Monday 31 May 2021

We Are the Lord's - Father Jeffrey Kirby - A Catholic Guide to Difficult End-of-Life Questions

We Are the Lord's: 
A Catholic Guide to Difficult End-of-Life Questions
ISBN 9781505114614
eISBN 9781505114638

This was one of 7 books by Father Kirby that I picked up recently. I picked Kirby’s books up after reading and reviewing several by Father Paul O’Sullivan O.P., it was recommended by someone who enjoyed those reviews and they recommended several titles by Father Kirby. When I looked into the titles available from the pen of Father Kirby, there were several from TAN books that caught my attention. In fact 7 of his books made it onto my wish list almost immediately. This was the second I have read and it will not be the last! This is one of those books that is very countercultural. It is against much of what society believes and teaches. And one of those books I could immediately think of many people who would want to read. An excerpt from the description of this volume states:

“No one likes to think about death and many are not ready for it, either as the patient or a loved one. And yet, the dying process is oftentimes marked by an array of diverse and confusing questions that can catch anyone off guard.

What are we supposed to do?

We Are the Lord's is a succinct, quick-reference guide to difficult end-of-life questions, framed by divine wisdom and Church teaching. Its easy-to-read chapters and question-and-answer format can be a welcomed help to any person or family who are searching for answers during a difficult and traumatic time.

Whether as a preparation for a future journey or as an immediate guide for you now, We Are the Lord's is available and ready to help.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Life as a Gift
Redemptive Suffering
Dying With Dignity
Saved by Hope
Judgment Before God
Principles of Discernment
Specific Moral Questions
The Catholic Funeral
Prayers for the Dead
Our Takeaway

This book will have an immense impact on readers. For some it will affirm what they already believe. For others it will challenge their beliefs. And for some it will upset them greatly because they will not agree with the Church’s teachings on these topics. Father Kirby has written clearly and concisely. The book is easy to read and understand. And I truly believe that anyone who reads it with an open heart and mind will benefit from the reading. Some of the sections I highlighted during my reading of the book are:

“Are you in a dilemma and have to make a pressing end-of-life decision? Are you or a loved one in intense pain or in the dying process? Are you confused or emotionally drained and unsure of how to answer questions about medical treatment? If you find yourself in these situations, my heart goes out to you. This book was written specifically to help with the moral challenges that arise toward the end of life. I pray it brings you helpful information and a sense of peace and comfort during your most difficult moments.”

"On occasion, when the magisterium of the Catholic Church has not given a specific teaching on a moral question, then the book will acknowledge that neutrality (or on-going discernment) of the Church. After this indication, however, the book will seek to provide an opinion and explain it theologically."

"As the author of this book, I write with the precision demanded of theology. I hold a doctorate in moral theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and a Masters in Bioethics from the Queen of Apostles Athenaeum in Rome. My writing, however, also reflects the compassion demanded of a loving shepherd. I’m currently the pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina, and an adjunct professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College and at Pontifex University. These pastoral positions help me to accompany people in their sufferings and in the dilemmas of life and death."

"Death Is Not the End If you read the introduction, you might’ve noticed the last words were, “let’s begin.” While that might seem like a strange choice of words for a book about end-of-life decisions, it’s actually a fitting play on words since death is not an end but a beginning. Death is the start of a new journey. So … let’s begin."

"The world was created for our good and we were created because of God’s love for us. This point is worth stressing: we are not a something but a someone, and we only exist because God loves us. If God ceased to love us, we would completely disappear, not existing and never having existed. All that we are, including our history, home, and health, dwells in existence because of God’s love."

"Body and Soul As human beings made in God’s image, we consist of a body and a soul. Both our bodies and our souls share in the image of God. The body is not to be diminished, dismissed as some raw matter with no identity, or merely seen as a vehicle that carries our souls around. No, the body shares in our dignity. It must be respected, cared for, and properly esteemed."

"Consequently, human persons are inclined to their own comfort or interests over those of their neighbors, and humanity sees the world as a means of conquest and profit rather than a place calling for care and stewardship. Ever since the Fall, the ability to believe and discern moral goodness through the natural light of reason has become more difficult and strenuous for humanity."

"In taking on human suffering, the Lord Jesus went directly to sin, understood as the source of suffering in human life. In order to take away sin and vanquish its control on humanity, Jesus Christ became sin itself. He sought to destroy this privation of being, and its consequences of suffering and death, from the inside out. In becoming sin, Jesus Christ took upon himself all the sins of humanity throughout time. He endured the totality of human guilt, shame, alienation, grief, confusion, and the full panorama of darkness caused by sin."

"Christian believers are called to this same process of discernment but are greatly aided by the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. As disciples of the Lord Jesus, we declare that our lives are not our own: “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). And so we are called to give the “obedience of faith” (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26) throughout our lives, which includes the dying process."

"In the process of receiving sufficient information, the believer or patient of goodwill (or his surrogate) should remember his connection to God. He should prudently weigh all options in light of moral truth and assess whether something is ordinary or extraordinary care. And then, remembering that his life belongs to God, the patient (or proxy) can give his informed consent to whatever will bring about the most good."

"Let the words of some noble Capuchin Franciscans friars, which are contained in the famous “Bone Chapel” of the Immaculate Conception Church in Rome, speak to us today: What you are, we once were; What we are, you will one day be."

As can be seen by those quotes, Father Kirby does not pull any punches. But he also writes with great compassion and mercy. This is an important read.

I have greatly benefited from the first two books by Father Kirby that I have read. I still have 5 from TAN I want to read and have even found a few others I want to read. An excellent volume and one that is much needed today.

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

Books by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby STD:
101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter's and the Vatican
A Pastoral Guide to Opening Your Parish
Be Not Troubled
Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History
God's Search for Us
Living in Peace
Lord Teach Us to Pray
Luke: The Gospel of Mercy
Thy Kingdom Come

Saturday 29 May 2021

Deadly Indifference - Eric Sammons - How the Church Lost Her Mission, And How We can Reclaim It

Deadly Indifference: 
How the Church Lost Her Mission, 
And How We can Reclaim It
Eric Sammons 
ISBN 9781644132500
eISBN 9781644132517

I have yet to read anything from the pen of Eric Sammons that was not very well done. From some of his excellent non fiction works such as Holiness for Everyone and Be Watchful to his wonderful fictional short story, The Profession. But as much as I love his other works, this is the most important work he has written to date. It is a book that should be in every Catholic home, School and church library. I would love to see a benefactor come forward and gift a copy to every bishop in North America. This is a book that has the power to shape, change and renew the church and through that the world. 

This book is much needed in the church today. And I can only imagine would the would could be like in 5 or 10 years if this books is widely distributed, read, and applied. The chapters and sections in the volume are:

Foreword, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

I. Church Teaching on Salvation 
      What Is the Mission of the Church?
     “Outside the Church There Is No Salvation”
     Proclaiming the Only Ark of Salvation
     Can a Non-Catholic Be Saved?

II. The Emphasis Shift
     Making a Shift
     From Proclamation to Dialogue
     From Unique to One among Many
     From Warning against Errors to Promoting Commonalities

III. The Theological Aftermath
     The Salvation Spectrum
     Salvation Optimism: The Inclusivists
     Many Paths to Heaven: The Pluralists
     Defending the Tradition: The Exclusivists

IV. The Practical Aftermath
     The Church of Ecumenism
     Dialogue Supplants Proclamation
     Being Together to Pray: The Assisi World Day of Prayer
     Throwing Caution to the Wind
     Pope Francis Accelerates the Shift
     “Willed by God”: The Abu Dhabi Declaration

V. The Impact
     Changing Our Beliefs
     Failure of the New Evangelization
     The Sad State of Today’s Catholic Parish

VI. The Way Forward
     Understanding Church Teaching on Salvation
     Bring Back the Old Evangelization
     Renewing the Parish
Appendix A: Can Catholics Criticize Popes and Councils?
Appendix B: U.S. Catholic Statistics — 1970-2019

Once I got going this book was very hard to put down. But to be honest, I hesitated about picking it up. I was well aware that it would not be an easy read. The text is masterfully done, and it is very accessible, but the content is very convicting. In the forward Bishop Athanasius Schneider states:

“Indeed, in our day war is almost everywhere stirred up and fomented against the revealed truth of God and against the primary mission of the Church to proclaim it strenuously and unambiguously.”

And he concludes the introduction with:

“May this book have a wide and beneficial reach and with God’s grace enkindle in the minds and hearts of its readers an unshakable love for the truth and the Church, because in her as St. Augustine says, “instead of victory, is truth; instead of high rank, holiness; instead of peace, felicity; instead of life, eternity.” (Civ 15:1)”

The description of the book is:

“In captivating detail, Sammons explores why the New Evangelization was destined to fail and explains how the decision to de-emphasize the Church's exclusive role in the process of salvation inevitably led to mass abandonment of the sacraments. He identifies how certain teachings were ignored or toned down--leading to their sudden collapse--and how progressives elevated ecumenism over evangelization and supplanted proclamation of the Gospel with "dialogue."”

And that is what you will find. An honest critique of some of the ways the church has gone wrong, and clearly and statistically shows the consequences. He highlights very clearly what church teachings are ignored or barely touched upon. And he sheds light on progressive ideas that have been elevated and celebrated. 

The book will receive mixed reviews. Some will hate it and decry it with a vengeance. Others will praise it with out question or critique. But most should approach it with an openness to the Holy Spirit’s leadings, and they will find much of worth and value in this book. It might not be a book we want, but it is definitely a book we need! 

Another excellent volume from Sammons pen. And one that is much needed today. 

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

Books by Eric Sammons:
Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Who Is Jesus the Christ?: Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Be Watchful: Resist the Adversary, Firm in Your Faith
The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotion
Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers

The Profession

Contributed to:
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
The Passion of St. Edward, King and Martyr
The Sacrament of Confirmation - Presenter's Guide

Friday 28 May 2021

The Emerald Tablet - Manuel Alfonseca - Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Book 02

The Emerald Tablet
Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Book 02
Manuel Alfonseca
ISBN 9798653753664

A few years ago I read several books in translation by Manuel Alfonseca. Most I believe translated by the author himself. This is the 10th volume from his pen that I have read. I believe this book was originally published in Spanish in 2004. There have been a few Spanish editions over the years, and it was published in English in 2020. The whole trilogy was published in English at that time. When I finished the first book, The Seal of Aeolus, I immediately picked up this volume and volume three. And only my commitment to alternate fiction and non-fiction prevented me from starting on this book immediately. 

I picked up book one to read because it was the Catholic Book Club on Good Reads book for the month. Once I started reading it I could hardly put it down. The same can be said for this second instalment. In fact the action was more intense and the story more compelling in this second volume. I have been impressed by everything I have read from Alfonseca’s pen. Several times while reading this series I thought of Sword and Serpent by Taylor R. Marshall and also the historical fiction from Jack Whyte. I believe this book is just as good as the writings from those two authors. 

This book is well written and well researched. And I implore you when you read the book stick it through and read the Authors Note at the end of the text. It is so worth the read, on the research and background.  I picked up the next two volumes in this series as soon as I finished the first. The description of the volume is:

“Loyalty to her homeland and her ideals make Meriem a young heroine. In the times of the emperor Valerian Augustus, the borders of the Roman Empire begin to weaken and strange people walk inside. In Hispania, Gaius Aeolius receives the visit of a mysterious Egyptian who brings ruin to the house, along with a mysterious emerald tablet. Young Meriem and her brother Lucius are then involved in a series of adventures, which will take them from an encounter with barbarians to the presence of Caesar."

A story sent in ancient Roman times. But set well after the first story. In this onw we follow siblings as they flee persecution for being Christians. They are Christian and not ashamed of it. The persecution of Christina, war, battles, love, and more. This story has a bit of it all. 

Alfonseca is the author of over 50 books, 24 of which I believe are available in English. He writes across genres and styles with great ease. His books are always entertaining. And yet they cause a reader to think. In this story and many of his others a great strength is the characters. His characters are masterfully written. He draw readers in and keep them hooked. 

This is a great historical fiction novel. It does an awesome job continuing the story of a family and their faith. A great read that I highly recommend! Currently a second book in a trilogy, but we can always hope it will be expanded.

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

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

Thursday 27 May 2021

Kingdom of Happiness - Father Jeffrey Kirby - Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life

Kingdom of Happiness: 
Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life
ISBN 9781505105902
eISBN 9781505110555

I picked this book up after reading and reviewing several by Father Paul O’Sullivan O.P., it was recommended by someone who enjoyed those reviews and they recommended several titles by Father Kirby. When I looked into the titles available from the pen of Father Kirby, there were several from TAN books that caught my attention. In fact 7 of his books made it onto my wish list almost immediately. This was the first I have read but it will not be the last! My understanding is that there is a study series that can go along with this book, with a guide and DVD’s. As much as I enjoyed reading this book, it would have been even better with a group. The end of the description of this volume states:

“Kingdom of Happiness shows that the Beatitudes are not a self-help guide or a boring list of eight more things to do, but are a series of grace-filled, life-giving promises that excite our souls and point us along a way of life that assures us of true, lasting happiness.”

The chapters in this volume are:

A Note to the Reader
Introduction: The Choice Between Two Kingdoms
Poor in Spirit
Those Who Mourn
The Meek
Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
The Merciful
Pure in Heart
The Peacemakers
The Persecuted

In the first section, A Note to the Reader Kirby highlights several points:

“First Step
Thank you for picking up this book! As you open it, you’ve already taken the hardest step along a path that could lead you to true happiness. Here’s some more good news:”

So of the sections that follow are: 

     •You’re not alone.
     •There’s a way out of misery.
     •Happiness is a decision.
     •Someone else does the heavy lifting.
     •Happiness is a kingdom.
     •The kingdom of happiness can be seen.
And it concludes with:

“A Second Step
As you started reading this book, I mentioned that you’ve already taken the hardest step along a path that could lead you to true happiness. Therefore, I’d like to ask you to take a second step and continue reading this book so that you might encounter the kingdom of happiness described through the Beatitudes. As you begin to see this kingdom sitting on the horizon, remember that citizenship within its walls is available right now. You are welcome at all times.
The choice is yours. Will you choose happiness?”

From there we have a wonderfully written volume. A book any Catholic, nay any Christian could benefit from reading. Looking at the beatitudes and their opposites Father Kirby navigates us through Christian spirituality. A path that has been handed down. And one that we desperately need these days. 

This is a book that can be read again and again, and each time we will be blessed and benefit from it in a new or deeper way. The writing of Father Kirby is easily accessible. Anyone with a high school education could read this book and engage fully with the text. In fact it would be a great book for a high school group or collage age students to worth through together. It is a book that can have a strong and lasting impact on readers. 

Christ promised in John 10:10 “For the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I am come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” This book is a volume that will help you learn to live that abundant life. By learning to live the beatitudes. It is an excellent volume that I cannot recommend enough. But the book does not offer quick fixes or easy answers. We will need to read, and apply and put in the work. There will be time and effort involved in learning to live the beatitudes out in our daily lives. But it will be worth it here and in the life to come.

It might have been my first book by Father Kirby but it will not be my last!

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

Books by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby STD:
101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter's and the Vatican
A Pastoral Guide to Opening Your Parish
Be Not Troubled
Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History
God's Search for Us
Living in Peace
Lord Teach Us to Pray
Luke: The Gospel of Mercy
Thy Kingdom Come

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Good Housekeeping Kids Cook!: 100+ Super-Easy, Delicious Recipes - Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping Kids Cook!: 
100+ Super-Easy, Delicious Recipes
ISBN 9781618372406
eISBN 9781618372888

This is one of three cookbooks my youngest daughter has picked up over the last few months. She has a passion for cooking and cooking shows. The other two were Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks by Melissa Clark and The Complete Cookbook for Young Chef from America’s Test Kitchen. When one arrives she sits down and read through cover to cover tagging every thing she wants to try on her first pass. Her best friend is into cooking as well, and currently they are planning a mother’s day feast where they will each prepare half the stuff and do a door drop and swap. The chapters in this book are:

Get Ready To Cook
Yummy Breakfasts
Lunches to Go
Super Snacks and Sips
Tasty Dinners & Sides
Sweet Treats
Photo Credits
Metric Conversion Charts

As a parent and kitchen aide this is my favourite now of the three. My daughter loves all three. She has picked over 20 recipes to try from this one. Even making plans for future use. She wants to try the waffles next time we visit my brother out of town. And she wants to make the banana bread with her grandmother or aunt, because her mom already has her own recipe. There are many wonderful recipes in this volume.

This is a good cookbook to get children started off. Some interesting twists on standard recipes. Some great variations and options for switching it up. The ingredients list seems pretty standard and nothing too exotic or specialized. She loves it and has tried a few and has many more she wants to make so that makes the book a winner in my eyes. 

Reviews of Kids Cooking Books:

Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Secret of Glaston Tor - Donal Anthony Foley - The Glaston Chronicles Book 1

The Secret of Glaston Tor 
Donal Anthony Foley 
Theotokos Books
ISBN 9780957496910
Now available as:
The Glaston Secret
ISBN 9781733258166

I have read a few of Donal Anthony Foley’s nonfiction works and have loved them all. Both books he has written and books he has edited. This was the first of his fictional works I have read, and I was blown away. What an awesome story, in a classic style and genre. As soon as I finished reading this volume I picked ub book 2, and reached out to the author about the announced book three. If you have read and enjoyed books like Narnia, The Chime Travelers, and the lesser know Mr. Baker’s Book Series will love this book. But geared for older readers than the last two. If you appreciate historical fiction with a twist. This is one for you. If you just love a very well written story, give this one a try. It was masterfully executed. The beginning of the description of this book states:

“Fifteen year old Matt Bergin is staying in Glastonbury for Christmas with his cousins, Luke and Annie Martin. Matt feels drawn to Glastonbury Tor, and St Michael's Tower, which crowns its summit. The cousins learn the secret of Glaston Tor and find themselves propelled back in time to 1940s France and the Second World War.

They are given a mission by an enigmatic stranger, who asks them to help a young German couple and their son escape from wartime France. But the fearsome Gestapo are on their trail.”

And it is a story packed with action, danger, risk, and figuring out your faith. I would say this book is written with the teen or young adult audience in mind. And yet also state that because of how compelling the writing is readers of any age will fall in love with the characters, and be captivated by the story. This is one of those books that friends and family will get tired of hearing about. It is a story I will be talking about for months and recommending for years to come. 

Foley has written an excellent story in the time and space travel genre.  In it we follow 3 youth being transported back to France during WWII from the Tor in Glaston. After making a wish on a very special crèche. That Nativity set has a history and they step back in time to encounter others with a link to it. It is a wonderful adventure story about friendship, family and faith. But be warned it will leave you desperate for the next volume. 

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

Books by Donal Anthony Foley:
Christian Living: The Spirituality of the Foyers of Charity
Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?
Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World
Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud?


The Original Covers

Nonfiction titles from Foley:

Monday 24 May 2021

Priestly Fatherhood Treasure in Earthen Vessels - Father Jacques Philippe

Priestly Fatherhood:
Treasure in Earthen Vessels
Father Jacques Philippe
Neal Carter (Translator)
Scepter Publishers
eISBN 9781594174186

I have read books by Father Jacques Philippe 17 times now. From the first couple I read back in 2007 after being introduced to them while on retreat, to this latest volume I have loved everything I have read by this humble servant of God. I have not read anything from Father Philippe’s pen that did not bless, encourage and even challenge me. And even though this volume is written mainly to and for priests it is an excellent volume that all readers would benefit from reading. The beginning of the description of the book states:

“Recognizing the strong and gentle fatherhood which our Heavenly Father bestows on us lovingly and daily indefinitely changes the scope of our spiritual lives. Amidst the crisis of fatherhood in today's society, it is imperative, more than ever, that all men—especially priests—be images of this unfalteringly generous fatherhood of God.

What does true fatherhood consist of? How can true fatherhood help a person gain access to the freedom found through the knowledge of his or her identity as a child of God?”

As a father of four children, I really appreciated the examples of good early fathers and how they can be an example and model for priestly fathers. The sections in the book are:

Part One : Fatherhood, A Difficult But Essential Reality: Precautions On Language 
1. A Priestly Pentecost 
2. The Urgent Need for Fatherhood 
3. Suffering Caused by the Absence of a Father 
4. The Gift of Fatherhood 
5. A Father’s Blessing 
6. What Makes for True Fatherhood? 
     Unconditional Love 
     Words of Authority 
7. Failures in Fatherhood 
     The Superman 
     The Businessman 
8. The Children’s Problems 
9. Fatherhood in Scripture 
     Saint Paul 

Part Two A Profound Transformation Of Heart 
10. How to Become a Father 
     To Be a Father, You Must Be a Son 
     Being a Son and Groom of the Church 
     Being a Brother 
     Living in the Spirit of the Beatitudes 
11. Living the First Beatitude 
     Looking Out for the Other Before Self 
     Dispossessing the Self and Welcoming the Other 
     Consenting to Our Limits and Exhausting the Resources of Faith 
     What It Means to Be Poor 
     Spiritual Poverty and Humility 
12. Living the Rest of the Beatitudes 
13. The Church, Mary, and the Mystery of the Woman 
14. Baptismal and Ministerial Priesthood

15. Fatherhood in the Priest’s Ministry 
     Intercession for the People 
     The Celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments 
     Eucharistic Adoration 
     Personal Dialogue 
     The Government of a Community 
     Defending the Poor and the Little Ones 

Father Philippe in the introduction states:

“The topic of priestly spiritual fatherhood is an important one today. It is a delicate topic, particularly in light of the sad revelation of the behavior of some priests which is in total contradiction with true fatherhood. 

There is nonetheless an enormous need in our world for people who are authentic reflections of divine fatherhood. Not that it’s their exclusive domain, but I think that it forms an essential part of the priestly vocation.” 

He also declares:

“Through this little book, I would like to encourage my brother priests, who often have a pressing need for encouragement, and to help them believe in the fruitfulness— the fertility— and the beauty of their vocations. Even if it’s a difficult, demanding reality, fatherhood is also a source of great joy. There is nothing more beautiful than to give life, and so much more so when this life is eternal life, the very life of God. 

My book is addressed especially to priests, but I think that all people who are called to exercise a certain form of paternity (the fathers of a family, spiritual fathers, educators, people in positions of authority . . .) could find some useful elucidation on how to live their responsibilities fairly.”

The passage that stuck out most to me during my first read through was:

“The father helps his child find his or her true identity. In the Bible, the father gives the child its name. The name is not just a label, a word to be called by, but it represents a deep identity, the mission of the person.”

I have recommended everything written by Father Philippe that I have read. And this one is one of his best. But it and give it a read. Buy copies for the priests in your life. Buy copies to give to friends and family. It is a book I guarantee will bless you, and those in your life. And if you share it, it will bless those whom you give it to.

A wonderful book I give my highest recommendation!

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

Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
From Scepter:

Called to Life
Time For God
Interior Freedom
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love - A Retreat Guided By St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer
Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust

Fire and Light: Learning to Receive the Gift of God
The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes
Nine Days to Rediscover the Joy of Prayer
Nine Days to Welcome Peace
Priestly Fatherhood

St Paul's Alba House:
Searching for and Maintaining Peace
Discerning Your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults (Forward)

Pauline Books and Media:

Time For God

Time For God
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom)

Friday 21 May 2021

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins - Dr. Seuss - Bartholomew Cubbins Book 01

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
Bartholomew Cubbins Book 1
Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780008313913
eISBN 9780385373494

Recently because of some media spotlight on Dr. Seuss and his works. I decided to reread the 6 books in question and now several others. But alas only had 5 of the 6 on hand. This is a continuation in an attempt to review all of the books by Dr. Seuss. 

Dr. Seuss is famous for his many children’s books. Books that spark the imagination. Surprise, and amaze. There is a large collection of old animated shorts based on them. And these has been several movies both animated and life action. He also wrote two books that though written and illustrated in a similar style and format are considered adult books they are The Seven Lady Godivas and You’re Only Old Once. Godivas I believe is long out of print, I believe the last printing was in 1988. And I am only aware of it because it is the favorite book of a friend.  

I do not know a child who has not engaged with these books on some level. My youngest and my wife have a few of them memorized. And recite them to each other before bed, as much as read. My children loved the old, animated shorts, and like most of the movies. I was less fond of the live action movies but appreciate most of the animated ones. But back to this book.

In 1931 and 1932 Dr. Seuss published four small volumes about the Boners. Which were compiled into a single volume called The Pocket Book of Boners. After that he published And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street. And this was his third published volume. And one of a few written in prose rather than verse. It was turned into a short film in 1943 and nominated for an Oscar. 

Of the many Seuss books we have read this one is geared towards the top end of the reading levels. There are more words on a few pages on this volume than some entire other books by Seuss.

This story takes place in the Kingdom of Didd and involves primarily Bartholomew Cubbins and King Derwin. The king is upset because he believes Bartholomew is being obstinate and not removing his hat. Bartholomew is distraught but overall very stoic about his predicament. For every time he removes a hat a new one appears. The king’s nephew, a grand duke is a bit of a pest. The executioner is very nice. The story takes an unusual turn climbing a great spiral staircase to the highest parapet. But to find out what happens you will need to read the book. Two quotes from the book really caught me as I read it this time:

"Very serious nonsense."

"He knows about everything in all my kingdom, in all the world beyond, and in all the worlds that may happen to be."

I recall this being one of my son’s favorites. And it is a fun read. 

Dr. Seuss actively published books between 1931 and 1990. He passed away in 1995 and there have been nearly 20 published posthumously. And another 18 that he authored under other names and that others illustrated. Not counting the many collections, compilations, and repackaging done by the publishers and literary estate over the years. In total there are nearly 100 works written, illustrated, or both by Dr. Seuss. They have been translated into many languages and they are loved around the world, by the young and young at heart. And this is an excellent offering. 

Note: I recently heard that 6 of the books by Dr. Seuss were being taken out of print. The 6 are: And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, The Cat's Quizzer. We had 5 of the 6 in our collection so I gave them a reread. The 6th The Cat's Quizzer I can only find used in Canada, the lowest price is $992. 

Books by Dr. Seuss: