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Sunday, 5 April 2020

Meditations on Stations of the Cross - John Henry Newman - CTS Devotions

Meditations on Stations of the Cross
CTS Devotions
John Henry Newman
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 
9781784690298
eISBN 9781784694289
ASIN B073H22XYT
CTS Booklet D792 


At the beginning of each lent I pick a few different versions of the Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross to be part of my Lenten journey. And since over the last few years I have read and reviewed over 100 books from the Catholic Truth Society I decided to pick up a few of their offerings. This specific version was published in 1927, it was revised in 2015. An eBook edition was released in 2017. And with his canonization in 2019 a new paperback edition has been released.  The original description of the revised edition is:

“Blessed John Henry Newman's celebrated meditations on the passion of Our Lord have been edited and enhanced with illustrations. They remain a moving and enriching commentary on the details of Christ's sufferings and their bearing on our own human existence. An excellent companion to Lent and Easter for for use on Fridays of the year. Updated and revised by Donal Antony Foley.”

And the wording has not changed much for the latest edition. 

The chapters in this volume are:
The Value of the Stations of the Cross 
John Henry Newman 
The Fourteen Stations 
Additional Prayers and Examination of Conscience 
Prayers of Cardinal Newman

This year I also read a new edition called Stations of the Cross from TAN Books. It is a slightly abbreviated variation on this one. A sample station from this one is:

The Thirteenth Station 
Jesus Is Taken From The Cross,
And Laid In Mary’s Bosom

The multitude have gone home; Calvary is left solitary and still, except that St John and the holy women are there. Then come Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, and take down from the Cross the body of Jesus, and place it in the arms of Mary. 

O Mary, at last you have possession of your Son. Now, when His enemies can do no more, they leave Him in contempt to you. As His unexpected friends perform their difficult work, you look on with inexpressible thoughts. Your heart is pierced with the sword of which Simeon spoke. O Mother most sorrowful; yet in your sorrow there is a still greater joy. The joy in prospect strengthened you to stand by Him as He hung upon the Cross; much more now, without swooning, without trembling, do you receive Him to your arms and on your lap. Now you are supremely happy as having Him, though He comes to you not as He went from you. He went from your home, O Mother of God, in the strength and beauty of His manhood, and He comes back to you dislocated, torn to pieces, mangled, dead. Yet, O Blessed Mary, you are happier in the hour of woe than on the day of the marriage feast, for then He was leaving you, and now in the future, as a risen Saviour, He will be separated from you no more.”

This is an excellent version of the way of the cross. I love having a few different ones that I rotate through during lent, and most Fridays the rest of the year. I appreciate both versions I have based on the works of Newman. 

A great devotional resource.

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

Link to other Lent Resources.


Reviews of other books by John Henry Newman:
Stations of the Cross

Meditations on Mary, Our Mother 
Prayers Before The Eucharist
...

CTS books about Newman:
John Henry Newman: Lead Kindly Light -Dr. Raymond Edwards
Newman His Life and Legacy – Fr. Ian Ker
John Henry Newman Apostle to the Doubtful - Meriol Trevor and Leonie Caldecott
Newman Prayer Book - The Birmingham Oratory (ed)
Mind of Cardinal Newman: From His Own Writings - Charles Stephen Dessain Daily Christian Living with John Henry Newman


CTS Books by John Henry Newman:
Meditations on Stations of the Cross
Christ upon the Waters - CTS Onefifties Book 3


Reviews of other books about Newman:
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman -  Mike Aquilina and Juan Velez










Saturday, 4 April 2020

Stations of the Cross - Saint Alphonsus Liguori - The Way of Divine Mercy

Stations of the Cross - The Way of Divine Mercy
Saint Alfonso María de Liguori 
Fr Jim McManus (Translator)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 
9781784690724
eISBN 9781784692247
ASIN B071KWMYM4
CTS Booklet D799 


Each lent I pick a few different versions of the Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross to be part of my Lenten journey. And since over the last few years I have read and reviewed over 100 books from the Catholic Truth Society I decided to pick up a few of their offerings. This one is a reprint of one of my favorites by Saint Alphonsus Liguori. The Catholic truth Society originally published an edition in 1959, it was revised in 2015, and the eBook version released in 2017. The revision was by Father Jim McManus C.Ss.R.

In the introduction we are given this quote about why Saint Alphonsus loved the stations:

“Who can deny that, of all devotion, devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ is the most useful, the most tender, the most agreeable to God, one that gives the greatest consolation to sinners, and at the same time most powerfully enkindles souls? Whence is it that we receive so many blessings, if it be not from the passion of Jesus Christ?”

We are told about Alphonsus:

“St Alphonsus Liguori, the Founder of the Redemptorist Congregation, who died in 1787, bequeathed to the Church a vast treasure of spiritual and theological writing.”

And I went through a phase about 30 years ago where I had a great devotion to Alphonsus and his writings. And his Stations is always one of my favorites. The reflections are shorter than many editions. But they have a power in the briefness. The sections in this volume are:

The Way of the Cross Today
St Alphonsus
The Stations of the Cross
Prayers by St Alphonsus

And those prayers at the end make this version invaluable. These nine prayers are wonderful. 

A sample station:

Third Station 
Jesus Falls For The First Time

V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. 
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 

Consider this first fall of Jesus under his cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, his head was crowned with thorns; he had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that he could scarcely walk, yet he had to carry this great load on his shoulders. The soldiers struck him roughly and he fell several times. 

My Jesus, it is not the weight of the cross, but of my sins, which has made you suffer so much pain. By the merits of this first fall, save me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. 

I love you, Jesus, my love, above all things; I repent with my whole heart of having offended you. Never permit me to separate myself from you again. Grant that I may love you always; and then do with me what you will. 

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be to the Father.

Oh how sad and sore distressed
was that mother highly blessed
of the sole begotten One!”

This is one of my all-time favorite devotions, and I always love having the eBook on me. It is another great resource from the Catholic Truth Society. And a wonderful devotion.

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

Link to other Lent Resources.








Friday, 3 April 2020

Words for the Lent and Easter Season - Hugh Gilbert

Words for the Lent and Easter Season
Hugh Gilbert
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784690267
eISBN 9781784692179
ASIN B07FDF37N6
CTS Booklet D790



Over the last few years I have read over 100 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. A few authors so captured my attention I tried to track down all the books by them. This however was the first book I have read by Bishop Hugh Gilbert and also the first in the CTS Words 4. Unfortunately in the eBook edition there is not a list of other volumes in the series and I have only been able to find four other titles in the series and three are by this same author. The print edition was published in 2015 and the eBook in 2017.

The description of this volume is:

“As Benedictine Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey and now Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Hugh Gilbert’s homilies have gained him a reputation as a clear and profound teacher of faith. This collection of homilies for the Lent and Easter season are an ideal companion to these wonderful seasons of contemplation and joy.“So, may we go up to and through Holy Week, up to the Cross and through the Cross to the Resurrection, with our hand in Mary’s hand, learning her faith.”

And the chapters are:
Introduction
Ash Wednesday: The Grace of Lent
Lent - a Preparation for Exodus
Lent - a Preparation for Joy
Station Mass
Palm Sunday
Chrism Mass
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Paschal Vigil
Easter Sunday
Second Sunday of Easter
Fifth Sunday of Easter
The Ascension of the Lord
Pentecost

We are told in the introduction:

“In the Roman rite now, we have a liturgical year both luminously intent on the essentials and rich in its details. “By means of the yearly cycle”, says the Calendarium Romanum of 1969, echoing Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, “the Church celebrates the whole mystery of Christ, from his Incarnation until the day of Pentecost and the expectation of his coming again.” Central is the Easter Triduum - from the evening Mass of Maundy Thursday to the Compline of Easter Sunday. Out of this flows the Easter season, with its fifty days culminating in Pentecost, and towards it flows the critical season of Lent. Such is the “Easter cycle”.”

The volume contains 14 pieces that span from Ash Wednesday until Pentacost. These 14 pieces is a collection of homilies. Some of them deeply profound, many of them good, and some are ok. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this volume. The title captured my attention. It is completely different from the volume, Lent with the Saints, by J.B. Midgley and from the Catholic Truth Society. In the homily called ‘Fifth Sunday of Easter’ the bishop ponders:

“As bishop, I often wonder: when the Lord looks at us, looks at our diocese, what does he see? What makes him smile? The answer is: faith, hope and charity in us. That’s our beauty. And here today is this holy trio.”

And thinking about Faith, Hope and Love is the focus of this piece. And in many ways it is the focus of all of Lent in the culmination of the death and resurrection. The sermons are an interesting read. Because they focus around the readings for specific church years, they are not always lined upo with current readings. But as a book to be read thy can provide great encouragement and a challenge through the Lent and Easter Seasons.

My only real complaint about the volume is that I would have loved a sermon for all the Sundays. But maybe we will be graced with another volume. We can hope. And I am looking forward to other volumes in this series.

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

Link to other Lent Resources.

Books by Bishop Hugh Gilbert:
Living the Mystery
Unfolding the Mystery
Words for Feast and Saint Days
Words for the Advent and Christmas Season
Words for the Lent and Easter Season




Thursday, 2 April 2020

Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions - Joanna Bogle - CTS Seasonal

Lent and Easter: Catholic Customs and Traditions
CTS Seasonal
Joanna Bogle
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860826306
eISBN 9781784692148
ASIN B075P2TB49
CTS Booklet D720



Over the last few years I have read over 100 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. A few authors so captured my attention I tried to track down all the books by them. This however was the first book I have read by Joanna Bogle and also the first in the CTS Seasonal. Unfortunately in the eBook edition there is not a list of other volumes in the series and I have only been able to find one other title, by this same author. The print edition was published in 2010 and the eBook in 2017.

The description of this volume is:

“Spanning the seasons of Lent, Easter and to Pentecost, this Ebook describes the rich heritage of customs and traditions long practiced by Catholics down the ages, up to today. Shrovetide, ashes, pancakes, mardi gras, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage, special saints days, simnel cake, palms, Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Holy week, hot cross buns, processions - these are just some of the many fascinating traditional practices associated with the religious festivals. The liturgy in turn enriches their meaning, as we rediscover how faith and everyday life are mutually supportive and instructive.”

And the contents are:

A rich heritage
Shrovetide
Season of Lent
Ash Wednesday
The Stations of the Cross
Saints’ days in Lent
Mothering Sunday: mid Lent
Palm Sunday
Maunday Thursday
Good Friday
Holy Saturday
Easter Sunday
Eastertide

This is an interesting little read. I admit I did not love it, but did find it very informative. Many of the traditions I was area of. Some I was unaware of the traditions. The book is really written for a UK market, and some of the traditions and practices that I was unaware of are from the British Isles.  In the introduction we are told:

“The great events of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection are the fulfilment of God’s plan. Each year, the Church calls us to a fresh commemoration and understanding of these things. It is not just a sort of annual remembrance, but something far deeper: Christ died for our sins and rose again, and this “Easter Mystery” is at the heart of our faith.”

And in this short section:

Lost symbols and signs

Over the centuries, many traditions and customs have become associated with Lent and Easter, surrounding the Church’s own rich liturgy for the season. Today, however, Christians will often find themselves living side by side with people for whom Lent and Easter may mean very little. Easter eggs will often be on sale in the shops from late January onwards, and there are also specially-boxed chocolates, and cards showing rabbits and daffodils. The Easter weekend is a holiday for everyone. But what is it all about? It is so often the case that a good number of Catholics can remain confused and muddled among all this activity - and they will probably learn very little about the true meaning of Lent and Easter from the television or the consumer culture that surrounding them.

Which customs and traditions have real meaning, and which are merely recent commercially-backed innovations? How can we grasp the real meaning of Lent and Easter, without seeming to be priggish and over-pious? Is it true that some of the traditions - like Pancake Day and rolling Easter eggs downhill - have Christian origins? How can we find out more?”


The book covers a wide range of topics from history, current societal practices. And Does examine those with Christian meanings and those of secular or even pagan. I do not agree with all of her conclusions. But the book was a good way to start my Lenten reading this year.

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


Link to other Lent Resources.

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






Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Come Back to Me - Carolyn Astfalk - Stay With Me Book 2

Come Back to Me
Stay With Me Book 2
Carolyn Astfalk
Full Quiver Publishing

ISBN 9781987970135
ASIN B084DXJB1M


This was the fourth novel by Carolyn Astfalk that I have read, I have also read her short story in the collections, Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories and Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens. I have not read book 1 in this series, Stay With Me. I did pick it up over two and a half years ago, but it remained in my ‘to be read’ list on my Kindle. I only found that out after finishing this and going to buy it. And found out I had bought it 30 months ago. It is not the top fiction in my ‘to be read’ pile.

The advantage of reading them out of order is I can state that this book stands really well on its own. It was such a compelling read that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read book 1. 

At the time of writing this review this book is ranked in the following categories on Amazon Worldwide:

Contemporary Christian Fiction (Kindle Store)
Contemporary Religious Fiction
Inspirational Religious Fiction

And on Amazon Canada:
Religious Fiction
Fiction
Religious & Inspirational Fiction

Typically as a middle-aged guy I do not normally read romances. Some of the YA Books I have read have a romance element, but usually written around adventure or mystery. But I would say this story is less of a romance and more of a Christian living story. Life is hard, relationships are hard, marriage is work. And As this story portrays those who have a Christian or Catholic faith element in their lives are not spared these, but they have a strength in them. When the two brothers in the story are talking at one point we are told:

“Yeah. Benign, thank God. But still.” Chris picked up the shovel and started pushing snow toward the end of the driveway, his voice drifting over his shoulder. “He’s going to have surgery. So, no, my faith isn’t some kind of magic get-outta-jail-free card.” Shovel loaded with snow, he stopped and said, “But it does mean I don’t deal with all of this alone. And it—all suffering—has meaning and purpose.” He resumed shoving the fluffy powder down the drive. “But I still think you’re missing the point.” 
Alan caught up to him, snatching the shovel from his hands. “How so?” 
“It’s not what I can get out of it. If that’s all you’re after—some kind of prosperity gospel—don’t waste your time.”

In part the story revolves around these two brothers and their marriages. The story begins with Chris being kicked out of the house by his wife, and he really has no idea why. He ends up bunking with his brother Alan, and his new bride, who is expecting their first. Things go from bad to worse for Chris, as he is laid off, and after his mother-in-law has surgery she moves in with his wife for help during her recovery.

This story could be about my own brothers, guys I grew up with or even friends now. It is very real. At times raw. But also open an honest. The characters are exceptionally well written. And in some ways it reminds me of some of Madeleine L’Engle’s more mature Chronos stories or her adult fiction and adult non-fiction. There are echo’s in this story that could lead to something like L’Engle’s Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage.

I could hardly put this book down. It is a page turner. You will find yourself drawn in, and the characters will become like friends, and you will find yourself invested in what is happening to and with them. It is a very realistic read. And I devoured the book in a single day on my commute to and from work, and reading through my lunch and coffee breaks. 

This is another excellent read from Astfalk’s pen. It is an excellent Christian novel, with a cautionary tale, and a story that contains stories of redemption, recovery, and marriage. I am very thankful I gave it and read and I am sure you will enjoy it if you give it a chance.

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

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2020

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2020

This quarter I have read 96 books, which was one more than Q4 2019. It was a good start to the year. And may excellent reads. Seventy-Seven of those books were first time reads. And 66 received 5/5 stars. Only 15 were fiction and 51 were non-fiction. And 8 of those had been read before. I am reading at the pace of about a book a day. 

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the first quarter of 2020.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Books by J.B. Midgley
link to all review of books by Midgley
2. Consecration to St. Joseph - Donald H. Calloway
3. Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits - Dan Burke
4.  From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church - Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah
5. Epic Saints Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes - Shaun McAfee
6. CTS Biographies
7. Lenten Journey with Mother Mary - Fr. Edward Looney
8. CTS Great Saints
Thomas Aquinas: The Mind In Love - Vivian Boland
Saint Ignatius of Loyola - J.A. Philips
9. The Passion of St. Edward, King and Martyr - Goscelin of Saint-Bertin and Eric Sammons
10. Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross
Meditations on Stations of the Cross - John Henry Newman 
Stations of the Cross - Saint Alphonsus Liguori 

Bonus:
In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
everyone's way of the cross - Clarance Enzler
Way of the Cross - Saint Josemaria Escriva
Sr. Elizabeth Prout - Sister Dominic Savio Hamer CP - CTS Saints of the Isles

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. The Cassandra Curse - Fiorella De Maria
2. The Ghosts of Midgard Manor: And Other Stories - Roger Thomas
3. See No Evil - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mystery Book 3
4. The Tattered Web - Roger Thomas - Watchful Sky Series Book 4
5. Stay With Me Series - Carolyn Astfalk
Stay With Me - Come Back To Me
6. The Lucifer Ego - T.M. Doran - The Sequel to Toward the Gleam
7. A Channel of Your Peace - Veronica Smallhorn
8. A Conspiracy of Bones - Kathy Reichs - Temperance Brennan Book 19
9. Level 13 - Gordon Korman - Slacker Book 2
10. Dragon Assassin 7 Hidden Powers - Arthur Slade

Bonus:
Mystic Informant - Carissa Douglas - Douglings Adventures Book 1
Extreme Blindside - Leslea Wahl

My reading has been consistent at about a book a day over the last few years. I attribute part of it to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Though I am working from home now because of Covid-19 This quarter was 80% non-fiction. There are so many great series I am reading from the Catholic Truth Society, I have had to make an effort to actually fit in some fiction.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are in the bonus section. It was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list


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
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

96 - 2019 January-March
392 - 2019
359 - 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




Monday, 30 March 2020

Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley - CTS Great Saints

Benedict Patron of Europe
CTS Great Saints
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823275
CTS Booklet B782


To start with I am a huge fan of the Catholic Truth Society and the writings of J.B. Midgley. I have been working on tracking down and reading all 28 books by J.B. Midgley. Twenty-six of those books were for the Catholic Truth Society.  And 6 of those were from the CTS Great Saints Series. I have also read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved almost all of them. Lately I have been focused more on this series, and a couple of others, almost alternating books in each series, and still have over a dozen in this series I want to read.  On top of finishing all the books written by Midgley. This volume was published in 2005 and as of the date of this review there is no eBook edition. I can easily that this is a great book, by an excellent author in an amazing series! 

The description on the back of the book is:

“By taking the name Benedict XVI, the new Pope underlines the power and legacy of one of Christendom’s – and Europe’s – greatest saints. This booklet tells the story of St Benedict’s life, monasteries and famous followers down the centuries.

The unfolding influence of his celebrated ‘Rule’ on sixth and twenty-first century Europe is explored, particularly in the light of current concerns over a pervading de-Christianisation of Europe, its institutions, and its soul.”

And the chapters in the volume are:

Introduction
The Life of Benedict
Benedict’s Rule
Benedict’s Legacy

The first half of the book is about the man and his rule. The second half is the impact of the rule through the lives of successive saints and holy men down through the ages to today. Those eminent Benedictines are are:

St Augustine of Canterbury d.c.604
St Cuthbert, 634-687
St Bede the Venerable, 673-735
St Boniface, 675-754
St Dunstan, 909-988
St Bruno and the Carthusians, 1030-1101
St Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109
St Bernard of Clairvaux. 1090-1153

And Midgley has written biographies on at least 1 of those and others mentioned in the book. This book also begins and ends with prayers. Which is imminently fitting for a book on Saint Benedict. The book opens with a prayer written for the feast day of Benedict and ends with a novena prayer to Benedict. I have added both prayers into my daily devotions. I added the prayer at the beginning the day the book arrived when I was flipping through it. 

Midgley finds a way to tie most of his writings back to the impact on Wales, England or the British Isles and he does the same in this volume. The book was an excellent little read. It has left me with an even greater appreciation for this Saint, his rule, and as mentioned a prayer devotion to him intercession. 

A great volume that I give top marks!   

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

Books by J.B. Midgley:

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


Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B.Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B.Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B.Midgley
Dominic - J.B.Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B.Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B.Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B.Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B.Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Robert Bellarmine - J.B.Midgley
Saint Anthony of Padua - Jude Winkler
Saint Dominic and the Order of Preachers - Richard Finn
Saint Francis of Assisi - Jennifer Moorcroft
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – J.A. Philips
Saint John the Baptist - J.B.Midgley
Saint Padre Pio A Holy Priest - Jim Gallagher
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux - Vernon Johnson
Thomas Aquinas - Vivian Boland
Vincent de Paul - J.B.Midgley