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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Faith in Age - Adrian Lickorish - How To Keep the Faith In Our Later Years

Faith in Age: 
How To Keep the Faith In Our Later Years
Adrian Lickorish
ISBN 9781784695637
eISBN 9781784695637
ASIN B07DG1WQG5
CTS Booklet 


Over the last few years, I have read over 200 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. And almost always when I read one I find one or two more I want to read, and have a wish list over 200 books long as well. This is the first I have read by Adrian Lickorish, and it appears to be one of four published by the CTS from his pen. It also appears that this booklet is only available electronically. I cannot find any evidence that there was ever a print edition of this volume. The description of this booklet is:

“This booklet is intended to encourage the elderly in their Christian faith. It addresses the wisdom and temptations of old age, the new and valuable role of the elderly; thankfulness, nurturing faith, hope, humility and fortitude, and growing in charity. Age draws us closer to God, through prayer, and the reassurance that faith brings, encouraging reconciliation, forgiveness, and great internal peace in the face of sickness, death, judgement and the promise of heaven. Practical and spiritual encouragement stems from the prayer, reflection, illustration and commentary drawn from rich and varied sources.”

I am a little younger than the intended audience for this volume. As often in makes reference to living faith in retirement and later years. But I am fast approaching it. A few yeas back I read a book after fitness in your 50’s and wished I had read it in my mid 40’s to start applying the lessons and wisdom it contained. I was hoping for the same with this volume. Some sage advice that I could grow into as I approach my 60’s and beyond. I have mixed feeling about the volume. The first two sections are excellent. But I felt the third section was a little blah, and Appendix on prayers was lackluster to say the least. All that section continued was two types of prayers and no specific prayers or recommendations for prayer books. Of which there are many including several from the CTS. The sections in the booklet are:

Section A: Introduction
     1. A new rank, a new role
Section B: The Role of the Elder
     2. Change
     3. Thankfulness
     4. Faith, hope and charity
     5. Will
     6. Mission and prayer
     7. Closer to God
Section C: The Reassurance of Faith
     8. Forgiveness
     9. Peace
     10. Death
     11. Purgatory
     12. Heaven
Appendix: Prayers

In some ways this booklet read more as an academic work, an essay for a Religious Studies Class, than written for an aging audience. We are told in the section on the aim of the booklet that:

“Each chapter is divided into four parts: a biblical quote; a prayer; a reflection; and a commentary.”

And there is a wide range in size for each section. Though they all seem to shrink by the third section of the book. When I read a book like this I often have many highlights and footnotes I have added in my Kindle app. I had highlighted 14 passages my first time through, but they were all before the halfway mark in the book. A sampling of them are:

“As ever, great things are not achieved lightly. We face challenges to our faith in old age. We face pain and apprehension. We face a natural decline in confidence as our powers wane.”

“In our lives, in Britain, we have seen a decline in the number of Catholic priests, fewer church services, smaller congregations. There appears a widening gap between traditional Catholic teaching and the law and culture of modern Britain.”

“Even in old age, perhaps especially in old age, maintaining our faith enables us to be missionaries, counsellors, examples and prayer warriors.”

“Much that was well known is now forgotten. Much we could essay is now beyond us. We lack the strength, the agility, the boldness, the stamina and enthusiasm. We cannot work or play as of old.”

“We need to retain the resolve we showed in our trade, profession or vocation of earlier years. How we live now, our pattern of prayer, hope, unselfishness and charity, will influence others.”

“Our later years are not times to give up the fight. Of course our mental and physical powers will decline; but there is no reason for our spiritual power and commitment to lessen. We must remain conscious of the need to preserve our will in relation to our faith and to our spiritual power.”

“We aid our progress on our spiritual path by what we see, what we hear and what we do. Prayer, alms (where would Church charities be without our financial support?), fasting (which need not be absolute to be effective) all take us forward.”

This book is worth the price even if you just read the first two sections. He lays a good groundwork. Builds upon it. And then sort of leave the house unfished. But even an unfinished house can provide some protect and is of worth. It is an interesting volume. And a great beginning. I just wished it had finished as well as it began.

I gave this book 4/5 stars because the first two sections are excellent. And as such I can recommend if you are aging, pushing retirement or already there, or have friends and family at that stage of life this book could be of value. The writing is good enough I have his three other volumes on my “to be read” pile.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Adrian Lickorish:
Is Jesus God?: Examining the Evidence
Reasons to Believe: Does God Exist?
How to Enter Heaven
...






Saturday, 16 October 2021

The Vines of Mars - A.R.K. Watson - A Seeded Sky Book

The Vines of Mars: 
Murder on a Small Colonial Planet
A Seeded Sky Book
ISBN 9798654754073
ASIN B08JYZ1P62


This was the second story from A.R.K. Watson that I have read. Both this one and The Dunes: A Novella came highly recommended. Her works follow in a log line of Catholic Science Fiction stories. Reading this I was reminded of Sacred Visions edited by Andrew M. Geeley and the two volumes edited by Karina Fabian; Infinite Space, Infinite God II, and Infinite Space, Infinite God. This story is a little dark and has some serious edge to it. This book is a very good read, Watson to date only has the two published works and they were released a few months apart in 2020. But as the first novel it is an impressive effort.

The description of the novel is:

“Tomás was born on Earth, but all he’s known is the hard life of a farmer on the wild frontier of Mars. As a child he lost his sister to a violent dust storm and but longs to know what happened and if her remains lie somewhere in the man-eating vine forest. When a stranger walks out of the desert and shows him where his sister’s body is, he’s pulled from the predictable days of a farmer and into a world of life and death.

To solve the mystery, Tomás will have to dive into the secrets of this violent planet, brave forces of nature he does not comprehend, and stay one step ahead of a killer who may be coming after the rest of his family.”

The story is more than just religious fiction. It is also more than a murder mystery in space. The story is well written with great characters, they are fleshed out and with solid back stories. The story has some very interesting twists and turns, much like the vines that have invaded the red planet. How far would you go to find a sibling’s killer, what would you be willing to risk? Tomás is forced to find out in this story. 

I stated of Watson’s other story that it “reminded me of Ray Bradbury’s stories in The October Country, and two of his novels. It is a tightly written story. Some will call this story unnerving, others eerie, some even dark and disturbing.” The same can be said for this story. Towards the end of the story, we find out something that will not only impact this colonizing effort but all of man kind’s future in space. And it leaves you desperate for the next story in the series. 

This novel was a great first effort. An excellent read in a classic Science Fiction style. The works of A.R.K. Watson are well worth the effort. Great for fans of Catholic fiction. Those who like a mystery with a bit of a darker edge. And for fans of the Science fiction Genre. I highly recommend it.

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

Books by A.R.K. Watson:

A Seeded Sky Series:



Friday, 15 October 2021

Saint Joseph the Protector - Father Mark Goring - A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph

St. Joseph the Protector: 
A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph
Fr. Mark Goring
ISBN 9781508450801


I loved working through this book. It is one of many on Saint Joseph that I have read prior to and during the Year of Saint Joseph. But this book sat beside my desk for several weeks, a couple of months because I tend not to get around to reading physical books, mainly because of my dyslexia. I made the commitment and read this and A Novena to St Columba by Fr Ross Crichton SJ by putting them on my desk on top of my tablet and prayed the novena’s first thing in the morning before beginning my workday. I loved praying this book. I plan to work through this again next year leading up to Saint Joseph’s feast day.

This was the first book I have read by Father Goring, and I hope it will not be the last. I have watched a few of his videos when friends have shared them on social media. I am also familiar with the Companions of the Cross that Father Mark is a member of. I find his writing in this volume engaging and approachable. The description of the book is:

“A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph. After the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no saint in the Catholic Church who is more highly honoured than St. Joseph. Devotion to St. Joseph is meant to complement devotion to Our Lady. This little book will help readers learn more about the foster father of Jesus. It is also a guide for preparing readers to entrust themselves to St. Joseph. When we entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, we are imitating Jesus and Mary who entrusted themselves to this just man.”

The Chapters in this book are:

Introduction
Day 1 Man of Silence
Day 2 Foster Father of Jesus
Day 3 Joseph’s Trial and Annunciation
Day 4 Patron of Contemplatives
Day 5 St. Joseph and the Patriarch Joseph
Day 6 Glory of Home Life
Day 7 Diligent Protector of Christ
Day 8 Patron of a Happy Death
Day 9 Universal Patron
Entrustment prayer
Feasts of St. Joseph
Litany of Saint Joseph
Other Prayers to St. Joseph
     Prayer for Purity
     Protection Prayer

This volume received the Nihil obstat from Rev. Richard Jaworski, CC and the Imprimatur from the Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa September 8th 2014. This book came out several years before the Year of Saint Joseph, but I only ran across it during that yeah from December 2020 to December 2021. I highlighted several passages while praying through this booklet, some of them are:

“After the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no saint in the Catholic Church who is more highly honored than St. Joseph. As Catholics, we love St. Joseph. We have a great devotion to him. The Church celebrates a number of feasts in his honour.”

“He is the Silent Man, and this silence should catch our attention.”

“The Blessed Virgin Mary was visited by an angel and invited to say “yes” to God’s plan. This was Our Lady’s Annunciation. Likewise, St. Joseph was visited by an angel and asked for his assent to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband to Mary.”

“Work is also an essential part of a contemplative’s life. St. Joseph’s days were spent working as a carpenter. God could have chosen a wealthy man with many servants to be His Son’s earthly father, but instead He chose a humble tradesman who had calluses on his hands. A contemplative’s day is filled with work. We are meant to enjoy leisure but not to be idle. Our time should be spent purposely even resting or relaxing.”

“The patriarch Joseph in many ways prefigures St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. It is not likely a coincidence that these two men share the same name. In this chapter (5) we will look at the story of the patriarch Joseph and highlight some of the parallels between these two great men.”

“Today, on the last day of our preparation for entrustment, we look to St. Joseph as universal patron. The Church invites all people to have a devotion to the foster father of Jesus. St. Joseph is for everyone. We can all find something St. Joseph models that inspires us.”

In the first chapter there is also a wonderful list of 10 things Saint Joseph knew. But to find out what they were you will need to read this book. The section on the Feasts of St. Joseph list three feasts and what day to start the novena on to finish on the feast. But the book can be used at any time. 

I loved this book and appreciated the devotion. I just wish this and the other books by Father Mark Goring were available electronically. Especially with my dual form of dyslexia, eBooks are far more accessible, as the page color, font, and even font spacing can be changed to make reading easier. However even thought it took me a while to pick up the physical book, I was greatly blessed once I did and really appreciate this novena to Saint Joseph.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Father Mark Goring:
In His Zone: 7 Principles for Thriving in Solitude
Treasure In Heaven: Journal Edition
Disciple Notebook: Discipleship. Living in the Spirit. Evangelization 2018
Disciple Notebook: Discipleship. Living in the Spirit. Evangelization 2019
Hold My Beer: An Apocalypse

Non-English Editions:
San Jose el Protector: Una Preparacion de Nueve Dias para Consagrarse a San Jose
Duc Thanh Giuse Dang Bao Tro: Chin Ngay Chuan Bi de Dang Minh Cho Duc Thanh Giuse

Other reviews and articles about Saint Joseph:
Consecration to St. Joseph - Fr. Donald Calloway
Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph Compiled from Traditional Sources- TAN Books
Prayer to Saint Joseph Prayer of the Day
Joseph of Nazareth - Federico Suarez
Devotion to St. Joseph - F. Declaux
Go to St. Joseph: Do Whatever He Tells You - Brian Kiczek
Saint Joseph: Help for Life's Emergencies - Kathryn J. Hermes
Feast of Saint Joseph 2018 Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary Principal Patron of Canada
Companion to Saint Joseph - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series
Saints of the Roman Canon - Julien Chilcott-Monk - CTS Living the Liturgy Series
Seven Saints for Seven Virtues - Jean M. Heimann
Saint Joseph the Protector - Father Mark Goring - A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph 







Thursday, 14 October 2021

A Novena to St Columba - Father Ross Crichton SJ - CTS Devotions

A Novena to St Columba
Naboibheim Ri Naomh Calum Cille
Nóibhéine Do Naomh Colm Cille
Trilingual in A Novena to St Columba
Fr Ross Crichton SJ
ISBN 9781784696580
CTS Booklet D836


I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society, I discovered them a few years back and have been hooked.  This is a new title in the CTS Devotions Series and this is an amazing booklet. The description of this booklet is:

“Fifteen hundred years on, the seeds of faith planted by Saint Columba continue to bear fruit. His spiritual and cultural legacy is maintained by the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Scotland whose Christian Faith finds its most authentic expression in the ancient tongue of the Gael.

This Novena and Litany were composed to mark the 1500th anniversary of Saint Columba's birth and it can be used by the faithful all year round. It puts us in touch again with the roots of our faith, and the trilingual format reconnects the Irish, Scottish and English communities among which Saint Columba and his missionaries lived and worked.

As we celebrate this anniversary, we seek the intercession of this holy man of God for the needs of our own times.”

The chapters in this booklet are:
A Celtic Heritage – Past and Present
     Saint Columba
     Seeking the Intercession of the Saints
     Pilgrimage – A Return to Our Spiritual Roots
     Novena & Litany
Acknowledgements
Forward Bishop Alan McGuckian, Bishop of Raphoe
Forward Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll & the Isles
Introductory Prayers
The First Day – The Family
The Second Day – Peace
The Third Day – Emigration/Pilgrimage
The Fourth Day – Seafarers
The Fifth Day – Building the Kingdom of God
The Sixth Day – Work
The Seventh Day – Spreading the Light of the Gospel
The Eighth Day – Civil Authorities
The Ninth Day – The Life to Come
A Litany of St Columba

If you wash to say the novena and conclude on the feast of Saint Columba. June 8th. You begin on May 31st. But the novena can be prayed at any time in the year. First I must state that this is a beautiful booklet, about twice the size of the standard CTS booklets these days. It is nearly 8.5 x 6 inches in size. Nice cardboard cover, with full color throughout. The center of the booklet is a full two page spread of the Abbey of Iona, Scotland photographed by Andrew Haysom. I first became fascinated by Saint Columba through some of the many writings of Alice Curtayne, and it was researching her works that lead me to the books and booklets of the Catholic Truth Society. This volume is a joint publication between Mungo Books and the CTS. But I have not been able to find any info on Mungo. But back to this volume. 

This book sat beside my desk for several weeks, a couple of months because I tend not to get around to reading physical books. I was informed because of the trilingual format and column structure a eBook might be a while in the making. I made the commitment and read this and a Novena to Saint Joseph the Protector by Father Mark Goring, CC.by putting them on my desk on top of my tablet and prayed the novena’s first thing in the morning before beginning my workday. I loved praying this book. And plan to work through it again next year leading up to Saint Columba’s feast day. I highlighted a few passages in the volume and some of them are:

“In 2021, we mark the 1500th anniversary of the birth of one of the most well known and well loved Celtic Saints. Saint Columba was born in Ireland in 521, a descendant of the princely family of Niall Noigiallach of Niall of the Nine hostages.”

“Saint Columba’s blessing made his foundations fruitful for many years to come. It is right that in this anniversary year we should seek his blessing anew – and that is the purpose of this Novena and Litany.”

“Many of the stories from Saint Adomnan’s Vita Columbae speak of the Saint interceding for calm seas and a favorable wind. The challenges for the Church in our time are surely no greater than they were in the time of Saint Columba. His life teaches us that when the winds are not favourable, then we have to ask God to intervene to make then favourable. The Wind which brings destruction can be turned around to become the wind which brings new life, if God so wills.”

“The cold, harsh winds of the ‘present evil age’ may blow stringly in our time, but the bright flower of Faith still stands firmly rooted in its native soil. Through the intercession of Saint Columba, may the wind of the Holy Spirit breathe new life into the legacy the Saint has left us, and may the Faith he preached bloom abundantly once more across the Celtic Fringe and beyond.”

Bishop McGuckian in his forward concluded with these words:

“I pray that in this 1500th anniversary of the birth of our great saint we will allow his passion for Christ to challenge us and echo in our lives in service of the Kingdom for which he gave his whole life.”

And Bishop McGee states:

“I pray that all who recite the Novena are, like Saint Columbia, drawn closer into the arms of God’s merciful love.”

And I would echo both of those prayers to all who pick up this booklet and pray through it. A couple of the passages I highlighted from the actual novena are:

“Leaving his own country, Saint Columba went over the sea as a pilgrim for the sake of Christ. Without worldly goods or means, he placed his trust in God. Let us ask the intercession of Saint Columba today for those who have to leave family and homeland to make a new life for themselves.”

“After arriving on the Isle of Iona, Saint Columbia built the famous monastery from which the light of faith would shine forth far and wide, drawing the people of the country to the Christian Faith. The Kingdom of God is built gradually, and as Christ Himself told us, we need patience until our labours brings forth their fruit.”

This is a wonderful novena and booklet. It is an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society. I highly recommend it. I was blessed praying this novena and am certain you will be as well.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.





Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Prayer of the Church - Father Robert Taylerson - A Guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer

The Prayer of the Church:
A Guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer
Robert Taylerson
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9780851839240
CTS Booklet D625



Over the last several years, I have read over 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series, and many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. I read one book by Father Taylerson in the CTS Deeper Christianity Series called Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow, when researching for that review I came upon this volume, another that sounded similar and 2 others in the Deeper Christianity Series. This was the next I tracked down to read. The description of the booklet is:

“This guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer is intended for beginners, whether sharing in community or praying the hours alone. It can be uses as a self-tutorial or as the work-book for a small group. It will be of value whether the edition of The Prayer of the Church you use is British, Irish, or American.”

The chapters in the book are:

Getting Started
Lessons
     1 - Introduction to Morning, Evening and Night Prayers
     2 - Understanding Your Office Book
     3 - Where to Start for Evening Prayer
     4 - Morning Prayer and Night Prayer
     5 - Understanding the Printed Psalter Page
     6 - Enhancing your Prayer

This volume was originally published in 1993, the CTS Booklet number is D625. Only after reading this and starting research for this review did I discover that there is an updated edition of this volume called Guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer: How to Pray the Prayer of the Church published in 2008 and released as an eBook in 2017. It has booklet number D671 and comes in at nearly twice the page count. But a quick comparison and the table of contents is the same. I have already picked up the eBook of that volume and will give it a read for comparison soon. But I do not regret picking up this as I tracked it down used and it appears to be signed and dedicated by the author. But back to this earlier edition for reviewing purposes. 

There are several things to like about this little volume. First it is written so that you can use it as a guide and starting point for praying the hours or even the whole breviary. It is written in a generic enough fashion that you can use various editions or printings of the Hours, and still use this as a guide. The author makes mention to American or UK editions a few times throughout the book. And the back cover makes mention of British, Irish or American editions.

Another excellent feature is that it is short and sweet. The lessons are clear and concise. And at the end of each of the 6 lessons are questions and exercises, so you can practice what you have learned. I know that these days many people use apps for the Hours, but for those who wish to still use books this is an excellent volume, or the newer edition should both serve well. I made note of several passages while working through this booklet. Some of them are:

“The seven hours of the old breviary did not contain precisely the same sequence of readings, psalms, and prayers as those of today’s Office, but the idea of praying and praising regularly with the whole Church is exactly the same.”

“In addition to the tradition of praying seven times a day is another tradition of praying three times a day. In Psalm 54 (55) the psalmist talks of turning to God three times a day (morning, noon and evening) as does Daniel (Dan 6:10). This was originally linked to the Jewish tradition of three temple-sacrifices each day, but the tradition continues in the Christian Church. In praying the psalm-based hours regularly through the day we become part of this long tradition maintained by God’s people as he guides them through the centuries.”

“It is probably a mistake to think of your book in the same light as books which are begun at the beginning and read to the end. It is better to think of it as containing several distinct sections, each of which has a different purpose. Try thinking of a loose-leaf file with different subjects, a Filofax or personal organizer, or a Sunday newspaper with several supplements. You then have a better idea of how your book has been edited and put together.”

“This lesson (6) looks at ways of praying the hours thoughtfully and personally. By using the Office book imaginatively you praise God more fervently, are nourished by his Words more fruitfully, and are present more attentively to him in prayer. Not all ways of praise and prayer fit each person. Always look to improve your prayer. Don’t be afraid to try other methods, but at the same time don’t think that there is anything wrong is a particular way of prayer doesn’t seem to fit.”

And the passage that I found struck me the hardest was:

“The regular habit of praying the hours is a great strength. Such habits carry us through the bad patches, and build our confidence in the good.

What should be avoided is that prayer becomes merely habit, that the words come out without thought, without feeling and without personal intent."

This is an excellent little read. And in the older style and format from the Catholic Truth Society. If you are interested I would recommend the newer edition, unless you want this original offering. A great little tool for praying the hours.

Reminder there is a newer edition of this booklet called Guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer: How to Pray the Prayer of the Church they are very similar, but I only found that out after picking up that one as well.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Father Robert Taylerson:
Guide to Morning, Evening and Night Prayer: How to Pray the Prayer of the Church
Desire and Delight: Intimacy with God through the Scripture - CTS Deeper Christianity Series
Teachings on Prayer: The Christian Tradition - CTS Deeper Christianity Series
...








Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Dark Tide - Jon Mayhew and Mark Penman - Paper Cuts II

Dark Tides
Paper Cuts II
Mark Penman (Illustrator)
ISBN 9781788373791


I first encountered Jon Mayhew’s works through his adult fiction, a mystery series under the name J.E. Mayhew. I love his writing and have been tracking them all down and reading them. I found that he had a lot of Teen and Young Adult books under this name. And that he has another awesome series under the pen name of Edwin Torr. This is one of 4 that Mayhew wrote for Badger Publishing. It is by far the darkest and most haunted of the three I have read so far. The description of the book is:

“Adam Tiller visits Dark Cove every year. Only the legend of an evil mermaid who haunts the bay makes this sleepy fishing village interesting. Adam sets out to make a hoax video of her. But other forces are at work in the village and the mermaid might be the least of Adam’s problems. After all, she’s just a legend, and legends aren’t real. Are they?"

Adam’s trek to the small village his parents are from is not exactly where he wants to be. In fact, it appears he would almost rather be anywhere else. But the legend of the local mermaid has captured his attention. And he is in for more than one surprise.

This is a great little read especially for reluctant readers. It will grab their attention and keep them hooked. As mentioned, it is one of four by Mayhew for Badger Learning. I can really appreciate the fact that this is available in print, or in book packs for the classroom. Also, that there are book packs of PDF’s available for learning purposes. I just wish more of the books from Badger were available as traditional eBooks for those of us who are not students, or not in the UK, as many of them are hard to track down in North America, and eBooks would be a great option.

This is another one that I am thankful to have tracked down from the publisher. I have one other by Mayhew from Badger on my reading pile then will look at tracking down some of their other titles. This is a story will have readers of all ages on the edge of their seats. There are several excellent illustrations from Mark Penman. Another excellent story from Mayhew!  

Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:
8.0 Dark Visions of Torment

Books as Jon Mayhew:
The Spybrarian

Monster Odyssey Series:
1.0 The Eye of Neptune
2.0 The Wrath of the Lizard Lord
3.0 The Curse of the Ice Serpent
4.0 The Venom of the Scorpion

Mortlock Series:
1.0 Mortlock
2.0 The Demon Collector
3.0 The Bonehill Curse

Collins Big Cat Series:
The Merchant of Venice: Band 16/Sapphire
Hamlet: Band 18/Pearl
Romeo and Juliet: Band 18/Pearl
Macbeth: Band 18/Pearl

Contributed to:
Beyond the Book: A Collection of Short Stories
Storycraft: How To Teach Creative Writing
Criminal Shorts: UK Crime Book Club Anthology
Make Doves Not War - Forward

Books as Edwin Torr:
Dead Means Dead Series
1.0 Demons - 2017
1.3 Cotton Candy - 2017
1.9 Remurdered - 2017
2.0 Angel Hunter - 2017
2.5 Cold Caller - 2017
3.0 Jigsaw Girl - 2018





Monday, 11 October 2021

Benedict XV and World War I - Father Ashley Beck - CTS Biographies

Benedict XV & World War I
Fr. Ashley Beck
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829000
CTS Booklet B757


Over the last few years I have read over 200 volume from the Catholic Truth Society. I am a huge fan of the Catholic Truth Society’s books and booklets. I have read many volumes from the CTS Great Saints Series, CTS Biographies, and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved almost all of them. This one is a little different the booklet code is B757 making it a biography, but it is also tagged as history, but the books on the Concise Histories series are prefaced with an “H”. But no matter how hard it is to classify it is an excellent read, and well worth the read today. It is one of eight volume written by Father Ashley Beck for the Catholic Truth Society and it is the second that I have read. In the acknowledgements we are informed that this book was published on the 90th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s ‘Peace Note’ from the summer of 1917. The description of this booklet is:

“Giacomo della Chiesa was elected pope in September 1914, only weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. On the centenary of that tragic development, this booklet examines how he (Benedict XV) and so many others worked courageously to stop the carnage – against all the odds. Arguably now, as then, he remains a dishonoured prophet who yet offers a lasting example to all who seek peace and an end to war. His example is ever more inspiring in this centenary year to a world so troubled with violence, hatred and wars.”

In the introduction to this book was are informed that:

“This booklet is a study of his consistent and outspoken opposition to the war, shown, for example, in one of the least noticed events of the First World War: the publication of the ‘Peace Note’ by the Pope in August 1917 in an effort to bring about a negotiated end to the war.”

And further on that:

“This underrated successor of St Peter and Vicar of Christ was thus a prophet ahead of his time.”

Father Beck does an excellent job of setting the historical context. The events, and the men that was Pope Benedict XV. He was well ahead of the curve on the focus on peace, and that war was changing in ways most devastating. Devastating to the soldiers and to the innocent civilians. We are informed that

“Pope Benedict XV’s urgings in the First World War were the fruits of the “science of peace” (to use the phrase coined many years later by John Paul II) which he learned in his long years in the Secretariate of the State.”

We are told about Benedict XV’s personality that:

“Benedict’s humanity and gentleness (although he was also at times short-tempered) are an important backdrop for his theology of reconciliation and peace.”

From the popes first encyclical he stove to avoid the conflict and once started did all he could to resolve it. 

“For the Pope to begin his pontificate with an encyclical devoted to the war was the clearest possible sign that striving for an end to the carnage would be at the heart of his ministry.”

But his efforts were often misunderstood and open opposed. Often both sides saw him as favouring the other. 

“Not for the last time, combatant countries could not understand that the international character of the Catholic Church cuts across national rivalries and conditions how the Church responds to specific incidents.”

Some of his greatest opposition came from other Catholics. This booklet makes reference to a CTS Volume called A Little Book of Prayers for Peace, It included Benedict’s XV’s prayer for peace and many other prayers from approved sources. (Note I have been trying to track this down but cannot find a copy anywhere.) In regards to Benedict XV’s vision of perception of warfare we are informed that:

“We can see that the development of modern warfare in the twentieth century has had the effect of driving Christian teaching to be more and more negative about war per se – and in this process Benedict’s teaching was clearly pioneering and prophetic.”
 
Even after the war Benedict had a deep concern for those lost on all sides:

“Benedict’s Incruentum Altaris showed that for him, the priority was praying for the souls of dead soldiers in purgatory and offering Masses for them.  How far do we follow this priority?”

This volume concludes with these words:

“A prophet is not primarily one who foretells the future, but one who speaks the Word of God in truth: and the truth about the First World War was not something which those in power in Europe wanted to face.  As we seek to deepen the Church’s theology of peace and help men and women to turn their backs on war and on all that glorifies war, Benedict XV is a great inspiration.”

This book is an excellent read. It is great for those looking into the history, and the development of the doctrine of peace. Benedict was a man ahead of his times, but his messages and concerns are just as relevant today. A great read. And one that leaves me wanting to track down Benedict XV Courageous Prophet of Peace by Father Ashely Beck, which is currently out of print.

Another excellent volume from the Catholic Truth Society. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Ashley Beck:
Dorothy Day – CTS Biographies
Benedict XV Courageous Prophet of Peace
Europe's Soul and Her Patron Saints
Oscar Romero: Martyr for Faith
Ronald Knox
Thomas Merton: Contemplative and Peace-maker









Sunday, 10 October 2021

Saint Andre Bessette Miracles in Montreal - Patricia Edward Jablonski and Barbara Kiwak - Encounter the Saints Series Book 27

Saint Andre Bessette
Miracles in Montreal
Encounter the Saints Series Book 27
Patricia Edward Jablonski
Barbara Kiwak (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819871220
eISBN 9781306806671
ASIN B005F1Q7SS


My children and I love this series. We have read many of the books more than once. And this one holds a special place in our hearts. We have not been to the shrine in Montreal but we did receive oil from the shine that we used on my son’s spine before major surgery, and it went way better than expected. 

This is an amazing series is! Between my three children and I we have now read nearly all of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children ages 13, 10, still both love these books. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. We have read many of them together and reread some of our favourites. We have also picked up copies of our favourites for the kids school library. A few years ago we read many books in the series, and have returned to it again recently. With each book we read we appreciate this series more. And we also hope there will be even more books in the future. And eventually eBooks of all of the volumes. As one has been released since we started reading them. But now back to this specific book on Saint Andre Bessette. 

The description of this volume is:

“An ordinary Brother of Holy Cross, Saint André Bessette spent most of his life answering the door for his religious community. Through his extraordinary devotion to Saint Joseph and his prayers for those in need, thousands of people were miraculously healed and helped. Inspired by God to build the Oratory of Saint Joseph, Brother André Bessette is beloved in his native Canada and beyond. Saint André Bessette was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2010.”

There are several different editions of this book, paperbacks and eBooks of various formats but the eBook editions was rereleased in 2019 under a different ISBN and ASIN. The various editions have been published between 2010 and 2019. But not matter which you lay your hands on I am certain you will be blessed by reading of the book. And impressed again by the story of simple faith that changed the lives of many

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Smiles and Tears
2. Changes
3. Home at Last
4. An Act of Daring
5. A Shrine is Born
6. The Miracles Begin
7. Trouble
8. Saint Joseph Gets His Wish
9. A Dream Takes Shape
10. Bigger and Better
11. The Blind Shall See
12. More Miracles
13. Speedy Recoveries
14. Needed: One Roof
15. The Final Journey
16. Still at Work
Prayer
Glossary

Living only a about 600Km from Montreal we are far more familiar with this saint than some of the other ones we have read about. But it was wonderful to read about this man, his faith, and the continued witness. His devotion to Saint Joseph and how God always provided when he lead this man. First in his religious life. Second in gaining the land. Then a small chapel, and finally in the oratory. My children always love the prayer at the end of the book as well as the glossary. We read it from beginning to end. The prayer in this volume is:

“Saint Brother André, you had a life full of miracles. How much good you did for others! You show me that faith, kindness, and humility come from loving God, and that simple trust is more important than possessions, accomplishments, or special talents. Your special love for Saint Joseph teaches me that making friends with the saints can help me be closer to God.

Saint Brother André, you never gave up on the dream God gave you. No matter what happened, you kept praying and working for what God wanted. Show me how to trust God as you always did. I believe that he has a plan for me, just as he had a plan for you. It’s not always easy for me to do what God asks, but that is what I want to do. Help me to spend my life loving God and other people just as you did, in whatever vocation I’m called to.

Please pray for me, Saint André Bessette. Amen.”

The prayer in this volume is the same one as in the companion volume, The Saints Pray for Us, which has prays for the first 30 saints and blessed covered in the series. This book is a wonderful read. Learning about Andre’s family life. Academic struggles. And even finding his place as the porter. A very inspiring read.

This is one of the two books in the series that is written by Patricia Edward Jablonski, and she cowrote 4 others. It is the one of the seven illustrated by Barbara Kiwak. This book follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to be pencil drawings or sketches. My children were fascinated by the sketches and went over them a few times. 

I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read over 30 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been worth the read. An excellent read in a wonderful series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Way of Love
Saint Thomas Aquinas Missionary of Truth
Saint Thomas More Courage, Conscience, and the King
Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima
The Saints Pray for Us