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Friday, 26 February 2021

How to be Happy - How to be Holy - Father Paul O'Sullivan

How to be Happy - How to be Holy
Father Paul O'Sullivan
ISBN 9780895553867
eISBN 9780895550330
ASIN B00DJGKWAA


This was the fourth book by Father Paul O’Sullivan that I have read in a month. And it is by far the longest. In fact, it is just slightly longer than the other three combined. I picked the first book up because it was promoted by TAN books in an email blast. They were promoting a bundle of books by Father Paul O'Sullivan. I know I have seen the covers before. And based on when the books were first published maybe even back to the Catholic Book Stores of my youth. A few of the titles piqued my interest. And books form TAN never disappoint. But I was not read to buy the whole bundle. I should have. As I have now read 4 and already have a2 more in my to be read list. For those not familiar as I was not:

“Fr. Paul Henry O'Sullivan, O.P., S.T.L., P.G., E.D.M., was born in Tralee, Ireland in 1871 and died in Lisbon, Portugal in 1958.”

The description of this volume is:

“Lovely short anecdotes from the lives of the Saints, showing us in a warm, encouraging and inspiring way the importance of prayer and the ease with which we can all derive great benefits therefrom, without yet being Saints ourselves. Covers the meaning of the basic Catholic prayers; plus, the Mysteries of the Rosary and the wonders of the Mass. Written for all and all should read it.”

The chapters in the book are:

Introduction: Read, Catholics, Read 
1. The Morning Offering 
2. Morning and Evening Prayers 
3. The Sign of the Cross 
4. The Our Father 
5. The Hail Mary 
6. The Power of the Hail Mary 
7. The Creed 
8. The Confiteor 
9. Hail Holy Queen 
10. The Gloria Patri 
11. The Rosary 
12. The Old Irish Woman’s Rosary 
13. The Popes and the Rosary 
14. Meditations on the Mysteries 
15. The Annunciation 
16. The Visitation 
17. The Birth of Our Lord 
18. The Presentation in the Temple 
19. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple 
20. The Sorrowful Mysteries 
21. The Agony of Jesus in the Garden 
22. The Scourging at the Pillar 
23. The Crowning with Thorns 
24. Christ Carrying His Cross 
25. Jesus Dies on the Cross 
26. A Lover of the Passion 
27. The Resurrection 
28. The Ascension 
29. The Descent of the Holy Ghost 
30. The Assumption 
31. The Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven 
32. The Wonders of Holy Mass 
33. What Is the Mass? 
34. The Joy of the Saints at Mass 
35. Priests, the Happiest of Men 
36. The Benefits of the Mass 
37. Priests, Angels on Earth 
38. How to Hear Mass with Profit 
39. The Value of Small Things 
40. Ejaculations 
41. What the Saints Say of Ejaculations 
42. Our Angel Guardians Introduction

In the introduction we are told that:

“This booklet has in view to teach Christians: 
a) How to pray. 
b) How to derive immense benefits from prayer. 
c) How to enjoy the deep consolation of prayer.”

And also:

“First of all, what is prayer and how should we pray?

The second great thought is that God has bound Himself most solemnly to hear our prayers.

A third truth which we must bear in mind is that every prayer we say with reverence and trust, such as any ordinary Christian can say, gives God immense glory and pleasure.

Fourthly, our prayers obtain for us many important graces and blessings which we shall never get and never enjoy if we do not ask for them.

Fifthly, all men desire happiness, all men seek happiness, all men work for happiness.

God alone gives happiness, as God alone gives life and health. Happiness is God’s greatest gift, for it embraces what is best for us.”

This book is an excellent read. I believe that no matter who we are we can always improve our prayer life. It can develop, grow, and deepen. But Like anything else it will take, work, discipline, and effort. This volume is a fantastic tool for growing in the discipline of prayer, and through prayer to learn to be more happy, and to become more holy.

Matthew Kelly often uses the line “Become the best version of yourself.” In his talks and in his books. I heard his say that he used to tell people to become saints, but that they would say that they did not think they could be saints. But when he switched to the best version they embraced it. This volume could easily be a precursor to much of Kelly’s writings. It would also be an excellent read for fans of Kelly’s works. 

This book is well written. Father Paul draws extensively from the saints and church writings. One of the statements that really hit me was:

“Prayer Is The Greatest Power,
The Greatest Consolation In The World”

This book can easily be read by anyone with a grammar school education. It is easy to digest. And can take a lifetime to apply. It is well written. It will encourage and challenge the reader.

It is another excellent volume from TAN Books and Father Paul O’Sullivan. I highly recommend it.

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

Books by Father Paul Henry O'Sullivan, O.P:
All About the Angels
How to Avoid Purgatory
My Lord and My God, Or, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
Our Lady of Fatima
Read Me or Rue It
St. Patrick and the Irish
The Divine Office: How to Say it Devoutly, How to Make it a Pleasure
The Glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Story of a Great Man: Doctor Antonio de Oliveira Salazar
The Ten Commandments: For Real - For Now
What Ireland Owes to Portugal










Thursday, 25 February 2021

The Holy Mass - Mike Aquilina - Sayings of the Fathers of the Church Volume 3

The Holy Mass
Mike Aquilina (Editor) 
ISBN 9780813233352
eISBN 9780813233369


I have long been a fan of Mike Aquilina’s works. I have read some of his other works on the church fathers. And I have others in my ‘to be read pile’. This is a book dedicated to what the Fathers say specifically about the mass. The description of the volume is:

“Sayings of the early Church fathers on all aspects of the Catholic Mass, drawn largely from the Catholic University of America's Fathers of the Church series.”

The contents of the volume are:

Foreword by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap. 
Acknowledgments 
List of Abbreviations 
Introduction 
1. The Sign of the Cross 
2. Penitence 20 3. Glory to God 
4. Readings from Scripture 
5. The Homily 
6. Prayers of Intercession 
7. The Offertory 
8. Holy, Holy, Holy 
9. The Eucharistic Prayer 
10. The Lord’ s Prayer 
11. The Sign of Peace 
12. Holy Communion 
13. Dismissal 
Bibliography 
Index 

Mike states in the Acknowledgements:

“I am grateful to John B. Martino for inviting me to contribute to this prestigious series for a venerable publishing house. His mercy endures. 

With John’ s invitation came permission to quote freely from the CUA Press’ s Fathers of the Church series. I have cherished this series for decades. It’ s almost a quarter-century since my wife, Terri, bought me a partial set for my birthday — all the volumes that were then in print. We had no money at the time, so I have no idea how she did this. Needless to say, I love her with an abiding intensity that she often finds embarrassing. Nevertheless, I acknowledge her here.”

And in the introduction, he tells a story of an encounter with a Mennonite Grad School Librarian. The story begins with:

“She was recently retired after a long career at an evangelical seminary, and she loved her work. She had helped thousands of young candidates for the clergy to reach beyond themselves, their own inchoate thoughts, and the suppositions of their local church — and modernity. She had introduced them to the world of biblical scholarship and the vast writings of the seminary’ s particular heritage (Mennonite).”

This librarian was amazed that a scholar could dedicated their works to the first 300 years of Christianity. I am certain from my own studies at a university that had 4 church collages of different denominations and time at many universities across Canada that many in other denominations have at best a passing interest or engagement with the Church Fathers. I aloo know many Catholic who know them in passing at best. But I also know others who a big part of their conversion was due to interaction with the Church Fathers. 

And one of the top living scholars in the world in this field if Mike Aquilina. His editorial work in this volume is excellent. He takes on a journey through the order of the mass and uses the Church Fathers as our guide and foundation. 

I read this book over two days. But plan to go back and reread it at a slower pace. There are so many gems in this volume. And it makes so much sense. The Mass was passed down from Jesus to the Apostles and from the apostles to the early church. And in this book drawn from the early Church Fathers Mike shows us the history, tradition, and mystery of the mass. And through that we realize again the centrality of this to our faith. 

This is a fantastic book. A volume any Catholic would benefit from reading. A book I highly recommend for any home, school, or church Library.

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





Sayings of the Fathers of the Church Series:
Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell - Edward Condon
The Seven Deadly Sins - Kevin M. Clarke
The Holy Mass - Mike Aquilina
..

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna
...


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Robin Hood the Just: A Catholic Hero - Ellen Tomaszewski and Kathryn Mack

Robin Hood the Just: A Catholic Hero
Kathryn Mack
ISBN 9781505118957


This book arrived in a box of books for review. My youngest daughter was immediately taken with it. She loved the cover, loved the format, and loved the illustrations. But she struggled with the calligraphy. She can read and write cursive but gave up on the calligraphy, especially the fancy first letters of sentences. So I read it to her twice, and she is working on the font. 

The description of this book is:

“Few fairy tales mention faith, let alone religion. But kids need to see characters who are grounded in faith. Robin Hood the Just is based on a song from the Middle Ages that tells how Robin Hood went to Mass and prayed the rosary. Inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization, this story is designed to entertain children while teaching them important basics of the Catholic faith.”

My daughter was confused. She had always thought that Robin hood was a bad guy. She was unfamiliar with the legends and that his being good or bad is a matter of opinion. I personally was unfamiliar with his Catholic faith. None of the versions I have encountered have had his Catholic faith as an element. 

This book brings the life and faith of this man to young readers. It focuses on a few key facts that are known about his and his faith. The book is written in the style of a classic Celtic manuscript. With embellishments around each page. Sharp bold calligraphy in each page. The story is in verse. With lots of space on each page.

My children both loved this book. They both give it 5/5 stars. I gave it a very solid 4/5. It is a good book. And really shows the importance of faith, and living that faith out.  A fun read. 

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

Books by Ellen Tomaszewski:
Articles at Mass - Roman Catholic Picture Book
Discerning God's Call
Intern Handbook: Training Interns to direct the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 19th Annotation
My Blindy Girl - a mother's journey through achromatopsia
Rose Colored Glasses
Stations of the Cross for young Catholics
Toxic
Write Your Faith Autobiography

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The Monks' Stormy Night - Sylvia Dorham and Christopher Tupa

The Monks' Stormy Night
Christopher Tupa (Illustrator)
ISBN 9781505111811
eISBN 9781505111828


I read the first book in this series 4 years ago, The Monk’s Daily Bread, and never got around to reviewing it. I plan to go back and read it again just for that purpose. Then last in 2020 I read The Monks Make Amends, and I loved it as did my youngest daughter, my son. It has the family seal of approval from 10 years to 50 years of age. The day this one arrived my youngest read it to us twice. She read it to me and then to her 13 year old brother. And then she read it to a friend over the phone describing the pictures. I stated before that these books remind me of Tales of a Magic Monastery by Theophane the Monk and also The Case of the Haunted Chapel by Karen Kelly Boyce and Sue Anderson Gioulis Sisters of the Last Straw Book 1 but geared for younger readers. The description of this book is:

“The monks of Archangel Monastery are prepared for a hard winter. But look out, monks! A bad winter storm is coming!

This beautifully-illustrated book will be enjoyed by children and their caregivers for its humorous pictures, for fun rhymes reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, and for the heartfelt message of sincere trust in the Lord's providence.”

This time a big story is headed to the monastery that is guided and lead by Father Abbot. Father Abbot leads by example. He is the one pitching in and starting all the work. The monks face many issues during the story, no heat, no electricity, a flood. But they also learn that God is in control, and always provides a way. The book has a great lesson. And serves as a reminder to always trust in God. The book ends with a verse for the kids to memorize and my daughter realized that it was a different verse than last time.

Again, the illustrations are wonderful. And the winter scenes are my favorites so far in the series. It is a fun story. All three of us give it a solid 5/5 stars. We plan to go back and reread the first book, The Monk’s Daily Bread, and really hope that there will be more stories with these monks. A great picture book in a wonderful series.

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

Books by Sylvia Dorham:
The Monks Series:
The Monk’s Daily Bread

Other Books:
Rosana: A Modern Retelling of the Book of Ruth
Jewel
The Book of Names: An Accounting of What Might Have Been
Avoiding The Octopus




Monday, 22 February 2021

Prayer of the Day a Prayer from Father Mike Schmitz

Prayer from Father Mike Schmitz

Jesus, you know me better than I know myself. 
You know my hurts, my fears, my doubts, my sins. 
Without you, Lord, I am not fine. 
But with you in my life, I don’t need to forget my past, 
ignore my present, or fear the future. 
With confidence in your great love for me, 
I run to you for help and healing. 
I need you today and always, Jesus. 
You alone can undo what has come undone in me.
Amen

This is a prayer taken from:

A World Undone: Finding God When Life Doesn't Make Sense
Fr. Mike Schmitz
ISBN 9781593255992
eISBN 9781593255626
ASIN B08RG844X8 

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.
...


Books By Father Mike Schmitz:
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attraction and the Catholic Church
How to Make Great Decisions
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike
A World Undone: Finding God When Life Doesn't Make Sense


Contributed to:
Beautiful Hope
Beautiful Mercy
Pray, Decide, and Don't Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God's Will
Don't Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Young People


Audio Talks by Father Mike Schmitz:
Living Life by Design, Not by Default
Love - Sacrifice - Trust He Showed Us the Way
From Love, By Love, For Love
True Worship
The Four Last Things
Jesus Is …
Changed Forever - The Sacrament of Baptism
We Must Go Out - The Sacrament of Confirmation

Friday, 19 February 2021

The Church and the Middle Ages 1000–1378 - Steve Weidenkopf - Reclaiming Catholic History Series Book 4

The Church and the Middle Ages (1000–1378)
Cathedrals, Crusades, and the Papacy in Exile
Reclaiming Catholic History Series Book 4
Mike Aquilina (Editor)
Ave Maria Press
ISBN 9781594719530
eISBN 9781594719547
ASIN B08GCCNXRL


I have greatly enjoyed the other three volumes in this series that I have read. The Church and the Roman Empire by Mike Aquilina, The Early Church by James L. Papandrea, and The Church and the Modern Era by David M. Wagner. The books in the series are be released out of order. There will be seven volumes in this series. Mike Aquilina is the general editor of the series and has been doing an excellent job. I approached this volume with great interest. The time period covered is one of personal interest and many years of study. I can easily state that this volume was an excellent read. This book and the whole series to date are excellent reads. I spent 20 years as an undergraduate, for the most part because I loved learning. My last degree was in Religious Studies with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. I would have loved this book and those I have read in this series as resources. This book would have also been an excellent resource for some of my history courses.   

Many years ago when I did an Introduction to Church History course at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo, our professor, Arnold Snider, often said throughout the year, “I do not care as much about dates and names and places, as the story of Christianity. On your final exam the main question will be ‘Your uncle Billy at Christmas dinner says: ‘I hear you did the history of Christianity, tell us the story in your own words?’” And that was one of the essay questions on the exam. This book and the three others I have read in the series would have been great resources for that course. And If I had had them then I would have been pulled out often for essays, papers and research. This is a great read in an excellent series. But the books are written in such an engaging manner that any Catholic could pick them up and benefit from reading them. And this one is on one of the harder periods of Church History. I will tell you that Weidenkopf does care about dates. Often putting them after a person from history is mentioned.

This fourth volume published in this series, Reclaiming Catholic History, and it is the fourth book in the series. The series is being edited by Mike Aquilina and the first published volume is by him as well. About this series we are told by Aquilina:

“The history of the Catholic Church is often clouded by myth, misinformation, and missing pieces. Today there is a renewed interest in recovering the true history of the Church, correcting the record in the wake of centuries of half-truths and noble lies. Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History series, edited by Mike Aquilina and written by leading authors and historians, bring Church history to life, debunking the myths one era at a time.”

And each of the four I have read so far are excellent volumes. And I eagerly await the release of each new book in the series. The chapters in this volume are:

Reclaiming Catholic History: Series Introduction
Chronology of The Church and the Middle Ages (1000–1378)
Map
Introduction: What’s in a Name?

Chapter 1: Medieval Man in a Medieval World
     Up Close and Personal: Abbot Suger of St. Denis
     You Be the Judge: Were serfs slaves?

Chapter 2: The Papal Reform Movement Begins
     Up Close and Personal: St. Peter Damian
     You Be the Judge: Were popes chosen by the people?

Chapter 3: The Great Schism and Norman Conquest
     Up Close and Personal: St. Bruno of Cologne
     You Be the Judge: Is the filioque an unauthorized addition to the Creed?

Chapter 4: The Investiture Controversy
     Up Close and Personal: Matilda of Tuscany
     You Be the Judge: Did the Catholic Church mandate celibacy in the Middle Ages in order to acquire land and wealth from the clergy?

Chapter 5: The Crusading Movement: Part 1
     Up Close and Personal: Godfrey de Bouillon
     You Be the Judge: Were crusaders motivated by greed and land?

Chapter 6: The Crusading Movement: Part 2
     Up Close and Personal: Jean de Joinville
     You Be the Judge: Did Pope St. John Paul II apologize for the Fourth Crusade?

Chapter 7: Crisis in England and the Beggar Monks
     Up Close and Personal: St. Anthony of Padua
     You Be the Judge: Was St. Francis a radical lover of animals and flowers?

Chapter 8: Medieval Inquisitors and Scholars
     Up Close and Personal: Bernard Gui
     You Be the Judge: Were millions of people tortured and killed by the Inquisition?

Chapter 9: Trouble in the Papacy
     Up Close and Personal: St. Bridget of Sweden
     You Be the Judge: Did the Church blame the Black Death on the Jews?

Acknowledgments
Notes
For Further Reading

This book is another excellent resource. It would be a great resource for secondary school students and for university undergraduates. It would also be a great read for anyone interested in church history. It is both engaging and entertaining. Overall, I think it is a great book! Most chapter’s in this volume and those in the series so far follow the same format, first the main history. Then two focused sections. The first is Up Close and Personal and is a profile of a specific person or people. Usually, saints or blessed. The next is a section called You Be The Judge, which goes deeper into a question, point of interest or conflict. The book would be worth reading for either of these sections. But The whole thing is extremely well written. The people profiled in the Up Close and Personal are a mix of saints, religious and political leaders.

Steve Weidenkopf does a great job of presenting a balanced view. It is well researched and presented inline with Church teachings. He tackles probably some of the toughest events in the series. He draws extensively from some of his previous works, and always indicates when that is so.    

I stated it before and I declare it again, I have greatly benefited from reading this volume. And I am certain you will as well. I know that I will be reading the remaining three volumes in the series as they release. And will circle back and reread them in chronological order after all 7 are available. Another excellent read in a fantastic series!

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

Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History Series:
The Early Church - James L. Papandrea
The Church and the Roman Empire - Mike Aquilina
The Church and the Dark Ages
The Church and the Middle Ages
The Church and the Reformation
The Church and the Age of Enlightenment
The Church Facing the Modern Era

Books by Steve Weidenkopf:
The Glory of the Crusades
The Real Story of Catholic History
20 Answers: The Reformation
Timeless: A History of the Catholic Church
Epic Study Set: A Journey Through Church History: Questions & Responses with Alan Schreck
The Church and the Middle Ages - David M. Wagner 
...






Thursday, 18 February 2021

A Taste of Northern Spies - Elizabeth Jukes - Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Book 2

Pin it on a Dead Man
Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Book 2
Elizabeth Jukes
Cozy Cat Press
ISBN 9781946063519
ASIN B07D5JC82Z

 

I read the first book in this series because it was recommended to me by my mother-in-law. That volume Pin it on a Dead Man was a fun read, and I was looking forward to this second volume. It was a very enjoyable mystery. I enjoyed the historical setting. I also appreciated the setting in a small town in Ontario. A body of an American tourist found it a hotel. The first suspects are his wife and daughter. But soon there is another clear possibility. 

The story, the times and setting made me think more than once of the Murdoch Mysteries. And Jennings newer works about the Paradise Café. I do not often go out of my way to read historical fiction or mysteries. I have read a fair bit in both genres but that was mostly 30-40 years ago. But I am what a friend calls a completionist, in that once I find an author I like I typically try and read all that they wrote. And I was awaiting this second installment in this series.  

I do love a good read and am always willing to give a book a try on a personal recommendation, like in this instance. And I typically keep up with a series unless if something very unusual happens.  The writing in this story is tight. For a second novel it is still impressive. I had a pretty good idea fairly early some of the elements of this case, and I was not wrong. But the reading of the stories and learning more about our matron Dorothea Montgomery and the other towns folk was fun. 

Dorothea Montgomery is the matron of a well-to-do family in the town of Willowsdown. She is now known as someone who notices things. And has a keen mind that can piece together things. And both of those will help much in solving this mystery.

The story set in and around a small community, at a time when everyone knew everyone. It has a strong focus on family, and loyalty. The characters are very well fleshed out. I enjoyed this read. And I would absolutely read another Dorothea Montgomery Mystery if it appears or other books from the pen of  Elizabeth Jukes.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, or mysteries this book is a great read, so why not give it a try?

Books by Elizabeth Jukes:
A Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Series:
Pin it on a Dead Man
A Taste of Northern Spies




Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The Wonders of the Holy Name - Father Paul O'Sullivan

The Wonders of the Holy Name: 
Father Paul O'Sullivan
ISBN 9780895554901
eISBN 9781505102413
ASIN B00T59F3UO


This was the third volume from Father Paul that I have read. I picked the first, was The Holy Ghost, Our Greatest Friend and the second The Wonders of the Mass. I picked up the first book because it was promoted by TAN books in an email blast. They were promoting a bundle of books by Father Paul O'Sullivan. I know I have seen the covers before. After reading the first one I picked up a few more. And this was the third volume I have read. The beginning of the description of this book is:

“The Wonders of the Holy Name may well be the most valuable of all Fr. O'Sullivan’s very popular and soul-stirring books, for it reveals the simplest secret of holiness and happiness over. Scarcely one Catholic in a million has heard about the amazing power of the Holy Name of Jesus which the author explains here. He brings forth stories and quotes from Scripture, history and the lives of the Saints, showing the incredible efficacy of this Sacred Name and urging us to invoke it often — dozens of times, even hundreds of times each day!”

And the chapters are:
Letters of Approbation 
Letter from the Master General 
To the Reader 
1. The Wonders of the Holy Name 
2. What Does the Name of Jesus Mean? 
3. The World in Danger Saved by the Holy Name 
4. The Plague in Lisbon: The City Saved by the Holy Name 
5. Genseric the Goth 
6. D. Melchior Smiles at His Tormentors 
7. The Saints and the Holy Name 
8. The Doctrine of the Holy Name 
9. We Can Ask for Everything in the Name of Jesus 
10. The Devil and the Name of Jesus

This is another great little volume. It is the third by Father Paul I have read and it will not be the last. The author in the section ‘To The Reader’ states:

“Read this booklet slowly and with attention, not once, but many times, and you will thank God all the rest of your life. 

It will give you much happiness, and it will enable you to obtain from God wonderful graces and blessings. 

It teaches the wonders of the Holy Name of Jesus, which few Christians understand. The frequent repetition of this divine name will save you from much suffering and great dangers. The world is now threatened with the direst calamities. Each one of us can do much to save himself from the impending evils, and we can do much to help the world, the Church and our Holy Father the Pope, simply by repeating frequently, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” (See page 3).”

And that is exactly how I feel about the book. When I was in university, I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, there was a series of booklets by the founder Bill Bright, called Transferable Concepts, and by reading them many times you could almost memorize them and the message so that you could share it. This volume reminds me a lot of those books, but specifically geared for Catholics. And a quick look at some of his other titles look the same. The author states the same above in his letter to readers. I have a feeling that the books by Father Paul will be ones I return to time and time again for these very reasons. But even before that letter to the readers of the volume are three letters promoting and encouraging the use of the book. It is a fantastic little volume.

Some of the sections I highlighted my first time through this volume are:

“Two things we must do. First of all, we must understand clearly the meaning and value of the Name of Jesus. 

Secondly, we must get into the habit of saying it devoutly, frequently, hundreds and hundreds of times every day. Far from being a burden, it will be an immense joy and consolation.”

“Each time we say, “Jesus,” we give God infinite joy and glory, for we offer Him all the infinite merits of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.”

“Bear in mind that each time we say, “Jesus,” devoutly, 1) we give God great glory, 2) we receive great graces for ourselves, 3) and we help the souls in Purgatory.”

“Every Christian must turn to God and ask Him to have mercy on us. The easiest of all prayers, as we have seen, is the Name of Jesus.”

“The Name of Jesus is the shortest, the easiest and the most powerful of prayers. Everyone can say it, even in the midst of his daily work. God cannot refuse to hear it.”

“Many people find it hard to sleep. 

They will find help and consolation by invoking in these sleepless moments the Holy Name, and very probably they will fall into a tranquil slumber.”

““Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” He adds: Whether you eat or whether you drink, or whatever else you do, do all in the Name of Jesus.”

As I hope can be seen by these samples from the book just how valuable it is. The book helps us realize the importance of the praying the name of Jesus. Helps us learn to draw in deeper in prayer. It is an excellent volume that any Catholic would benefit from reading. 

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

Books by Father Paul Henry O'Sullivan, O.P:
All About the Angels
How to Avoid Purgatory
My Lord and My God, Or, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
Our Lady of Fatima
Read Me or Rue It
St. Patrick and the Irish
The Divine Office: How to Say it Devoutly, How to Make it a Pleasure
The Glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Story of a Great Man: Doctor Antonio de Oliveira Salazar
The Ten Commandments: For Real - For Now
What Ireland Owes to Portugal









Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Cruelty Has A Human Heart - J.E. Mayhew - DCI Will Blake Book 4.0

Cruelty Has A Human Heart
DCI Will Blake Book 4.0
Obolus Books
Zertex Crime
ISBN 9781999840778
ASIN B08LBP26B8


This is the fifth DCI William Blake story I have read and the sixth book by J.E. Mayhew. I was jumping around a bit at the beginning but am now reading them as they release. Each of the stories are strong enough to be read on its own, but they are better as part of the series and being read in order. This series was recommended to me by Alex Smith, author of the DCI Kett books. I had read all the Kett books and was awaiting the next Softley Softley book when Smith mentioned book two in this series, Fearful Symmetry, and gave it a plug. After reading that volume I discovered that the author publishes under two names, much like Smith. One for Adult crime novels, J.E. Mayhew and another for Young Adult and younger readers, Jon Mayhew. And I have now read books under both names. I was glad I gave that first one a try and after reading 5 of the 6 stories know I will read this series as long as new books are published in it. And have plans to go back and read more of his Young Adult offerings as well. These books are not as gritty as the Kett novels, but they are great British crime procedural stories. When I reviewed a Kett story I stated I could see Jamie Bamber as DCI Kett, and while reading this I could not help but picture Karl Urban as DCI Will Blake. And can picture it much like the TV series Wired in the Blood

Now to now return our focus to this specific book. This story is very different than many of the others in this series. First Blake already knows what happened to his mother. Second, it begins with the apparent kidnapping of a young girl. And third Blake is torn between the case at hand and things with his missing girlfriend. The stories in this series now span over two years in time, and this story takes places over a few days. The case at hand at first seems very simple and clear cut. But it is just not sitting right with Blake. And when the truth starts coming to light it is anything but simple and clear cut. The description of this volume is:

“When a three-year-old girl goes missing in the sprawling Birkenhead Park, Blake has a puzzle on his hands. The child seemed to vanish into thin air and nobody saw anything, not even her nanny. A known paedophile is spotted in the area and the clock begins ticking as Blake tries to find the lost girl. The team uncover secret after secret as they investigate but Blake has got problems closer to home as his girlfriend’s past comes back to haunt her in a brutal and devastating way. When a key witness dies, Blake realises that a killer is on the loose. Can he find the child before another innocent life is taken?”

In some ways this story is a step back. A step back in action. A step back in intensity, And a step back in pace. But it is a huge step forward in unanswered questions. And Blake is left alone again looking for someone who has gone missing from his life. 

Another great read from the pen of J.E. Mayhew. A good read in a very interesting series. A book that leaves you desperate for the next volume, All the Lies. But nervous about where they will go. An excellent British crime lit novel. 

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, 15 February 2021

A World Undone - Fr. Mike Schmitz - Finding God When Life Doesn't Make Sense

A World Undone: Finding God When Life Doesn't Make Sense
Fr. Mike Schmitz
ISBN 9781593255992
eISBN 9781593255626
ASIN B08RG844X8 



Wow! Father Mike has hit it out of the park with this little volume. It is an amazing little read. I first purchased the paperback, and then the eBook once it was available. I have given the paperback away. And to be honest I wish I could buy cases of this book to give out to friends and family. It is an excellent little volume. A fantastic read that any Catholic, any Christian would benefit from reading! This was exactly what I needed to read. The physical book is listed as 52 pages and the eBook 50. But it is packed full. I highlighted 31 passages on my first read through. Normally when I read a book, I highlight in yellow the first time, then blue, then red. This time some passages hit me so much that I ended up using all three colors to provide emphasis. 

Once I started reading this I could just not put it down. And I know I will be returning to it and reading it again at a slower pace. At the end of each chapter is a set of questions for reflection, a challenge, and a prayer. The challenges all begin This week … Thus indicating that Father Mike planned for the book to be read over a number of weeks. The chapters in this volume are:

Undone but Not Unloved
Good Enough?
God Shows Up
Give me a Heart Like Yours
To the Finish
Afterward: The One Thing That Changes Everything

Each chapter contains:

Title
Bible Verse
Teaching (Several Sections)
Reflection Questions
Challenge 
Prayer

Seven of the passages I highlighted on my first read through are:

“Here is the great news about being a Catholic Christian: we know what to do with a world that has come undone. Our faith teaches us not only how our world was supposed to be in the beginning and what went wrong but also how to trust God to undo what has come undone. Because that’s what God is up to.”

“But sometimes I wonder if a deeper assumption lurks beneath all this. Perhaps deep down we think that “fine,” “OK,” and “getting by” are as much as anyone can hope for. This is as good as it gets.”

“Jesus has to bring up the wound so that we can realize we’re not fine.”

“This is one of the reasons why I love Confession. We can come face-to-face with Jesus and acknowledge, I’m not fine, and I don’t have to be. I’m not going to forget my past or ignore my present. Because Jesus comes into our wounds to undo the undoing.”

“It’s not what God says that is the answer to Job’s sufferings. God himself is the answer. God shows up.”

“Jesus wept, but he also waited.”

“In our Christian family, in our story, we have miracles—but we also have martyrs. Sometimes we get the miracle; sometimes we get martyred. Sometimes we get delivered; sometimes we get death.”

Having listened to many of Father Mike’s Ascension Presents videos and currently listening to his Bible in a Year Podcast I could not help but hear his voice as I read this book. I have yet to hear or read anything from Father Mike that I have not benefited from. But this book is one of the best resources from him. This is a book that anyone from high school student to retiree could benefit from. We can all grow and improve in our living out our call as Christians and this book helps us see that in a different light. 

If you are a Catholic or a Christian and are only going to pick up one book outside your bible this year, I strongly recommend that you give this one a read. This is a book that will change your life. This is a book you should read and that we all would benefit from reading. Pick it up!  

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

Books By Father Mike Schmitz:
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attraction and the Catholic Church
How to Make Great Decisions
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike
A World Undone: Finding God When Life Doesn't Make Sense


Contributed to:
Beautiful Hope
Beautiful Mercy
Pray, Decide, and Don't Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God's Will
Don't Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Young People


Audio Talks by Father Mike Schmitz:
Living Life by Design, Not by Default
Love - Sacrifice - Trust He Showed Us the Way
From Love, By Love, For Love
True Worship
The Four Last Things
Jesus Is …
Changed Forever - The Sacrament of Baptism
We Must Go Out - The Sacrament of Confirmation




Friday, 12 February 2021

Prayer of the Day to Our Lady from George Cardinal Pell's Prison Journal

A Prayer to Our Lady from George Cardinal Pell's Prison Journal 

"Mary, Mother of the Church and mother of the hermitage, pray that we will be instruments of the Spirit. Pray that we will know when to act and when to wait, when to speak and when to be silent. Teach us how to listen and to know the voice of God in our hearts." 

-Monday, of Holy Week, 15 April 2019 

This is a prayer taken from, it was sent to him from an unknown friend in the US.

Prison Journal
Volume 1 The Cardinal Makes His Appeal
ISBN 9781621644484
eISBN 9781642291421
ASIN B08N5FT45L

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.
...


Books by George Cardinal Pell:
God and Caesar: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society
Test Everything
Be Not Afraid: Collected Writing
Contemplating Christ with Luke
Rerum Novarum: One Hundred Years Later
...

Prison Journals: