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Monday, 30 April 2018

Two Fallen Worlds Found - Derya Little - Kayan Kronicles Book 2

Two Fallen Worlds Found
Kayan Kronicles Book 2
Derya Little
A Seafarer Book
ISBN 
9781987535280
ASIN B07BYWVJ15


It is very seldom that I write two reviews for books in a series back to back. But when I finished book 1, Two Fallen Worlds Lost, I immediately started reading this one. And usually I alternate fiction and non-fiction. So book one was a great read, but book two was incredible! So this was the second book by Derya Little that I read in 4 days. I could not put this book down. In fact I stayed up so late reading last night, I had to go take a quick nape this afternoon at work, I just could not keep my eyes open. And since I am almost 50, I learned a few years ago that sleep was important. And yet last night I kept saying 1 more chapter, 1 more chapter and the next thing I knew the book was done. 

In my review of the first book I stated about this series:  "I immediately thought about the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burrows. Or the Barsoom series as some call it." And I feel that even more so after finishing the series. In this book James's lives have flipped, previously life on Earth was hard, and he could not wait to awaken on Kaya, where things were so much better. Now things on Earth are starting to turn around, and life in Aqui is filled with dangers, peril, and ever higher stakes. 

The description of this novel is:
"A sequel to The Manual Beyond... Now that James and his friends have the elusive Manual, surely it should be a matter of time to take the Ambit down. But neither the puzzling instructions nor their determined ruler is willing to cooperate. As open doors close one after another, is there still a chance to free Aqui? At least, things are looking up on Earth. James' mom is back in their lives. There is a glimmer of hope in the horizon. But, trust is a rare commodity for a homeless teenager. While James and Maggie try to navigate these new found waters, Kaya becomes a place where everyday is riddled with dangers and questions. Is the outcome worthy of the journey?"
James and his friends in Aqui are working with an ever growing team to try and bring down the Ambit. But the Rex has implemented marshal law and is using his knowledge of tactics from earth to put more and more pressure on James and the team. None of them will be left unscarred, some physically and some emotionally. But on Earth James meets with his mother again, and even agrees to meet with his father. Both of his parents are taking responsibility for the pain they caused, the mistakes they made and the time it might take to mend things. There is an incredible moving story about his mother, her alcoholism, and finding herself in a church before a copy of the pieta. Even though it is fiction this section nearly brought me to tears. But in order to bring down the Ambit they must solve another riddle and puzzle, and then once they know what the clues mean, find out how to make it happen. 

I loved the characters in this book, and truly enjoyed the concept of living two lives in two places. And to be honest I am a little sad that the series is completed. But it is an excellent book and series. In fact I can say it is one of the best new authors I have discovered in a few years and I do read a lot of books.

So if you enjoy classic science fiction along the lines of Burroughs, Heinlein, and Herbert, you owe it to yourself to give this series a try. If you just love a good read, you will enjoy these two books. And if you like a good clean story, with some faith based motifs this book has you covered there as well. I think these books would be a great addition to a school curriculum for grads 8-12, bet even with that being said I am nearly 50 and I loved them!

An amazing book in a great series!

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

Note: This is a new edition of books previously published as The Kayan Kronicles. 

Books by Derya Little:
Non-Fiction:

From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God

Fiction:
First Editions Kayan Kronicles:

The Manual Beyond
The Ambit Above


Second Editions Two Fallen Words Kayan Kronicles:
Lost
Found

Author profile and interview with Derya Little.




Sunday, 29 April 2018

Fifth Sunday of Easter Sunday 2018

Fifth Sunday of Easter Sunday 2018

Well it has been another long week. As I read the readings over, I realized how much I need these readings, and how much I look forward to the sermon on them. 

First Reading Acts 9:26-31
Responsorial Psalm 22: 25-27, 29-31 Response 25a
Second Reading 1 John 3:18-24
Gospel John 15:1-8

After Saul's conversion he eventually returns to Jerusalem. At first the apostles were afraid of him. But that is not the end of the story. Barnabas took him, vouched for him. There have been many times in my life I have needed a Barnabas. I have made a lot of mistakes. And often not lived up to my beliefs. In those time God sent a Barnabas to come along side, help me get back on track and restore me to fellowship.  From the second reading we are commanded:

"Little children, let us love,
not in word or speech, but in truth and action."

