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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Numbers 11:25-29
Responsorial Psalm 19:7, 9, 11-12, 13 Response 8a
Second Reading James 5:1-6
Gospel Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

I am away on retreat this weekend, at Cedarcrest Retreats. This reflection was written earlier in the week, so that it would post while I was away. A few things really stood out to me on my first reading of these passages this week. First the end of the first reading, Moses speaking to Joshua says:

"Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the lord would put his spirit on them!"

I read this passage with a bit of shock and awe. Prophets were never looked upon favorable. By in large they lived a life of conflict. Called by God to speak truth, and if a prophet was speaking, things had gone way off track. More than one prophet did not want the task, or the specific task. Think Jonah and Nineveh. And the end of the passage, that God would put his spirit on them. This is what we believe happens at both Baptism and Confirmation. And during ordination for priests and deacons. What Moses wishes for at the end of this passage comes to pass at Pentecost, and through the ages has been handed down through the church. I know in my own life I fall short often, as a husband, as a father, as a man. But this passage reminds me of a truth and a hope. I can start again trusting in the Holy Spirit imparted to me to work and to strive. To quote Matthew Kelly's tag line, 'To become the best version of myself!'

As I write this I am home from work sick, my son is home from school sick. The response really speaks to life, If our focus is on God all the rest can be dealt with.

"The Precepts of the Lord are right, and give joy to the heart."

 And then we come to the Gospel. 

"Whoever is not against us is for us."

The gospel passage reminds me that my life is always a witness. At work, at home, at play. The big question is what am I witnessing to? This passage is a reminder that our lives need to be lived above reproach. For the passage is clear that the consequences are severe if our actions lead another astray. As such we need to constantly stay vigilant. We should be seeing spiritual direction, and good spiritual reading. We should use any tool we can to help us stay on the right path so that our live is a witness to bring others to God not cause them to turn away. 

My prayer this week is that my actions live up to my theology. And I pray for strength in the day to day life for you my readers.

(Oratory last time I was here Spring 2017))
(Renovated Oratory Fall 2018)

Related Posts:

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2018

My total books this quarter is down a bit from last quarter, but my page count is actually up. Just variations in the length of material read. The Quarter by the numbers:

91 books read
59 received 5/5 stars
8 of those had been read before
48 were non-Fiction
11 were fiction

The Fiction was pretty easy to narrow down to a simple top ten list. The non-fiction on the other hand was a very, very, very difficult. But this is what I managed to come up with. 

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

1. The booklets by Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky:
2. Encounter the Saints Series
3. How to Think Like Aquinas: The Sure Way to Perfect Your Mental Powers - Kevin Vost
4. Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century
5. The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes - Jacques Philippe
6. Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo - John F. Coverdale
7. Catholic Truth Society booklets:
8. Footprints of the Northern Saints - Basil Cardinal Hume
9. A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis - Susan Peek - God's Forgotten Friends Lives of Little-known Saints Book 2
10. The Cries of Jesus from the Cross: An Anthology - by Reverend Fulton J Sheen 

Bonus:
11. Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church - Jeff Vehige - Find the Faith Book 1
12. Love's True Meaning: The message of Humanae Vitae 50 Years On - Fr. Anthony Doe
13. The Way of the Christian Samurai: Reflections for Servant-Warriors of Christ - Paul E. Nowak

Top Ten Fiction Books:

1. Roland West Outcast - Theresa Linden - A West Brothers Book
2. Down Time - Barry Lyga - An I Hunt Killers Prequel
3. We Are All Jacob's Children: A Tale of Hope, Wisdom, and Faith - Noah benShea
4. Dragon Assassin - Arthur Slade
5. The Story of Job - Regina Doman and Ben Hatke 
6. Where You Lead - Leslea Wahl 
7. Birthday Secrets - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Short Story
8. The Mystery at Midnight - Lisa M. Hendey and Jenn Bower - Chime Travelers Book 4
9. The Whisper in the Ruins - Lisa M. Hendey and Jenn Bower - Chime Travelers Book 3
10. In Front Of My House - Marianne Dubuc and Yvette Ghione

If you give some of these a try I am sure they will be with the read! But unfortunately, two of the fiction books have yet to be published. Number s 1 and 4 will be published later in the fall. I also had a conundrum about number 9 non-fiction and number 5 fiction. These could have been either fiction or non depending on your interpretation. But this is where the chips fell.

Note: I did not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they were in the bonus section. As stated it was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list. This post is going up early because of the end of the quarter falling during holy week.


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
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

284 - January to September 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
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

Friday, 28 September 2018

Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift - Susan Helen Wallace & Barbara Kiwak - Encounter the Saints Series Book 15

Saint Katharine Drexel
The Total Gift
Encounter the Saints Series Book 15
Susan Helen Wallace
Barbara Kiwak (Illustrator) 
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870681


This series is amazing! Between my three children and I we have now read 29 of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My children ages 12, 10, and 8 love these books. My son keeps asking to buy his own set so he can keep them in his room. And as soon as we finish one book he wants to begin on another. With each of the books we read we appreciate this series more. And to be honest hope there will be even more books in the future. But now back to this specific book on Saint Katharine Drexel.


I must admit I was familiar with the name Katharine Drexel but beyond the name I knew little of her story. My son and I were amazed as we worked out way through this book. About her devotion, her faith, her generosity, and her service. My son was particularly fascinated by her family's prayer room their house. She travelled so far and wide in an age when travel was not nearly as easy as today. She was friends with numerous bishops, and met Popes. But her greatest achievement was founding an order of religious sisters that specialized in schools for black and natives. Whenever there was a request for her nuns she found a way. She worked hard, she travelled to each school and each house of the order every year. She gave of her own inheritance and supported the ministry of others also. 

The chapters in this book are:
Hannah's Gift 
Life on Walnut Street 
Learning to Help 
Happy Memories 
The Grand Tour 
Fireworks! 
Peace in Suffering 
Unexpected Sorrow 
Friend of the Missions 
"Why Not You?"
No Turning Back 
A Share in the Cross 
Growing Pains 
Southern Beginnings 
To the Navajos 
A Dream Come True 
Louisiana Adventures 
When Saints Meet 
So Much to Do 
A Matter of the Heart 
"Do You See the Children?"
Prayer
Glossary

This book is deeply moving. Often my son asked for one more chapter when we should have been done reading for the night. The story of Katharine and her nuns really encouraged and challenged both of us.

The prayer in this volume is:

"Saint Katharine, there's so much I can learn from you.  Even though many persons today act as if money is the most important thing in the world, you show me that it isn't.  It's people who are more important than anything else.  And you teach me how to treat them with care, compassion and love, just as Jesus would.

I want to become as unselfish as you were, Saint Katharine.  It's not always easy, so I need your help.  Ask Jesus to show me how I can use the gift of my own life to make the world a better place for everyone.  Thank you, Saint Katharine.

Amen."

This is one of eight books in the series written by Susan Helen Wallace. And one of seven illustrated by Barbara Kiwak. It follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to either be pencil drawings or charcoal sketches. My son was fascinated by the sketches and went over them almost every time we read the book. 


Reading this book you will find out many details about Katharine's life. About her sisters. The loss of her mother at a young age. About her step mother. And her fathers and step mothers devotion. You will find out a lot about this second US born saint. But what will move you most is her commitment to following Jesus. Where ever God led she followed. And that is what we took away most from the book. Our personal need to live for God and follow where he leads.


My son and I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read 28 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And every one has been a gem. Another amazing read in an wonderful series!

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, 27 September 2018

Virtue Series - Kapaun's Men - Formed

Virtue Series
Kapaun's Men
Formed


My introduction into the life of Father Emil Kapaun was the book A Shepherd in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division - William Maher. It has started a string of events. Since that time, I have read several of books about Father Kapaun, and other military Chaplains. I have watched a documentary about his life. And after watching that my son decided he wants to not only be a priest but be a military chaplain. When I saw this series on Formed I had to check it out. I had planned on working my way through it as a leisurely pace. But that was not to be. I have binged watched it twice now. And have plans to put together a group of men to work through the series.

There are seven videos for this series, and introduction and then seven weeks. The videos are:

The story of Father Kapaun
Mercy
Faith
Hope
Love 
Courage
Mission

The description of the series on Formed is:

""Father Kapaun proved himself to be the greatest example of manhood that I've ever seen in my life." The most decorated Chaplain in US Army History, Servant of God Emil Kapaun's story inspires us and reminds us that every man can achieve the greatness to which God has called us. The Kapaun's Men Virtue Series features two of Kapaun's fellow Prisoners of War and invites you to dive into the life of Father Kapaun and the virtues he exemplified.

In addition, men from many walks of life help you to understand what virtue looks like in today's world. Intended to be completed in participation with other men, Kapaun's Men is designed to help men accompany one another as we respond to God's invitation to greatness."

There are 9 downloadable resources to go with the series. A Study guide for the whole series, or individual study guides for each module. As well as a leaders manual. Joe Farris is the facilitator on the video's giving an introduction and conclusion to each lesson. The life of Father Emil Kapaun is inspirational all by itself. When you weave that wound lives he touched personally or through people who have just been impacted by his story and you have a powerful combination.

This series was incredible to work through by myself. I have started watching it again now with my son. And I plan on putting together a band of men to work through it. This series on Virtues was exactly what I needed this week. And I look forward to the other two series from Kapaun's Men! This is an excellent resource for individual, small group, or men's ministry. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
You can read my review of Formed from Augustine Institute here.


Resources from Kapaun's Men:
Virtue Series
Stewardship Series
Beatitude Series

Reviews of other books about Military Chaplains:
The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero - Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying
A Shepherd in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division - William Maher
The Grunt Padre: Father Vincent Robert Capodanno Vietnam 1966-1967 - Daniel L. Mode
The Priest Barracks Dachau 1938-1945 - Guillaume Zeller
Blessings from the Battlefield - Edited by Thomas R. O'Brien

Heroic Catholic Chaplains: Stories of the Brave and Holy Men Who Dodged Bullets While Saving Souls
Fr Willie Doyle & World War I: A Chaplain's Story - K.V. Turley
Armed with Faith The Life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM - Stephen M. Digiovanni
...

For all reviews and articles about Military Chaplains click here.







Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Author and Translator Profile and Interview with Helena Scott

Helena Scott Author and Translator Profile and Interview 


Helena Scott is an author, and a translator. He has co-written 8 booklets for the Catholic Truth Society with Ethel Tolansky. She has translated dozens of books for CTS and for Scepter. She would balk at the title author, but her and Tolansky's writing is so well done I tracked down all 8 of their booklets even though most are out of print, once I discovered them I wanted to read them all. She is a researcher, a teacher, and a translator. She took some time from the many hats she wears to answer 20 Questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and more. So now in her own words, at time loquacious and at times brief, here is Helena Scott.

1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

As a matter of fact I'm not a professional writer, I'm a translator.

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

N/A - I just wish I had some "early success" to talk about!

3. What advice do you wish a writer had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

Start at the end, or rather, in Stephen Covey's words, "Begin with the end in mind". I tended to plunge into writing and see where it led me, and only learnt from experience to make a road-map and perhaps even write the ending first. Having said that, it does sometimes happen that I start writing and find things taking shape as I go along, much better than I could have consciously intended.

4. What authors influenced your writing style and format?

I think what influenced my writing style and format as much as anything was studying Latin and classical Greek at university, then training to teach English to foreign students and actually teaching it for a longish period. All of that gave me a thorough grasp of the structure of language, and a habit of looking critically at a piece of writing to see if it conveys what the writer intended to say effectively. I would like to think that everything I've ever read has influenced me too!

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

N/A - but see question 13 below.

6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

I find if I listen to music, I don't want to do something else at the same time. Music would be a huge distraction from writing.

7.  From my research you have co-written 8 biographies, and translated 5 books by Father Jacques Philippe. Have you ever tried your hand at fiction?

I've translated several other books that have been published, and also written one or two poems but never tried publishing them. I haven't written any fiction.

8. Your biography of Alvaro Del Portillo is available in both English and Spanish. Are there plans to release it in other languages? Or for translations of any other of your works?

Alvaro del Portillo: the Power of Humility has also been translated into Croatian and Chinese, and Josemaria Escriva has been translated into Spanish, Lithuanian and Chinese. Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan has been translated into Vietnamese. That's as far as I know, but there may have been other translations that I haven't heard about.

9. It has been a few years since you have published a new book. Are there any current projects that you are working on or that are in the back burner in some stage of development?

No - I'm working virtually full time on translation and editing work.

10. The biographies that you have written span a wide range of subjects. How did you determine which biographies to write?

Ethel Tolansky and I decided to write the first one, Johann Gruber and Jacques Bunel: Victims of the Nazis, because we liked the CTS "Martyrs of the 20th Century" series and we knew about Dr Gruber and Fr Bunel through teaching and researching French literature. There was very little available about either of them in English, and we thought English-speaking Catholics could be inspired by knowing about their lives too. 

As we're both in Opus Dei, we then offered to write a biography of the founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaria, for the CTS Biographies series, and the CTS were delighted; they brought out another booklet about Opus Dei as such at the same time, and held a book-launch, or rather a booklet-launch, for the two booklets together, which was great fun. Then in the lead-up to Blessed Alvaro del Portillo's beatification we realized that a booklet-sized biography of him would help make him known in the English-speaking sphere. Both of us had met Blessed Alvaro, and so writing about him was a wonderful way of passing on what he meant to us. 

I gave a seminar at the University of Westminster on Pope Pius XII as part of a series on war and culture in the 20th century, and afterwards we worked the seminar presentation up into a booklet, because we and the CTS felt that it was vital for people to hear the truth about this much-attacked and widely misrepresented Pope. 

The other booklets we wrote were actually at the suggestion of the CTS and it was a real joy to do them, because it involved researching and learning more about some really holy people who have given so much to the Church; and about Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans, who, although they were not Catholics, were deeply committed Christians who owed a lot to Blessed John Henry Newman.

11. Were there any biographies you really wanted to write that just never came to fruition? 

Yes - of my parents! I still have that in mind as obviously I think they were wonderful, and very special people. I doubt if there'd be any realistic chance of finding a publisher, so if I do write it I would probably have to self-publish it.

Ethel has done a lot of research on Jane Austen, and on Hugh Dormer, who was killed in World War II, and I very much hope that one or both of these projects may lead to a publication.

12. Which of your booklets was the hardest to write and why?

The hardest one was Pius XII, because of the mass of material available that had to be checked and re-checked and reduced to seminar-size and then booklet-size, and also because we had to make sure we gave a truthful, balanced and convincing picture of him that people could refer to when his memory was attacked, as it regularly is. 

I think the second hardest was Benedict XVI, because the CTS contacted us about it as soon as he was elected and obviously it had to be brought out at top speed, at a time when there wasn't a huge amount about him that was readily available.

13. All your published booklets were co-written with Ethel Tolansky. What was it like collaborating on so many booklets together? 

Funnily enough, the process for each of our booklets was different. Having said that, we started out each time by deciding together on what specific aspects we thought we most needed to focus on, because in a booklet you can't hope to give a complete picture of every aspect of a person's whole life. For some of them, we then had regular collaborative meetings hammering out what to say and how to say it. For others, we each wrote separate sections and then spliced them together, so to speak. I was the main author of Pius XII, since, as I said, it arose from a seminar I gave, and Ethel was the main author of Sophie Scholl, as she already knew a considerable amount about the White Rose group.

14. Have you written any books or booklets on your own, that have yet to be published?

No. 

15. While researching your booklets and trying to track down all the ones you wrote or translated, I was surprised that you have almost no online footprint. A few blog articles for CTS, a minimal Facebook profile and I believe LinkedIn. Is that intentional?

Yes. As I'm not a professional writer I'm not in the business of marketing myself as an author, and as well as that, I don't have the time to work up an online presence.

16. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

Too many to list! C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Frank Sheed, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Dorothy L. Sayers … all the classics, I suppose.

17. What are some of your favorite contemporary religious authors to read?

Peter Kreeft, for his clarity and faithfulness to the Church. Josemaria Escriva, whom I'd recommend for everyone who wants to develop their relationship with Christ in their daily lives. John Paul II, because he shows how powerful philosophy is in leading to a knowledge of God's love. Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger, who is a born teacher. Jacques Philippe, always inspiring. Romano Guardini, who has such tremendous insights and makes you feel insightful yourself! Those are just some of them.

18. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

I love reading, and whatever book I'm reading right now is often my favourite. But if I had to make a list, it would include - as well as all the above - The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker; The Unintended Reformation by Brad Gregory; A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - books that aim to give a big picture. A Good Man in Evil Times by José-Alain Fralon, about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux in 1940 who disobeyed his government in order to save the lives of literally thousands of Jews by giving them visas, and whose own life was ruined as a result. The Price to Pay by Joseph Fadelle, about an Iraqi Muslim who was converted to Catholicism and what happened next… Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: it's about the human aspects of dying and end-of-life care, from the point of view of the medical profession. The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy gives a much-needed and very complete picture of Catholicism in England on the eve of the Reformation. On my shelf right now are The True History of the Elephant Man by Michael Howell and Peter Ford; Communism and Man by Frank Sheed; Fools, Frauds and Firebrands by Roger Scruton; and Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel.

I was part of a book club for several years, and we posted a good many of our reads on a blog, at: http://bookclubatwoodlands.blogspot.com/.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Like all good castaways, I would put Shakespeare and the Bible at the top of my list; my edition of the Bible would have a sound, thorough commentary. The Lord of the Rings. T. H. White's The Once and Future King as long as it included The Sword in the Stone. The complete Harry Potter, if conveniently available in one volume. Milton's Paradise Lost. Dante's Divine Comedy. The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The Oxford Book of Comic Verse. The Oxford Book of Mediaeval Latin Poetry. The Metaphysical Poets - that's number 11, in case the one-volume Harry Potter isn't available… 

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?

Go back in time and get to know about iconography especially, and meet the artists and religious writers of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries! Your spiritual life will be hugely enriched by educating yourself in that direction, and you'll find inspiration for your own work in all sorts of places, on seeing how they expressed their faith in their writing and art. Don't limit yourself to Western Europe but broaden out to other artistic and literary traditions.

Thank you, Helena, for taking the time to answer a few questions. I love reading the booklets you wrote and have read about half of the books you translated. Thank you for sharing about your faith, your work, and your life. It was wonderful getting to know a bit more about you.


Books by Scott and Tolansky:
Pius XII
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan
Benedict XVI

Josemaria Escriva
Alvaro Del Portillo

A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy
Sophie Scholl and The White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis
Johann Gruber and Jacques Bunel: Victims of the Nazis
...

In Spanish:
Álvaro del Portillo: el Poder de la Humildad
Josemaría Escrivá

In Croatian:
Alvaro del Portillo: Snaga Poniznosti

In Chinese:
Josemaria Escriva
Alvaro del Portillo: The Power of Humility

In Vietnamese:
Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan

Books by Fr Jacques Philippe translated by Helena Scott:
Time For God
Interior Freedom
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer


Other books and booklets translated by Helena Scott:
The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin; On Self-Accusation - Jorge Bergoglio
It Is Worth While - Jose Maria Casciaro
The Prodigal Son - Georges Chevrot
In the Footprints of our Faith: A Journey Through the Holy Land - Jesus Gil and Eduardo Gil 
When the Moon Comes Out Africa Dances - Jose Luis Olaizola
Light in Architecture: The Intangible Material - Elisa Valer
The Man of Villa Tevere - Pilar Urbano

Author profile and interview with Helena Scott.










Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Eight Doors of the Kingdom Meditations on the Beatitudes - Jacques Philippe

The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: 
Meditations on the Beatitudes
Jacques Philippe
Scepter
ISBN 9781594172755

eISBN 9781594172762
ASIN B07G7FL916


My introduction to the writings of father Jacques Philippe was Time For God, which I first read 11 years ago. I have reread that book for times now and every time I read it I get something more out of it. And when he has a new book come out in French I eagerly await it being available in English. Thankfully for this book the wait was less than a year. This book combines two of my favorite things, the incredible spiritual writings of Father Philippe and the beatitudes. If I may digress for a sentence or two, it was in part the beatitudes that helped me return to the church. Specifically, Matthew 5:6 'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.' At a low point late in my teen years I had wandered away from the church. I was searching and in a used book store a bible that that verse and one other marked in the front cover. After finding and reading the passage I knew it described me and where I was at. And so to have a book by father Philippe on these 8 beatitudes is I am certain a blessing for all who will read it.

This book is short and to the point. There is a brief introduction, then a chapter on each of the beatitudes. There is no specific conclusion. For each of the 8 has a conclusion in the chapter. The Chapters in the book are:

Introduction
1. The Poor In Spirit
2. Happy Are Those Who Mourn, For They Will Be Consoled
3. Happy Are The Meek
4. Happy Are Those Who Hunger And Thirst For Justice. They Will Be Satisfied
5. Happy Are The Merciful For They Shall Obtain Mercy
6. Happy Are The Pure Of Heart
7. Happy Are The Peacemakers
8. Happy Are Those Persecuted For Justice

Father Philippe in this book draws from several sources to provide examples to his points. Some of the authors he draws from are:

Thérèse of Lisieux
Raniero  Cantalamessa
Catherine of Siena
John Eudes
John of the Cross
Maria Faustina Kowalska
Etty Hillesum

And Several others. At the end of the book there is a brief sections on the works cited. It provides details not only on the work cited but which translation was used in preparing this book. 

Each chapter in tis book follows the same format. It begins with the specific Beatitude. This is followed by one or more other biblical passage that reflects the point. Then father Philippe unpacks the meaning, of the phrases of the beatitude. And then he expands upon that in several sections. If we take for example the fourth chapter Happy Are Those Who Hunger And Thirst For Justice. They Will Be Satisfied, the sections in that chapter are:

The Desire For Holiness
Desire Salvation For All
The Desire For Truth
What Is My Deepest Desire?
May The Thirst Of Jesus Become Our Thirst
Repair The Fundamental Injustice That Leads Others Astray

In this chapter father Philippe causes us to reflect he says:

"The fourth Beatitude points to a question: What is my deepest desire?

Hunger and thirst are images of desire for in what is most vital and essential. It is good to put this question to one's heart: What is my deepest desire? What do I really hunger and thirst for? What desire is the principle of unity for my life?

It is natural that one have several desires, yet this can be a source of interior division and the accomplishment of some of our desires can lead us to an impasse or deceive us. St. Paul speaks of the need for a certain filtering or discernment, to distinguish those that come from the "flesh" (our wounded psyches) from those that come from the "spirit" (our authentic aspirations for what is really good for us and the promptings of the Holy Spirit).

But among all our desires one is dominant in that it gathers together and unifies all the others. We find in one of the Psalms this wonderful prayer: "Teach me thy way, O LORD, that I may walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name." And Jesus says: "He who does not gather with me scatters." In failing to direct their desire toward God, people risk 'scattering' themselves."

And that is just the beginning of the section that leads us most to apply the teaching to our life. And this chapter concludes with these words:

"In the end, then, to be hungry and thirsty for justice means ardently desiring that God be better known and loved. It means desiring to respond to ingratitude by a surfeit of love. It means wanting to embrace God, love God, and trust God to make up for all those who do not embrace, love, and trust him."

As can bee seen from these few brief examples on one of the beatitudes this book has a depth of meaning and can have an even deeper impact upon our lives. After reading a book like this one, I want to shout from the rooftops about it. I mention it frequently in conversations, I give copies of it away to friends and clergy. This is a book that will have a lasting impact upon its readers. I have loved all the books I have read by father Philippe, each of them has garnered 5/5 stars, but this might be the best of the lot. If you are a fan of his writings run out and pick up this book. If you are unfamiliar with his works, this book will be an incredible introduction into his writing style and thought. An incredible read!


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

Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
From Scepter:

Called to Life
Time For God
Interior Freedom
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love - A Retreat Guided By St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer
Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust

Fire and Light: Learning to Receive the Gift of God
The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes


St Paul's Alba House:
Searching for and Maintaining Peace
Discerning Your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults (Forward)

Pauline Books and Media:

Time For God

SingTala:
Time For God
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom)


Books Contributed To: