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Friday, 21 February 2020

The Four Evangelists An Introduction - J.B. Midgley

The Four Evangelists:
An Introduction
J.B. Midgley 
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824357
CTS Booklet SC86


I have now tracked down and read over a dozen books by J.B. Midgley. I love his books, and to be honest have benefited greatly from most of the books I have read from the Catholic Truth Society. I have read over 100 books and booklets from CTS over the last few years. There are many great series and lots of excellent resources. I believe that J.B. Midgley wrote 28 books and that 26 of them were for the Catholic Truth Society. This book is out-of-print but well worth tracking down. It serves as an introduction to the four gospels. It does an excellent job of highlighting similarities, differences and difference in focus of each of the gospels and has a brief section on devotion to the specific evangelists. The description on the back of the book is:

“This booklet offers digestible end attractive summaries of the life and work of each of the four Gospel writers, Matthew, mark, Luke, and John. It provides an excellent overview and introduction to the structure, themes and emphasis of each of the four gospels texts, and in the case of Luke and John, their other writings (Acts, Letters and Revelation) are also explored. The devotions that have grown up around the four writers over the centuries are also mentioned.”

The chapters in the volume are:

Unable to live on bread alone
The Good News
Saint Matthew
Saint Mark
Saint Luke
Saint John 

In the introduction Midgley quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s first Encyclical, ‘God is Love’, and emphasises:

“the lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies, but continue being and working in God after death. They do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them.”

And he states that the goal of this booklet is to help us to connect to the four evangelists. And it does an excellent job of that. I have a Religious Studies University degree, with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. I would have loved to have had this booklet as a resource for several of the essays I wrote during my undergraduate career. 

Midgley writes in a clear and concise style. And het the book is well researched and presents a wealth of information in the small booklet format. In the section on Matthew’s gospel he states:

“His main theme is that Chris brings the reign and Kingdom of God that, in Him and through Him, remains with His Church until the end of time. He begins with the story of the Infancy and concludes with the Passion, the account of which is similar to mark’s but adds some miraculous occurrences that demonstrate the reality and extraordinary nature of the resurrection and Ascension.”

Each of the four gospels and the evangelists who wrote them are brought to life in a new way through the reading of this book. It is another excellent offering from both J.B. Midgley and from the Catholic Truth Society. I highly recommend 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 by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic










Thursday, 20 February 2020

Paper Girls - Alex Smith - DCI Kett Book 1.0

Paper Girls
DCI Kett Crime Thrillers Book 1.0
Zertex Crime
ISBN 9781912767151
ASIN B07X2LS1XF


This is the second of the DCI Kett stories that I have read and I have can state that both are great crime mystery novels. Over a decade ago, I read and loved the Lockdown series published primarily for a young adult audience by Alexander Gordon Smith. When I found out he had a new crime mystery series in the works I had visions of his skill turned to series like Wired in the Blood, or the Commander. There is just something so appealing about a British crime drama or procedural, I was hooked from the concept. After reading the first novella or short story I bumped this one way up in my to be read list. The first short story is available for free on his site, and leads into this novel. 

The book begins a few months after Cry Baby. DCI Kett is on compassionate leave after the abduction of his wife. And is heading back to the area he grew up with his three girls. Before he even gets them settled into the house he is rending he gets a call from his boss. And his services have been offered to the local team in Norwich have two abductions of young girls snatched while delivering papers. Kett is dragged back into the world he was trying to step away from. But soon the case and his own tenacity have him in situations of great personal risk. But even after some initial confrontation and hostility he is settling down and finding his way with his girls and assisting the Special Investigations Unit.

The story is fast paced. And the characters are expertly written. You find yourself pulling for Kett. It is a great crime mystery story. But as a father of daughters also terrifying.

Up until last year I had not read much in the mystery or crime genres for over 25 years. But last year I did read a lot of crime and mystery books. I read all the books available by Maureen Jennings, the Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child, and the Hunt for Reacher series by Diane Capri. And the writing in this story kept up with them all. It is a great second story in a series. And sets us up for some serious action in the coming volumes. 

A great read for anyone who enjoys the crime, mystery, thriller genres!


Mystery Books as Alex Smith:
Softley Softley Series:
1.0 The Harder They Fall
2.0 Hard Luck House
...

DCI Kett Series:
2.0 Bad Dog
3.0 Three Little Pigs
...

Books By Alexander Gordon Smith:
Escape from Furnace:
Lockdown

Solitary
Death Sentence
Fugitives 
Execution
Execution Epilogue - Short Story
The Night Children - Short Story


Fury Series:
The Fury
The Storm

The Inventors:
The Inventors
The Inventors And The City of Stolen Souls

Non-Fiction:
1001 Questions and Answers
Inspired Creative Writing: 52 Brilliant Ideas from the Master Wordsmiths
The Solar System
Family Quiz
Writing Bestselling Children's Books: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Inspiring Young Readers





Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Consecration to St. Joseph - Donald H. Calloway - The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father

Consecration to St. Joseph: 
The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father
Donald H. Calloway, MIC
Marian Press
ISBN 
9781596144316
eISBN 9781596145221
ASIN B083BFGDYS


I absolutely loved Father Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary, and when I first heard he was working on a book about Saint Joseph I was terribly excited. In fact, I could not wait and ended up reading a few other books about Saint Joseph while I awaited the publication of this volume. But like champions this is likely the most complete book on Saint Joseph to date. And you could also see this book as three volumes in a single book. Each of the three sections could stand as a book alone, and they are:

Part I 33 Day preparation
Part II The Wonders of our Spiritual father
Part III prayers to St. Joseph

The book also has a chart so you can figure out easily when to begin so that you can complete the consecration on specific feast days. Father Calloway states in the introduction:

“Most likely, the majority of people who acquire Consecration to St. Joseph are going to go straight into the 33-day preparation. However, there might be some people who get the book but are not quite ready for consecration to St. Joseph. Some people might feel that they want to get to know St. Joseph better before committing to a month-long preparation for consecration to a saint they don’t know much about. Those folks can skip Part I (the 33-day preparation) and simply read Part II as its own book. You should know, though, that if you choose to read Part II without doing the 33-day preparation, you will need to re-read the assigned sections from Part II if you decide to do the 33-day preparation. (The designated daily reading from Part II follows a different order when you do it with the 33-day preparation in Part I.)”

So even if you do not see yourself doing the 33 Day consecration at this point, picking up the book for this middle section is more than worth it. I can also state that the book is worth the price for just the third section, a wonderful collection of prayers to Saint Joseph. And after that Prayer book section we have two appendices. The first is instructions and guidance for doing the 33 day consecration. The second is information on churches and shrines dedicated to Saint Joseph around the world. The list if some of the more well known for it would take another volume maybe several volumes to list all the shrines, churches, and places dedicated to Saint Joseph around the world. 

As I have aged, and try to grow to be a better husband and better father I find that I have turned to Saint Joseph often. Father Calloway states:

“First, we need the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph to help us protect marriage and the family. Marriage and the family have always been under attack, but in modern times, the threats have reached extraordinary heights.”

And further on he declares:

“Now is the time to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! God is telling his Church that, in order to defend marriage and the family, elevate morals, recover lost ground, and win souls for Jesus Christ, we need to bring St. Joseph onto the battlefield. He is the Terror of Demons!”

When explaining the why Father Calloway says:

“What exactly is consecration to St. Joseph? In other words, what does it mean for a person to be consecrated to St. Joseph? Well, it basically means that you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely to his paternal care so that he can lovingly help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God.”

We are also told:

“Mary is your spiritual mother, and St. Joseph is your spiritual father. The spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph is extremely important for your spiritual growth. Total consecration to Mary is not diminished by total consecration to St. Joseph. Mary wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Everything you have given to Jesus and Mary can also be given to St. Joseph. Be at peace. The Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are one.”

The books is an excellent read and much needed today. It is a book all Catholics would benefit from read. I have read through it once and have plans to start it again to complete the consecration on the Feast of Saint Joseph. At the end of the book are several pieces of art that were commissioned by Father Calloway specifically for this volume. There are some absolutely beautiful works of art. When I started reading this volume I immediately bought the eBook so I could give the physical copy I had to the deacon at my church. I encourage you to get this book for yourself, and to get it for the priests and deacons in your life. And if you have not read his Champions of the Rosary pick it up at the same time.

It is an exceptional volume. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Donald H. Calloway:
No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy
Extreme Mercy II
Under the Mantle: Marians Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest
Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina
Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures
Champions of the Rosary
How to Pray the Rosary

Consecration to St. Joseph
...

Edited by:
The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body
The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church
Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary
Marian Gems: Daily Wisdom on Our Lady

Contributed to:
Beautiful Mercy

Note some books are published as Donald H. Calloway and some as Donald Calloway.


Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Antonio Rosmini - J.B. Midgley - CTS Biographies

Antonio Rosmini
Priest, Founder of the Institute of Charity
CTS Biographies
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784690588
CTS Booklet B763


This was the twelfth book by J.B. Midgley I have read in as many weeks. This one is a CTS Biography. From my research Midgley published 28 books and 26 of them were for the Catholic Truth Society. He has also written a several books in both the ‘Saints of the Isles’ and ‘CTS Companions’ series’. The description on the back of the book is:

“Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855) is a truly remarkable and controversial figure in 19th century Europe, in the aftermath of revolutions and Enlightenment. Beatified in 2007, he had founded a religious institute, was a great writer and priest, and yet in a short lifetime had attracted many enemies, with whom reconciliation and recognition was only posthumously achieved. This appreciation of his life, work and spirituality, including extracts from his writings, is remarkably relevant in today’s ideologically unsettled Europe.”

This volume was published in 2015 and was dedicated to Midgley’s late wife Hazel. Is it shorter than some of his other works. And if we take out the extracts from Antonio Rosmini’s writings it is the shortest work by Midgley I have come across. But sometimes great things come in small packages. And that was the case with this volume. In fact one of the great features of this volume of the extensive extracts from Rosmini’s own works. And that each of those excerpts are in Blue Boxes. There a number of his works I am going to track down based on the excerpts encountered in this volume.

The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction
The World Awaiting Antonio
Antonio’s Arrival
Early Works and Papal Commission
The Institute of Charity
The Apostolate Flourishes
Antonio in Rome and Geata
Tribulations and Triumph
A Philosopher for all Seasons
Acknowledgements

It is not surprising after having read book about the Jesuits to read of their opposition to this man and his works, especially while they were banned from several countries. It was also refreshing to read of the olive branch recently extended between the two organizations. It is something Rosmini would have appreciated. 

It was intriguing to read of his works resurgence at Vatican Council II. And the favor which Joseph Ratzinger gave to the works both before and during his pontificate. 

I can state I do not recall encountering the name Antonio Rosmini in any of my earlier readings or academic work. But I will be intentional about digging deeper into this man’s life, and his works, both literary and of his founding of the Founder of the Institute of Charity.

Another excellent read from the pen of J.B. Midgley, and from the Catholic Truth Society. I highly recommend this little volume to anyone unfamiliar with this man, his life, his works, and his ministry.



For other reviews of CTS Biographies click here.

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 J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic










Monday, 17 February 2020

The Well Of Life - Georges Chevrot

The Well Of Life
Georges Chevrot
Translated by J. Ardle McArdl
Scepter
ISBN 9781594173493
eISBN 9781594173509



This book was originally published in English in 1960, by Scepter Dublin. There was an edition available from Sinag-Tala in 1983. And now again after 60 years it is back in print from Scepter. I have read The Prodigal Son a few times and loved it but could not find any of his other works available in English. So when I found out that this book was available I immediately added it to my to be read pile. And it did not disappoint.

Monsignor Chevrot in the introduction states:

“The episode of the Samaritan woman in St. John’s Gospel (John 4: 1-42) is a passage that is most dear to those familiar with the Gospel. In a wonderful short sketch, St. John lays before our eyes the whole personality of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Man so far above us, and the God so close to us.

All the tenderness in the heart of Jesus is revealed in his unforgettable appeal by which he shows us the need that he feels to give himself to us. And can we resist his advances, when we see how they transform the heart of man?

Here we see the immediate and unexpected conversion of a woman who gives up indifference and sin in order to become the Savior’s apostle. Here we see a crowd of her compatriots who in the space of a few hours pass through all the stages of life. Here, in the background, are the Lord’s first disciples who are preparing for the time when the Gospel must be sown.

No one will ever exhaust all the riches of this episode in the life of Jesus. We, no more than anyone else, can claim to have done so. In these pages you will thus find neither an academic commentary on the thought of the sacred writer nor any strict sequence among the subject dealt with. I have simply followed St. John’s text, verse by verse, trying to extract from it, for the Catholics of the present century, some useful thoughts and images.”


And that is exactly what he does in this volume. He breaks down that passage verse by verse. Providing historical context. And illuminating the relevance to us today.

The chapters in the volume are:
Introduction
1 Tired
2 Providential Meetings
3 The First Steps
4Prejudice
5 The Gift Of God
6 Who This Is
7 Our Need Of God
8 Of What Use Is Religion?
9 The Knowledge Of Sin
10 The New Worship
11 Unity In Truth
12 Adoration In Spirit And In Truth
13 The Messiah’s Work
14 Do Not Be Shocked
15 God’s Pardon
16 Confession Of Our Sins
17 Our Reason For Living
18 Christian Obedience
19 Christian Optimism
20 Sowers And Reapers
21 Witnesses To Christ
22 Prayer And Faith
23 Experience Of The Faith
24 The Savior Of The World
Epilogue: The Supreme Testimony

This book will draw us deeply into the story of the woman at the well. It will open our eyes to the story in a deeper and fuller level. And in doing so will help us encounter Jesus in anew way ourselves. The most powerful part of this boo was the Epilogue, the ‘what happened afterwards’. Drawing from church tradition and the Roman Martyrology We are told what happened next. We are told of her persistent faith and that of her children. And that is an example we can try and emulate.

“By a virtuous life, by a noble apostolate, let us preserve in our hearts, as the Samaritan woman did, an ardent love for the Savior. Let us be from now on truthful witnesses of Jesus Christ.”

This book is a wonderful little read. And I can only hope that Scepter bring back to print his other titles in English.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Georges Chevrot available in English:
On the Third Day
Simon Peter
The Eight Beatitudes
The Gospel in the Home
The Prodigal Son
The Well of Life