And later:

"And this is his commandment,
that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christie Digital Systems and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
Whoever obeys his commandments abides in him,
And he abides in them.
and by this we know that he abides in us,
by the Spirit that he has given us."

That is a lot to live up to. And in and of ourselves we cannot. It is only the God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we can even begin to strive to live these words. But that is what we are called to do. 

For many years I have prayed that my actions would live up to my theology. Today that is my prayer again, and it is my prayer for you as well. I pray for blessings on you during this fifth week of Easter, or when you stumble across this post.


Related Posts:

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Two Fallen Worlds Lost - Derya Little - Kayan Kronicles Book 1

Two Fallen Worlds Lost
Kayan Kronicles Book 1
Derya Little
A Seafarer Book
ISBN 9781987535280
ASIN 
B07C7D9YV6


This was the first book I have read by Derya Little, but it will not be the last! From the advertised description of this book, I immediately thought about the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burrows. Or the Barsoom series as some call it. The description of this novel is:
"It's hard to be a homeless teenager in Seattle, getting wet in the endless rain, not knowing where the next meal is going to come from -or whether there would be a next meal. 
At least, that isn't James' only world. 
Every night, James Knox of Earth goes to sleep at midnight. Every morning, he wakes up on Kaya, a paradise far beyond our constellations. The end of his Kayan day returns him once again to the streets. 
On Earth, the struggles of homeless life cast a dark shadow. On Kaya, James and his friends find themselves in the middle of an unexpected challenge. 
Is the destination worthy of the journey?"
But in this book James goes transports to a different body, on a different planet, and based on the constellations likely in a different solar system or even different galaxy. Can you imagine living two lives, one as an orphan, the other as a street kid in Seattle. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. I got far too little sleep because of this book, and put it down way too late my first night reading it because my alarm was set for work for 5am. I finished the book the next day on the way to school. Now I will warn you that the book ends with a cliff hanger. So be prepared to want to jump into book two, The Ambit Above, right away.

James Knox lives two very different lives. On earth he is living on the streets of Seattle. He has settled into a weekly routine, with his friend sort of like his little sister, Maggie. They met shortly after her arrived on the streets and have been sticking together ever since. And every night no matter what time he goes to bed on Earth, he falls asleep at midnight and wakes up on Kaya at 7am. One life is hardship, struggle and strife, and the other though challenging work in school, and fields, and in the mines, but overall life is much more comfortable. But Kaya is a gilded cage there I a protective ambit above and around this island country. They are separate from the rest of their world. No one can get in and no one can get out. He lives in a house with other orphans and they start thinking about a way to take down the shield

Soon his life is turned upside down on both worlds. And It looks like James might play a pivotal part in freeing the people of Aqui. And Maggie and his friends from Aqui are both working together to try and solve the puzzle of how to set a people free.

This book was an excellent read. For a first novel it was amazing. I loved the story, the characters, the plot. Teacher monks, people with marks that gave them special abilities. Traveling to another planet while asleep. Reading this took me back to reading a lot of classic science fiction when I was in high school. It reminds me of Burroughs, Heinlein, and Herbert. I only finished book one the morning I wrote this and have already read a third of book two. This is a wonderful read that I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!
Note: This is a new edition of books previously published as The Kayan Kronicles.

Books by Derya Little:
Non-Fiction:

From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God

Fiction:
First Editions Kayan Kronicles:

The Manual Beyond
The Ambit Above


Second Editions Two Fallen Words Kayan Kronicles:
Lost
Found

Author profile and interview with Derya Little.





Friday, 27 April 2018

Hail Mary: Our Mother in Heaven - Daniel A. Lord S.J.

Hail Mary:
Our Mother in Heaven
Rev Daniel A. Lord S.J.
Fratelli Bonella (Illustrations)
Gloria Children's Books
William J. Hirten Co., Inc.
ISBN 9781936837168


I discovered the works of Daniel A Lord's works, this past lent with his booklet, I Don't Like Lent. And instantly fell in love with his writing style. But I was unaware that he had written for children. My youngest received as first communion gifts this book and 'The Our Father: Our Prayer to God'. I have read both books through and read them with my youngest who received them and her older brother. Both Children have already asked to read them again tomorrow. To say that they are popular would be an understatement. These books were originally published in 1944 and have be reprinted in 2012. And in preparing to write this review I have discovered that they are also part of a Gloria Children's Book Set with 12 volumes.

This specific book is a reflection on the Hail Mary prayer. It alternates pages of text with facing full page illustrations. The first page is an introduction, the second is Hail Mary, and the rest of the book is a page for each phrase of the prayer. The illustrations are wonderfully and done in a more classic prayer card style. My children loved poring over the illustrations. The book really causes one to think about the words of the prayer, and for the three of us who have read them from 7-47 years of age we loved this book.

My wife is not Catholic, and yet she recognizes our children's and my own devotion to our lady. This book is amazing and helping children understand the centrality of Mary to salvation history and the Hail Mary as a prayer we pray often. This book is not only great to read, and have excellent illustrations, but it is also very well constructed. I find that so many children books today and not constructed to last. I have had books fall apart before a dozen readings. This is not an issue with this book and the others I have seen in this series.

I know that this book will be read and reread many many many times in our household. And that will will track down other books by Rev. Daniel A. Lord S.J., for the kids to read and more me to read as well. This book was a wonderful gift that will be treasured in this household. We recommend it!

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


Children's Books:
The Our Father: Our Prayer to God
The Hail Mary Our Mother in Heaven

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





Thursday, 26 April 2018

Further Up & Further In Understanding Narnia - Joseph Pearce

Further Up & Further In: Understanding Narnia
Joseph Pearce
TAN Books
ASIN B0797ZYMG7
ISBN 9781505108668



This is only the second book by Joseph Pierce that I have read but after reading it I have added almost a dozen of his book to my wish list. For many readers this book will be a journey back, many readers would have read the Narnia books as children, or even had the books read to them. Some would have read them again in classes in high school, college or university. And some would have reread them with their own children or grandchildren. When I was a book seller, the box sets of Narnia and the single volume edition were extremely popular, especially around Christmas and Easter.

But my experience of Narnia is very different. For I have a dual form of dyslexia and could not read until after grade 7. And by then I had no interest in Narnia. But when I was in university, a chaplain recommended both Narnia and some of the fiction of George MacDonald to me. Those recommendations took me to new worlds, and one with very different lessons than those from books I was reading by Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison, Edgar Rice Burroughs and more. And as such these books were ones that started a drift it what I read and how. That first summer I am pretty sure I read these books through twice. Once in the publication order, the used box set I picked up had them numbered that way. And then reread them in the chronological order. And I am now reading them through with my son. And interestingly enough Pearce addresses the order they should be read in his Prefatory Note in fact he states:

"This is the order in which the Chronicles are now listed in all new editions, essentially formalizing it as the "correct" way in which they should be read. Walter Hooper, editor of Lewis's letters and probably the premier Lewis scholar in the world, maintains that this is "the sequence in which Lewis meant for them to be read." 1 His justification for such a claim rests in what Lewis told him personally in the summer of 1963 and is buttressed by a letter that Lewis wrote in April 1956 in which he states explicitly that he preferred that the books be read in this order. 2 Although I am aware that many good and reputable scholars still argue for the books to be read in the order in which they were originally published, I have chosen to follow the sequence that Lewis evidently preferred, discussing them in the order of the chronology of the stories."
This book begins with two chapters in part to set up the purpose and methodology used in this book, and stress why adults should indeed read fairy stories. And then there is a chapter dedicated to each of the volumes in the series itself. Therefore, the chapters in the book are as follows:

Why Wardrobes Are for Grown-Ups Too
Learning to Read Like a Grown-Up
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle
Further Up and Further In
Bibliography
Index

This book draws heavily upon the study of Chesterton, and Chesterton's influence on Lewis. And I must admit my experience with Chesterton is lacking greatly. (But this book has spurred me on to remedy that.) Pearce states:


"In other words, and to reiterate, fairy stories give us the moral framework necessary to see the world as it is, in all its glorious heights and goriest depths, from the perspective of the way it should be. We learn to value the underdog and spurn the tyrant; we learn that small things need to be defended from the power of the mighty, which is the principle of subsidiarity as enshrined in Catholic social teaching. We learn to love the poor and rejoice in the exaltation of the humble; we learn that the ugly, the disfigured, and the disabled should be loved and not rejected; we learn that even the power of death can be defeated. Such lessons are not merely valuable and desirable; they are priceless and necessary. We are more than merely impoverished if we don't receive such gifts; we are dehumanized. We become less than we should be, less than we are meant to be. We become dragons who devour the innocent and lay waste to the world around us."
And let us draw one sentence from that paragraph:

"Such lessons are not merely valuable and desirable; they are priceless and necessary."
This book is an incredible read. For even casual fans of the Narnia books it will renew interest and likely lead to a rereading. For Fans of Lewis and hard-core fans of Narnia it will draw you in and re-spark that wonder from when you first read the books. As soon as I finished reading this book I wanted to start reading again 'The Magician's Nephew' and reread this book as I read each of the seven books. But I have decided to wait and make that a project for over the summer.

I absolutely loved this book! I only wish it was longer. Or that maybe it will be a jumping off point and now Pearce will write a volume on each of the Narnian books. One can hope. But no matter who you are, if Narnia left a mark on your heart, no matter your age at the time of reading, this book will ignite that love and wonder again, a bigger way. For as Lewis stated in 'The Last Battle': "The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets." And this book will help you to see that magic with new eyes and a new heart!

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

Books by Joseph Pearce:
Further Up & Further In: Understanding Narnia
Literary Giants, Literary Catholics
Tolkien: Man and Myth, a Literary Life
C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church
Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief
Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in The Hobbit
Frodo's Journey: Discover the Hidden Meaning of The Lord of the Rings
Merrie England: A Journey Through the Shire
Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton
Poems Every Catholic Should Know
Heroes of the Catholic Reformation: Saints Who Renewed the Church
Small Is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered
Shakespeare on Love: Seeing the Catholic Presence in Romeo and Juliet

Contributed to:
Tolkien: A Celebration - Collected Writings on a Literary Legacy

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The First Society - Scott Hahn - The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order

The First Society:
The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order
Scott Hahn
Emmaus Road Publishing

ISBN 9781947792548
ISBN 9781947792555
eISBN 9781947792562
ASIN B07CCYHYCC


Scott Hahn is a masterful writer. With every book I read I have a greater appreciation for his skill, as a wordsmith, for his faith, and for his ability to unpack topics and make them accessible to reader in the general public, or in other works for the staunchest academic. This book is written for the general public, but I hope it will grab hold in the halls of academia and theological schools, and for commentators on our culture. 

In this book Scott Hahn looks at some of the problems in our society and to be honest in our church. He reflects deeply upon biblical truths. He presents some bleak stats on the state of marriage in society and the church. But his focus is not looking back on a golden age, in fact he clearly points out that there have been problems for a while. But it is also not fear mongering. It provides hope, and it provides a blueprint for change. Hahn states: 
"If Catholics would simply live the Sacrament of Matrimony for one generation, we would witness a transformation of society and have a Christian culture."
But first let us jump back a bit. From the introduction Hahn states the purpose of this book:
"The challenge proposed in this book is to bring the superabundance of grace that bubbles forth from the sacramental life of the Church into our families, our communities, our society, and our civilization. The same power that can transform souls can transform the world. It's up to us to bring it to fruition"
And that is clearly the message in this book. We need to revitalize our families through the sacrament of marriage and through that we will be able to change society.  The chapters in this volume are:

No Nostalgia
The First Society
A Marriage-Haunted Society
Marriage Is Impossible
The Perfect Marriage
A Tumultuous History
The Catholic Social Vision
Sex and the Common Good
Apocalypse and Society
The Personal Battle
Redeeming Marriage through Sacrament
Grace Perfects Nature
The Church's Unique Position
A Sacramental Society
Conclusion: Beyond Reach?

The vision for marriage presented in this book is not humanly possible. And that is the point. It is only through the sacramentality of marriage, and living the sacraments that we will transform our own lives, our marriages and our families. And that change that transformation will take work, and we might not even see the results, Hahn states:
"Surely nothing like the social vision laid out in this book will come to pass in our lifetime (barring a miraculous intervention by the Lord Himself). But rather than despair over this, let's sow some seeds-or at least prepare the soil. Let's start to lay a foundation-or at least clear the rubble."
And that might be all we achieve, but the message we will leave, and the impact it can have is worth all the risk. Further on he says:
"The sacramental society is impossible in the same way the first society of marriage is impossible and in the same way sainthood is impossible: all of these are ruled out by our fallen nature and, miraculously, brought within reach through surrender to the will and grace of God. Indeed, the Letter to the Hebrews describes Jesus Christ not just as perfect but as the "perfecter":"
Hahn in this book shows us where we are as a people of faith in a culture that no longer values that faith. But that is not the end of the story. If we respond to Jesus's call we can strive and work for the change that he can complete in us.
"How can we possibly respond with anything but awe at the magnificence of this truth and gratitude for the grace of God and the sacraments of the Church, which make this participation in the divine life possible? And then how, once we have embraced this awe and gratitude, can we do anything other than commit to ordering our lives on the terms of heaven-that is, around the grace-filled and covenantal reality of the sacraments? 
When we do this-and only when we do this-can we begin to invoke, discern, and draw power from the heavenly reality for our work here on earth. Only then can the first society of humanity begin to approach the splendor of the last society of heaven. And only then can we begin to see a more just, more fulfilling, more perfect civilization emerge from the devastation of a culture scoured by secularism"
In the last 22 years since I started keeping track of what I read, I have read 30 books by C.S. Lewis and a dozen by Scott Hahn. And with each book by Hahn that I read I find that I am drawn more and more to his writings, and through those writings my faith is challenged, deepened, rooted, and that it grows. This is a book that every Catholic should read! Western Civilization is in trouble and much like Lewis with his Mere Christianity, and his Screwtape Letters Hahn is speaking truth into the situation and this book is a cornerstone of that truth. And when you combine the message of this work with the one in 'The Fourth Cup' you have the beginning of a very firm foundation indeed! 

If you wish to buy the book directly from The St. Paul Center do so here

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

Books by Scott Hahn:
A Father Who Keeps His Promises
A Pocket Guide to Saint Paul
A Pocket Guide to the Bible
Angels and Saints: A Biblical Friendship with God's Holy Ones
Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins's Case Against God
Catholic for a Reason
Consuming the Word: The New Testament and The Eucharist in the Early Church
Covenant and Communion
Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization
First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
Hope for Hard Times
Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything and Still Does
Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises
Letter and Spirit : From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy
Living the Mysteries - A Guide for Unfinished Christians
Lord Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession
Many Are Called: Rediscovering the Glory of the Priesthood
Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace
Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture 1300-1700
Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith
Rome Sweet Home
Scripture Matters
Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots
Swear to God : The Promise and Power of the Sacraments
The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages
The Fourth Cup
The First Society

The Kingdom of God As Liturgical Empire
The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
Understanding "Our Father"



Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Prayers for Toronto 2018-04-23

Prayers for Toronto

Prayers today for friends and family in Toronto, and all those affected by the attach 2018-04-23.




Monday, 23 April 2018

The Our Father: Our Prayer to God - Daniel A. Lord S.J.

The Our Father:
Our Prayer to God
Rev Daniel A. Lord S.J.
Fratelli Bonella (Illustrations)
Gloria Children's Books
William J. Hirten Co., Inc.
ISBN 9781936837151


I discovered the works of Daniel A Lord's works, this past lent with his booklet, I Don't Like Lent. And instantly fell in love with his writing style. But I was unaware that he had written for children. My youngest received as first communion gifts this book and 'The Hail Mary Our Mother in Heaven'. I have read both books through and read them with my youngest who received them and her older brother. Both Children have already asked to read them again tomorrow. To say that they are popular would be an understatement. These books were originally published in 1944 and have be reprinted in 2012. And in preparing to write this review I have discovered that they are also part of a Gloria Children's Book Set with 12 volumes. 

This specific book is a reflection on the Lord's Prayer. It alternates pages of text with facing full page illustrations. The first page is an introduction, the second is The Our Father, and the rest of the book is a page for each phrase of the prayer. The illustrations are wonderfully and done in a more classic prayer card style. My children loved poring over the illustrations. The book really does a great job of explaining what each of the phrases in the prayer means, and for the three of us who have read them from 7-47 years of age we loved this book.

This book is not only great to read, and have excellent illustrations, but it is also very well constructed. I find that so many children books today and not constructed to last. I have had books fall apart before a dozen readings. This is not an issue with this book and the others I have seen in this series.

I know that this book will be read and reread many many many times in our household. And that will will track down other books by Rev. Daniel A. Lord S.J., for the kids to read and more me to read as well. This book was a wonderful gift that will be treasured in this household. We recommend it!

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


Children's Books:
The Our Father: Our Prayer to God
The Hail Mary Our Mother in Heaven

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, 22 April 2018

Fourth Sunday of Easter Sunday 2018

Fourth Sunday of Easter Sunday 2018

Last weekend we celebrated our youngest daughters first communion. This weekend we are visiting a friend's church for their son's first communion. Sacramental season is upon us. Our church has three weekends in a row for first communions, for each of the primary schools associated with our parish. This will be followed by the three confirmation weekends. A few weeks break and then masses for each graduation class. This week's readings tie in nicely to the theme of first communion. We have Peter and John preaching and healing. From the first letter of Saint John we have our adoption into the family of God. And from the Gospel we have Jesus the good shepherd, and we are his flock.

First Reading Acts 4:7-12
Responsorial Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26,28-29 Response 22
Second Reading 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel John 10:11-18

This week as I read through these readings a few times so much jumped out at me. From the first reading was how much peter and John have changed. From denying Jesus, and hiding in the upper room, to boldly preaching the gospel. But We are filled with the same spirit! The Holy Spirit that empowered and emboldened them, is the same spirit we receive at baptism and confirmation. And this passage ends with quoting our response Psalm 118:22
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."
But I was also encouraged by the haling that the two men performed. But healings can be physical as seen in this instance or spiritual. I have seen in my life miracles, of both physical healing, and spiritual healing. Sometimes the healing is the grace to take the suffering and unite it with Christ on the cross. Other times it is physical healing, as we see in this instance. I have a friend who in University was addicted to pornography. This was the late 80's so it was not the internet or late-night television like today. And one Sunday during the homely he felt a fire go through him, and he never struggled with it again. That is an immediate miraculous healing. The freedom he was given was something he had not experienced in years. (and I know today there are many books, groups and programs around porn addiction and it's impact, but that was not the case then.) His freedom that Sunday was no less than the physical healing that Peter and John brought. 

The second reading is one of the shortest we encounter all year. Two verses, and yet they pack so much punch!
"Beloved:See what love the Father has for us,that we should be called children of God,and that is what we are.The reason the world does not know usis that it did not know him.Beloved, we are God's children now,what we will be has not yet been revealed.What we do know is this;when he is revealed, we will be like him,for we will see him as he is."
And then we arrive at the Gospel. Jesus our Good shepherd.

Prayers for blessings on your this week, or when you read this short reflection. May God open your eyes and may you be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and become as bold as Peter and John. 



Related Posts:

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Product Review - Spiritual Ammo Can Set

Spiritual Ammo Can Set
Roman Catholic Gear
Roman Catholic Man




I received this as a Christmas present from my mother and sister in law. I had seen them online for a long time. It is a beautiful gift, and a wonderful tool in the spiritual life. The tin contains the following:

A Combat Rosary
A Scapular Medal Dog Tag
A Cloth Brown Scapular
A Holy Water Flask
A Blessed Salt Flask
54 Day Basic Training in Holiness Book
Combat Prayer Book
A leather Pouch

Over all I am very impressed with the concept and the execution. This is a little box full of spiritual weapons. And as we know our fight is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. We have Holy Water in each bedroom, and around the house. But I love this little flask. It has never leaked and yet holds a good amount of holy water.

The rosary is very sturdy, I enjoy using it while walking. The rosary is the middle one on this picture:


(See picture for comparison. The four rosaries are:
The Paracord Rosary
A handmade stone rosary from a friend.
The Combat Rosary
A tiger's eyes gem from my wife for our wedding.
A rope rosary I carry in my pocket.)

I have asked my parish priest for blessed salt so I can have some. I remember a speaker years ago saying he would put blessed salt in his pockets when giving talks. He also carried both blessed salt and holy water and blessed every hotel room he stayed in when he travelled for work. I had never really thought of carrying my own. But will as soon as I can get some.

My only regret is that the tins are not a little sturdier. Mine was dented from the shipping process. And they do dent easily. So they are more for show than functionality.

Overall I am very happy with the set and appreciate the elements contained. It is a great gift, and my son is already asking when he can get one.







Review of books about the Rosary:
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer - Matthew Kelly
Champions of the Rosary - Donald H. Calloway
Praying the Rosary Like Never Before - Edward Sri
Marrying the Rosary to the Divine Mercy Chaplet - Shane Kapler
A Single Bead - Stephanie Engelman
Rosary Books - Various Authors

Pocket Oratory


Friday, 20 April 2018

Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God - Donna Giaimo and Patricia Edward Jablonski - Encounter the Saints Series Book 8

Saint Ignatius of Loyola
For the Greater Glory of God
Encounter the Saints Series Book 8
Donna Giaimo
Patricia Edward Jablonski
Patrick Kelley (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870438


I discovered the Encounter the Saints Series by Pauline Books and Media, by accident. I was looking for another book on Saint Damien of Molokai to read and picked up the one in this series. Since then I have tracked down all 37 books 38 if you include The Saints Pray For Us and we have read 26 and reviewed 20 to date. And my son and I have read about a dozen of them together. And my girls have read about 10 each. The highest praise I can give these books is not only do my children love them, but they want to reread them. We each have our own copy of The Saints Pray For Us, and we have a mix of physical and eBooks for the rest of the series. This is one of 9 books in the series that are only available as a physical book. One of the things that speaks to the strength of these book, is my son has started saving up so he can buy his own physical copies of each book in the series. And he has already asked if we can reread them once we have finished them all.



It is hard on the 20th book in a series to write a review and not just repeat yourself, especially when you like the books so much. When my son asked to read this one next, I was eager to comply. Of the saints in the series I was more familiar with Ignatius of Loyola than many of the other saints before reading their books. I have written papers on the Jesuits when in university, and the Jesuits came up often in a religious studies degree focusing on Roman Catholic Thought, and yet there were a few parts that were presented in this story that were a complete surprise to me. It was wonderful to encounter Ignatius in a new and fresh way. My son was impressed with his humility in going back to school. He relished the communal aspect of the time in Paris and further schooling.  We both loved the way the life of this saint was told in this book.



The book is co-written by Donna Giaimo and Patricia Edward Jablonski; this is the only book in the series written by Donna William Giaimo, FSP and Patricia Edward Jablonski FSP has authored or co-authored 6 of the volumes. Patrick Kelley illustrated this volume and also Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary. It is interesting to see the different styles and methods used by the various artists across the series. My son loved the crucifixes in the backgrounds of 2 of the 5 prints in this book. On top of the 5 illustrations that each book in the series has it has a prayer to that specific saint. The prayer to Ignatius of Loyola is:
"Saint Ignatius, you loved excitement, adventures, and challenges. And you found them all when you handed your life over to God.  
Once you wrote a prayer surrendering everything you had to the Lord- your freedom, your memory, your understanding, and even your will. All you asked for in return was God's love and grace. 
Help me to realize that when I have God and his love, I have everything. I want to listen to God in my heart as you did. I want to say yes to whatever he asks of me. Help me to live the Gospel and to follow Jesus as closely as you did. Pray for me, Saint Ignatius. Amen."
The prayer in this volume is the same one in The Saints Pray For Us, Some of the prayers in that book are different and some are similar and a few like this one is nearly identical. 



My son and I are already reading another volume in this amazing series. But this book specifically he asked if we could read it again soon. It really spoke to his heart. This book will move the hearts of readers of all ages.



I have read the majority of this series, and many of those multiple times now. Each book challenges my faith, and teaches me from the example in that volume. Even though I was very familiar with Ignatius of Loyola and his story, this book helped me appreciate his faith and obedience even more. And it is a lesson I need in my life and that I hope to instil in  my children. 

This book is part of the Encounter the Saints Series; from Pauline Books and Media, and this book and the entire series are excellent resources for Catholics of all ages! And we hop the series will continue to grow.

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

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Way of Love
Saint Thomas Aquinas Missionary of Truth
Saint Thomas More Courage, Conscience, and the King
Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima
The Saints Pray for Us




Thursday, 19 April 2018

What the Saints Never Said Pious Misquotes and Subtle Heresies - Trent Horn

What the Saints Never Said: 
Pious Misquotes and Subtle Heresies
Trent Horn
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683570691

eISBN 9781683570714
ASIN B07CC9PFV8


In the last year I have read 12 books by Trent Horn, I have appreciated all of them, and I loved 'Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love' and this book is just as good and am important read. The introduction to this book alone will cause you to question your own memory, and quotes that are considered famous. Horn starts with this:
"The villain clad in black raises his fist at the hero and says, "Luke, I am your father!" The dashing captain unfolds his communicator and gives the order, "Beam me up, Scotty." A mysterious jungle man sets down the woman he's rescued and she teaches him to say, "Me Tarzan, you Jane." What do these three things have in common? 
You might say they're lines from famous movies: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek, and Tarzan the Ape Man respectively. But then you remembered this is a book about fake quotations and you changed your answer: they're misquotations from famous movies. 
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker accuses Darth Vader of killing his father. Vader responds, "No, I am your father"-not "Luke, I am your father." The crew of the Starship Enterprise often asked Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott to beam them up via the transporter, but no one in the Star Trek films or television shows ever said, "Beam me up, Scotty."2 Finally, in the 1932 classic Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan only says "Tarzan. Jane. Tarzan. Jane," not "Me Tarzan, you Jane.""
And then addressing the question of why it matter he states:
"Before I continue, I need to address readers who might be rolling their eyes or muttering the word "nitpicker." Does it really matter if people get one word wrong in a line from a Star Wars film? Who cares if the cute story about George Washington and the cherry tree never happened? Why can't you just leave the saints alone and write about something important? But accurately recording the wisdom of saints and other well-known Catholics is important because truth is important."
He then goes on to say:
"But the most important reason we should challenge false quotes from saints is because in some cases they contradict the Faith these saints embraced. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the saints are charitably yelling from heaven, "No! I actually said the opposite of that!" The major fake quotes in this book are not merely paraphrases of saintly wisdom or harmless pieces of advice that have been falsely attributed to the saints, although I do cover those kinds of quotes, too. Instead, each chapter in this book addresses a theme embodied in a well-known quote that is contrary to our Faith."
And after reading this book I am even more convinced about the power of words, and yes getting a quote correct really does matter.  The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction
1. "Preach the gospel always; if necessary, use words."
2. "People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered . . . Love them anyway."
3. "You don't need to believe in God to be a good person."
4. "Pray as though everything depended on God, act as if everything depended on you."
5. "God helps those who help themselves."
6. "The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."
7. "I believe because it is absurd."
8. "Rome has spoken, the case is closed."
9. "The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests."
10. "God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them."
What the Saints DID Say

Each chapter does not deal with just a single quote, but quotes along themes. And the last chapter is one of the most powerful and important for us to read today. Trent Horn tackles some pretty controversial topics in that last chapter and in the whole book. The reason he does so is because truth matters. Horn tackles over 40 quotes in this book, some are close to the original source, some are well meaning and along the lines of the thought of the source. Some are so warped the original meaning is lost or manipulated. A few are misattributed, and some are just fabrications. 


Back when I worked for a non-denomination campus ministry, I kept a database of quotes. It was searchable by topic, author, and key words. I wonder if I were to be as diligent as Trent how many would need to be dropped from the list. Different staff members would send me quotes when they were read, from book, the web, or that they heard in talks and lectures. We used them for promotional material and in creating our own talks for retreats or conferences.  It never really occurred to be to track down and verify sources, especially when taking a quote of a quote from a secondary or tertiary source.  I know that going forward I will be far more diligent in what quotes I uses, and am thankful to Trent Horn for opening my eyes. This book was an excellent read!   

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

Books by Trent Horn:

20 Answers Series:
20 Answers Abortion - Trent Horn
20 Answers Death & Judgement - Trent Horn
20 Answers Faith & Science - Trent Horn
20 Answers God - Trent Horn
20 Answers Jehovah's Witnesses - Trent Horn
20 Answers Mormonism - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Bible - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Eucharist - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Real Jesus - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Church - Trent Horn

Other Books:
Hard Sayings: A Catholic Approach to Answering Bible Difficulties
Answering Atheism - How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity
The Mystery of God Study Guide

What the Saints Never Said
Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love

Books Co-Authored by Trent Horn:
Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk About Our Culture's Toughest Issue (with Fr Frank Pavone)
From Creation to Catholicism: The Story of Salvation History (with Patrick Coffin)