Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Jesus, You Take Over - Father Dolindo Ruotolo - Prayers for Surrender to God's Will for Private Devotion

Jesus, You Take Over: 
Prayers for Surrender to God's Will for Private Devotion
Father Dolindo Ruotolo
ISBN 9798541960907

The devotion in the booklet and the author Father Dolindo Ruotolo was mentioned to me in the confessional, not as penance but as a devotion worth looking up. I have not been able to find a biography of Father Ruotolo in English. I did find Spanish and polish editions of several of his works, many more than appear to be available in English. There seems to be several different booklet forms of just the Surrender Novena, some stapled editions and some trifold. This booklet form contains the following chapters and sections:

About Fr. Donlindo Ruotolo
Jesus, You Take Over 
The Surrender Novena
     Day 1
     Day 2
     Day 3
     Day 4
     Day 5
     Day 6
     Day 7
     Day 8
     Day 9
The Rosary of Abandonment

The description of this booklet states:

“This peace-invoking, beautiful little prayer book includes private devotions by Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970), including the Surrender Novena, Rosary of Abandonment, and words of comfort. It is a perfect little prayer book to add to one's prayer life when one is struggling with stress and anxiety, especially during our weary present-day times. Placing one's trust in God alone is the only remedy for truly calming the soul. Padre Pio often recommended souls to Fr. Ruotolo while he was alive.”

The booklet comes in at 42 pages. For the size I found it a but pricy. But For the content worth it. Most of what is in this booklet, however, is available online if you search for it. I found several different PDF downloads of the Novena, and many have the into about Father Ruotolo. I really wish this was available as an eBook. I have a dual form of dyslexia and my son has eye tracking issues. We prefer eBooks so that we can change the font, font and page colour to make reading easier. As we can use adaptive technology and listen to help as well. 

That being said this is an excellent little booklet. If it was more reasonably priced I would keep a stack on hand to give out to friends and family. I am thankful my parish priest recommended this volume, I had previously read A Month with Mary and I will be reading some of the other volumes by Father Dolindo and will be keeping my eye out for a biography in English. This is a great little resource that I can easily recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Father Dolindo Ruotolo:
Come, O Holy Spirit
Meditations on the Holy Rosary
Surrender Novena
The Afterlife: Purgatory and Heaven Explained

Monday, 27 March 2023

A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints - Pádraig Ó Riain - Containing Additions and Corrections

A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints:
Containing Additions and Corrections
ISBN 9781801510196

I must state I had A Dictionary of Irish Saints, on my wish list a long time. The price point was way above what I would normally spend on a book for pleasure reading. For a long time it was the longest standing book on my wish list. Then a few years ago my sister in law was very generous with a book gift card at Christmas. I picked it up. It migrated back and forth between my den and my bedside table for almost 2 years. I was making little progress because I greatly prefer eBooks because of a dual form of dyslexia. I had been hoping all along that an eBook edition would eventually be released. When I found out that a second edition was in the works, and that a volume had been releases, ‘A Supplement to A Dictionary of Irish Saints: Containing Additions and Corrections’ I picked it up as a way to help force myself to finally work through the dictionary volume. 

The description of this volume is:

“In the ten years since its publication by Four Courts Press in 2011, a dictionary of Irish saints has attracted a large amount of supplementary material, mainly through comments and corrections provided by readers, colleagues, and reviewers. As these are to be included in a planned second edition of the Dictionary, it is felt by both Press and author that those who own a copy of the first edition should also benefit from them through this publication.”

And the description of the dictionary is:

“Scarcely a parish in Ireland is without one or more dedications to saints - in the form of churches in ruins, holy wells, or other ecclesiastical monuments. A Dictionary of Irish Saints serves as a guide to the (mainly documentary) sources of information on the saints named in these dedications. The need for a summary biographical dictionary of Irish saints - containing information on such matters as feastdays, localizations, chronology, and genealogies - has never before been satisfied. Author Padraig O Riain has been working in the field of Irish hagiography for upwards of 40 years, and the material for the over 1,000 entries in A Dictionary of Irish Saints has come from a variety of sources, including lives of the saints, martyrologies, shorter tracts on the saints (some of them accessible only in manuscripts), annals, annates, collections of folklore, Ordnance Survey letters, and other documents.”

I try and read a few academic works every year. Most of what I read is more for a general audience. I read widely and with my own Religious Studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought, and being of Irish heritage this volume appealed to me on many levels. This volume is listed as 64 pages. The chapters in this work are:

Additional Sources 
Additions and Corrections to:
Dictionary Entries
Index of Civil Parishes 
Index of Other Places 
Index of alternate (mainly Anglicized) Names 
Index of Subjects 
Index of Feastdays

This volume is listed as 64 pages, and the original was 660, and the vast majority of additions and edits to dictionary entries. It should be noted this is a red letter edition. The additions are in red and pieces removed are in red with a strike through. See sample page below. The preface begins with:

“In the eleven years since its publication by Four Courts Press in 20122 A Dictionary of Irish Saints has rarely been far, either from my mind or from my desk. Beginning with notes added to an interleaved copy, followed by entries in red in the online copy generously provided by Four Courts Press, I have since assembled a large selection of supplementary material, which, to my mind, merits being brought to the attention of those who own a copy of the first edition. It is hoped that a future second edition of the Dictionary will include this material. In the meantime, however, the Press has kindly agreed to make available in this format the material assembled to date.”

This is very much an academic work and written after a lifetime in the field of study. And as can be seen by this addition it is study that continues to this day. It is an excellent volume, if you are passionate about Irish Saints or your Irish Catholic heritage this is volume is essential for those who own the first edition of the Dictionary. If you enjoyed the Dictionary you will enjoy this volume. I am glad I picked this up and read both the Dictionary and now the Supplement I am blessed for the effort. When the Second edition is released I can only hope there will be an eBook edition, for with my dyslexia I greatly prefer digital copies. An excellent resource and addition to the original volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by and edited by Pádraig Ó Riain:
A Martyrology of Four Cities: Metz, Cologne, Dublin, Lund
Beatha Aodha Ruaidh: the Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell
Feastdays of the Saints
Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments
Four Irish Martyrologies: Drummond, Turin, Cashel, York
Four Offaly Saints
Four Tipperary Saints
Irish Texts Society: The First Hundred Years
Studies in Irish Hagiography: Saints and Scholars
The Martyrology of the Regensburg Schottenkloster

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Lent Easter Awaits Us Returning to the Way of God - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Lent Easter Awaits Us Returning to the Way of God  
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860826290
CTS Booklet D719

There are numerous volumes by Pope Benedict XVI from the Catholic Truth Society that are currently out of print. I have been slowing tracking them down to read. This is one of two I have read during Lent in 2023. Almost every time I read a volume from the CTS I find another book or 2 I want to read. I have read a few from the Pen of Benedict XVI, have a few others, and there are several that are out of print are on my wish list. This one is another taken from a collection of homilies and it is an excellent little read. 

Over the last several years I have read over 300 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. In fact, this is the 343rd book or booklet from the CTS that I have read several of them by or about Pope Benedict. 

The description of this volume:

“Since our happiness in this life depends largely on our being able to love others – as Christ reveals to us every Easter – then Lent is a precious time for Christians to draw close to the truth and meaning of their lives. Drawing from his homilies and addresses, this booklet offers Pope Benedict’s liberating insights into fasting, prayer, suffering, love, peace, sacrifice, hope and above all the Resurrection and the life of the Holy Spirit; - a valuable companion from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost Sunday.”

This booklet draws 1ogc1hcr homilies and addresses of Pope Benedict XVI made during Lent, Eastertide and Pentecost 2009 and draws from one piece from 2008 on Fasting.

The chapters in the volume are:

     Fasting - its true meaning 
     Return to me 
     Trials in the desert 
     Lose your life to gain it 

Holy Week
     The law of love 
     Be immersed in God's truth 
     Make us instruments of your peace 

     Love is stronger than death 
     Christ my hope is risen 
     This is the day of the Lord 

     Christ gives us his life 
     Christ's Church is alive! 

I read this volume slowly over a few weeks. I read one section at a time. I did not stick to the outlined or original dates and feasts. I highlighted several passages in each. Here are some of those highlighted passages:

“At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition - prayer, almsgiving, fasting - 10 prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God's power that, as we shal l hear in the Paschal Vigil, “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride”
(Paschal Pra:conium).”

“We might wonder what value and meaning there is for us Christians in depriving ourselves of something that in itself is good and useful for our bodily sustenance. The
Sacred Scriptures and the entire Christian tradition teach that fasting is a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it.”

“The practice of fasting is very present in the first Christian community (cf. Ac 13:3; 14:22; 27:2 1; 2 Co 6:5). The Church Fathers, too, speak of the force of fasting 10 bridle sin, especially the lusts of the “old Adam” and open in the heart of the believer a path to God. Moreover, fasting is a practice that is encountered frequently and recommended by the saints of every age.”

“In our own day, fasting seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning. and has taken on in a culture characterised by the search for material well-being, a therapeutic value for the care of one’s body. Fasting certainly bring benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a “therapy'” to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God.”

“Voluntary fasting enables us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends low and goes to the help of his suffering brother (cf. Encyclical Deus caritas est. 15).”

“It is precisely to keep alive this welcoming and attentive attitude towards our brothers and sisters, that I encourage the parishes and every other community to intensify in Lent the custom of private and communal fasts, joined to the reading of the Word of God, prayer and almsgiving.”

“But how can the baptismal vocation be brought to fulfilment so as to be victorious in the struggle between the flesh and the spirit, between good and evil, a combat that marks our existence? Ln the Gospel passage today the Lord indicates to us three useful means: prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

“While we prepare to receive Ashes on our heads as a sign of conversion and repentance, let us open our hearts to the vivifying action of the word of God. May Lent, marked by more frequent listening to this word, by more intense prayer, by an austere and penitential lifestyle, be an incentive to conversion and to sincere love towards our brothers, especially those who are poorest and neediest. May the Apostle Paul accompany us: may Mary, the attentive Virgin of listening and the humble Handmaid of the Lord guide us. Thus spiritually renewed, we shall succeed in celebrating Easter joyfully. Amen!”

“We would be removing an important part of the Gospel were we to leave out these beings sent by God, who announce and are a sign of his presence among us. Let us invoke them frequently, so that they may sustain us in our commitment to follow Jesus to the point of identifying with him ...”

“Indeed, prayer reaches its culmination and thus becomes a source of inner light when the spirit of the human being adheres to that of God, and their respective will merge, as it were, to become a whole.”

“Together with fasting and works of mercy, prayer is the backbone of our spiritual life. Dear brothers and sisters. I urge you to find in this Lenten Season prolonged moments of silence, possibly in retreat, in order to review your own lives in the light of the loving plan of the heavenly Father.”

“Through the resurrection, Jesus surpasses the limits of space and time. As the Risen One, he is journeying towards the vast horizon of the world and of history. Yes indeed, as the Risen One he goes to the Greeks and speaks with them, he shows himself to them in such a way that they who are far away become near, and it is in their language, in their culture, that his word is carried forward in a new way and understood in a new way - his Kingdom comes.”

“Dear friends, perhaps it is relatively easy to accept this as the fundamental great vision of life, in practice, however, it is not a question of simply recognising a principle, but of living according to the truth that it contains, the truth of the cross and resurrection.”

“There is no such thing as a successful life without sacrifice. If I cast a glance back over my whole life, I have to say that it was precisely the moments when I said ''yes'' to renunciation that were the great and important moments of my life.”

“We touch the marvellous mystery of God's love, the only genuinely redemptive truth. But we also touch the fundamental law, the constitutive norm of our lives, namely the fact that without this "yes" to the Cross, without walking in communion with Christ day by day, life cannot succeed. The more we can make some sacrifice, out of love for the great truth and the great love, out of love for the truth and for God's love, the greater and richer life becomes. Anyone who wants to keep his life for himself loses it. Anyone who gives his life - day by day in small acts, which form part of the great decision - that person finds it…”

“It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him however and wherever he wants to use us.”

“Then indeed we experience, amid sacrifices which can at first be painful, the growing joy of friendship with him, and all the small and sometimes great signs of his love, which he is constantly showing us, “The one who loses himself, finds himself”. When we dare to lose ourselves for the Lord, we come to experience the truth of these words.”

“True love does not come cheap, it can also prove quite costly. It resists evil in order to bring men true good. If we become one with Christ, we learn to recognise him precisely in the suffering. in the poor, in the little ones of this world: then we become people who serve, who recognise our brothers and sisters in him, and in them, we encounter him.”

“Let us pray to the Lord that the fragile flame of the candle he has lit in us. the delicate light of his word and his love an1jd the confusions of this age, will not be extinguished in us, but will become ever stronger and brighter, so that we, with him, can be people of the day, bright stars lighting up our time.”

“Man no longer wants to be an image of God but of himself; he declares himself autonomous, free and adult. Of course, this attitude reveals a relationship with God which is not authentic, the consequence of a false image which has been fabricated of him, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel parable who believes that he can fulfil himself by distancing himself from his father's house.”

“This pure essential and personal “fire”, the fire of love, came down upon the Apostles gathered in prayer with Mary in the Upper Room, to make the Church an extension of Christ's work of renewal.”

Like many other volumes I have read by Pope Benedict XVI, this book is infused with his deep personal faith, his mastery of theological concepts, and his great wisdom. The extracts from the homilies are accessible. They can be engaged with and enjoyed by any Catholic, and I would go so far as to say any Christian would benefit from these words. 

This is another excellent little volume. It is always inspiring to read the words of Benedict XVI to see his faith infused in his teachings, his love for God and his desire for our growth. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:
Lent Easter Awaits Us Returning to the Way of God
Lent, the Journey to Easter Joy: More Words of Encouragement
Lent, the Journey to Easter Joy: More Words of Encouragement
Paul of Tarsus
Saint Paul

Saturday, 25 March 2023

40 Days to Mercy - Michael E. Gaitley - A Jubilee Year Lenten Devotion Through Divine Sunday

40 Days to Mercy:
A Jubilee Year Lenten Devotion
Through Divine Sunday
Michael E. Gaitley
Marian Press

ISBN 9781596143364

This devotion was written for a specific year, 2016 specifically. The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy was from December 8th 2015 through November 20th 2016. Around a year later I had worked through a few of Father Gaitley’s books, and found out about this one while researching one of those other volumes. The devotions in this volume were dated based on that Jubilee year. I worked through this book and associated audio tracks back in 2017 and am using it as a Lenten resource again in 2022.

The booklet is a small volume. There were also links to download audio files to accompany the book. Originally the audio tracks were broken into 9 files as follows:

01-40 Days to Mercy Days 1-7
02-40 Days to Mercy Days 8-14
03-40 Days to Mercy Days 15-21
04-40 Days to Mercy Days 22-28
05-40 Days to Mercy Days 29-35
06-40 Days to Mercy Days 36-42
07-40 Days to Mercy Days 43-49
08-40 Days to Mercy Days 50-54
40 Days to Mercy- Faustina's Way of the Cross

A friend in the marketing department at work split the tracks for me so each day was a separate file. I read the booklet and listened to the audio version that year and for a couple of years after. 

This is an excellent devotion it is a great booklet for spiritual reading over Lent. I wish they would reprint it and make it not specific to a particular year, and to make it available as an eBook. It is a booklet I would buy in bulk in order to be able to give away copies to family and friends. I have loved this book either as audio files or reading it. And I can easily recommend it if you can lay your hands on it. A great resource for Lent. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Michael E. Gaitley:
33 Days to Morning Glory
33 Days to Merciful Love
40 Days to Mercy
Consoling the Heart of Jesus
Divine Mercy Explained
The Divine Mercy Image Explained
The One Thing Is Three
The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
You Did It To Me
Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy Missionary Handbook
Nine Days to Joseph: A Novena in Preparation for Consecration to St. Joseph

DVD Series by Father Michael E. Gaitley:
Divine Mercy In The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
You Did It to Me: Putting Mercy Into Action
33 Days to Morning Glory - Group Retreat
Consoling The Heart Of Jesus - Group Retreat
Wisdom And Works Of Mercy - Group Study Dvd

Contributed to:
Beautiful Mercy
Divine Mercy for Moms

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

Friday, 24 March 2023

The Wrath of Vajazzle - Barry J Hutchinson - Space Team Book 2

The Wrath of Vajazzle
Space Team 2
ISBN 9781912767373
eISBN 9781648819414

Nearly a year ago before reading this I encountered the works of J.D. Kirk I also discovered that Kirk publishes children’s books as Barry Hutchison, and other adult fiction as Barry J. Hutchison. I have read 19 stories published under the Kirk Name and I am now branching out to the ones under the Hutchinson names. This is the 11th I have read under one of the Hutchison names. He is coming up on 200 books across the three pen names, and books he has ghost written. If I had known that or I might not have picked up this first one. Friends call me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I like, I try to read everything they have published. I have enjoyed all I have read from his pen and this one was no different. This is the second in the Space Team Series I have read, and I have read the first in the spin off Deadman Detective Series

The description of this novel is:

“Suicide Squad meets Galaxy Quest, in this fast-paced, laugh-out-loud novel from the author the Independent calls, "the new Terry Pratchett."

After saving an alien race and its god from a sentient zombie virus, Cal Carver and the crew of the Dread Ship Shatner are feeling pretty pleased with themselves.

Unfortunately, the creator of the zombie virus is out for revenge, and has recruited the galaxy's deadliest - and oldest - assassin, Lady Vajazzle, to hunt Space Team down. But when Vajazzle discovers the crew is under the protection of a wolf-like species known as the Greyx, she is forced to implement a Plan B so diabolical it threatens to plunge the entire star system into chaos.

With time running out, Cal must find a way to outmaneuver and outgun the galaxy's greatest killer before she murders his friends, butchers the Greyx, and buys the whole galaxy a one-way ticket to total annihilation.”

One online description also exclaims:

"Featuring murderous senior citizens, a moon of death, and a pointy stick that could change the fate of the universe, Space Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle is the second relentlessly funny science fiction book in the bestselling Space Team series by award-winning author, Barry J. Hutchison.”

This was another fun read. Again there is a lot of slap stick humour. Some over the top antics, and at times it is definitely laugh out loud funny. This book and the series reminds me of several series and authors, most of whom, I read when I was much younger. So in a way it was like a jump back in time for me. The first to come to mind was Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steal Rat series with his Bill the Galactic Hero series, the next was Robert Asprin’s Phule’s Company Series, it also brought to mind the works of Tom Holt and of course the comparison to Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker Series are going to abound. But for all the sense of a mash up of these other series there is something different about this offering, and that is even more evident in this second offering in the series. The series now comprises 12 novels and 4 published short stories or novellas. Recently Hutchison in an article talked about how the first in this series was written to learn about self publishing so he could speak to school students about it. I for one am thankful he took the gig and started along this pat. And I think that has to do with Hutchinson’s characters and sense of humour. And the characters in this story are wild. Delenn in Babylon 5 states:

“Of course it is, for the simple reason that no one else would've ever built a place like this. Humans share one unique quality. They build communities. If the Narns or the Centauri or any other race built a station like this, it would be used only by their own people, but everywhere humans go, they create communities out of diverse and sometimes hostile populations. It is a great gift and a terrible responsibility, one that cannot be abandoned.”

Cal a low-level con man, who is scooped up from Earth by the Zertex corporation to help stop an intergalactic war, is that type of character. He builds community and he tags this odd assortment or military personnel, criminals, and a shape shifting blob and forges them into the Space Team. In this second story there is a lot of action, some body humour, and also some serious moments. 

I freely admit I have greatly enjoyed all the books by Hutchinson that I have read to date, no matter what name they are published under. This one is a fun read in an entertaining series, it is shaping up to be a terribly humorous series. It has more of a Young Adult feel to it than mainline adult fiction to me, but I am certain it will have fans in both categories. There are currently 12 novels, a collection of short stories and I believe some graphic novels or comics set in this universe, the short stories we also available as single eBooks. So if you enjoyed the first two there is a lot of reading ahead still. I look forward to some of the other stories set in this world and exploring Hutchinson’s many other works. A great second story in what should be a highly entertaining series to help hold me over till the next DCI Logan or his new DI Heather Filson series book comes out from Barry’s alter ego J.D. Kirk.   

Books by J.D. Kirk:

DCI Logan Series:

Robert Hoon Thrillers:

DI Heather Filson Series:
The One That Got Away

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day

Books as Barry J. Hutchison:
Dan Deadman Space Detective Series:
Dead Inside
Dead in the Water

Space Team Series:
The Search for Splurt 
Song of the Space Siren 
The Guns of Nana Joan 
Return of the Dead Guy 
Planet of the Japes 
The Time Titan of Tomorrow 
The King of Space Must Die 
Sting of the Mustard Mines 
Sentienced to Death
The Hunt for Reduk Topa
Konto Garr: Bounty Hunter and Occasional Babysitter
A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories

Sidekicks Initiative Series:
The Sidekicks Initiative

The Bug Books Series:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Complete Season One

Other Books:

Children’s books as Barry Hutchison:
Invisible Fiends Series:
Raggy Maggie 
The Crowmaster 
Doc Mortis 
The Beast 
The Darkest Corners 

The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse
The Book of Doom 

Benjamin Blank Series:
The Swivel-Eyed Ogre-Thing 
The Moon-Faced Ghoul-Thing 

Beaky Malone Series:
Worst School Trip Ever
Super Creepy Camp
Weirdest Show on Earth

Generator Rex Series:
Mirror Mirror

Living Ted Series:
Revenge of the Living Ted
Invasion of the Living Ted

Spectre Collectors Series:
Too Ghoul for School
A New York Nightmare!

Other works:
The Tooth Fairy MurderS

Thursday, 23 March 2023

A Brief Life of Christ - Father Leslie Rumble

A Brief Life of Christ
Fr. Leslie Rumble
ISBN 9780895550965
eISBN 9781618902450

This volume is available as a standalone booklet or eBook it is also an addition often at the end of books from TAN Books, especially biographies of saints from F.A. Forbes. The booklet is listed as 66 pages. There are a few different descriptions of the book online. Some of them are:

“A Brief Life of Christ is a perfect, short rendition of the main events of the life of Our Lord. Designed to be an introduction or a refresher study, this version by the late Rev. Doctor Leslie Rumble (of Radio Replies Press fame) is excellent for the classroom – as a supplemental study to the main course of instruction or simply as an outline to give the chronological order of Our Lord’s life. Also, it is excellent for the general reader because it imparts an overall view of Our Lord’s life to which can be related the main events of the Gospel. The divine plan of Our Lord’s Public Life and the drama leading up to His Crucifixion are captured in this little book.”


“Absolutely excellent for students and for adult review. Capsulizes the main events and sayings of Our Lord. Map of the Holy Land. A chronological outline. Perfect for a refresher.”


“No biography in all of human history is more important than that of the God-Man, Jesus the Christ. A Brief Life of Christ details this perfect life succinctly, encapsulating all the most important events and sayings of the life of the Lord for easy review by both young students and adults. Also included in this volume are a Map of the Holy Land and a Chronological Outline. This is the perfect book for a quick refresher on the life of Christ, without knowledge of which we are at a loss to understand the meaning of His holy work for us.”

And we are informed about the author:

“Leslie Audoen Rumble, known as "Fr. Rumble," was a priest and apologist from New South Wales, Australia. Born in 1892, he grew up in an Anglican family, but he converted to the Catholic Church. In 1924, he was as ordained a priest for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. After gaining a doctorate at the Angelicum University in Rome, studying with such teachers as Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, he returned to Australia in 1927 and for many years taught theology at the order's seminary in Kensington, New South Wales. He worked closely with his colleague, philosophy lecturer Dr. P. J. Ryan. He chiefly became famous for providing radio answers to questions about Catholicism broadcasted all over Australia and New Zealand. He also founded Radio Replies Press with Fr. Charles Mortimer Carty, an American priest from St. Paul Minnesota.”

The sections in the booklet are:

The Setting
Birth Of Jesus
Childhood At Nazareth
John The Baptist
Jesus Begins His Ministry
Journey To Galilee
The Kingdom And The Apostles
Manifestations Of Divine Power
Speaking In Parables
Increasing Popularity
Death Of John The Baptist
Miracle Of The Loaves
The Bread Of Life
Peter The Rock
Training Of The Twelve
Visit To Jerusalem
Clash With The Pharisees
Judean Ministry
The Supreme Declaration
Raising Of Lazarus
Last Missionary Days
Banquet At Bethany
Palm Sunday
Second Cleansing Of The Temple
Day Of Questions
Judas The Betrayer
The Last Supper
Arrest And Trial
Death On Calvary
Risen And Living Still

This was a fascinating little read on the life of Christ. It packs a lot of information into a condensed package. I am very thankful I gave it a read. And I am interested in checking out other volumes by Father Rumble. This is a great little read either as a standalone or appended as a bonus on other books. I can easily recommend this book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Father Leslie Rubble:
Questions People Ask About the Catholic Church
The Incredible Creed of Jehovah Witnesses
The Presbyterians

Q and A Books:
Birth Prevention Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Confession Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Eucharist Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Hell Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Indulgence Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Marriage Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Purgatory Quizzes to a Street Preacher
True Church Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Virgin and Statue Worship Quizzes

Radio Replies:
Radio Replies: First Volume
Radio Replies: Second Volume
Radio Replies: Third Volume
Radio Replies - Volumes 1-3
Radio Replies: Classic Answers to Timeless Questions about the Catholic Faith

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Saint John Bosco Friend of Youth - F.A. Forbes

Saint John Bosco: Friend of Youth
F.A. Forbes
ISBN 9780895556639
eISBN 9781618904751

This is the first volume I have read by F.A. Forbes. This book is one of the book I have read as part of Father Mark Goring’s Saint Marks School of Reading. It was the book of the month in February of 2023. And Father mark released videos covering 2 chapters every Monday. The chapters in this volume are:

1. The Making of an Apostle
2. The Mending of a Broken Hope
3. The Tempering of the Steel
4. The Dream Fulfilled
5. A Mighty Enterprise
6. The Ways of a Saint
7. “Ask and You Shall Receive”
8. The Saving Cross
9. The Great Achievement
10. The Spread of the Work
About the author

One description of this volume is:

““Poor Don Bosco.” It was a pity that such a good young priest was losing his mind. Why he was dreaming about future churches, vast playgrounds, lots of helpers and thousands of boys! Before things got out of hand, why not have him checked out at the lunatic asylum. Therefore, one morning two priests arrived at the Oratory to invited Fr. John Bosco for a drive. He agreed to go, but insisted that they get into the carriage first. Then he slammed the door. “To the asylum, quick!” he called to the coachman—who set off at a gallop. The two priests had plenty of explaining to do at the asylum, and Don Bosco was no longer mentioned. St. John Bosco’s plans were based on the great work which had been foretold to him by Our Lady in his youth. Prophetic dreams and the reading of hearts became ordinary in the life of this extraordinary priest, who was “Father” to so many boys. His method was love, kindness and patience, leading the boys to the practice of frequent Confession and devout Communion. St. John Bosco’s amazing life included attacks by ruffians, harassment by government officials and protection by a huge, mysterious dog. It also included remarkable cures, “miraculous” fundraising episodes, the esteem of Popes and the founding of the Salesian Society. All in all, this is the story of one of the greatest and best-loved Saints in the Church.”

another description is:

“This TAN Books edition of the “St. John Bosco” F.A. Forbes, features the complete text of the title, along with a supplemental reading section entitled “A Brief Life of Christ.” We’ve also included unique hand-selected classic artwork for the reader’s enjoyment, exclusive to this eBook edition of the “St. John Bosco” from TAN Books.

St. John Bosco: Friend of Youth:
The story of "The Friend of Youth" is told here in a brief, popular manner for teenagers and adults. A practical joker with a great sense of humor in his youth, St. John Bosco (1815-1888) grew up to become a priest and the founder of the Salesians (the largest order in the Church). Relates the many prophetic dreams he had, how Our Lady called him and helped him to become a priest, his struggles with the devil, and much more! An easy read, and a great book for any Catholic. Imprimatur.

A Brief Life of Christ:
Absolutely excellent for students and for adult review. Capsulizes the main events and sayings of Our Lord. Map of the Holy Land. A chronological outline. Perfect for a refresher.”

As noted this Tan edition also contains A Brief Life of Christ by Fr. Leslie Rumble, which is also available separately as a booklet. The subtitle of the book on the title page is: 

The Fiend of Youth

Founder of the Salesian Society,
Of the Sisters of Mary, Help of Christians,
And of the Salesian Co-Operators."

This volume was originally published in 1941, and had numerous editions until 1962. In 2000 it was retypeset and republished by TAN Books in cooperation with the Salesian Society. I only highlighted a few sections when reading this volume, In part because I have read two other volumes on Don Bosco. Some of those highlights were:

“St. John Bosco, or simply “Don Bosco,” as he wished to be called, spent himself wholly, from his very childhood, in healing modern human miseries. As he saw and foresaw the dangerous surging tide of misled popular masses longing for justice, he threw himself headlong among the youth of the lower classes, pointing to them the only way to a better place in this life and in the life to come.”

“Among them was a poor little fellow who had only a hunk of black bread for his breakfast. “I’d like your bread better than mine,” said John one day. “Will you trade?” He had a large slice of good white bread such as Margaret always provided for her children; little Matteo was ready enough to trade, but he thought John had very strange likings. The exchange continued daily, and it was only after many years that it struck Matteo that liking had not had much to do with it.”

“During his whole life John Bosco was to be inspired and guided by strangely vivid dreams, God’s revelation of what his work in the world was to be.”

Among all the strange episodes in the life of Don Bosco, one of the strangest was the appearance of the dog “Grigio”—a huge grey hound that appeared suddenly at a moment of danger, reappeared on many occasions and disappeared some years later when the danger was over. He asked for neither food nor shelter, was savage as a wolf against an enemy, but gentle as a lamb with the boys of the Oratory, who gave him the name of Grigio—“the grey one.””

As mentioned I have read two other volumes on Dom Bosco, they were:

But this volume contained some stories I had not encountered previously and it has some keen insights into this man and his life. It is an excellent biography. About the author we are informed that:

“This book was authored by Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes, a sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Scotland.

The future author was born on March 16, 1869 and was named Alice Forbes. Alice’s mother died when she was a child, and her father became the dominant influence in her life, helping to form Alice’s virile personality and great capacity for work. She was raised as a Presbyterian.

In 1900 Alice became a Catholic. The Real Presence in the Eucharist had been the big stumbling-block to her conversion, but one day she was hit by the literal truth of Our Lord’s words: “This is My Body.” Only a few months after her conversion, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart, becoming a 31-year-old postulant. She seems to have received her vocation at her First Communion, when Our Lord kindled in her heart “the flame of an only love.”

Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes wrote many books, including a series of interesting short lives of selected Saints called “Standard Bearers of the Faith.” One of these books, that on Pope St. Pius X, was very highly regarded by Cardinal Merry del Val, who was a close friend of Pope Pius X."

Other works by Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes include St. Ignatius Loyola, St. John Bosco: Friend of Youth, St. Teresa, St. Columba, St. Monica, St. Athanasius, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Benedict, St. Hugh of Lincoln, The Gripfast Series of English Readers and The Gripfast Series of History Readers, various plays, and a number of other books.”

There are several other volumes by Mother Forbes I want to read. This is an excellent biography and one I can easily recommend it.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by F.A. Forbes:
A Lily of the Snow, Scenes from the Life Of St. Eulalia of Merida
A Scottish Knight-Errant: A Sketch of the Life and Times of John Ogilvie, Jesuit
Life of Pius X
Life of Saint Monica
Life of St. Columba Apostle of Scotland
Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Life of St. Vincent de Paul
Pope St. Pius X
Saint Athanasius The Father of Orthodoxy
Saint Benedict
Saint Catherine of Siena
Saint Ignatius Loyola: Founder of the Jesuits
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Life of Saint Paul

Books by and about Saint John Bosco: