Thursday, 9 July 2020

Praying for Priests with St Therese of Lisieux - Maureen O'Riordan - CTS Devotions

Praying for Priests with St Therese of Lisieux: 
Including a special Novena for Priests
CTS Devotions
Maureen O'Riordan
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784694876
CTS Booklet D715

Over the last few years, I have read over 150 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. Lately I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series I believe this is the only book written by Maureen O'Riordan. This is an excellent volume. The print edition of this book was published in 2009 and the eBook edition released in 2017. 

The current description of this volume is:

“This eBook about how St Thérèse prayed for priests out of love for them and for the souls they touch. We can share with Thérèse in this work of prayer, praying a special Novena for priests, including excerpts of her correspondence with missionary priests.”

And on the CTS site:

“St Thérèse prayed for priests out of love for them and for the souls they touch. We can share with Thérèse in this work of prayer, praying a special Novena for priests, including excerpts of her correspondence with missionary priests.”

And the contents are:

An invitation
St Thérèse’s Apostolate of Prayer for Priests
Maurice Bellière
A Novena to St Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face written by herself
Adolphe Roulland
Proclaiming A Year for Priests
Further information

This volume was first published after Pope Benedict XVI had proclaimed a year for Priests. And with all that has happened in the last 10 years since the release of the volume we need to be praying for our priests and bishops even more than ever. 

Reading this volume is very moving and inspirational. You cannot help but feel the deep love that Saint Thérèse’s had for priests in general, and for several specific priests. I doubt anyone could read this volume and not pray more for the priests in their lives. Pray for the good priests who have helped and ministered to them. And hopefully pray for the priests they struggle to appreciate, respect, or even doubt their worth. I have expanded my praying for priests since reading this volume. And I have set colander reminders to pray the Novena. A few of the passages I highlighted my first time through this wonderful booklet are:

“‘I lived in the company of many saintly priests for a month and I learned that, though their dignity raises them above the angels, they are nevertheless weak and fragile . . . men. If holy priests, whom Jesus in His Gospel calls the “salt of the earth,” show in their conduct their extreme need for prayers, what is to be said of those who are tepid? Didn’t Jesus say too: “If the salt loses its savour, wherewith will it be salted?””

“This is Carmel’s vocation since the sole purpose of our prayers and sacrifices is to be the apostle of the apostles.”

“Throughout her religious life Thérèse prayed fervently for parish priests, missionaries, and priests in trouble.”

“Thérèse did not pray for priests in isolation, but for the souls they would influence. Céline reports that Thérèse called the apostolate of prayer for priests “bulk buying,” because, if she got the head, she would get the members too.”

“‘Oh! Give us priests! Priests filled with the fire of true children of Mary, who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which you carried the little Child of Bethlehem in your arms! In the Host, oh, Mother, your Jesus is even poorer than in the crib! He no longer has hands as tender as yours to touch Him. . . . Give Him a generation of priests formed in your school, in the tenderness of your virginal love.’”

This is an important little volume. Particularly at this juncture in the history of the Church. As Catholics we need to raise up prayers for our priests and their ministry. Please pick up this book and read about the importance or those prayers.

This is an excellent little volume. I have set calendar reminders over the next 9 days to pray the novena, and know it is one I will return to frequently. This is a volume I could easily return to again and again. It is another great offering in the CTS Devotions and Prayers series. A fantastic book to add to your personal library.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Bat and the End of Everything - Elana K. Arnold and Charles Santoso - Bat Book 3

Bat and the End of Everything
A Boy Called Bat Book 3
Elana K. Arnold
Charles Santoso (Illustrator)
Walden Pond Press an imprint of
Harper Collins
eISBN 9780062798466

Last year my youngest child came home from school raving about the first book in this series, A Boy Called Bat. They had read it in the last week of school in grade 3, and it was an instant favorite. When she found out it was the first of a series, she was ecstatic, and wanted us to add it to our summer reading list. Last year we read book 1 and this year we read books 2 and 3 back to back together. These are very moving and powerful stories. And it was wonderful having my youngest read me the books, especially this third volume. 

In the first volume Bat’s mom helped save a Skunk Kit, and Bat has been helping to raise and feed him until he is ready to be released. In the second volume Bat is struggling with knowing that at some point he will need to release Thor the skunk. There were big changes to Bat’s schedule and habits. And Bat does not always do well with changes. In this third volume Bat is stressing a lot. He is stressing about the release of Thor at the end of summer. He is stressing about Israel his best friend being away for most of the summer. And he is stressing about Babycakes, the class rabbit, who has gone home with Jenny. But while Bat is stressing and worrying about Thor, his friends and family are becoming more concerned about and for him. And the story culminates in a Family meeting, where even his Father is there, and his best friend Israel. And Bat is in for a huge surprise. 

But to find out what that surprise is you will need to read the book. 

Our Ratings:
9 year old – 5/5 Stars
12 year old 5/5 Stars
50 year old 5/5 Stars

9 Year Old’s Own Words:
“The third Bat book was very touching and moving to me. I was happy with how his family and friends surrounded him and supported him. It is an awesome book and I give it 5 golden stars.”

12 year old:
“I really liked this book. It was very good read. I really appreciate the Bat stories.”

The illustrations in this volume are wonderful. It is a great early chapter book for young readers. The story is powerful enough to move almost any reader. And the characters are very well written and fleshed out. Our only regret is this is the last of the adventures of Bat and Thor. We absolutely loved this book and the whole trilogy! They are amazing reads. To be honest as we read the last few pages of this book, both my youngest daughter and I had a few tears. 

Note: When I reviewed the first two there were corresponding German editions translated by Sylke Hachmeister and illustrated by Maja Bohn, book 3 does not appear to be available yet.

Books by Elana K. Arnold:
What Girls Are made of
The Question of Miracles
Far from Fair
Red Hood
What Riley Wore
An Ordinary Day
The House That Wasn’t There
Starla Jean and Opal Egg

A Boy Called Bat Series:
A Boy Called Bat
Bat and the Waiting Game
Bat and the End of Everything

Sacred Series:

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Little Book of Consolation - David Coombs - CTS Devotions

Little Book of Consolation: 
For Those Who Mourn
CTS Devotions
David Coombs
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784694760
ASIN B0745881F2
CTS Booklet D739

Over the last few years I have read over 150 books from the Catholic Truth Society. Lately I have read several that are part of the CTS Devotions Series. This one was not what I was expected. I picked this up after the untimely passing of my younger brother. It was one of a few books dealing with mourning and loss that I have read over the past few weeks. This volume was published in 2011, and the eBook was released in 2017. 

The description of this volume is:

“This thoughtful compilation of prayers, reflections, hymns and scripture brings a great message of Christian hope and consolation into the human and spiritual void experienced by those recently bereaved. Each chosen prayer and reading provides the sense of divine love and mystery that lies at the heart of the human encounter with grief and loss. The reader can browse easily, in private reflection and prayer, receiving Christ's consolation along a difficult and often lonely journey. This little book of comfort will help the reader through the tough and almost difficult aspect to life in order to comfort and console them.”

And the description on the CTS website has dropped the last sentence from that description. The beginning of the Introductory Note states:

“Through its liturgy and public prayers the Catholic Church powerfully and constantly supports the dead and the dying. 

But, the needs of the bereaved, they who mourn, are strangely neglected: an unexpected human and spiritual void that has led me to compile this little publication. Its message is one of personal consolation and thus of hope. To these purposes, a hint or sense of divine mystery is present in all the chosen prayers and readings.”

And the chapters in the volume are:

Blessed are those who mourn
From the Psalms
From the Prophet Isaiah
The Patriarch Abraham
From the Prophet Elijah
The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Nativity
Jesus walks on the water
The labourers in the vineyard
The story of Lazarus
Jesus and Nicodemus
The garden of Gethsemane
The Crucifixion
The Resurrection
From the Dream of Gerontius

Each chapter is comprised of a mix of prayers and excerpts from the bible. Some just a few sentences and some a few paragraphs or pages. There is no commentary, guidance, or reflection. It is all straight text taken from other sources. As an eBook it was easy to read through from beginning to end. But I could see how one dealing with grief would appreciate the physical volume and be able to just randomly open and read the section they discover.

As stated, it was not what I was expecting. I did however benefit from reading the volume. It is a good little resource, and I have copied several prayers into my One Note Prayer book for frequent use.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

Monday, 6 July 2020

The History of the Mass Explained - Father Charles Dilke

The History of the Mass Explained
Father Charles Dilke
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824821
eISBN 9781784693589
CTS Booklet H508

Over the last few years, I have fell in love with the books from the Catholic Truth society. I am not certain if this volume is part of the CTS Explanations series, or juts part on the of the CTS Histories. Or even both, but either way it is an excellent little read. The booklet was originally published in 2008 and the eBook was released in 2017. The description on the back of this book is:

“This booklet looks at how the Mass has changed and developed over the centuries, and how changes have occurred at different times in the Church's history, up to and including recent changes by Pope Benedict XVI.”

The chapters in the book are:

The Primitive Roman Mass 
Growth and Enrichment of the Rites 
Reform of the Mass 
The Mass in the ‘Ancien Régime’ 
To Involve the People 
The Aims of Vatican II 
Some of the Modern Changes

We are told in the preface that:

“The material in this booklet was originally given as some talks to the members of the Catholic Evidence Guild in 1993 on the subject of misgivings aroused by modern changes in the Roman Mass. It was reviewed and revised in 2007.”

Father Dilke also states that he is not a liturgical scholar. He is a student of history. And that he has a passion for the topic. The book is written in an engaging and entertaining volume. If I had come across this volume and had the chance to take a course with Father Dilke I would not hesitate. And if I stumble upon anything else written by him I would immediately purchase it. The book can easily be read by anyone with a grade school education. There is a lot of great information in this volume, even as a student with a Religious Studies Degree with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought there was much in this volume that was new to me. I highlighted many passages while reading the book a selection of them to pique your interest are:

“Roman rite lies in the fact that there are quite a few devout people who feel, either explicitly or as it were by instinct that the so-called “Tridentine Mass” has an authenticity about it which is lacking in the Mass we celebrate today, namely the Paul VI Mass or Vatican II Mass. These people make us all ask ourselves - has the Mass changed in some essential way, or has the holiness of our Mass become less than it was before Vatican II? A strong unease or even a vague unease about the most important act of our religion is highly undesirable in the Church and for the individuals. The question needs to be settled one way or another.”

“Accordingly the booklet contains three parts. This first deals with the Growth of the Roman Rite. Next, the Reform of the Roman Rite. And in the final chapter I shall try and gather the threads together to bring about an understanding of the modern changes of our own time.”

“In the course of time many features have been added to the Mass but we must also remember that features have also been subtracted from it. And quite often features have been added, then subtracted and then added again.”

“This was the Agapé, which was a Jewish type ceremonial meal with blessings and prayers. People brought their own food and as well as the blessings spoken by the senior ecclesiastic present there was conversation on matters important to the group. This was the sort of weekly meeting that a teacher would hold in Israel with his disciples and Our Lord would have done it with his followers. The Mass was celebrated, though the word Mass was not used until 300 years later. At this stage it was called Klasis Artou, Greek for the breaking of Bread.”

“You may have noticed that a lot of things began to change in the rite of Mass from the beginning of the 4th century until the time of Gregory the Great about 600 AD.”

“For most people therefore the Mass remained mysterious and unknown and their spiritual needs were satisfied by the growth of a great many devotions and extra-liturgical services, most of which have now died out, but some are still kept alive, like the Stations of the Cross, Benediction and Holy Hours.”

“Pope Paul VI articulated what was felt by many of the clergy when he said that there was a need to re-educate the faithful, purify, and restore dignity, beauty, simplicity and good taste to our ceremonies. This would have effect in a more fruitful and intelligent spiritual life for the faithful, which would make them more resistant to the spiritual dangers of our times.”

“Historically we can see that frequent, weekly, Communion was the rule in the early centuries. The Eucharistic fast seems to have become general in the 4th century. About the 8th century Communion in the hand was being replaced by reception on the tongue, and between then and the 11th century Communion under both kinds and frequent Communion were both dying out. We have seen some of the causes of these developments in earlier chapters.”

It is of particular interest to read about some of the changes that were later changed back. For example, the use of vernacular. Which direction the priest faced, and others. Many of the modern debates in Catholic worship do not appear new after reading this volume. It would be a great volume for those who want only The Latin Mass, of those who want only the Novus Ordo, Or the Latin of the ordinary rite. Each of these three camps could learn from the history presented in this volume. In the epilogue we are told:

“A few comments are necessary about two positive interventions by the Magisterium in recent times. One is Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum (2007), which defines the position of the post Vatican II Mass as the Ordinary Roman Rite, and the Mass as it was in 1962 as the Extraordinary Rite. This regularises and makes clear the situation of Old Rite Masses, saying that they are legitimate options in the right circumstances, while at the same time refusing to backtrack completely with regard to the Vatican II Mass. This is an interesting return to a plurality of rites as was seen in earlier periods of the Church’s history.”

And further on:

“In the history surveyed by this essay we have seen that it is only in relatively recent times that complete standardisation of the Roman Rite has been aimed at and that even then the policy of standardisation was not adopted for its own sake but only to remedy abuses and for pastoral reasons. So it is not necessary to look for uniformity, a uniformity in any case which has never existed even in the Roman Rite.”

This is another excellent volume from the Catholic Truth Society. And honestly one that many Catholics, particularly those prone to arguments on social media regarding the Mass should read. I highly recommend this volume and was encouraged and edified by the reading of it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife
Witchcraft, Sorcery & Magic

Friday, 3 July 2020

St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book - Joanna Bogle - CTS Devotions

St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book
CTS Devotions
Joanna Bogle
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784694494
CTS Booklet D774

Over the last few years I have read over 150 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. A few authors so captured my attention I tried to track down all the books by them. This was the third book I have read by Joanna Bogle. And I very much enjoyed this volume. It was not what I expected, hoverer it is an excellent volume. The print edition of this book was published in 2014 and the eBook edition released in 2017. 

The description of this volume is:

“Praying with these two new saints who were canonised on 27th April 2014. We have new friends in heaven. John XXIII and John Paul II were men of deep prayer, with a message about prayer and the spiritual life which can be learned and shared. This new prayer book helps and encourages the faithful to seek the intercession of these two new saints and to thus grow in their own prayer, holiness and virtue. – Insight into their spirituality and how they prayed – Two Novenas – one to John XXIII and one to John Paul II – Prayers they themselves used and prayers written by them on themes close to their heart – Their meditations on the mysteries of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross.”

And the contents are:

Spiritual Biographies
The Saints they loved
How they prayed
The Holy Rosary - Meditations
The Stations of the Cross - Meditations
The Divine Mercy
Prayers on themes close to their hearts
A Novena to St John XXIII
A Novena to St John Paul II

I was expecting just a prayer book, but this is much more than that. The first part of the book is concise spiritual biographies of the two saints. Followed by a section on saints that they had devotion to. Then a chapter on their prayer lives. And then 6 chapters focused on specific prayers and devotions. 

The saints examined in that chapter are:
Saint Joseph
Saint Charles Borromeo
Saint Martin de Porres
Saint Edith Stein, patroness of Europe
Saint Josephine Bakhita
Saint ianna Beretta Molla
Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Teresa of Calcutta

And a few of these sections have prayers as well. Then when we get to the chapter Prayers On Themes Close To Their Hearts, we have 14 prayers from these 2 saints on a wide variety of topics. The book concludes with a novena to each of the saints. The novena to Saint John XXIII is based on the nine virtues and good qualities: hope, humility, obedience, charity, peace, kindness, good humour, faith, and openness to God’s will. The novena to Saint John Paul II is based on nine virtues and good qualities of Saint John Paul II: courage, love, faithfulness, justice, loyalty, respect for others, truthfulness, patience, and steadfastness in prayer.

This is an excellent little volume. I have set calendar reminders over the next few weeks to pray the two novenas. And have added a few of the other prayers to my One Note prayer collection. But it is a volume I could easily return to again and again. Another great offering in the CTS Devotions and Prayers series. A fantastic book to add to your personal library or prayers.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Joanna Bogle:
A Heart for Europe: the lives of Emperor Charles and Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary
Book of Feasts and Seasons
A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations
Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions
John Paul II, Man of Prayer. the Spiritual Life of a Saint
English Catholic Heroines
Advent & Christmas: Catholic Customs and Traditions
Newman's London: A pilgrim handbook
Courage and Conviction. Pius XII, the Bridgettine Nuns, and the Rescue of Jews
St John XXIII and St John Paul II Prayer Book
Saints & Patrons: Christian Names for Baptism and Confirmation.
A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations