Lord S.J.

I Don't Like Lent
Rev Daniel A. Lord S.J.
ASIN B008N3Q3WA




This was my introduction to Daniel A Lord’s works, this booklet was originally published in 1937 by The Queen’s Work, St. Louis, USA. It is currently available as a Kindle eBook. It was such a great read that as soon as I finished reading it, I read it through a second time and picked up about a dozen of his other booklets to read. According to Fr. Edward Looney, Daniel Lord wrote over a million words in his lifetime. Currently about 40 of his booklets are available as eBooks. But I have not found much of his other works still in print. And from just this first booklet I am addicted.

The introduction to this booklet states:

“Reading this pamphlet today, when the Church insists on such tiny penances, during Lent is a sobering reminder to good Catholics that their ancestors were willing to undergo far more stringent deeds of self-sacrifice than appears to be common among us, their children. May the reading of this pamphlet encourage us to be more zealous in the service of the Lord.”
And to be honest that is in part what it spurred in me to refocus just 4 days into lent this year. The booklet is a conversation that takes place after dinner one evening. The participants are:
A Maid
Mr. Bradley
Mrs. Bradley – our hostess
Father Hall
Grace Melville – Young and charming
Old Mrs. Harrison
Dr. Allenby – non-Catholic Professor of History
Shirley Green

At one point in the discussion Father hall states when it is implied he did not come up with the idea of lent: “And maybe that’s just where you are wrong. Maybe if I had the doing of it, I’d have put in two Lents a year, one in winter for the good of your souls, and one in summer for the good of your bodies. The fact is, I thoroughly approve of Lent. I think it’s a noble institution.”

The booklet is such an easy read. And it was a great read at that. I loved that it was written as a dialogue with numerous characters who were part of the conversation. I highly recommend this book!

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




Books by Daniel A. Lord:
Father Finn, S.J., The Story Of His Life Told By Himself For His Friends Young And Old

Novels:
Red Arrows in the Night

Pamphlets:
Our Nuns: Their Varied and Vital Service for God and County
I can read ANYTHING!? All right! - then read THIS!
Confession is a joy?
Religion and Leadership
Fashionable Sin - A Modern Discussion of an Unpopular Subject
My Mother, The Study of an Uneventful Life
You Can't Live That Way
The Call to Catholic Action
Our Part in the Mystical Body
I Don't Like Lent


Sunday, 18 February 2018

First Sunday of Lent 2018

First Sunday of Lent 2018 


We are less than a week into Lent. and to be honest I have really struggled with what I chose to give up this year. I wrote a post last week about 'Some Suggested Reading Options for Lent 2018' It is not too late to pick up something to read during the rest of lent this year. lent is my favorite liturgical season. I appreciate the discipline, the spiritual focus, the sacrifices.

First Reading Genesis 9:8-15
Responsorial Psalm 25: 4-9 Response 10
Second Reading II Peter 3:18-22
Gospel Mark 1:12-15

Today we had another session training new altar servers. During the first practice I 'acted' as Father. And we did a full dry run of a mass. I am always uncomfortable with this part of teaching new altar servers. But it is necessary. Then Father joined us and we did another walk through. The children are doing a wonderful job picking it up. and my oldest two have given up 4 Saturday afternoon to help, even though they are already trained. Today we has a new server ask us some really tough questions:

What if your parents do not want you to be an altar server?
What if your parents do not want you to go to church?
What if your patents do not want you to be Catholic?

They were hard questions especially from a student in grade 4, 5, or 6. and I am not sure if their parents are separated and this is coming from one side. or if both of the child's parents feel that way. My children and I have been praying about this and it has been on my mind all afternoon and evening. 

The first hymn we sang tonight was Again We Keep This Solemn Fast

Again we keep this solemn fast,
A gift of faith from ages past,
This lent, which binds us lovingly
To faith and hope and charity

The law and prophets from of old
In figured ways this lentforetold
Which Christ, all ages' Lord and Guide,
In these last days has sanctified

More sparing, therefore, let us make
The words we speak, the food we take, 
Our sleep, our laughter, ev'ry sense;
Learn peace through holy penitence

Let us avoid each harmful way
That lures the careless mind astray;
By watchful prayer our spirits free
From scheming of the enemy.

We pray, O blessed Three in One,
Our God while endless ages run,
That this, our Lent of forty days,
May bring us growth and give you praise.

The text to this is ascribed to Saint Gregory the Great circa 540-604. Translated by Peter J. Scagnelli in 1949, and taken from the Catholic Book of Worship III. We only sang the first three versus for the entrance. But It struck a cord with me and after my time of prayer at the end of mass, while my children were clearing the altar and going to confession I reread it a few times and copied it down. I have been reading a lot this week about how Roman Catholic lent post Vatican II is so easy. Comparing it to current orthodox practices or pre-Vatican II requirements. Amy Welborn wrote an excellent piece this week. One of the key takeaways for me was that the requirements are minimums. To quote Welborn:
"The whole idea of the post-Conciliar changes to penitential fasting and abstinence was to present, as it were, a minimum on paper, with the expectation that the individual, flush with the glory of the Freedom of the Christian (and the Spirit of the Council), would take it from there. 
The legal minimalism was supposed to unleash an internal maximalist lurking in all of us who had just been waiting to be treated like an adult instead of a child defined by adherence to rigid rules."
From there I got to thinking about my observance. To be honest my goals this year were easier than many years in the past and event recently. And yet I find that i am struggling with them more than I normally would. Maybe I aimed too low and that is why I am struggling. Maybe I need to dig deeper and like the word of the hymn states my growth will come through holy penitence, not through being a slacker. 

The responsorial psalm for this weekends mass is:

R. Your paths, Lord, are love and faithfulness for those who keep your covenant.

Make me to know your ways o lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation.

Be mindful of your mercy, O lord, and of
your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
According to your steadfast love 
remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
he leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.

We are only 4 days into lent, there are still 43 days left counting the Sundays. I need to focus on god, and draw nearer to him. and it is my prayer that you are drawn to him this lent and that his Holy Spirit is poured out afresh on you as you seek God this lent. Blessings on you and your family.


Related Posts:

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Amber Fang: Revenge - Arthur Slade - Librarian. Assassin. Vampire. Book 3

Amber Fang: Revenge
Librarian. Assassin. Vampire. Book 3
Arthur Slade
ISBN 978-0995288751
ASIN B0787JMVNL



Before we get to Amber Fang, let's discuss Arthur Slade for a moment. I first started reading his books back in 2002 when I was a bookseller and a mature student in university. I read two of his books that year, one as personal selection for a Children's lit course. I have been a big fan ever since reading that first book Dust, and have read all of the books he has published both as Arthur Slade and as Stephen Shea. But I am always hesitant to read the last book in a series, in part because some have gone downhill, and also because some stories you just do not want to end. But Arthur has hinted enough that thill will likely be other Amber Fang stories in some format, so that fear is alleviated. This story was so entertaining that the first fear was also extinguished. 

In my review of book 1 I stated that this series "reads like a cross between the TV series Dexter with Angel except the lead is a woman, and an aspiring librarian at that. Or a mash up of Tom Clancy, Anne Rice but with more than a little humour smattered in." And after book two I would say even more so. Though maybe a dash of Spider Robinson thrown in this time just to mix it up. But first some back story. Amber is a vampire with ethics. Her mother raised her to only take victims that are responsible for terrible crimes and who feel no remorse for it. After her mother disappeared she continued to work on her Masters of library science, research her meals, and search for her mother. Then things changed when she was recruited by a government organization. She became an assassin on contract. That organization has nearly been wiped out. She has discovered a secret organization of librarians around the world who know about the vampires, about Amber and her mother. They try not to interfere but have run a catch and release program.

These books span the globe, and Amber has certainly travelled a lot since learning her studies in Montreal. In the beginning of this book Amber is in Belize, then she journeys to Sweden, climbs a mountain, storms a hidden fortress, battles an intelligent computer. And makes a promise we might all regret. Because of her code of ethics she must keep her promise even if it is to an AI. 

Will amber rescue her mother? Does Dermot survive? Will the librarian guild break their rules and help her? There are a lot of questions before we begin this third book and a few new ones that arise.

What is there not to like about Amber, she is a librarian, she is beautiful, and she has a code of ethics. She keeps her promises, and she is devoted to those she cares about. She just happens to be an ex-assassin, and a vampire. 

This book was a great wrap up to the first Amber Fang series. From the hints by the author will be producing more works with Amber as a character. As readers we can only hope so. In my reading list I have read books by Arthur Slade a total of 34 times. And the humour and action in this series is very different from anything else he has written. So pick up this book or the whole series the trilogy is worth sinking your teeth into!  

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)


Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Amber Fang: Betrayed
Amber Fang: Revenge
... 

Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Damage
Viper - Short Story


Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.

Author profile interview with Stephen Shea. 


 


Friday, 16 February 2018

Sitting Alone In A Dark Church Thursday After Ash Wednesday 2018

Sitting Alone In A Dark Church
Thursday After Ash Wednesday 2018

Sitting alone in a dark church. Tonight, I was reminded of a time many years ago, more than half my lifetime ago, I lived in a rectory for a few months. And yes, that is a long story, maybe a story for another time. And I had had keys to the church. I would often go over last at night, or early morning and just spend time in the dark church and pray. Or sit quietly in the presence of the blessed sacrament. 

Tonight, after mass, and after the parish council meeting I went back out through the church. I sat for a few minutes and prayed. I prayed for my wife, and my children. I prayed for a number of extended family members. I prayed for some friends, and coworkers. And I prayed to be able to forgive old wounds. This ties to the reason I lived in that rectory so many years ago. It was a very fearful time in my life. I was living somewhat in hiding and off the grid. But I also lived in the church. I severed mass every day. I spent time with a few seminary students. I served many funeral masses. I had a prie dieu kneeler in my room, and between time praying in my room or the church it felt like my days were filled with prayer.

And tonight, I was thankful for a few minutes in prayer before mass, and my moments alone in the church after the meeting. I brought back memories of a very hard time, but what was also a very good time. 


Related Posts:

The Colors of the Church Year
The Privilege of Altar Serving
Serving God, Altar Serving and Learning to Listen
Saturday 18th Week or Ordinary Time
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017
Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2017

34th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2017 Christ the King – Solemnity