Wednesday 30 August 2006

4 Resources

I want to make known to you a few resources on the net that you might find helpful. Two are author websites that have lots of articles, or audio or other files and downloads that supplement their book. One is a website that makes Christian books and talks available in CD and MP3 formats. And one is the best bible software I have ever use.

Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft is a catholic and Christian apologist. He has written such a wide range of books is sought out as a preeminent thinker in these areas. His site has over 3 lectures you can download and listen to, and hundreds of articles to read.

James B. Stenson - Parent Leadership

James B. Stenson is an educator, write and speaker. He has written extensively on parenting and specifically on fatherhood. His books that I have read are excellent and he has many articles and papers available for download on his site.

R.B. Media, Inc.

R.B. Media, Inc. is the project and brainchild or author and speaker Mary Ann Budnik. She has been coordinating and distributing Christian classics in audio formats for years. She has been converting audio books to MP3 books and the list of resources available on her site is impressive.

e-Sword Bible Software

e-Sword is the single best electronic bile I have ever had for the computer. Free to download and lots of add on’s for free also. Some of the specific translations have a fee. Yet you can download Josephus, Philo, Bible Maps, Green NT … all for free. Easy to use and configure. Great for comparing translations, an excellent resource.

Thursday 24 August 2006

The Holy Eucharist Prayer Book by: Alfred McBride

The Holy Eucharist Prayer Book
Alfred McBride, O. Praem.
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN: 159276147X

This is one of those great little books either for yourself or to give as a gift to someone else. Perfect for a first communion, or even a confirmation gift. This new book has a great collection of prayers.

It has prayers for before mass, during mass, after mass and for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It draws heavily upon Ecclesia de Eucharistia by Pope John Paul II. And actually seems to be written in appreciation of that document and to help people of faith put that document into a fuller practice in their lives.

The book is nice visually with a number of images, and like most gift books color glossy photo embedded pages. It is a good study hardcover that will last the usage of time.

The sections of the book are:

Part 1 The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist
  • The Central Act of Salvation Becomes Really Present
  • Immediate Preparation for Mass
  • Prayers Before Mass
  • Prayers After Mass
  • How to Increase Active Participation in the Mass
  • Spiritual Communion
  • Prayers to Increase our Faith in the Eucharist
Part 2 Eucharistic Adoration and Devotion
  • Heartfelt Love Before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament
  • Ways to Celebrate Eucharistic Adoration
  • Prayers During Adoration
  • Prayers and Hymns for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
  • At the School of Mary
This is a book that any Catholic home library would benefit from it’s inclusion.

Saturday 12 August 2006

A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by: Fr. John McCloskey

(I found this list online it is a really good reading plan. I have read a number of the books and some of the others are on my to read list. So I thought I would share it here.)

A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan
by Fr. John McCloskey

Father John C. McCloskey is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei and a research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute. Father John's articles and reviews have been published in major Catholic and secular periodicals, including Catholic World Report, Crisis Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register, Washington Times, the New York Times, and ACEPRENSA. Fr. John puts together a list of one hundred essential Catholic books for your library.

Catholicism Explained/Theology

Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adams
Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer
Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft
The Lord by Romano Guardini
Essay on Development of Christian Doctrine by Cardinal Newman
Parochial and Plain Sermons by Cardinal Newman
End of the Modern World by Romano Guardini
Rome Sweet Home by Scott & Kimberly Hahn
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott
The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper
History and Culture
The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc
How The Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc
Survivals and New Arrivals by Hilaire Belloc
Christendom I: Founding of Christendom by Warren Carroll
Christendom II: The Building of Christendom by Warren Carroll
Christendom III: The Glory of Christendom by Warren Carroll
Christendom IV: The Cleaving of Christendom by Warren Carroll
Triumph : The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H. W. Crocker III
Enthusiasm by Ronald Arbuthnott Knox
Love of Learning and the Desire for God by Jean Leclercq
Christianity and European Culture by Christopher Dawson
Our Lady of Fatima by William T. Walsh

Holy Men and Women

Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge
Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Newman
Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox by G. K. Chesterton
St. Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton
Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
Mary of Nazareth by Federico Suarez
Cure of Ars by F. Trochu
Thomas More: A Portrait of Courage by Gerard B. Wegemer
Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel

Literary Classics

Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
The Diary of a Country Priest by George Bernanos
Hopkins: Poetry and Prose by George Manley Hopkins
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Christianity and Culture by T. S. Eliot
The Idea of a University by John Newman
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Lost in the Cosmos : The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy
Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Bridal Wreath by Sigrid Undset
Kristin Lavransdatter II : The Wife by Sigrid Undset
Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset
Flannery O'Connor: Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Spiritual Classics

Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine
Little Talks with God (modernized version of "The Dialogues") by St. Catherine
City of God by St. Augustine
The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton
The Greatest Story Ever Told by Fulton Oursler
Meditations from a Simple Path by Mother Teresa
Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila
Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
My Way of Life/Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas

Spiritual Reading

The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection by Alphonso Liguori
Uniformity with God's Will by Alphonso Liguori
Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann
Frequent Confession by Benedict Baur
In Silence with God by Benedict Baur
Difficulties in Mental Prayer by Eugene Boylan
The Tremendous Lover by Eugene Boylan
Covenanted Happiness by Cormac Burke
The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard
Friends of God by Jose Maria Escriva
Christ is Passing By by Jose Maria Escriva
The Way, Furrow, The Forge by Jose Maria Escriva
Way of the Cross by Jose Maria Escriva
All for Jesus by Frederick W. Faber
Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre De Caussade
Introduction to Devout Life by Francis deSales
Treatise on the Love of God by Francis deSales
Three Ages of Interior Life Volume I by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Three Ages of Interior Life Volume II by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Sinner's Guide by Venerable Louis of Grenada
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis
True Devotion to the Holy Spirit by Luis M. Martinez
True Devotions by Louis-Marie Grignion De Montfort
The Hidden Power of Kindness by Lawrence G. Lovasik
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
The Sadness of Christ by Thomas More
Conversation with Christ by Peter T. Rohrbach
Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli
Theology and Sanity by Francis J. Sheed
Theology for Beginners by Francis J. Sheed
To Know Christ Jesus by Francis J. Sheed
Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen
Three to Get Married by Fulton J. Sheen
The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanqueray
Abba Father by Bonaventure Perquin
Transformation in Christ by Dietrich von Hildebrand


Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II
Companion Guide to Rome by Georgina Masson
The King's Good Servant but God's First by James Monti
50 Questions on the Natural Law by Charles E. Rice
The Intellectual Life by A. G. Sertillanges
Essays on Woman by Edith Stein

Friday 4 August 2006

This weeks readings.

2006-08-04 Some of this weeks readings and thoughts.

I am reading an amazing biography called Pilgrimage and Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai by Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.F.S. an O. A. Bushnell. It continues my readings on the lepers in Hawaii. This is an amazing story of a woman or extraordinary grace, wisdom and leadership. It is a bit of a slow read because of the language and extensive quotes from the period of late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But it is worth every minute spent reading.

I am also reading Scott Hahn’s Swear to God, Michael W. Higgin’s Stalking the Holy and will review both of them in the near future as well.

As well, I am continuing to read the three books The Way, Furrow and The Forge by St. Josemaria Escriva. Almost every time I pick them up, some point for reflection or for application to my life strikes me again. I keep them on my bedside table and try to read a few pages every evening and every morning. Today these 4 points from Furrow really struck home.

“Yours is an unbalanced character. You are a broken keyboard. You
play very well on the high notes and on the low notes, but no sound comes from the ones in the middle, the ones used in ordinary life, the ones people normally hear.”

“Diamonds are polished with diamonds, and souls with souls.”

“A great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman adorned with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars about her head." From this, you and I and everyone may be sure that nothing perfects our personality so much as correspondence with grace.
Try to imitate the Virgin Mary and you will be a complete man or woman.

“If you abandon prayer you may at first live on spiritual reserves, and after that, by cheating.”

I cannot recommend these 3 little volume’s enough. Either as the combined edition or as 3 individual books, they will challenge you to grow in the application of your faith.

Wednesday 2 August 2006

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien by: Paul Cox

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
Paul Cox
Vision Video

Molokai is a film that achieved a fair level of success and popularity at the film festivals around the world. The film was a surprise on many levels, especially because when it was first released Molokai was immediately shelved in North American markets under the assumption of distributors that these audiences would not want to watch a film about a man who served as a priest in a leper colony until his own death of the disease.

Paul Cox, who directed the film, is known as Australia’s Atom Egoyan. Most of his films have weird twists that throw the audience. Now available on DVD in Canada, this film is a powerful and moving story on the level of The Mission with Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro. A story of the triumph of human nature, Molokai is closely based on a true story.

This film is a biography of Father Damien, the Catholic priest who in 1873
volunteered for service on the Hawaiian leper colony of Molokai. For 15 years Damien ministered nearly single-handedly to the quarantined community, supplying what medication he could procure while struggling against the red tape from organizations (religious and governmental) that would rather have forgotten all about the thousands of people dying in primitive conditions on the Island of Molokai. He won some battles and lost others, finally succumbing to the disease himself in 1888.

The films earnestness led to the who's-who supporting cast (Sam Neill, Derek Jacobi, Peter O'Toole, Leo McKern, Kate Ceberano and Kris Kristofferson), but it is David Wenham who must carry the film as Damien, which he does spectacularly and with a touching humility, but with the spirit to fight for those he serves, in the midst of such conflict.

Director Paul Cox was inspired in his choices of choosing scenes to highlight 15 years in a single film not two hours long. He uses amazing cinematographic tools to convey the story and the passage of time, a tree stand planted by Damien, the many construction projects he carries out, and watching ‘Little Bishop’ grow up and pass away. Pay particular attention to the music, and the use of the sound of the wind as the film progresses.

This is a story of faith and of service. If you want a film that will challenge your spirit and cause you to examine your own life in the light of the service given by others you could not pick a better film.

The Toronto Globe and Mail stated about the film “A Triumph of the Human Spirit!” But though this film did well at the film festivals it had little or no mainstream release in North America.

As such the DVD is left to stand on the power of the life story told and the cinematography and power of Cox’s direction. The only special feature on the DVD is the making of documentary with interviews of cast and crew, and the Samoans who played the roles of some of their own ancestors.

This standalone documentary on the film more than justifies the purchase of the DVD. Many of the older cast - Kris Kristofferson, Sam Neill and Peter O'Toole - speak of their experience in interacting with this story and knowing it from childhood. Watching them in costume on the windswept shore of Molokai speak about Damien one can not help be see Damien’s own contemporaries, who were buried around him on the piece of rock.

Though not a happy story - not a story of success or a story of achievement, Molokai is a story of service and love and dedication that cannot help but touch your heart.

(First Published in Imprint 2006-07-28 as ‘Don’t let leprosy deter you from Molokai’.)
Note: Yes I wrote a different review of this movie earlier, this is a new review of it recently published.

Reviews of Books and Movies about Saint Damien:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai - Margaret Bunson & Matthew Bunson
Pilgrimage and Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai by: Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.S.F.
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien by: Paul Cox
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
Saint Damien of Molokai - Virginia Helen Richards and D. Thomas Halpin
Father Damien de Veuster Apostle to the Lepers - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers - Edited by Pamphile De Veuster 
Father Damien's Letters

Prayer of the Day - Saint Damien Prayer

Tuesday 1 August 2006

Letter & Spirit by: Scott Hahn

Letter and Spirit
Scott Hahn
ISBN 0385509332
November 2005

Depending on whom you talk to, Scott Hahn is either a hero or a turncoat. He was raised Presbyterian, and was even on the fast track to be president at a Presbyterian seminary when he began to doubt two protestant mainstays: ‘by scripture alone’ and ‘by faith alone’. So he did what any academically trained person would do, he decided to research and went back to school to do a master’s in Roman Catholic thought, eventually converting to Catholicism. Since then, he has been a prolific writer and speaker on things Catholic, and why the catholic faith is the one true valid faith.

This book is part academic treatise and part faith discovery. Hahn states in the introduction that he is writing this book for both his university students, and for the general population - readers of his many popular books on all things Catholic.

Letter and Spirit is a study of how scripture is central to the mass, and how the eucharistic life is central to the word. It is a study of scripture and liturgy. The book shows a clear progression in the life of the faithful from receiving the written word to the living word in the liturgy.

But that is just the beginning of the story; the church is still developing. “Much work needs to be done. There are books to be written, studies to be undertaken, sermons to be preached, prayers to be raised, and ordinary lives to be lived.” (p.172) This book could easily help those with faith to explore that commitment a much deeper level. A strong reason for this is because it is both academically oriented yet written to be accessible to any reader. It is also written in a clear concise manner that makes the book hard to put down once started. It will open up as easily to a person of faith as to someone who just wants to understand people in their life who have faith. Its succinct prose and plethora of quotes from history will show both groups the progression of thought throughout church history.

And yet this book will likely not be accepted by much of its target audience because of Hahn’s past, because he recently announced that he is a member of Opus Dei (an organization within the church misunderstood to be extremist), and because has a book on that topic coming out later this year. Here the issue of authorial integrity comes very much into play. As such, though this book has much to offer, its fate and worth hang in the balance. Will it be received for the treasures within or rejected for the author’s past and associations? Trite as it must sound, only time will tell.

Steven R. McEvoy

(First Published in Imprint 2006-07-28 as ‘Spirit hang in the balance’.)
Note: Yes I wrote a different review of this book earlier, this is a new review of it recently published.

Books by Scott Hahn:
A Father Who Keeps His Promises
A Pocket Guide to Saint Paul
A Pocket Guide to the Bible
Angels and Saints: A Biblical Friendship with God's Holy Ones
Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins's Case Against God
Catholic for a Reason
Consuming the Word: The New Testament and The Eucharist in the Early Church
Covenant and Communion
Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization
First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
Holy Is His Name
Hope for Hard Times
Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything and Still Does
Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises
Letter and Spirit : From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy
Living the Mysteries - A Guide for Unfinished Christians
Lord Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession
Many Are Called: Rediscovering the Glory of the Priesthood
Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace
Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture 1300-1700
Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith
Rome Sweet Home
Scripture Matters
Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots
Swear to God : The Promise and Power of the Sacraments
The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages
The Fourth Cup
The First Society

The Kingdom of God As Liturgical Empire
The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
Understanding "Our Father"

Other Reviews of Hahn's Books.

Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei
Letter and Spirit (Version 1)
Letter and Spirit (Version 2)
Understanding “OUR FATHER”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer