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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2016

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2016

Wow what a quarter, I have managed to read 52 books and most of them non-fiction. I have built out an awesome and ever expanding Catholic reading list for 2016. There are some amazing books in these 2 lists! Though to be honest working from my favorite and influential books by year list it was very hard to narrow down to the top ten non-fiction list.

Fiction:
1. Flickers - Auhur Slade
2. The Wearle - Chris d'Lacey - Erth Dragons Book 1
3. Stella Batts Needs A New Name - Courtney Sheinmel and Jennifer A. Bell - Stella Batts Book 1
4. Saying the Names - Maggie Clark
5. The Machine - Oafish Droll - Potential Portal Book 1
6. Fat of the Land - Maggie Clark
7. The Return of the White Duke - Neil Gaiman
8. Redacted
9. Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshipers of Yul-Katan - Maggie Clark
10. A Liturgy of the Heart - Douglas Ross

Non-Fiction:
1. Becoming the Best Version Of Yourself - Matthew Kelly
2. Beautiful Mercy - Pope Francis et al.
3. Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers - Mike Aquilina
4. Messy & Foolish - Matthew Warner
5. Life Changers - Greg Willits
6. Light in the Darkness - Patrick Lencioni
7. The Long View - Matthew Kelly
8. Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer - Roderick Vonhogen
9. 40 Days, 40 Ways A New Look At Lent - Marcellino D'Ambrosio
10. Networking - Michal Stawicki - Six Simple Steps to Success Book 4

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 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

52 - 2016 January-March
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




Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Sacred Reading for Lent 2016 - Douglas Leonard - Apostleship of Prayer


Sacred Reading for Lent 2016
Douglas Leonard
Apostleship of Prayer
Ave Maria Press
ISBN 9781594716119
eISBN 9781594716126

This was one of 5 Lenten devotionals I used in 2016. I typically read 2 in the morning 2 at lunch and one in the evening. Each day follows the same format, a short quote, a reading, reflection, prayer and a time for listen or a second reflection. A sample is:

Friday, February 12, 2016
Know that God is present with you and ready to converse.
"You are always with me, Jesus, but you are not present to me as you were to your disciples. I seek greater closeness with you."

Read the Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15.
Then the disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."

Notice what you think and feel as you read the Gospel.
When Jesus, the bridegroom, is taken from them, then will his disciples fast.

Pray as you are led for yourself and others.
"Jesus, I wish to fast and pray during this season. I offer my sacrifices for the good of others. How marvelous that fasting and praying accomplish good in this world ..." (Continue in your own words.)

Listen to Jesus.
When you fast and pray, you imitate me. When you fast and pray, you draw out of yourself and enter into me. I can teach you what you need to know. What else is Jesus saying to you?

This book is part of a larger series. I happened to have read the Advent 2016-2016 volume and enjoyed it a lot. There is also an annual volume for the whole year that begins in Advent and goes through the whole church year.  

This was a good devotional and I would likely buy the whole year volume next year. It was a good introduction to the style and format. And there were some really good guided reflections in this book.

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Rediscouver Lent - Matthew Kelly

Rediscover Lent 
Matthew Kelly
St. Anthony Messenger Press
ISBN 9781616362379 
eISBN 9781616364236



This Lenten devotional is an excellent read. It is a collection of excerpts from Matthew Kelly's book Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose. But built around the weeks of Lent the focus each week is as follows:

Confession
Daily Prayer
The Mass
The Bible
Fasting
Spiritual Reading
The Rosary

It has an appendix with the list of Sunday readings for each of year A, B, and C. So has the breakdown of reading through until 2022. Matthew writes in such a friendly easy to read engaging style that you can't help but keep reading. So far this year I have read three of his books and have a few more in my two be read pile. In this volume each day has a list of bible readings for the day, a focus verse a longer reflection, a short meditation and then a prayer to tie it all together.

On Ash Wednesday, the first day of the devotional Matthew states "I find myself needing to turn back to God many times a day, in ways small and large. It is not a matter of guilt and it is not a shameful thing. It is simply that at his side I am a better person-a better son, husband, father, brother, friend, employer, and citizen. Over time, I have also come to realize, quite painfully, that when I turn away from God I am also turning my back on my true self." And that is the note that kicks off our journey. Then journeying for almost forty days on Good Friday he declares "Are we willing to change? I hope so. Almost every person I speak to about the future of Catholicism says, "The Church really needs to change," or something to that effect. What we perhaps forget in making this statement is that we are the Church, and so the real question becomes: Are you willing to change? Am I willing to change?" And to be honest if you read through this book, in prayer and meditation you will be changed. Changed by the word of god, and changed by your own prayers. 

This was one of five devotionals I read through Lent in 2016. I know I will come back to it again and I highly recommend it.

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 Mercy

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

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)












Monday, 28 March 2016

Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages - Taylor R. Marshall - The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism


Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages:
The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism
Taylor R. Marshall
Saint John Press
ISBN 9780988442511
ASIN B00P8AXWV6


Books by Taylor Marshall kept showing up in my recommended reads both on Amazon and on Goodreads. I wanted to give his writings a try but not dive in too deep. I should not have been hesitant. It was interesting that a booklet of 68 pages could have 13 distinct chapters and yet it does. Those chapters are:

Why You Should Read This Book
The Life Of Thomas Of Aquino
How Is Philosophy Different From Theology?
How To Think Like Thomas Aquinas
Does God Exist?
Can We Know God?
The 8 Attributes Of God
What Is An Angel?
Humans: Are We Angels Or Beasts?
How Can You Become Virtuous?
Natural Law And Government
List Of Books On Aquinas For Beginners
Your Vocab List For Thomas Aquinas

I was surprised with home much information that Taylor could pack into this volume. Some scholars have spent their entire careers reading, teaching and writing about Thomas of Aquino, and yet this volume can serve as a great introduction to the man and his through. It can server as a good reminder for those who studies this years ago, or for a budding scholar. It will serve as the beginning but leave the reader hungry for more. Thankfully we are provided a great list of materials to continue on from here. And that is my review of this book in 225 words.

(Note: You can currently get the PDF of this book free from his website.)

Books by Taylor R. Marshall:
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism
Saint Augustine in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Augustinianism
God's Birthday: Why Christ Was Born on December 25 and Why it Matters


Sword And Serpent Series:
Sword and the Serpent
The Tenth Region of the Night

The Origins of Catholic Christianity Series:
The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity


(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Long View - Matthew Kelly


The Long View
Matthew Kelly
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781937509743
eISBN 9781937509880
ASIN B00T53MDKS

This book is an excellent read even in it's briefness. The ebook comes in at 81 pages of text but could easily be a quarter of that size. As each page for the most part contains short thoughts, But the book as a whole is an address given by Matthew on May 17, 2014 that was given at commencement at Xavier University. It is a very powerful message. And to be honest even though I have read it twice I know I will be going over it a number of times as a reminder. 

A few quotes from the book will highlight the impact of this speech.

"Most people overestimate what they
can do in a day, and underestimate
what they can do in a month.
We overestimate what we can do in
a year, and underestimate what we
can accomplish in a decade."

"If you learn to take the long
view, you will find yourself in
possession of two of life's most
precious commodities: patience and
generosity."

"Taking the long view teaches us to
be patient, and all of life is better
for a patient person. Patience will
pay immeasurable dividends in
your career, marriage, parenting,
health and well-being, personal
finances, and in your spiritual
journey."

"So, get really good at delaying
gratification. Hone this skill.
Become a master of this ability and
you will become master of yourself."

"The constant denial of self in small
things will give you the clarity of
heart, mind, and soul to see the
present for what it really is and the
future for what it still can be.:

There is a great deal of wisdom in this little volume. If you will read it, take it in and apply it not only will your life be changed but you will have a huge impact on other people's lives. Possibly down through generations like the examples that Matthew highlights. This would be a great book for those in university to get them off to a good start, and for those of us later in life we can still gleam the wisdom and apply it to our lives. This is another excellent book from The Dynamic Catholic Institute and by Matthew Kelly I strongly encourage you got give it a read. 

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 Mercy

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

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola


Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
Do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.
Amen.

(Taken from 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent by Marcellino D'Ambrosio Day 37.)




Sunday, 20 March 2016

Updated 2016-04-13


This post has been redacted because of personal conviction. I would appreciate if you say a prayer for me. 

Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. 
Amen



Friday, 18 March 2016

Secret of the Water Dragon - Tracey West and Graham Howells - Dragon Masters #3


Secret of the Water Dragon
Dragon Masters #3
Tracey West (Author)
Graham Howells (Illustrator)
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545646253


I need to start out by stating that my 3 children love these books. I started reading them with my son who is 8, soon his younger sister who is 5 joined us, and then his older sister who is almost 10 is now helping read them to the younger two. The books are entertaining and engaging from 5-45 years of age. And that in and of itself is a pretty strong endorsement.

The young dragon masters encounter a new threat in this book in the series. The main focus is on Drake and his earth dragon Worm, and Bo and his water dragon Shu. Someone tries to steal the Dragon stone which is used to find children to be dragon masters and which each master wears a piece of to facilitate communication between master and dragon. In this adventure we encounter The Raven Guard, ninja like characters, we have further adventures against Maldred and his dark magic. And a threat against Bo's family. The dragons and children will need to work together to counter all these threats.  

Graham Howells does some amazing illustrations. And my children love looking at the books again and again. Almost every page is enhanced with embelishments and combining that with the stunning illustrations and a wonderful story and it makes for a great combination.

This books are highly loved by my children. We have now read the 4 books available currently in this series, and eagerly anticipate book 5's release. My children love these books so much they are willing to shut off the TV to start reading earlier than normal. And we are now working through the series a second time. They are great reads and the adventure in this one was even more intense as the tension in the series builds. This is a great read for young and young at heart. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself - Matthew Kelly


Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
Matthew Kelly
Lighthouse Catholic Media

Over the last few years I have encountered Matthew Kelly in numerous ways. First the ministry he help found Dynamic Catholic, and specifically the daily email and also the advent and lent devotions. Second through his books, I have read parts of a number and read a few completely. All of his books are excellent. This is the first longer audio file I have done and it is amazing. 

Matthew states: "God wants us to become the best version of yourself. That is his dream for you. God wants you to become the best version of yourself. God doesn't want you to become some second rate version of your parents. He doesn't want you to become a second rate version of your brothers and sisters. God doesn't want you to become some second rate version of your friends. And God want's us to stop being second rate versions of ourselves." And then he goes on to give a number of practical examples of how to move in that direction. 

One of the key teachings is that "God wants us to become the vest version of ourselves, and that is the fundamental principle of life, of Christianity, spirituality and when we understand this fundamental principle everything else makes sense." And Matthew through the examples gives us multiple tools to help us learn to grow to live this principal. 

Matthew mentions that books can change out life. He has over 2000 books in his office, but has a special shelf of 37 books that are his life changes, that he goes back to. He also has a list of 10 books he recommends as a starting point. Matthew challenges us to spend 10 minutes a day every day for the next year with a good book. And a good book meets the fundamental principle. If we understand that fundamental principal and evaluate everything in our life by it we will be changed. 

It is so true that 90% of the Happiness and 90% of the misery in our life comes from our choices. Learn to start choosing the options that will lead to the best version of ourselves. It is what we were created for, it is what we were put here for it is the true meaning of life. I have listened to this three times through and recommended it to a few close friends. It is an awesome resource.



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 Mercy

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

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Good Use of Time: 11 Principles to Live By - Rafael Tomás Caldera


Good Use of Time: 11 Principles to Live By
Rafael Tomás Caldera
Scepter Publishing
ISBN 9781594171857
ASIN B00D5VUHPY


This was a great little read. It was mentioned by an author in another book I was reading and I thought I would pick it up. Coming in under 50 pages it really packs a lot of information into it's brief format. The sections in the book are:

Prologue
 1. He Has More Who Needs Less
 2. Today, Now
 3. Urgent Things Can Wait
 4. Devoting Time to the Good Use of Time
 5. Put Your Heart Into What You Are Doing
 6. First One Thing, Then Another
 7. Make Haste Slowly
 8. Many Measures of Oil Can be Poured Into a Barrel Full of Nuts
 9. Setting Time Limits
10. Growing On The Inside
11. Remember That One Day You Too Are Going to Die
Epilogue

The intent and focus of the book is to help us live better lives, in the prologue the author states: ""Teach us," the Psalmist asks the Lord, "to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Ps 90:12). Each of our lives is a learning process that can never be repeated. So let us wholeheartedly make the Psalmist's prayer our own." And this book is a great little tool to help remind us about what is important especially in the use of the finite hours we have here on earth. I must confess that while reading I reflected upon my recent use of time: movies, tv, books, and games and came to the conclusion that I need to tighten down my focus yet again. And this book helps us to do so.

Rafael also reminds is to "The task at hand then becomes the most important thing we have to do, and we can dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to it." That was the advice by Saint Josemaria Escriva that the author heard directly, and it is very sound advice for us also. For especially in this digital age it is so easy to be distracted and multitask especially on our electronic devices.

The final quote I highlighted my first time through this books was "And here is the ultimate secret, the key to everything: loving. Love is the highest and most noble human activity, redeeming every moment we consecrate to it. From love stems diligence, love in action, proper to creatures subject to time, who must strive to act within the constraints imposed by our corporeal condition, with its servitude resulting from sin." The greatest of these is love.

This is a little book I know I will be going back to again as a reminder from time to time. It is a great little read and wonderful reminder. I am sure you would benefit from giving it an honest read.


(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection - Ray Yungen


Pope Francis and the Thomas Merton Connection
Ray Yungen
Lighthouse Trails Publishing
AISN B01BPKEGNK


Sometimes you read something so horrible it amazing you. This was one of those times. If there was a way to review it with giving 0 Stars I would. The title of this book grabbed my attention. I have ready many books by and about Merton going back to my days in university. I have been reading a lot by and about Pope Francis. I figured this book would be along the social justice lines, pointing out similarities in their thoughts or approaches.

The author claims to have studied Merton for over 20 years, so I wonder how he can misread Merton so badly unless he has such huge blinders or it is intentional misrepresentation of facts. Most of his Merton quotes are partial and some with numerous … thus clipping the original context and distorting the intention. If Ray Yungen wants to understand Merton maybe he should go back and read some of Michael W. Higgin's works on the man. Or even my own piece Thomas Merton The Man, The Monk , and on Monasticism.

Fortunately this is a very short booklet or I would have given up, and reviewed it without finishing. This book is supposed to be non-fiction and if so It is the worst I have read that I can recall ever. Don't waste your time or money, I wish I had mine back.

(Note I usually link to both author and publisher websites when I write reviews. This book was so horrible I could not bring myself to do so.)


Friday, 11 March 2016

Light In The Darkness - Patrick Lencioni


Light In The Darkness
Patrick Lencioni
Lighthouse Catholic Media


Last year at work I did an in house leadership development program called LEAP Leadership Essentials Advance Program. A number of books on the recommended reading list were by Patrick Lencioni and I really found them useful and life impacting. Then last week when at church I was looking over the rack of resources from Lighthouse Catholic Media and I saw this audio resource. Now to be honest I hardly every buy media, books, cd's, tapes … because I usually buy digital content. But this intrigued me so much I picked it up right away, went home and listened to it. I have now listened to it every morning for a week.

This talk was amazing to listen to. Some of the quotes that hit me most are:
"It is not happiness we are looking for … it is peace!" and "If we are not living for God you will not find peace!" From there Patrick goes on to encourage us to "Ask God to take away your pride!" and also to "Pray asking for the peace of God!" Patrick also encourages us to learn to be vulnerable, to trust and be a team player. We need this as a central life skill.

This talk will have a huge impact on your life if you open to the Holy Spirit speaking to you. And it was so good that I have since picked up a few others. And look forward to exploring the hundreds of other titles available from Lighthouse.





Books by Patrick Lencioni:
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Death by Meeting:
The Advantage
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job
The Five Temptations of a CEO
Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars
Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team:
Getting Naked
The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job
The Ideal Team Player

Audio Resources by Patrick Lencioni:
Light in the Darkness



(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Beautiful Mercy - Pope Francis et al. Experiencing God's Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others


Beautiful Mercy:
Experiencing God's Unconditional Love
So We Can Share It With Others
Pope Francis et al.
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781942611554
eISBN 9781942611554
ASIN B019NH7206


This was an amazing read. If you are unfamiliar with the works or mercy or cannot recall them off the top of your head Matthew Kelly reminds us that: "The works of mercy are broken up into two categories: the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy are concerned with

The corporal works of mercy are concerned with meeting the physical needs of others. They are:

  • feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • clothe the naked
  • shelter the homeless
  • visit the sick
  • visit the imprisoned
  • bury the dead
The spiritual works of mercy, on the other hand, are designed to meet the spiritual needs of others. They are:
  • instruct the ignorant
  • counsel the doubtful
  • correct sinners
  • bear wrongs patiently
  • forgive offenses willingly
  • comfort the afflicted
  • pray for the living and the dead
After Matthew reminds us of what the works of Mercy are he states: "For this book, we've enlisted the help of some incredible authors in the Church. These authors have taken the fourteen works of spiritual and corporal mercy and provided simple, practical ways for you to understand them better and to incorporate them into your everyday life. I hope you pray through this book and invite the mercy of God to transform your life, because in the end it's all about God's mercy." It truly is an incredible collection. A few of the authors I had encountered prior to reading this volume, a few I had never heard of. I have already picked up books by three of the contributors to add to my 'to be read pile'.

The contributors in order of appearance are:
Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Fr. Larry Richards
Fr. Michael Gaitley, Mic
Christopher West
Lisa M. Hendey
Dr. Allen R. Hunt
Fr. Donald Calloway, Mic
Kerry Weber
Mother Olga Yaqob
Sr. Marie Veritas, Sv
Dr. Carloyn Woo
Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Curtis Martin
Sarah Swafford
Sr. Mary Madeline Todd, Op, Std
Jackie Francois-Angel
Sr. Helena Burns, Fsp
Jennifer Fulwiler
Daniel Burke
Matt Fradd
Fr. James Mallon
Fr. Mike Schmitz
John Michael Talbot
Msgr. Charles Pope
Dr. Scott Hahn

The introduction by Pope Francis says: "Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead." Pope Francis goes on to outline line that we will be known and judged by our actions And living the works of mercy is needed in our world and in our lives.

Father Larry Richards declares: "We must feed the hungry or be damned! Did I get your attention? I hope so!" what a way to grab our attention at the beginning of his piece on Feeding the Hungry. And later Christopher West writing about giving drink to the thirsty quoting Pope Francis: "I see clearly," said Pope Francis, "that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds." And this means that "ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all."  Ministers of mercy are those willing to enter into the pain and misery of people's lives, touch their wounds, and surprise them with tender, healing love." What would our families, our communities look like if we strived to live this better each day? Also writing about giving drink to the thirsty Lisa M. Hendley says: "Sometimes the "drink" we carry to those who thirst will be literal. Often, it will be figurative. Regardless, let us pray daily for gratitude for those who have quenched our thirst and for the grace to carry the drink of living water to those most in need." How often do we acknowledge those who have filled our cup? Do we as generously then fill others?

Later Dr. Allen R. Hunt writing on clothe the naked reminds us that: "In the corporal works of mercy, Jesus calls us to do something-not simply to talk about it, not to study it, not to establish a committee to develop a plan for it, but to do it. To really and truly clothe the naked." There was a time many years ago when I was out of work and in a new town, I noticed the worship leader wore a different winter coat every week and I was without one. I asked him if I could borrow one until I could get one. The next week he showed up with a hockey duffle bag full of clothes for me all from his closet. This man literally clothed me and I never forgot it.

Curtis Martin writing about comforting the afflicted says: "For nonbelievers, there is enough evidence to conclude that the world is an essentially brutal place, where the innocent and weak not only suffer, but suffer at the hands of the strong. They believe that Darwin was right and only the strongest and the fittest will survive. Jesus came to reveal a radically different perspective, a deeper truth, a more powerful truth: that suffering, while real, is not the final word." And we as the body of Christ as that witness in the world. Can our neighbours and friends tell a difference between us and how we live and the non-believers they know.

For many years now one of my often spoken prayers is that 'my actions would live up to my theology' that sentiment is echoed in the quote at the beginning of the section on Instruct the Ignorant: "For nonbelievers, there is enough evidence to conclude that the world is an essentially brutal place, where the innocent and weak not only suffer, but suffer at the hands of the strong. They believe that Darwin was right and only the strongest and the fittest will survive. Jesus came to reveal a radically different perspective, a deeper truth, a more powerful truth: that suffering, while real, is not the final word." This reminded me to ask what is my life witnessing to.

The greatest strength is this book is the stories, from the introduction by Matthew Kelly with the stories of Adam, David, Mary Anne to the stories in each separate piece either the authors own witness or the stories they have observed. I really do not believe you could read this book and not be moved and challenged in your own life. For me it was strange but as I was reading the section that hit me most was Bury the Dead, my oldest is in training to become an alter server, in communicating with the lady who coordinates it for our parish I mentioned that I had server from a child well into university. She asked if I would be willing and able to alter server at the occasional funeral mass when they need assistance. I said yes, how could I not. It is a small sacrifice on my part to help live this out.

Please give this book a read, it will dramatically impact your life, and through your life those who know you and the ripples will keep spreading out. This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.




The chapters in the book are:

Prelude: We All Need A Little Mercy By Matthew Kelly
Introduction: An Invitation To Mercy By Pope Francis
Part One: The Corporal Works Of Mercy
 1. Harbor The Homeless
Welcoming Mercy Cardinal Donald Wuerl
 2. Feed The Hungry
Generous Mercy Fr. Larry Richards
Active Mercy Fr. Michael Gaitley, Mic
 3. Give Drink To The Thirsty
Surprising Mercy Christopher West
Refreshing Mercy Lisa M. Hendey
 4. Clothe The Naked
Giving Mercy Dr. Allen R. Hunt
 5. Visit The Sick
Divine Mercy Fr. Donald Calloway, Mic
 6. Ransom The Captive
Freeing Mercy Kerry Weber
 7. Bury The Dead
Hopeful Mercy Mother Olga Yaqob
Personal Mercy Sr. Marie Veritas, Sv
Affirming Mercy Dr. Carloyn Woo
Part Two: The Spiritual Works Of Mercy
 8. Comfort The Afflicted
Comforting Mercy Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Triumphant Mercy Curtis Martin
 9. Instruct The Ignorant
Sharing Mercy Sarah Swafford
Enduring Mercy Sr. Mary Madeline Todd, Op, Std
10. Counsel The Doubtful
Empowering Mercy Jackie Francois-Angel
Being Mercy Sr. Helena Burns, Fsp
11. Admonish The Sinner
Humble Mercy Jennifer Fulwiler
Faithful Mercy Daniel Burke
12. Bear Wrongs Patiently
Prevailing Mercy Matt Fradd
13. Forgive Offenses Willingly
Scandalous Mercy Fr. James Mallon
Tireless Mercy Fr. Mike Schmitz
14. Pray For The Living And The Dead
Empathetic Mercy John Michael Talbot
Infinite Mercy Msgr. Charles Pope
Conclusion: Beyond Grumbling By Dr. Scott Hahn
Notes


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 Mercy

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

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)