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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 18
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)


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight - Patricia Edward Jablonski and Karen Ritz - Encounter the Saints Series Book 10

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: 
Mary's Knight
Encounter the Saints Series Book 10
Patricia Edward Jablonski FSP
Karen Ritz (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870452


My children and I love this series. I discovered the Encounter the Saints Series by Pauline Books and Media, by chance. 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 24 and reviewed 18 to date. My only wish is that eBooks of all volumes would become available. With the eBooks each child can read at their own pace in a way that is more difficult with physical books. This is one of the volumes that is only available as a physical book. Sister Patricia Edward Jablonski has written or co-written 6 of the volumes in the series. And illustrator Karen Ritz, has illustrated 2 of the volumes. 



I have typically read these books myself and then reread them with one of more of my children, currently ages 11, 10, and 7. Because this is only available as a physical book it was on the top of a to be read pile beside my bed. My son, the middle child asked about it. We started reading it together, at first alternating pages and then with just me reading out loud to him. We devoured the book in a single sitting. He kept asking for one more chapter. And when we finished read the first chapter of Saint Ignatius of Loyola: For the Greater Glory of God. It is very different reading these books by myself as opposed to reading it together with a child.



Both my younger two children were fascinated by the two crowns offered to Maximilian. This book does an incredible job of telling his story. It tells it in a saw that will captivate and keep the attention of children, but also written in such a way that adults will love reading it with or to children, or even just reading it by themselves. That is the greatest strength of this book and the series, they can be read an appreciated by anyone. 



Like all the books in this series this book contains 5 illustrations. I believe they are pencil drawings. And the shading and subtleties in the prints is wonderful. The book also contains a prayer to Saint Maximillian Kolbe:


Saint, Maximilian, thank you for your powerful example of love. You loved the Lord and his Mother Mary with all your heart. Your love made you discover new ways to bring people closer to God. It kept you peaceful and hopeful during the terrible sufferings of the concentration camp. It even gave you the courage to lay down your life for a man you didn't know. 
I have many chances every day to show my love for God and my neighbor. But sometimes it's hard to love. 
Saint Maximilien, I know that you understand. Remind me that Mary is always eager to help me and lead me closer to Jesus. With Jesus and Mary, I want to live and love as you did. Please pray for me. Amen.


The prayer in this volume is the same one for Saint Maximilian Kolbe 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. The chapters in this book are:

The Red and the White
Latin to the Rescue
Decisions
The Sign
To the City of St. Peter
Heaven - So Soon?
A Soldier for his lady
On Fire with love
A Second Wonder - and the Cross
Mary's Magazine
Sharing the Master's Wealth
Trapped!
A Statue and a Conquest
Niepokalanow
The Lesson of the Vs
Exile
On Mission to Calvary
"I Believe!"
In Mary's Hands
Both Crowns at last
Prayer
Glossary

As soon as we finished this book, my son asked if he could put it in his prayer corner in his room. Not a painting behind the fridge like Maximilian, but his spot in his room with prayer cards, rosary, … where he goes to pray. And this book reminded us again of the power of prayer and obedience. May Maximilian's example help us to trust and rely on Jesus and Mary in all things.



I have now read 25 separate titles in this series, and most of those at least twice or even three times. With every book I read I appreciate the series more. As previously mentioned this book is part of the Encounter the Saints Series; from Pauline Books and Media, and this book is an amazing read as is the entire series! As a family gives them a solid five stars. I love reading these books with my children, and this time it was my first time reading it. My oldest who is 11 often reads them to the younger children, and my 10 year old can read them with some help on names and a few harder words. My 7 year old loves listening to these book no matter who is reading them to her. I am so thankful for this book and the series that opens the live of so many saints for my children and myself. Another excellent book in an amazing series, and we hope there will be many more.

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




Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Flash Johnny Quick - Barry Lyga - The Flash Book 2

The Flash: Johnny Quick
The Flash Book 2
Barry Lyga
Amulet Books
ABRAMS Kids
CW
Warner Bros. TV‏
DC Comics
ISBN 9781419728655
ASIN B078WRPMLT


I have read the first Flack book by Barry Lyga, Hocus Pocus, twice now. Once by myself and then with my son who is now 10. To say that we both loved it would be an understatement, and as fans of the Flash Tv Series we both love this alternate timeline. My son and I both prefer Barry Allan as portrayed by Grant Gustin, over the one in the Justice league movie. That is who we both picture in our head as we read these books. I have read almost all of Barry Lyga's works, I love his Brookdale High books. But there is just something about his works on the Flash that showcase his incredible skill with the pen in a new way. In many ways it is harder for an author to take characters we know and love and drop them in new stories. And Super Hero novelizations are an art form unto themselves, they are not just simple novels. They must maintain a continuity of characters and plots; or do a dam excellent job of explaining the variations. And Lyga executes magnificently!

I devoured this book in 2 sittings over 2 days. And am now going back and reading it with my son, at a slower pace of a chapter a day. This book is an amazing read. In my previous review of book 1, Hocus Pocus, I stated: "Not since reading Batman Knightfall by Dennis O'Neil back in 1995 have I enjoyed a super hero novel so much." And I would now say that this book, this series is my all time favorite novelization of a super hero story!

This story continues in an alternate timeline where Flashpoint never happened. Instead of running off that night after Zoom was defeated, Barry headed back in the house with Iris. I though book 1, Hocus Pocus, was an amazing read, and I loved this story even better. This story throws a few new twists at Barry, and as us his fans. At the beginning of this story there is evil lurking under the streets of central City. Cisco has literally crashed after the effort it took to stop Hocus Pocus. And a new threat arises. Barry decides to use the tachyon harness tohop to Earth 2 and get Harry and Jesse to help figure out a problem. Rather than waiting for Cisco to wake up. But something goes askew while he is traveling across the realms. And he ends up skidding out into a version of Earth they have not interacted with before. 

Back on Earth 1, Wally is searching the tunnels below central city. After her recovers Cisco has a vibe that really throws him off kilter. And the team is just trying to fight battles on too many fronts. And Barry has dubbed the Earth he landed on the multiverse Earth 27. Not since Star Trek's original episode of the Mirror Universe has a story been so fun. And that is as much of a clue I can give in this review.

This book captures all that Good story telling should, and the hope that Super Hero's bring. They characters are ones we know and love, but these new tales take them different places. Lyga is a master wordsmith and as this trilogy progresses I have greater and greater respect for his talent. This story was a race from the beginning to the end, but what else would you expect from the Flash! 

This is an excellent read. It will truly be loved by fans of the expanding DC TV Universe. It will also stands solidly on its own as a superhero novel series. It is a story for fans of all ages. And I eagerly anticipate book through, The Tornado Twins. 

Note: There is a great Flash discussion group on Facebook.

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillian:
Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)


The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
Johnny Quick (2018)
Tornado Twins (2018)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)

Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
Bobby
Trading Worlds
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan
Meet Me Tonight
...

Contributed to:

Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner




Monday, 16 April 2018

Directed by Purpose - Michael Stawicki - Six Simple Steps to Success Book 5

Directed by Purpose: How to Focus on Work That Matters, Ignore Distractions and Manage Your Attention over the Long Haul 
Six Simple Steps to Success Book 5
Michal Stawicki
AISN B01LRN7KA6
ISBN 9781537708157



I purchased this book a few years back when it first came out. But I did not get around to reading it or writing a review. This is book 5 in a series that started with Simplify Your Pursuit of Success, that served as an introduction and overview to the series, and then there was to be a book on each of the 6 key lessons expanding upon that book. The series has been placed on hold and only 4 of the 6 planned books have been released to date. I guess I was just so disappointed the series was on hold I stopped reviewing them. I was waiting for the series to resume. I picked this book up finally and read it and am very thankful I did.

Michal begins the book with these words:
"It's a Zombie World!  
As I write these words, I'm on a crowded train, commuting from work to home. In the compartment, there are about 100 people. Half of them are playing with their mobiles. Some of them are napping. Some are staring blankly outside. Several are chatting with the strangers they've found themselves sitting beside today. The man next to me might well be immersed in deep prayer or contemplation. But I wouldn't bet money on that. He is looking out the window, trailing his eyes across the view without registering anything."

And a few paragraphs later:
"Look around you. How many people are in this exact moment fulfilling their life purpose? How many of them are 100% focused on the job at hand because they believe the task is a necessary part of their life's journey? How many are pursuing-at this very moment-their vision for life?  
(If you are alone, do this exercise by recalling a moment when you were last in a group.)  
It's likely that few are pursuing any kind of purpose or vision. You may be idealistic and give many of these people the benefit of the doubt, but if you had to stake all your savings on the answer, what percentage would you assume?  
As I write these words, I am pursuing my vision in this train compartment right now. I doubt there are more than three other people who could say the same about themselves."
And to be honest that is the focus of this book and the series. Do you want to just exist, or do you really want to live? For if you do not have a guiding purpose you are just existing. You are one of the Zombies on that train, that we encounter everyday at work. That are our friends and family members we interact with mist. Stawicki declares:
"Face it: we live in a zombie world. Zombie Apocalypse has already happened. Millions-or billions-of people wander around without any deeper sense of mission than to get through the current day. They stare emptily into televisions and tablets or tap gossipy texts into their mobiles. They anesthetize themselves with alcohol, drugs, video games, and other physical or mental substances to avoid thinking at all. Mindless consumption is the new overpowering imperative."
I know so many people that come home grab a bear and are in front of the tv or a game console until the go to bed and then repeat the pattern again tomorrow. They work just to pay the bills, have an occasional vacation, and are putting in time until they retire and eventually die. But we were created for more than that. We were created for more than achievements in a beer tracking app or online game. Michal states:
"To find fulfillment, we must find our own reasons for being, and then act accordingly. I'm not saying that you have to become a monk in a contemplative order, although that's definitely an alternative worth considering. It isn't for me; I decided to get married many years ago and that path is now closed. Your current choices are affected by your past choices."
But he also shows us that were we are at today does not need to be where we are in a few months, few years or few decades. Michael teaches from his own experience, from being a zombie on that train to transforming his life and that of his family. He emphasizes this point dramatically:
"Consider this simple principle: either you are focused on your goals and dreams and spend your time pursuing them, or you are not. Success won't materialize out of the blue one day and land on your doorstep. You must work to achieve it."
This book was another excellent read by Stawicki, and if we are lucky he will finishing the series in the near future.

Books by Michal Stawicki:
The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success
A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness
Trickle Down Mindset: The Missing Element In Your Personal Success

Slicing the Hype
99 Perseverance Success Stories: Encouragement for Success in Every Walk of Life

Six Simple Steps to Success
Simplify Your Pursuit of Success - Book 1
Know Yourself Like Your Success Depends on It - Book 2
Bulletproof Health and Fitness: Your Secret to High Achievement - Book 3
Making Business Connections That Count - Book 4
Directed by Purpose: How to Focus on Work That Matters, Ignore Distractions and Manage Your Attention over the Long Haul - Book 5

How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day Series:
The Fitness Expert Next Door - Book 1
Learn to Read with Great Speed! Only 10 minutes a day! - Book 2
Release Your Kid's Dormant Genius In Just 10 Minutes a Day: Parenting Your Smart Underachiever With Consistency and Love - Book 3
Master Your Time In 10 Minutes a Day: Time Management Tips for Anyone Struggling With Work-Life Balance  - Book 4
From Shy to Hi: Tame Social Anxiety, Meet New People, and Build Self-Confidence  - Book 5


Author Profile and Interview with Michal Stawicki