Saturday 31 March 2018

Mary: Help in Hard Times - Marianne Lorraine Trouvé

Mary: Help in Hard Times
Marianne Lorraine Trouvé
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819849397

eISBN 9781306807135

I was intrigued by this book from the first time I read the cover. For even in the times when I wandered from the Catholic faith, I always felt a closeness and a grounding in my devotion to Mary. And this book was so much more that I had hoped for. The description of the book is:
"Discussing four of the Blessed Virgin's roles, Mary: Help in Hard Times is a combination of history, stories, and prayers in an approachable, practical size. Divided into three distinct sections, the book's first segment discusses four key moments of Mary's life. The second section contains personal stories of Mary's intercession, and the book closes with various Marian devotions and prayers. An added feature is the reflection questions after each section. Bringing strength to those who feel overwhelmed, Mary: Help in Hard Times is a hope-filled companion for everyone."
And the chapters in the book are:

Our Lady of Lourdes and the Immaculate Conception
Mary picks the lowly ones
Mary asked not only for prayer but for penance
Mary brings healing and peace
The Immaculate Conception
For Reflection and Prayer

Mary, the Virgin-Mother Who Brings Us Joy
Mary shows us how to have a happy life
Mary was full of joy
Mary's gift of self
For Reflection and Prayer

Mary Is Our Mother Too
Mary called Juan Diego by name
Mary spoke Juan's language
Mary asked for a church to be built in her honor
Mary Is the Mother of God
Mary Leads Us to Jesus
For Reflection and Prayer

Mary and the Assumption
Why Intercession?
The Assumption
For Reflection and Prayer

Basic Marian Prayers
The Oldest Prayer to Mary
The Hail Mary
The Angelus
The Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven)
Hail, Holy Queen
Various Marian Prayers and Devotions
Loving Mother of the Redeemer
Prayer for the Ministers of the Word
The Rosary
How to Pray the Rosary
The Mysteries of the Rosary
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto)
Stabat Mater (Our Lady of Sorrows)
The Scapular Devotion
The Flower of Mount Carmel
The Miraculous Medal
Pray of Dedication to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Symbolism of the Medal
Cardinal Newman's Prayer in Honor of Our Lady
Devotion of the Five First Saturdays
The Three Hail Marys
Devotion to Mary, Untier of Knots
Mary in the Liturgy


From the introduction it states:
"Since then, Catholics and other Christians have held Mary in a unique place of honor. Her journey of faith is a model for our own. Through the Communion of Saints, as members of the one Body of Christ, she still helps us now. It's as if every time we ask her help, the curtain between earth and heaven is drawn back and blessings flow more abundantly, like a vast waterfall of grace."
I found this to be a powerful and moving book. I have always had a devotion to Mary, and in many ways turn to her in ways I never could or would have with my mother. In my darkest hours it was Mary whom I relied on. And this book has helped to deepen my devotion to her. I love that my children go up to the statue of Mary after mass, and after confession, I love that they want to spend time with Mary. I love that they kiss the statue or their hands and touch the statue. After reading The Saints Pray for Us, I loved it so much I bought a copy for each of my children and their school teachers. This is a book I will be buying for each of my children as they get to be a bit older. Next to Scott Hahn's Hail Holy Queen this is my favorite book on Mary to date. 

This book does an amazing job of balancing history, tradition, and faithful devotion. This is a book that anyone with a high school education can easily read and understand. But it is also a book that will open the heart. It draws heavily from the bible, the writings of the popes and from saints. The 'for reflection and prayer' at the end of each section of the book are wonderful. And to be honest I believe the most important paragraphs in the whole book are:

"Mary Leads Us to Jesus 
So what is the point of all this? It shows that everything about Mary leads back to Jesus. In calling her Mother of God, in fact we are affirming the truth that Jesus is both God and man. Whatever the Catholic Church teaches about Mary is rooted in its faith in Jesus Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this very succinctly: "What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ" (no. 487). 
Every teaching about Mary, whether it concerns her virginity, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, or her maternal mediation, is rooted in Jesus Christ and leads us to a deeper knowledge of him. Mother and Son are always found together. So we don't have to worry that if we honor Mary, we will forget about Jesus. Not at all! In fact, the great Marian shrines around the world are places of pilgrimage not just to honor Mary, but also to honor Jesus. Lourdes, for example, is famous for its Eucharistic procession, where Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is honored and invoked."

And that is what this book will help do, It will help root us deeper in Christ Jesus through Mary. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.

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

Books by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé:
Mary: Help in Hard Times
A Scriptural Rosary
Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book
Angels: Help from on High
Novena St Thomas Aquinas: Patron of Students and Catholic Schools
Divine Mercy in My Pocket
Purgatory Purifying Power
My Favorite Prayers & Novena
Praying Mysteries of Light
Praying the Rosary for Priests
Our Lady Undoer of Knots: Novena and Prayers
The Rosary with Pope Francis

Consecrated Life: John Paul II
Saint Thomas Aquinas: Saints By Our Side

Encounter the Saints Series:
Saint Catherine Labouré: And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi: A Light for the World
Saint Thomas Aquinas: Missionary of Truth

Books contributed to:
The Catholic Answer Book of Mary
Honoring Mary with the Holy Father
Pope Francis in the U.S.: Words of Mercy and Hope

Books Edited by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé:
Mary Leads Us to Jesus
Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church: Documents on the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ordinary Grace Daily Reflections:
Ordinary Grace, Weeks 1-17
Ordinary Grace, Weeks 18-34
Easter Grace

Translated by:
Adventures of Saint Paul

Thursday 29 March 2018

Holy Thursday 2018 The Mass of the Lords Supper

Holy Thursday 2018
The Mass of the Lords Supper

This morning in my devotional reading, part of which is working through the Catechism in a year, I read:
"1113 The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony."
And today's mass, like all masses is a celebration of the Lord's Supper. But today in the church year is the celebration as part of the passion week. One of my favorite representations of this in artwork is by Salvador Dali. I know that there are many versions of this image that would be more historically accurate, but this image reminds me of our celebrating this in remembrance. The structure of the beams, reminds me of some churches I have visited. The outstretched arms in the background help me focus on the cost of the sacrifice. But if you google this image you will see various shades, from more subtle earth tones, to vibrant blues, to more luminescent yellows and oranges. I have never seen the original, and I know from taking a picture every time I am in church, that lighting can affect a picture greatly, even with no filters.

First Reading Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Responsorial Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-16, 17-18 Response 1 Corinthians 10:16
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel John 13:1-15

From our second reading today:
"This is my Body that is for you.Do this in remembrance of me."
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.Do this, as often as your drink it, in remembrance of me."
One of the things I am trying to live; and instill in my children is that we need to live so that all we do is done for Jesus. How we interact as a family, how they behave at school, how I treat my coworkers, the effort we give to all that we do. It should all be done for love of God and in service to him. We have been blessed with much and much will be expected of us. As we prepare to attend and serve mass this day I reflect on that first celebration of the last supper, and I pray that my actions live up to my theology.

I pray for you that you will encounter Christ in a new way this Easter Triduum, that you will encounter him in the familiar and known, and in the unfamiliar. And may the body and blood renew you and strengthen you to give all to God and live each moment for him. Blessings upon you this Holy Thursday.

Related Posts:

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2018

I continue to average about a book a day; and have done so over the last two years. This change came about in part due to several factors. First would be a job switch mid 2016 that has lead to a much better work-life balance. Second would be walking between 40-120 minutes a day and using text to speech to listen to books while walking. I currently listen to a book while walking to my bus stop and then read the book while on the bus, and the reverse on the way home. And a few years ago, I removed all games from my PC, phone and tablet, except for a brain training game and Catholic trivia game. I also applied many tips and tricks from Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now. Those three factors have greatly increased how much I am able to read. 

So how does this quarter look? I read 91 books, of those 91 I gave a 5/5 rating to 47. Of those 47 the total non-fiction was 30 and the fiction were 17. So, all in all it was a good quarter. Also, of those 47 a total of 10 were books that had been read and on top ten lists previously. So, I will pick a Top 10 in each category from the new reads and give a hat tip to the rereads. I read some amazing books and narrowing it down to a top ten was not easy. 

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. God Is Love - Pope Benedict XVI - Deus Caritas Est
2. From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God - Derya Little 
3. I Don't Like Lent - Daniel Lord S.J. 
4. Stories of Saints by Alice Curtayne
5. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque - Emily Beata Marsh and Dani Lachuk - Encounter the Saints Book 37
6. The Fourth Cup: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper and Christ's Crucifixion - Scott Hahn
7. The Peace Promise: Trusting God to Solve the Unsolvable - John Kuypers
8. Blessings from the Battlefield - Ed. Thomas R. O'Brien 
9. Saint Catherine of Siena - Alice Curtayne
10. A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness - Susan Brinkmann

St. Robert Bellarmine - Shaun McAfee
Trickle Down Mindset: The Missing Element In Your Personal Success - Michal Stawicki
Divine Mercy in My Pocket - Marianne Lorraine Trouvé
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Mike Aquilina and Frederick W. Gruber
Mary Help in Hard Times - Marianne Lorraine Trouve

Extra Bonus Previously on Top Ten List:
1. In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
(New eBook editions links to all reviews here)
Volume 2 Part 1: Lent & Holy Week
2. Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families - Sarah A. Reinhard
3. Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day: Time Management Tips for Anyone Struggling with Work-Life Balance - Michal Stawicki

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Anyone But Him - Theresa Linden
2. Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body - Edited by Erin McCole Cupp and Ellen Gable
3. Amber Fang Revenge - Arthur Slade - Amber Fang Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Book 3
4. Kayan Kronicles - Derya Little 
5. Testing Liberty - Theresa Linden - Chasing Liberty Book 2
6. The Other Side of Freedom - Cynthia T. Toney
7. Stealing Jenny - Ellen Gable
8. Wonder - R.J. Palacio - Wonder Book 1.0
9. We're All Wonders - R.J. Palacio
10. The Revisionary - Kristen Hogrefe - The Rogues Book 1.0

Bonus Previously on Top Ten List:
1. The Flash Hocus Pocus - Barry Lyga
2. Modo Ember's End - Arthur Slade and Christopher Steininger - Mission Clockwork Graphic Novel

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

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

91 - January to march 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Prayer for Holy Week

Prayer for Holy Week

Note: A friend posted this and I loved the prayer.I have decided to use it tdaily during Holy Week this year. And Asked to share it. "Fr. Frank O'Rourke at St. Gabes in Charlotte, NC' offered this prayer for parishioners to try.  I slightly modified the 4th from last line:  Prayer for Holy Week"

God of such unwavering love,
how do I "celebrate"
the passion and death of Jesus?
I often want to look the other way
and not watch,
not stay with Jesus in his suffering.
Give me the strength
to see his love with honesty and compassion
and to feel deeply
your own forgiveness
and mercy for me.
Help me to understand
how to "celebrate" this week.
Help me to bring
my weaknesses and imperfections with me as
I journey with Jesus this week,
so aware of his love.

Monday 26 March 2018

Spring 2018 Random Workout Generator V1

Random Workout Generator 2018

My workouts other than karate have been very hit or miss over the last year. And with that home come more pain, pain from old injuries flaring up, and pain from carrying more weight than I should be. And part of trying to be a better father is my need to be fit. So, with that in mind I am took an old workout generator that picked a workout from tony Horton, and have created a new body weight workout generator.

This tool was created to randomize your workout schedule. A sort of workout confusion. Each time you click Pick Workout, it will randomize the number of sets, currently based on the number of sets you do asset number of reps. I am working on generating a random number of reps based on the number of sets, but do not have it there yet. It also picks a random Kata for me to practice that day, based on those I am required to know currently. It also picks a Kata for me to practice that day based on those I am required to know currently.

From the list of the following exercises:

Tricep Dips
Calf Raises
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Leg Raises
High Knees
Flutter Kicks
Shoulder Rolls
Mountain Climbers

For each exercise it randomly picks between 0-10 sets. Based on the number for the set you do a predetermined number of reps:


Now my sheet is not perfect it occasionally comes us with =REF, and I am not sure why, if I pick a workout it usually clears. The list of Kata's it picks from currently is:

Pinan Shodan
Shi Ho Hi
Pinan Nidan
Naihanchi Shodan
Pinan Sandan
Matsu Higa No Tonfa Dai

My plan for now is to use this and as long as it picks two exercises each day I will start here, where I am now. On I have the goal of doing each exercise at least twice a week. If you want to grab a copy of this new workout generator and give it a try or modify it for your own use you can get it here. My weight today is up about 5 lbs since January 1st. And over the last year I have been hovering between 242 and 216. Right now, I am in the middle of that range, but I know my knees and should cause me far less pain if I am below 200 lbs. So that is the first goal to get my weight down to 200lbs, and then set a new goal. If you want to follow along my tracking is here.

So today is a new day. And I will begin with this, and in a few months, I will revisit; add pyramids, reverse pyramids. As long as I get consistent again and get moving.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Palm Sunday 2018

Palm Sunday
The Sixth Sunday of Lent 2018

Most people know this as Palm Sunday, fewer know it as the Sixth Sunday of Lent. Some people call it Passion Sunday, but that name has never been formalized in the Roman rite, even though some other denominations use that title. Historically it has also been called 'Second Sunday of the Passion, and 'Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord'. We are at the midpoint of Passiontide that began last weekend. This week there is a pause in the procession, the Palms are blessed, and the gospel is read. And then mass proceeds, with the Passion reading when the Gospel would normally be read. It provides a lot of readings for the priest or deacon to build the sermon from.

The Gospel read during the procession with palms.

Gospel Mark 11: 1-20 or John 12:12-16
First Reading Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm 22: 2-8, 16-19, 22-23 Response 1
Second Reading Philippians 2:6-11
The Passion Mark 14:1-15:47

This week's readings evoke both joy and sorrow. Joy at the triumphant entry and the sorrow of the passion. When reading today's passages, I wonder how I would have reacted:

Would I have sung hosanna's or gone about my business?
Would I have abandoned Christ in the garden?
Would I have joined the crowd and jeered Jesus as he was led through the city carrying his cross?
Would I have been the good thief or the unrepentant one?
Or like the centurion would I have recognized that this was the son of God?
Would I have given my tomb, and risked my reputation to take care of the body of Jesus?

We can put ourselves into so many roles in these readings. And many times, I wonder if my reactions would have been different. I believe I would have failed, and failed, and failed again. Like Simon, I likely would have renounced him, but also like Simon I know he is calling me, and he restores me each time I turn back to him. And as such we do turn to him, this week, Holy week we turn to him and the most pivotal event in human history. So we all need to take some time today, and throughout this week, to sit quietly with god. To open our hearts and allow his healing to fill them. I once heard that in a Jewish tradition a young man asked the Rabbi "Why do we bind the word of God to our hearts?" And the Rabbi replied, "So that when our hearts break some small portion of the Word may seep into it." That imagery has stuck with me for years. And that is my prayer as I read God's word, and while at mass, lord seep into the cracks in my broken heart and make them whole, bring me fully alive to love and server you. And this week that is my prayer for you. That you will experience God in a new and vivid way today and at times throughout this week.

Note: as a dyslexic almost every time I typed Palm I actually typed Psalm and had to go back and fix it.

Related Posts:

Saturday 24 March 2018

The Wheels on the Bus …

The Wheels on the Bus …

I have been commuting to work on public transit for 18 months now, since switching jobs. And for the better part of a year before that I was walking to work about a 40 minute walk, and getting picked up to come home. It has proved so much easier than putting a second car on the road. I know that as a family of 5 we are in the minority with only 2 vehicles. In fact I know some family's that between summer cars, motorbikes and such have 2 or more vehicles per person. But for us this is working out and working well.

When I first took this new role, my wife was surprised I was willing to give public transit a go. I have a 15-20 minute walk from home to my bus stop, and then a 13 minute ride on an express route. I could walk just 5 minutes to a bus, ride it a few blocks and transfer, cross the intersection to take the bus I take. But because of schedules I would ride that first bus for under 5 minutes and then wait 20 minutes for the next bus.

I enjoy the quiet alone time, especially in winter.  I love walking in the cold, and with fresh or falling snow. Because I work 630am-230pm I now leave the house at 545-550am and catch my bus at 609am. And I am at my desk having made a coffee and tea to start the day by 630am.

Last year the pus passes were pictures of people or events for the most part.  This year so far they have all been foods. I always look forward to going and picking up my new pass and seeing what picture will be on it.

My time on the bus has been interesting there are a number of regulars at that time of day. Some I know to say hi to, I do not know the names of any. A few work at UW, 1 at another insurance company across the street from mine. And a few at the regions waste management facility at the edge of town.

I enjoy my walks and my time on the bus. And wanted to share this photo of last year's bus passes. For those of you with children picture the song from the title of this post or the Backyardigans Riding the Range but switch out the word.

Friday 23 March 2018

A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness - Susan Brinkmann

A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness
Susan Brinkmann
Dr. Anthony E. Clark, PhD. (Forward)
Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
ISBN 9781976532795

This book was recommended to me by a spiritual director, it was recommended after I had concerns about another book I had been asked to review. I am so thankful I have read this book. This book put into words a lot about the unease I was feeling about the other title in my spirit. I am grateful I no longer feel the need to finish every book I start, and very thankful I did not finish, The Mindful Catholic: Finding God One Moment at a Time by Dr. Gregory Bottaro. And I want to begin with what this book has that that book did not. This book has both a Nihil Obstat by Colin B. Donovan, S.T.L. and an Imprimatur: + by Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.. The Nihil Obstat is a certification by an official censor that this book is not objectionable on doctrinal or moral grounds from a Catholic theological perspective. And the Imprimatur is a license to print an approved ecclesiastical or religious book. Not only did those two items give me confidence in this book, I could hardly put this book down once I started. It was such a balanced and honest examination of the topic of Mindfulness and the compatibility with Catholic teaching and practice.

Dr. Clark in the introduction uses an analogy of a car:

"Common sense tells us that the direction one drives a car determines the place one arrives at, and spiritual practice is no different. When one understands well the intentions of Christian prayer and mindfulness, it is clear that, at their root, they point in contrasting directions. Buddhist techniques aim entirely at the locus of human experience, while Christian prayer is directed through and well beyond the human experience toward God. The fifth century Theravada monk, Buddhaghosa, is one of the most influential Buddhist writers on the intention and meaning of meditation practices such as sati, or mindfulness. Mindfulness, he suggests, is intended to remove one from the external world; it is largely anti-relational, for relationships bring about attachment, and attachment causes suffering."
So, if as a Christian you are driving the car of your mind, are you driving it towards God, or are you driving deeper and deeper into yourself. You can only be heading one direction. And as this example clearly indicates, Mindfulness practices in the Buddhist styles are leading you away from God!

Clark then states:

"Certainly, a relative or friend is capable of being unkind, and it is wise to avoid the abuse of others, but the goal of Buddhist meditation, according to Buddhaghosa, is to become entirely self-focused and free from the joys and attachments of relationships so that one can escape from pain and the misery of reincarnation."
And he contrasts that with Christian mental prayer:
"Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything."
Just from those few quotes from the introduction we clearly see where this book is coming from and why it is so needed today. And that is just the introduction the chapters in this book are:

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness Goes Mainstream
The Science of Mindfulness
Do Buddhism and Catholicism Mix?
Mindfulness and Christian Prayer
Christian Alternatives to Mindfulness

This book starts with a history of mindfulness, both traditionally and as it has slowly gained popularity in the west. It also provides a clear history of how it spread in the west, including deliberate deceptiveness from it's early proponent and teachers. Then once it has established the origins of mindfulness, and it's infusion into western culture, and western psychology, it then proceeds to look at if that practice is compatible with Catholicism. From the conclusion that:

"The last chapter made it quite clear that mindfulness has no place in Christian prayer, either as a prelude, component, or adjunct. But that doesn't mean it's easy to resist. Mindfulness has become the latest fad, and all fads are accompanied by a certain amount of pressure for the individual to conform in order to be reap the social benefits of those who tend to follow fads. And fads are usually very profitable for those who promote them, which explains why mindfulness is surrounded by more hype than fact."
It then concludes with offering Christian alternatives to mindfulness. Brinkmann States:
"On this path, we learn that Christ comes to us in a new and living way every day, and in every moment of every day. For this reason, our attention must remain focused on all of the events that occur, minute-by-minute, from the trivial to the sublime, because this is how God speaks to us."
And that is really what it is about. Will mindfulness draw us closer to God or not. If it will not as Christians, as Catholics we should not be engaging in it, no matter how popular, who is teaching it, or who is encouraging it. If we return to the forward Clark stated:
"This timely book provides answers to the many Catholics who have asked priests, sisters, and scholars whether such practices as mindfulness are appropriate or helpful to Christian spiritual growth and personal peace. The author Susan Brinkman has not written this book to create antagonisms between Catholics and Buddhists or those who practice mindfulness, but rather to objectively explore the truth claims of both and reveal whether or not they are compatible, particularly with respect to the growing fad and focus on mindfulness."
And that is exactly what this book delivers. It is not written to pick a fight. It is not written to criticize specific people, institutions or practices. It is written so that we can know the truth, and as Jesus stated in John 14:6 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father but through me.' And as this book clearly demonstrates Mindfulness does not focus on Jesus and therefore should be avoided!

This is an incredibly well written book. It is not a large volume coming in at 126 pages. But it packs a lot of meat. I really believe that every Catholic, every Christian should read this book, and they would have their eyes opened especially on the westernization of this Buddhist spiritual practice. I am very thankful this book was recommended to me and I recommend it to you.

Books by Susan Brinkmann:
We Need to Talk: God Speaks to a Modern: God Speaks to a Modern Girl
The Kinsey Corruption
A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness

Thursday 22 March 2018

The Revisionary - Kristen Hogrefe - The Rogues Book 1

The Revisionary
The Rogues Book 1
Kristen Hogrefe
Write Integrity Press
ISBN 9781944120290
eISBN 9781944120375


I must first start by stating that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A few months ago, I read the prequel novella A Cord of Three Strands and appreciated it. At the time I added this one to my wish list a sort of forgot about it. I really wish I had read them closer together. As I was reading this book it felt really familiar, I am sure some readers will compare it to The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, and as much as I did enjoy that book, there is something different about this one, that draws me in more. This was a book that I really did not want to put down.

This story is set in the futures. The United States has been devastated by a Electromagnetic Pulse that wiped out most of infrastructure. Now the country is broken into several cubes. But as with most things in life, all is not as it appears. Portia Abernathy has been working hard because she wants to go to the Crystal Globe and achieve the role of Revisionary. She wants to have access to the Codex, so she can change the laws and allow her brother to cone back from exile in the satellite's. But from her first moments in this new place she realizes that are many layers of observation, and that they do not want people there to learn, they want good obedient puppets.

Portia is head strong, determined and very smart. And even though she stirs conflict early and often. She experiences mind control correctives. Physical discipline. But She also discovers a trove of knowledge from before the ASU in the special archives. She joins a fraternity and ventures out hopping trains and catching tidbits of things that seem odd. Soon she realizes she will need to choose sides, either she will become the ideal citizen and try and change things from the inside. Or she will risk it all and work to bring about change outside the structures of the law. She has new friends in her roommate, and a classmate, and Luther Danforth, a boy she was once close to at home. But even as she is learning what friendship is about again, she might need to let them all go for what she really believes in.

The strengths of this story are the characters, you cannot but find your self cheering for and encouraging on Portia. And you will be intrigued by the strangers who keep seeming to be around when she needs protection and cover. The pace is also excellent. But to be honest I am very glad book 2 released before I finished book 1 or I would have hated waiting for the next installment. So, let that be a warning once you start reading you will not want to stop so you may as well pick up both books 1 and 2, and hope we do not have long to wait for the third in the trilogy.

Write Integrity Press they believe in the inspired word of God, and their books are in alignment with their beliefs. There is not gratuitous sex, violence just for the sake of violence, no alternative lifestyles just to diversify the book. This is the fifth book by Write Integrity I have read, the other four were all by Catholic author Cynthia T. Toney, the faith element was more obvious in her books, but this was an excellent read and I look forward to reading more from Hogrefe and from Write Integrity! And I cannot wait until my girls are a little older to introduce them to Portia.

Books by Kristen Hogrefe:
The Rogues Series:

0.5 A Cord of Three Strands
1.0 The Revisionary
2.0 The Revolutionary
3.0 The Reactionary


Wings of the Dawn Series:
1.0 Captive Beneath the Bahamian Sky
2.0 Secrets Beyond Lake Winona's Shore
3.0 Awakening Sun


Wednesday 21 March 2018

Margo's Diary & Notebook - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Book 5.0

Margo's Diary & Notebook
I Am Margaret Book 5.0
Corinna Turner
UnSeen Books an Imprint of
Zephyr Publishing, UK
eISBN 9781910806159
ISBN 9781910806043

First I need to state, I am typically an eBook guy, but you really need to get this in a physical book. And specifically, with a fifth book in a series, I bought the eBook first. But the formatting is so much better in the physical book. In the physical book it is either written or typed by Margo, and then has notes, and annotations by both Bane and Margo. So, until the eBook technology formatting is improved I highly recommend the physical book. But now onto the content of the book. 

(Sample from Physical book)

(Sample from eBook Formatting)

This book has journal entries that span from 27th October (20) to 20th October (26) So the journal spans nearly 6 years. And a lot takes place over those six years. Margo and Bane are living in the Vatican free state still. Their family is growing. And they are still fighting for what they believe in. The fight has just now become political, for the most part. In this book we see weddings, births, and funerals. There are several surprise visitors.

This book also contains sections for:
Underground Latin primer
Favorite Psalms
Important prayers
Squire Thane and the Dragon

When reading this series, I and changes in legislation both in Canada and Europe as the series came out I cannot but be a little concerned that this is fiction predicting a likely future. This specific book and to be honest the whole series is very intense. What is at risk, what is true, what is right are all being questioned? I was greatly impressed with Turner's debut I Am Margaret. And I have enjoyed the whole series, including the few short stories released giving more information around specific events or other characters.

Because this book has at times large gaps in the journal. We are often left to assume what has happened. Or filled in bits and pieces. This works well with what Margo, Bane, and the crew are trying to do to change the world. And stay safe while doing it.

This book does a nice job of continuing the story without launching another series. And I do look forward to more of the short story tie in books. This is an excellent book in a great series.

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

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:
0.0 The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles (A prequel)
0.5 Brothers (Prequel)
1.0 I Am Margaret
1.5 How Snakey Got His Name (Short Story)
2.0 The Three Most Wanted
3.0 Liberation
4.0 Bane's Eyes

5.0 Margo's (Attempted) Diary & Notebook
5.5 An Unexpected Guest
6.0 The Siege of Reginald Hill
6.5 Buttons (Short Story)
7.0 A Saint in the Family
I Am Margaret The Play - Fiorella de Maria

Yesterday and Tomorrow Series:

Tomorrow's Dead

unSPARKed Series:

Mandy Lamb Series:
Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens