-->

Monday, 28 February 2022

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance The Cardinal Virtues - Father Andrew Pinsent - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance:
The Cardinal Virtues
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784691752
eISBN 9781784692360
ASIN B072DXLJX4
CTS Booklet SP52


Over the last few years, I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society. Most were good reads; some were great reads; and a few are exceptional. This is another excellent offering. It is the tenth in the Deeper Christianity Series that I have read, about half of them I have now read twice, and the first volume from Father Andrew Pinsent’s pen that I have read. But I do have a couple of the others on my wish list. I have read over 250 offerings from the CTS over the last few years. This series is one of my favourites. This booklet was originally published 2017 and the eBook was released at the same time. The description of this volume is:

“What kind of people do we need to be if we are to live up to the grace of our Baptism as children of God, able to call God, “Our Father?” Besides the theological virtues, the life of grace needs a wide range of character-forming dispositions. 

These dispositions are called the infused moral virtues, and their pillars or ‘hinges’ are the Christian cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, courage, and temperance. This eBook explores the meaning of these cardinal virtues, drawing on Scripture, the great works of Catholic theology, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and new research to explain and illustrate the ideas. It also includes practical ways to support the cardinal virtues, including discipleship, parables and stories, proverbs and maxims, memorisations, and a liturgical life.”

The chapters in the book are:

Introduction
The Christian Cardinal Virtues
Prudence (Practical Wisdom)
Justice
Courage (Fortitude)
Temperance
Concluding Practical Remarks

And there is an excellent set of recommendations for ‘Faith, Hope & Love: The Theological Virtues’ also by Father Pinsent. Interspersed throughout the volume are 9 full page pieces of art. (In the eBook they are full colour.) And Father draws from the artwork to expand upon points he is making in the text. The artwork is:

The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck 
Detail from the Wilton Diptych 
The Magdalene Reading by Rogier van der Weyden 
St Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger 
Detail of the Mocking of Christ by Blessed Fra Angelico 
Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch 
The Fall of the Rebel Angels (detail) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 
The Torment of St Anthony by Michelangelo 
The Resurrection of Christ by Piero della Francesca

The art and how Pinsent ties them in is a wonderful addition for the book. And Father Pinsent draws heavily from both the old and new testaments throughout the volume. In the introduction we are informed that:

“These words “You shall love the Lord your God” and “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” are easy to write down, but challenging to interpret and, of course, to put into practice. The Greek word for love here is agápē, used in the Scriptures and translated into Latin as caritas or divine love. In other words, the love with which we must first love God, and then our neighbour, is the love with which God loves, and that is God.

Faith, Hope and Love: The Theological Virtues, the first book of this CTS series, observes that a special feature of love is that it is about particular persons. “I love you” does not mean “I love a you”, one of (possibly) many different ‘you’s’. The one who is addressed as ‘you’ is unique, just as whoever says ‘I’ is also unique. This particularity also applies to the other theological virtues. For instance, I am commanded to love you as myself, implying a holy desire for my own true good, namely the happiness of the kingdom of heaven. Hence love is linked to my hope, a desire for my own good, from a first-person perspective. And since love needs a guardian in this world, we have been given the revelation of the divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to whom I can say that I have faith in you, the divine persons, and what you have revealed, in other words a commitment to the particular persons of the Most Holy Trinity. The main focus of all the theological virtues is therefore the first person, ‘I’, or those to whom I can relate as ‘you’.”

I was previously unaware that this was the first book in the excellent series. And after reading:

“The theological and moral virtues work together. For example, an individual human person, who is the subject of the theological virtue of love in the relation ‘I’ to ‘you’, is also the subject of justice to whom I owe certain obligations as a member of the human race and a child of God in grace. An evil action against you therefore violates love and justice.”

I understand why the same author penned the companion volume. We are also informed that:

“This booklet describes these infused moral virtues and specifically the four virtues that are the pillars or ‘hinges’ of all the others. These ‘cardinal virtues’ (from the Latin word ‘cardo’, meaning ‘hinge’) are drawn from Scripture and classical philosophy: prudence, justice, courage and temperance. The content of the booklet is based on the great systematic works of Catholic theology, especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the second part of the Summa theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas. Examples of great Christian art, historical references, liturgical sources, parables, prayers and new research in psychology help to illustrate and explain these ideas.”

For each of the virtues we are given a broad over view, a section on ‘special aspects of Christian …’ then another teaching section. Followed by a section on ‘Cultivating …’. For example:

Courage (Fortitude)
Special aspects of Christian courage
Cultivating courage

And in this case two example from art that appear in the second section:

Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch (d. 1912)
The Fall of the Rebel Angels (detail) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (d. 1569)

The conclusion of the book begins with:

“As noted at the beginning of this booklet, the form of the Christian life of grace is to love with God the things that God loves, the goal of which is to mature in harmony with God. Sacraments, prayer and the avoidance of sin are the foundations of this life.

Without love, all the virtues are dead, and yet we cannot simply love in an abstract way without the other virtues. We need the Christian cardinal virtues, a consequence of grace that is also nurtured through study, since we cannot love what we do not know.”

This book is one of those ones that I believe we would benefit from, especially over multiple readings. I have already added it back to my reading list to circle around to and to read again. This is an excellent read. I wish I had known there was a specific order to this series. They are all written in such a way that they can easily be read in any order. Pick and choose the ones that interest you, read them in order, or jump around. I have been blessed by all the book in this series that I have read and can easily recommend this book and the series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


Books in the Deeper Christianity Series:
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Catholic Architecture 
Christian Fasting Disciplining the Body, Awakening the Spirit
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Desire & Delight
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Fruits of the Holy Spirit Living a Happy Life
Icons
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special

Mary in the Liturgy
Mary Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Providence and Prayer
Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance
Purgatory A Mystery of Love
Rediscovering Virtue The Art of Christian Living
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
The Call to Evangelise: Founded on loving intimacy with the Lord
The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ
The Name of God The Revelation of the Merciful Presence of God
The Trinity and the Spiritual Life
Understanding The Story Of The Bible
Union with God


Books by Father Andrew Pinsent:
Why? Course Book
Evangelium Presenter's Guide: Sharing the Riches of the Catholic Faith
Evangelium Participant's Book: Sharing the Riches of the Catholic Faith
Faith, Hope and Love - The Theological Virtues














Saturday, 26 February 2022

The Restless Flame, Daniel Lord, SJ - Stephen A. Werner - Thinking Big in a Parochial World!

The Restless Flame, Daniel Lord, SJ 
Thinking Big in a Parochial World!
Press, Press, Pull
ISBN 9798476470885


I first encountered the works of Daniel Lord, SJ several years ago. I was amazing when I discovered how much he had written. Previously about 45 of his booklets were available in Kindle format, and many were available on The Australian Catholic Truth Society Archive. Unfortunately the kindle editions cannot be found any longer and the ACTS site is undergoing a rebuild. I was approached about reviewing this volume because I had reviewed, Played by Ear. A priest I follow on social media, Fr. Edward Looney, once stated that ‘Daniel Lord wrote over a million words in his lifetime’. And I had not really heard of him. Shortly after that I started picking up his eBooks and my children had a couple reprints of his children’s books gifted to them. I later wrote a piece called ‘Three Great Catholic Writers That You Might Never Have Heard Of!  Curtayne - Lord - Powers’, and this volume just reinforces that sentiment. 

This book is written in part as a companion to the website DanielLordSJ.com And each chapter ends with links to that site for further information. But the book is much more than that. It is the story of an incredible life. A life lived large, a life lived in service. And a Life that completely surprised me. This volume is biography, it is also a soft of Curriculum Vitae. It is also a chronological bibliography or the plays, major articles, books and booklets that Lord penned. Lord wrote over 30 books and over 200 pamphlets. He wrote plays, pageants, drams, columns and more. He was a lecturer, public speaker, the National Director of the Sodality movement. He created the Summer School of Catholic Action, which was week long conference for sisters, priests, brothers, students and lay people. Many of his ideas were years if not decades ahead of his times. And yet central to his life was being a priest and serving God and the church.

Reading this it feels like Lord had the strength and stamina of several ordinary men. And he accomplished more in his lifetime than many. The end of the description of this volume states:

“Very likely, Daniel Lord, in his thirty-year career, had more impact on the lives of ordinary Catholics than any other religious figure. His life story and countless writings provide a unique window into the American Catholic world of the 1920s into the 1950s.” 

And I would absolutely agree. This book is a fascinating read about an amazing man. It is very detailed. Towards the end of the book Werner muses:

“The writings of Daniel Lord have been mostly forgotten. Lord did not write for the ages nor did he write for academics. He wrote for ordinary people in the moment. He had much influence on many people. Many millions of people read his pamphlets. However, pamphlets were cheap to buy and easy to pitch.

Most libraries, even Catholic libraries, did not buy them and certainly did not save them. As for The Queen’s Work magazine, only a few Catholic libraries kept them and bound them and later archived them. Both his magazine and pamphlets became hard to find. Also his writings were not taken seriously by most Catholic scholars. As for Lord’s many shows and pageants, he believed the actual play was what was important. Although some scripts were published, many were not and only exist as manuscripts.

The vast majority of what Lord wrote is not being read today. On the other hand, how many American Catholics today are reading classics such as Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness, and the novels and stories of Flannery O’Connor?”

As someone who has spent the last several years trying to track down books and booklets by Alice Curtayne, Lord and other volumes from The Catholic Truth Society finding booklets from 20 to 30 years ago is difficult let alone 75-100 years ago. I think it is a great loss and can only hope that at least a digital archive of Lord’s works can be complied over the coming years. We are informed the this book that Lord stated:

“I have never written with any hope that my writings would live. On the contrary, I am content that they die with the vast body of topical writings which profoundly affect the moment and the hour. I do not expect to be rediscovered in a hundred years by commentators who will discuss me learnedly and embalm me in footnotes. Who cares? I wrote for the Dicks and Sues I knew and loved. I wrote in the hope that someone who ran as he read might, because of my writing, run with a little more security and read with a sense that I had confirmed what he had hoped for and known without quite being able to put it into words.”

I know I have benefited from much of what I have read by Lord and will continue to try and track down more of his works, especially his booklets. Werner states after the above quote:

“Hopefully this book with its fair share of footnotes has not embalmed Daniel Lord but rather brought to light this fascinating man and his work. Much of what he wrote is still relevant to the great grandchildren of Dick and Sue.”

And I am certain anyone who gives this book a read will become fascinated with the man and the works of Daniel A. Lord. This is an excellent biography, and worth the read. I give it top marks.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Stephan A. Werner:
Prophet of the Christian Social Manifesto: Joseph Husslein, S.J., His Life, Work & Social Thought
The Handy History Answer Book: From the Stone Age to the Digital Age

Books by Daniel A. Lord:
Father Finn, S.J., The Story Of His Life Told By Himself For His Friends Young And Old
Played by Ear


Children's Books:
The Our Father: Our Prayer to God
The Hail Mary Our Mother in Heaven
...

Novels:
Red Arrows in the Night
...

Pamphlets:
Our Nuns: Their Varied and Vital Service for God and County
I can read ANYTHING!? All right! - then read THIS!
Confession is a joy?
Religion and Leadership
Fashionable Sin - A Modern Discussion of an Unpopular Subject
My Mother, The Study of an Uneventful Life
You Can't Live That Way
The Call to Catholic Action
Our Part in the Mystical Body
I Don't Like Lent
...

Friday, 25 February 2022

Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief - Nick Donnelly - CTS Finding God Series

Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief
CTS Finding God Series
Nick Donnelly
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 
9781784691769
eISBN 9781784692377
ASIN B072BC32GP
CTS Booklet PA36


I have now read several books in the ‘Finding God Series’ from the Catholic Truth Society. The first book I read in this series was by Deacon Donnelly as well, Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work. I have read almost 275 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society over the last several years. 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. But this series is very different. All the titles and volumes in this series are about difficulties in life, or in the family, in faith. I have benefitted from all the books I have read from the Catholic Truth Society and from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelly. There are a few different descriptions of this book they are:

“It can be difficult when experiencing indescribable pain and suffering to turn to the very God who allows it to happen. During such crises of the soul, we may even find ourselves doubting whether God is truly present in our lives or, worse, disbelieving his very existence. Recounting his own experience of doubt and disbelief, Rev Nick Donnelly offers understanding and a ray of hope for those in this position. Drawing on Sacred Scripture, 2,000 years of Christian living, and the wisdom of some formidable figures of the past, he seeks to provide comfort and support to help Christians keep going – and even grow closer to God during times of agonising uncertainty.”

And also:

“Drawing on Sacred Scripture, the wisdom of others, as well as his own experiences, Nick Donnelly provides comfort and support in growing closer to God during times of uncertainty and distrust.

There are many things that can cause us to doubt or disbelieve in God. Crises, grief and suffering may make us question, ‘How can God allow such things to happen?’ Prevailing secularism may also lead us to doubt whether God is truly present in our life, or even cause us to disbelieve in his very existence.

Nick Donnelly presents a sensitive exploration of the things that can lead to doubt and disbelief, and offers real hope. Drawing on Sacred Scripture, 2,000 years of Christian living, the wisdom of women and men who overcame doubt, as well as his own experiences, he provides comfort and support to help Christians grow closer to God during times of uncertainty and distrust.”

The chapters in this small volume are:

Sometimes Faith Can Be a Struggle
It’s Alright To Ask Questions
Famous Christians Who Struggled with Doubt
When Doubt and Disbelief Become a Problem
Tips to Get Through Times of Doubt and Disbelief

But I want to highlight not only the chapters but also the sections in those chapters:

Sometimes Faith Can Be a Struggle
     Our Lord On The Struggle Of Faith
     Our Wounds
     My Wound
It’s Alright To Ask Questions
     Salvation Begins With A Question
     Jesus Christ Is God’s Answer
     Our Questions Are Necessary
Famous Christians Who Struggled with Doubt
     St Teresa Of Calcutta
     The Way Of The Cross Is The Way Of Light
     St Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross [Edith Stein]
     The Unexpected Gift Of Faith
     C.S. Lewis
     Truly Encountering Christ
     The Trouble With Lack Of Faith
     Where Is God?
When Doubt and Disbelief Become a Problem
     The Certainty Of Faith
     The Three Threats To Truth
          “You’ve Got Your Truth, I’ve Got My Truth”
          “Nothing Is Absolutely True”
          “I Doubt That Religious Beliefs Are True”
     The Obedience Of Faith
Tips to Get Through Times of Doubt and Disbelief
     Keep Your Gaze Fixed Upon Christ
     Trust That Christ Will Give You The Necessary Help
     Stay Close To The Blessed Virgin Mary
     Lord, I Believe, Help My Unbelief
     Put On The Armour Of Faith
     Believers Strengthen Themselves By Believing
     Listen To The Symphony Of Faith
     Draw On The Wellsprings Of Faith
     Hold Onto Your Own Past Experiences Of Faith
     Don’t Make Any Life-Changing Decisions
     Tips To Get Through Times Of Doubt And Disbelief: Prayer Reflections

At the end of each chapter is a prayer reflection, an example is:

Sometimes faith can be a struggle: prayer reflections

In the battlefield of life, when doubts and disbelief confront me, give me the grace to fight the good fight and let Christ heal the wounds I am afraid to let even him touch.

In the depths of my heart, let the soil become deep through: prayer; the sacraments; daily study of Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church; and, imitating the life of Jesus Christ.

In the fire, when I stand on the tenth floor of the burning building, give me the courage and wisdom to jump into the safety net of God’s love.”

And the final section of the book ‘Tips To Get Through Times Of Doubt And Disbelief: Prayer Reflections’ states:

Go to Eucharistic Adoration: Keep your gaze fixed upon Christ
Trust: Trust that Christ will give you the necessary help
Pray the Rosary: Stay close to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pray: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief
Ask for faith, hope and love: Put on the armour of faith
Choose to believe: Believers strengthen themselves by believing
Read the Catechism: Listen to the symphony of faith
Train the habits of faith – prayer, religious reading, church going and sacraments: Draw on the wellsprings of faith
Remember: Hold onto your own past experiences of faith
Hold on to Christ: Don’t make any life-changing decisions.

This book is an excellent read. I read it because of the author and series. And I was greatly blessed. I have recommended the volume to a few friends who do struggle with doubt, disbelief, or depression. The greatest strength of this volume is the personal examples from Deacon Nick. Wow! His vulnerability, and transparency are deeply moving, and I am certain will be encouraging to readers. His sharing about losing siblings and his own children is very honest and raw. I had a great deal of respect for Deacon Nick before reading this book, and even more after reading it. This is an excellent read in a very important series. Pick it up and give it a read, then pass it on to a friend who could use it. Or pick up a few copies to be able to give to friends as the need arises. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Nick Donnelly:
Finding God Series:

Finding God in Anger and Bitterness
Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief
Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work
Finding God When a Loved One Loses Faith

Other Books by Nick Donelly:
Living with Illness and Suffering
Loving Mary: What Pope Francis Says
Finding Forgiveness with Pope Francis
Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis
Who Is the Devil?
Hope and Healing: Living with Illness and Suffering
Prayers for Grieving Parents: Help After a Miscarriage or Still Birth
Praying the Rosary with the Martyrs
Praying The Creed In The Year Of Faith
Praying the Rosary with the Saints
Our Journey to Christmas: With Pope Francis

Unattributed books cowritten\ghost written by Nick Donnelly:
Priesthood Today
Fit for Mission? Church
Fit for Mission? Schools
Fit for Mission? Marriage
Fit for Mission? A Guide
...










Thursday, 24 February 2022

Walking With God A Journey Through the Bible - Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins

Walking With God
A Journey Through the Bible
ISBN 9781945179433
eISBN 1230000247902
ASIN B004G5ZTCY


I am currently on my second year of doing the Bible in a Year with Father Mike Schmitz. During those podcasts Father Mike often Makes reference to Jeff’s work on the The Great Adventure Bible and The Bible Timeline. I had picked up this book the first time through but did not get around to reading it. This year I started it on day 1, and worked my way through it over a month. And I can state it is an excellent volume. One description of this book is:

“Written by Dr. Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins, Walking With God unpacks the central story woven throughout Scripture and presents it in an easy-to-read, concise manner. Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins take you on a journey through the “narrative” books of the Bible—the ones that tell the story—and present a panoramic view of God’s glorious plan of salvation. Their expert commentary dives deep into the mysteries of scripture, unlocking its riches and showing how these inspired words are meant for you today.

Enter into the scriptures with Walking with God. Witness the fascinating story of our faith unfold, and see how you, at this moment in your life, fit into God’s plan for all of humanity.

Reflect on your own or discuss with a Bible study group in your home or in your parish to gain a better understanding of the story of salvation history.”

And another you will find online is:

“Read the entire story of the Bible in one captivating and inspirational book...

The Bible plays a vital role in the life of the Catholic Church. In fact, we are called to immerse ourselves daily in the Scriptures. But many of us get lost when we actually dive into the Bible, and our time spent can be more frustrating than fruitful. We are reading a collection of writings drafted by an ancient people, in an ancient culture. But Scripture is nothing less than the Living Word of God, and it is meant just as much for us as for those who lived thousands of years ago.

In Walking with God, Dr. Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins unpack the central story woven throughout Scripture and present it in an easy-to-read, concise manner. Gray and Cavins take you on a journey through the narrative books of the Bible the ones that tell the story and present a panoramic view of God s glorious plan of salvation. Their expert commentary dives deep into the mysteries of Scripture, unlocking its riches and showing how these inspired words are meant for you today. Enter into the Scriptures with Walking with God. Witness the fascinating story of our faith unfold, and see how you, at this moment in your life, fit into God s plan for all of humanity.”

This book is an excellent resource on its own. But when you combine it with the Bible in a Year Podcast it has really helped me go to a deeper level in reading, listening and understanding the bible. I plan to reread it on pace with Fr Mike this year. But back to the book.  This book is immensely engaging. And it is also very accessible. It could be easily read by anyone in secondary school or beyond. Used by the academic, or the lay person. This book can be read from beginning to end, or if you are willing to slow down read it along with the accompanying biblical passages. It helps highlight and tie together the foreshadowing in the Old Testament that is fulfilled in the New. It is both commentary and exegesis. I hold a Religious Studies Degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought, I would have loved to have had this book as a resource while in school. It could have easily been required reading on either my OT or NT courses. And it would be great as supplemental reading or resource for many of the other courses I did: Jesus Life and Legacy or Paul’s Life and Letters. This volume begins with these words:

“Toward the end of his gospel, St. Luke recounts the greatest Bible study ever held. Jesus joins two disciples as they travel the road to Emmaus. In response to their despair over the events of Good Friday, Jesus says, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:25-26). In the midst of the tragic events and details of the previous days, these disciples had lost sight of all that God was doing in his story of Scripture, and, as a result, they also lost sight of the narrative thread to their own lives and were filled with sorrow and despair. 

In response, Jesus takes the disciples back through Scripture’s story, showing them God’s wonderful design and purpose. When Jesus wanted to teach these disciples the very meaning of who he was and make sense of the events of life, he opened up for them Scripture’s plot, the “big picture” that weaves together all the individual events and details. The disciples saw the whole breathtaking view of Scripture’s story and how it led to Christ. It set their hearts on fire and changed their lives; their sorrow was turned to joy, and they raced back to Jerusalem!”

And that is what Cavins and Gray do for us in this work. They help open our eyes to the whole history of salvation. They do it in an easy to understand way. They make the material engaging, meaningful and even entertaining. They have done a masterful job walking with us through the story of salvation. 

This is a book any Catholic any Christian would benefit from reading. I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Related Articles:

Books by Jeff Cavins:
My Life on the Rock
When You Suffer
I'm Not Being Fed
Praise God and Thank Him
Adventures In Revelation
Insight Journal
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III
...




Wednesday, 23 February 2022

8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace - Vivian Boland - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

8 Deadly Sins: 
Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Father Vivian Boland OP
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824609
eISBN 9781784692704
ASIN B071ZJWDVV
CTS Booklet SP21


Over the last few years, I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society. Most were good reads; some were great reads; and a few are exceptional. This is an excellent offering. It is the ninth in the Deeper Christianity Series that I have read, over half of them I have now read twice, and the second volume from the pen of by Vivian Boland. I have read over 250 offerings from the CTS over the last few years. This series is one of my favorites. This booklet was originally published 2007 and the eBook was released in 2017. Note it is currently only available in eBook format. The description of this volume is:

“The Church has settled on a list of 7 mortal sins but the Fathers of the Church more often referred to 8. The deadly or capital sins – covetousness, envy, sloth, gluttony, lust, anger, vainglory and pride – are the most significant and insidious temptations with which we must contend. A first step in countering their influence is understanding their psychological and spiritual roots in human experience. Standing humbly in the truth about ourselves, we will appreciate the power of God's love to heal and strengthen our nature, for love is not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not irritable or resentful.”

The chapters in the book are:

Introduction
Covetousness
Envy
Sloth
Gluttony
Lust
Anger
Pride – and Vainglory
Conclusion

And there is an excellent set of recommendations for ‘Further Reading’ at the end of the volume, as well as previews of three other volumes in this series, two of which I can not come across yet. And are now on my wish list. This volume begins with a section called What’s In A Number, which has sub sections and 3, 4, 7 and concluded with a section called Seven or Eight? It gives a brief history of numbers that humans seem drawn to, in other religions, Christianity, and even culturally. At first, I questioned this extensive introduction and it’s relation to the subject at hand. Further in the book I went back and reread this section with a much greater clarity and understanding. And the conclusion of the book returns to these numbers at the beginning:

“The monastic teacher Evagrius Pontus spoke of eight ‘generic thoughts’ in which every thought is contained. These he named as gluttony, fornication, love of money, depression, anger, listlessness, vainglory and pride. These were to become the seven deadly sins of Christian tradition, written about by Chaucer, Dante, John of the Cross, and many others, and still informing popular culture today. Gregory the Great and Thomas Aquinas combine the idea of eight with the tradition of seven by regarding pride as a ‘super sin’, the root of the other seven.
Evagrius immediately adds this important observation:

Whether these thoughts come to disturb the soul or not is not something we can control; but whether they linger or not, and whether they arouse passions or not, that is subject to our control.”

And it concludes with:

“A first step in countering their influence is to understand their psychological and spiritual roots in human experience. This is what this booklet has tried to do. If we stand, humbly, in the truth about ourselves, we will appreciate the power of God’s love to heal and strengthen our nature, for love is not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not irritable or resentful. If we understand the origins and nature in us of these ‘generic thoughts’, these ‘phantasies’ or ‘demons’, we are already in possession of a truth that sets us free. For that understanding assures us, in case we are tempted to doubt it, that our wellbeing and our salvation consists only, and always, in love. This will then sustain us in the discipline and practices of the spiritual life.”

This book is an excellent volume. I have been greatly blessed by reading it, and know that like many others from the CTS it is one I will return to. I wish I had read books like this when I was younger. That I had encountered the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society in my teens or even twenties. I am sure they would have had an immense impact on my formation and growth. And that Is in part why I read and review so many of them today. This book and series are excellent reads, for teens, young adults, and even those of us past middle age. I highly recommend this book and series! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


Books in the Deeper Christianity Series:
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Catholic Architecture 
Christian Fasting Disciplining the Body, Awakening the Spirit
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Desire & Delight
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Fruits of the Holy Spirit Living a Happy Life
Icons
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special

Mary in the Liturgy
Mary Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Providence and Prayer
Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance
Purgatory A Mystery of Love
Rediscovering Virtue The Art of Christian Living
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
The Call to Evangelise: Founded on loving intimacy with the Lord
The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ
The Name of God The Revelation of the Merciful Presence of God
The Trinity and the Spiritual Life
Understanding The Story Of The Bible
Union with God


Books by Father Vivian Boland:
Ideas in God According to Saint Thomas Aquinas
Spiritual Warfare: Fighting the Good Fight
Reconciliation: The Mercy of Christ
Don't Put Out the Burning Bush
Watchmen Raise Their Voices














Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Van Horn - Jim Sano

Van Horn
ISBN 9781987970357
ASIN B09LHY6XRM


This is the fourth novel from the pen of Jim Sano that I have read. It is the first that is not part of the Father Tom series, though he is mentioned. This story is a little darker, and grittier than the other offerings from Sano. It is full of action, mystery, suspense, and as usual faith. It is an excellent read. I could hardly put the book down and devoured it in under 24 hours. I read t in three sittings and stayed up much later than I should have on a work night. I kept thinking ‘just one more chapter’. And repeated that several times. Like the main Father Tom stories this book has great characters, an excellent plot, and it has amazing pacing. With each volume from Sano that I read I appreciate his writing more. I love the Father Tom books but this story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I am certain the story will draw you in and keep you hooked.
 
This story is a contemporary fiction tale. It is a story about seeking revenge or vengeance, family, and faith. It is what Madeleine L’Engle referred to as realistic fiction. It is set in our world, in our time, and with our issues and struggles. In this story we have a few main characters, and several supporting characters that play key roles. The description of the book is:

“Four masked men stormed into Jack Russo's Boston apartment, killed his wife, kidnapped his infant daughter, and left him for dead. Twenty years later, he is still on a relentless search for his daughter. Revenge has led him to the border towns of Texas and Mexico, where he meets Siena, a spirited young woman who joins him on a riveting journey into the world of the dangerous Mexican drug cartels and the deeper struggle with justice, peace, truth, and forgiveness.”

Twenty years is a long time to hold onto anger. It is also a long time to be searching for someone you love. There were several surprises and twists in the story. I did not see some of the turn of events coming. The book kept me guessing right until the end. Readers cannot help but feel for Jack. Be amused by Siena. Respect Juan and Sheriff Ramos, And Father Diaz is masterfully written. 

This is another great read from Jim and Full Quiver. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Jim Sano:
Father Tom Series:





Monday, 21 February 2022

The Stations of the Cross A Via Dolorosa - Father Marcus Holden - CTS Devotions

The Stations of the Cross: 
A Via Dolorosa
Father Marcus Holden
ISBN 9781784697396
eISBN 9781784696986
ASIN B09QGY5NM9
CTS Booklet D843


Over the last few years, I have read over 250 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have been blessed, encouraged, and challenged by these wonderful resources for the Catholic Faith. This is the first I have read by Father Holden. I have picked up a few of his other offerings, I have one in eBook format that was towards the op of my reading list and 2 in physical form waiting for me to get around to them. But this one was of three new offerings from the CTS that released in January of 2022, and I picked them all up as soon as they were available. This was the third one that I read but I know I will return to it often, especially through Lent this year. The description of this booklet is:

“Millions of pilgrims from all over the world have flocked to the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. To walk the route where Our Lord carried the load of all the sins of the world offers much inspiration and provokes contemplation. It was walking the Via Dolorosa that inspired these meditations on the Stations of the Cross, each written where the original saving actions took place.

As you pray these short stations, be transported to the places where the meditations were written, to when the Way of the Cross was walked by Christ two thousand years ago. May this ancient devotion continue to be a source of deep conversion, renewal in the spiritual life, and a powerful means of interceding for others.

Written to be said congregationally and for private devotion, this booklet is illustrated with beautiful early twentieth century stations.”

About the photos in this Way we are informed that:

“The Stations of the Cross at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Balham, South West London, date from 1931. They were installed by the then Parish Priest, Canon William Thompson, who was Rector of Balham for more than forty years (1917 - 1963). Canon Thompson was known as a very spiritual man, who served for a long time as Chaplain to the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament. Each of these Stations of the Cross was paid for by a different family in the parish, no doubt many of them in memory of relatives who had died in the First World War – a plaque in the church porch records the large number of parishioners who died serving in the armed forces during that conflict.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction
Prayer before the Stations
The First Station - Jesus is condemned to death
The Second Station - Jesus receives the Cross
The Third Station - Jesus falls the first time
The Fourth Station - Jesus meets his Sorrowful Mother
The Fifth Station - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross
The Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
The Seventh Station - Jesus falls the second time
The Eighth Station - The Women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus
The Ninth Station - Jesus falls the third time
The Tenth Station - Jesus is stripped of his garments
The Eleventh Station - Jesus is nailed to the Cross
The Twelfth Station - Jesus dies on the Cross
The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of his Mother Mary
The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is laid in the tomb
Prayer after the Stations

Father holden informs us in the introduction that:

“In 2017 while on a bible study sabbatical in the Holy Land I had the opportunity to live for a few weeks on the ‘Via Dolorosa’ in Jerusalem, literally next to where Pontius Pilate had his Pretorium. Living on the ‘Way of Cross’, and daily walking the route where Our Lord carried the load of all the sins of the world, was the inspiration for writing these Stations of the Cross. After some days in Jerusalem, putting my biblical studies aside, I began to spend more and more time at each traditional ‘station’ to ponder and pray. The text that follows is the fruit of those meditations, written where the original saving actions took place and where millions of pilgrims have prayed. My hope is that these short stations can be an aid for anyone, in any place, but especially around our churches, to follow the fourteen steps of the Redeemer, to feel with Jesus in his Passion and thereby to carry our own cross alongside him. May this ancient devotion continue to be a source of deep conversion, renewal in the spiritual life, and a powerful means of interceding for others.”

And it delivers on that. This is a wonderful new Stations of the Cross, or Way of the Cross for personal or corporate devotion. Each year I try and pick up a new Way of the Cross or 2 to pray during Lend. Over the last few years I have tried to pray the stations each day through lend and at least weekly through the rest of the church year. I have used many over the years. Some I only use once or twice, others I have prayed countless times. This one will be used often.

This is an excellent stations of the cross and I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

Books by Father Marcus Holden:
Apologia - Catholic answers to today's Questions
Credo: The Catholic Faith Explained
Evangelium Participant's Book: Sharing the Riches of the Catholic Faith
Faith in the Family: A Handbook for Parents
Lumen: The Catholic Gift to Civilisation
Saints of the English Calendar
The Priesthood – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Other Stations of the Cross from the Catholic Truth Society: