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Thursday, 31 March 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books First Quarter 2022

It has been a very good beginning to the year. Many great reads. I have read just over a book and a half a day. I read 146 books this quarter, in comparison with the last 6 years:

     2022 – 145
     2021 – 97
     2020 – 96
     2019 – 123
     2018 – 91
     2017 – 100
     2016 – 52

In fact, I believe it is my best quarter ever. Part of it is due to my youngest two children’s reading skills really growing and they read to/with me for 20 minutes for or five days a week. And this Lent I have tried to read a different Stations of the Cross booklet each day. Looking back 2016 is a bit of an outlier as late that year I switched jobs and have since had much better work – life balance. In the spring of 2016, I worked through Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now (now available on ClaitasU). The year before that I removed all games from my phone and tablet and my reading had doubled. 

But back to this quarter. By the numbers:

Books Read: 146
First Time Reads: 131
Fiction: 41
Non-Fiction: 105
5/5 Stars: 114

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

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
11. Prayer books:
A Simple Prayer Book For Prisoners - Catholic Truth Society
12. Books by Deacon Nick Donnelly

Bonus Books:
(For the bonus section I am highlighting sever Stations of the Cross)
The Way of the Cross: Praying the Psalms with Jesus - Father Mark Toups
Way of the Cross - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Meditations and Prayers (2005)
Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Poetry by Jan Twardowski
3. Even - Andrew Grant - David Trevellyan Book 1
4. Our Daily Bread - Karina Fabian - A Rescue Sisters Story
5. Perdition's Heirs - Jane Lebak - Seven Archangels Book 6
6. The Golden Spear - Arthur Slade - Dragon Assassin Book 11
7. Homestead - A.K. Frailey
8. Dark Visions of Torment - J.E. Mayhew - DCI William Blake Book 8
9. Sweet Briar Rose - Alex Smith - DCI Kett Book 8
10. Mortlock - Jon Mayhew - Mortlock Book 1
11. Better off Dead - Lee Child and Andrew Child - Jack Reacher Book 26  

Bonus Books:

The beginning of 2022 has been a great quarter for reading. A few new authors, some favorites. Books in old series, and the beginnings of some new series. Again this year, at least so far, I managed to write reviews for all books read for the only the second time. 

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are sometimes in the bonus section. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list.  


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
365 - 2021
317 - 2020 
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996



Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Nuns What are they for? - Maria Boulding, Bruno Webb, and Jean Daniélou - CTS Onefifties

Nuns - What are they for? 
CTS Onefifties Book 11
Maria Boulding
Bruno Webb
Jean Daniélou
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784695361
eISBN 9781784695088
ASIN B075FWGRNW
CTS Booklet CL10


I picked up this volume after reading two others from the Catholic Truth Society that seemed related, they were:


Over the last several years I have read over 275 books and booklets from the CTS. And So far this year have alternated CTS titles with other volumes. But this book is very different from the other two. In 2016 during the 150 Anniversary of the CTS they released special editions of 150 of their most popular and influential booklets. We are told about the series that:

“CTS Publisher Fergal Martin said, “1868 to 2018 we feel is something to celebrate. We have delved into our archives of thousands of titles and uncovered countless gems that celebrate the huge range and diversity of CTS publishing across a century and a half. The CTS archive represents a unique and valuable resource chronicling the changing concerns of the Catholic population of the British Isles and beyond over the last 150 years. There is something original and special here for everybody. Our hope is that readers can dip into the past – and find the present.””

This volume was actually compiled from three other works. They are:

Contemplative Nuns: Are They Wasting Their Lives? – Maria Boulding OSB 1973

Why Enclosed Nuns – Dom Bruno Webb OSB 1951

Nuns – What Is Special About Them? – Jean Cardinal Danielou SJ 1974

The description of this new combined edition is:

“There are two sorts of nuns: those you see and those you don’t. Some are visibly busy doing good; but what about those you don’t see? Three classic CTS texts are combined in this explanatory title.

In Contemplative Nuns: are they wasting their lives?, Maria Boulding, a highly-respected spiritual writer and translator, gave her testimony as contemplative nun, in a way both eloquent and forceful. The second text Why Enclosed Nuns? written by Bruno Webb a generation earlier is more theoretical, though written with a robust sense of the reality of enclosed life. The third text written by Jean Daniélou as Nuns – what is special about them? came in the immediate aftermath of the Conciliar reforms when religious life was beginning to change. In this text, he insists the religious vocation depends on unfashionable elements such as formal prayer, living under obedience, wearing a habit. These, he argues, are both prophetic signs and an essential framework to allow God’s grace to work unhindered by our egotism. The vocation is expressed primarily in the experience of loving God and being loved by him. It is to this that contemplative nuns above all are called.”

The final section of the book is background to the authors and these specific works:

“Maria Boulding was a highly-respected spiritual writer and translator, notably of St Augustine. Her testimony, as a contemplative nun, is eloquent and forceful: “love is the mightiest source of power in the world, and because of the solidarity of mankind contemplatives believe that lives handed over to love can make a difference”.

Bruno Webb’s text, from a generation earlier, is more theoretical, although with a robust sense of the reality of enclosed life.

Jean Daniélou wrote in the immediate aftermath of the Conciliar reforms, and the wholesale recasting of much religious life. He insists the religious vocation depends on unfashionable elements such as formal prayer, living under obedience, wearing a habit: these are both prophetic signs and an essential framework to allow God’s grace to work unhindered by our egotism. The vocation is expressed primarily in the experience of loving God and being loved by him. It is to this that contemplative nuns above all are called.”

Some online descriptions are this final section. This book was a fascinating read. I read it through in a single sitting over a large mug of tea. I was surprised the three components were not put in chronological order. But each of the three are informative. I follow several nuns on social media, and even a young woman who is about to enter a Carmelite cloister. I know that in recent years there has been a rise in this type of vocation. This volume would be great for those discerning I was very intrigued at the end of the first section about the list of: Enclosed Communities Of Nuns In England, Scotland And Wales. And also the list at the end of the second: Enclosed Communities Of Nuns In England & Wales. I would have loved if there was an appendix with current lists for each of these categories, but other than that an excellent volume.  

I have only read a few of the CTS Onefifties but have benefited from each of them, and look forward to reading many more. This is an excellent read and one I benefited from.

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.





Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Prayers for Grieving Parents - Nick Donnelly - CTS Prayers and Devotions

Prayers for Grieving Parents
Help After A Miscarriage Or Still Birth
Nick Donnelly
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 
9781860826160
eISBN 9781784693473
ASIN B073FLG73T
CTS Booklet D713


This is the tenth title from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelley that I have read over the last four years. Most of them I have read more than once. This booklet is another excellent offering from his pen. I read it over a few days:. I said in a review of Donnelly’s, Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief:

“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.”

And those words are just as true about this work. And in some ways even more so as Deacon Nick goes into a lot of details about his own struggles with losing their children. The description of this volume is:

“This book offers advice for parents whose child has died through miscarriage or stillbirth. On dealing with grief, what practical steps can help, and with great sensitivity the answers to many questions of faith that such a loss can provoke.

This book of prayers, practical advice, meditations and services has been written for parents whose child has died through miscarriage or stillbirth. It offers sound advice on dealing with grief, what practical steps can help, and articulates with great sensitivity the answers to the many burning questions of faith that such a loss can provoke. It will also assist those ministering to parents.”

The chapters in this small volume are:

Purpose of this booklet
Grieving for an unborn child
Things that can help
7 Questions to place before God
Prayers for parents
Jesus shares our suffering
Liturgical Services
     Suggested Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
     Shorter Rite for Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
     Suggested Order of Naming and Commendation of an Unborn Child
     Funeral Mass for an Unborn Child
     Funeral Liturgy outside Mass for an Unborn Child
Further help

I have not lost a child to either miscarriage or still birth, but I know many who have. I have walked beside them. And this volume is an excellent resource for them as well. Deacon Nick states in the ‘Purpose For This Book’:

“I know, through talking with other parents, that our experience of grieving is something we share in common with tens of thousands of couples who struggle with the tragedy of miscarriage and still birth every year. It is my hope that other mothers and fathers who are grieving about the death of their daughter or son will find this booklet helpful.

It’s just as important that other people, including clergy, religious and laity involved in bereavement ministry, realise the depth of grief suffered by couples through miscarriage or still birth. It’s not uncommon for couples to suffer the added burden of others behaving as if miscarriage is not really the death of a child.

It is my hope that this booklet will encourage others in the Catholic Church to develop pastoral provision for couples bereaved by miscarriage and still birth. To this end, a number of services especially composed by the Church for the care of the unborn child and grieving are included for ministers to use in their support of these families parents.

Finally, it is well known that many women who have had abortions suffer guilt and grief over the death of their child, for which they desperately need healing. I truly hope that this booklet helps them, and their partners, find the loving mercy of God, and the hope that one day they will be re-united with their little ones.”

In the next section of the book he states:

“It is important to understand the nature of grief, because it can have an enormous effect on all our relationships, including our relationship with God. I have found that prayer is one of the things that I need to do most as a grieving parent, but it is also one of the hardest things to do.

Grief over the death of a child is not merely one of the most intense emotions that we can experience, but it is a state of existence that at times makes normal life difficult, if not impossible. Things that we have taken for granted, like work, friendships, prayer, going out to do the shopping or attending Mass, can become difficult, even unbearable. The sight of pregnant women and babies, or baby clothes and toys, can trigger desperate feelings of loss, anger, jealousy or guilt.

At times grief can be all consuming, leaving no aspect of our personality or inner-life untouched. It can be like waking up into a nightmare world in which we have become a different person – pain-racked, desperate, and despairing. Sometimes it feels like the only possible thing that could take away the pain is to hold our baby tight in our arms, but that one thing that we long to do is impossible.”

As mentioned Deacon Donnelly writes from his personal experience, and his experience walking along side others. It is at times raw, but it is also open, honest and it help provides a framework for home and healing. And for me even just reading through the possible liturgical services was moving. 

This is an excellent volume. It is one of those booklets that I will pick up a few copies to always have on hand; so that I can give one out when the need or situation arises. I double there are any of us who do not know someone who has lost a child to either miscarriage or still birth, or had an abortion and now struggle with that past decision, this is a volume to help you help them. It is a great tool for us to walk with them in their grief, sorrow and sadness. 

I continue to try and tracked down some of Deacon Nick’s other older works that are out of print. I look forward to reading more from his pen. This is an excellent read from the CTS, and from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelly.

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 reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series 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
...








Monday, 28 March 2022

Perdition's Heirs - Jane Lebak - Seven Archangels Book 6

Perdition's Heirs 
Seven Archangels Book 6
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133476
ASIN B09S4S2F75


First oof! Second Wow! This is the 19th story by Jane Lebak I have read in the last few years. This one is very different from other stories in this series I have read. And the author states it is a standalone novel set in the Seven Archangels world. This story focuses on spiritual warfare, Lebak delves into the other plane of existence and we see angels and demons and ways they work. As someone who has been through deliverance ministry, and specifically for generational curses this novel really hit home. It was an amazing read. But I won’t say it was an easy read and at times a hard read. Lebak at the beginning of this story in the section About This Book states:

“THREE POWERFUL SIBLINGS are poised to continue their grandfather’s deal with the devil.

Cosmiel’s angelic Special Ops team takes the assignments no one else wants. Too dangerous for the ministerial corps and too delicate for the army, these assignments require the best of the best, the angels who go where other angels fear to tread. The pressure is unrelenting, and even one distracted moment could leave an angel stabbed or chained in Hell—but the humans need them.

The Ellington siblings seem to need nothing at all. Their recently-deceased grandfather, Linus Ellington, bequeathed them his money, his influence, and his Fortune 500 company. But they’re also heirs to Ellington’s pact with Hell, and now the demons are coming to collect. Cosmiel needs to guide his team through the most intricate case of intergenerational evil he’s ever faced, or else these three human souls—and the thousands more under their influence—will perish.

This standalone novel in the Seven Archangels Saga combines heroics, espionage, ingenuity, teamwork, and the heart of the human family.”

And the description of the story is:

“Cosmiel’s angelic Special Ops team takes the assignments no one else wants. Too dangerous for the ministerial corps and too delicate for the army, these assignments require the best of the best, the angels who go where other angels fear to tread. The pressure is unrelenting, and even one distracted moment could leave an angel stabbed or chained in Hell—but the humans need them.”

Many years ago I read and was fascinated by Frank E. Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. They were fiction but they presented the spiritual realm in a relatable way. And each time I read them it stirred my prayer life. Eventually I stopped reading Peretti because it started feeling like a Christianized Stephen King and I felt unclean after reading them. Lebak has managed to walk that line without crossing over it. Prior to beginning the story Lebak provides a lesson on the 9 Choirs, she states:

“You’ve likely heard of the nine choirs of angels, but here’s the refresher cheat sheet.

The trillion or so angels whom God created are organized in nine categories. Humans call them choirs for the same reason cows are “herds” and crows are “a murder” and executives are “a meeting.” That is to say, English makes no sense. Angels can sing, but they don’t always. We also call these groups “orders.” 

The choirs each have a rank, and from most powerful to least powerful, they go like this:

• Seraphim
• Cherubim
• Thrones
• Dominions
• Virtues
• Powers
• Principalities
• Archangels
• Angels

Because human language is imprecise, humans tend to lump all of those together as “angels” even if they’re not from the choir of Angels. When it’s capitalized, you’re referring to the choir. When it’s lowercase, you’re referring to any of the beings who were formed directly by God before the creation of the universe, spiritual but not physical. (Humans are made differently and don’t turn into angels after death.)

Angels who rebelled with Satan are now demons, but they’ve retained their choir status as well as all the abilities and tendencies that come with each choir. 

In general, if it matters what choir the angel is, they’ll tell you. Cherubim, for example, are God’s academics. The Seraphim are the fiery ones, emotional and generous. Most guardian angels are chosen from the lowest two choirs. Over time, the middle three choirs have gravitated toward defense and guidance, and that’s where you’ll find Special Ops.

Welcome to a world you’ve never seen, the world of unconventional spiritual warfare.”

In this story we encounter many, guardians, Archangel Michael, and we have Cosmiel’s angelic Special Ops team who are trying to save the souls of the three grandchildren of a man who signed away not only his soul but up to 4 generations of his descendants. Each of the siblings must decide for themselves. But each has been raised, and trained, and primed to make that decision. In this story we watch as their guardians and special ops try and guide them against how they were raised and to choose light over darkness. 

I mentioned previously I had been through deliverance ministry. Part of that work was breaking generational curses going back up to 7 generations. This story really hit home. Lebak has captured a spiritual reality many modern people do not want to believe or deny is a reality. She captures perfectly the spiritual realities, and the role of faith, hope, and prayer. 

This is an amazing read in an excellent series. And to be honest the best and I believe most important book Lebak has written. It is Christian fiction at its best. And Catholic literature that readers will be challenged and blessed by reading. Even if you have not read anything else from Lebak, I encourage you to give this book a read.

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

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
Hunger
The Space Between
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation

Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Contributed to:

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.






Sunday, 27 March 2022

The Stations of the Cross In the Footsteps of The Passion - Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The Stations of the Cross: In the Footsteps of The Passion
ISBN 9780921440017
eISBN 9781897145395
ASIN B00K5ZHKZ8


This year during Lent I went searching for some new editions of Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross booklets in eBook format. This was one of three I picked up during the first week of Lent , and was the first I read and prayed on the Monday of the Second Week of Lent. It is one I will return to often. I spent a few days at Madonna House in the early 1990’s. I am familiar with her name but had yet to read anything by her. After reading this one I have already added three of her other books to my wish list, and easily could have added a dozen. This edition of the stations has both a Nihil Obstat, by Steven F. Ballard, J.C.L. and Imprimatur:
Richard W. Smith, S.T.D. Bishop of Pembroke, February 20, 2004. The eBook was released in 2012, the first printing was in 2004 on Ash Wednesday, and the book is listed as being in the third edition. The description of this volume is:

“Prayerful devotional meditations on The Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross at Jerusalem, known as the Via Dolorosa or Via Crucis, marks Jesus path to his crucifixion. It has been the destination of pilgrims since the early days of the Church, and saints throughout the ages confirm that meditating on the Passion of the Christ is most fruitful. Fourteen significant moments along the way are marked by a "station," and meditating upon the stations enables you to make a pilgrimage to the moment of Jesus' Passion. Erecting stations in other places made the fulfillment of this devotion possible for those who could not travel to the Holy Land. One such Way of the Cross is located just outside Catherine Doherty's poustinia--her cabin, her desert. From the earliest days of her apostolic life, Catherine daily made this pilgrimage with Jesus Christ and his mother, walking with them, suffering with them, taking up the cross on the way to crucifixion and resurrection. Catherine's diaries, writings, and life brim with meditations, lessons, and insights gained from her spiritual pilgrimages to Golgotha. We offer to you some of these personal meditations from Catherine's heart during her pilgrimage along the Way, to guide you through your own pilgrimage to crucifixion and resurrection. This devotion begins with some of Catherine s meditations that you can pray to prepare your heart and focus your mind before you make your Way, or to deepen your resolve after making your Way. Each station includes Scripture reflections, a meditation and prayer from Catherine, and common public prayers--accompanied by the wood carvings of the Stations that appear in the Madonna House chapel in Combermere. (We have also included an English translation of the Stabat Mater; its verses can be sung between the stations.)"When it received the Lord of Life lifeless, dead, the tomb became a manger again, the birthplace of life. Its silence sang a requiem of alleluias. Its coldness became all flame and fire of joy--joy beyond desire. Jesus slept within the cradle of its depths the sleep of the One who conquered death. Alone the tomb became witness to the mystery of victory." -- from Station XIV”

And the sections in the book are:

Foreword
Front Pages
The Stations of the Cross
I Jesus is Condemned to Death
II Jesus Carries His Cross
III Jesus Falls the First Time
IV Jesus Meets His Mother
V Simon Carries the Cross
VI Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face
VII Jesus Falls the Second Time
VIII Jesus Consoles the Women
IX Jesus Falls the Third Time
X Jesus is Stripped
XI Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
XII Jesus Dies on the Cross
XIII Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
XIV Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
The Resurrection
Closing
At the Cross Her Station Keeping (Stabat Mater)
Other Books by Catherine Doherty

We are informed in the forward by the editors that:

“The Way of the Cross at Jerusalem, known as the Via Dolorosa or Via Crucis, marks Jesus’ path to his crucifixion. It has been the destination of pilgrims since the early days of the Church, and saints throughout the ages confirm that meditating on the Passion of Christ is most fruitful. Fourteen significant moments along the way are marked by a “station,” and meditating upon the stations enables you to make a pilgrimage to the moment of Jesus’ Passion. Erecting stations in other places made the fulfillment of this devotion possible for those who could not travel to the Holy Land.

A Way of the Cross is located just outside Catherine Doherty’s poustinia—her cabin, her desert. From the earliest days of her apostolic life, Catherine daily made this pilgrimage with Jesus Christ and his mother, walking with them, suffering with them, taking up the cross on the way to crucifixion and resurrection. Catherine’s diaries, writings, and life brim with meditations, lessons, and insights gained from her spiritual pilgrimages to Golgotha. 

We offer to you some of these personal meditations from Catherine’s heart during her pilgrimage along the Way, to guide you through your own pilgrimage to crucifixion and resurrection. This devotion begins with some of Catherine’s meditations that you can pray to prepare your heart and focus your mind before you make your Way, or to deepen your resolve after making your Way. Each station includes Scripture reflections, a meditation and prayer from Catherine, and common public prayers. (We have also included an English translation of the Stabat Mater; its verses can be sung between the stations.)

The plenary indulgence gained from visiting the actual locations of Christ’s Passion in Jerusalem can also be gained by making the Way of the Cross at blessed stations. Privately, you fulfill the Way by moving (unless physically impossible) without interruption from station to station. (Mass, Confession, or Communion is not considered an interruption.) In public devotions, you can gain the indulgence without moving if the leader proceeds from station to station.

There is no set formula for the Way of the Cross, except to walk from station to station. Make this devotion your own, take up the cross and follow Christ, and make his cross your own.”

I find next to the Rosary that the Stations are the most important devotion in my spiritual tool box. I try and pray them at least once a week through the year and I aim for daily during lent. And this one will become a mainstay. I cannot imagine having a stations right outside my door as Catherine had. But I can pray along to an audio version while out for a walk. Or in my prayer space at home. We are informed about the images in this volume that:

“The wood carvings of the stations pictured herein are from the Madonna House St. Mary’s chapel in Combermere, Ontario. They were hand-carved by an anonymous artist (“A.B.”) of Paris, France, and restored by Mark Schlingerman of Madonna House.”

A sample station is:

VI Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face


 “A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem... and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him... leaving him half dead.... A Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion.... He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them....” Jesus said, “Go, and do the same.”
Luke 10:29–37

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The cloth was cool against his face, burnt with pain where blood mingled with dust—both kissed to fiery dryness by the noonday sun. The cloth was soft against his blotted, swollen, disfigured face.

Cooler than any linen cloth and softer than an angel’s wing was love that wiped his tortured face that day. Courageous, flaming love that spurned the angry crowd, the taunts, the unseemly jokes—a love springing from the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son—the love of Veronica, who came from nowhere and returned there, leaving to all of us a linen cloth with the imprint of his holy face.

Beloved, teach me to love always and everybody, and never to cease striving to love more. Help me, I who am so restless, volatile, changeable, sinful and weak, to absorb this. Integrate this understanding into my life so completely that I will be known as one of yours. 

Only strong love, courageous and pure, can approach the sin, the misery and pain that now covers the face of Christ hidden under the face of the world. Lord, let my soul, my heart, my mind, be the towel that does the wiping. Imprint on it indelibly your face. O Jesus, I love you; teach me to love you always.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.”

If you pick up a physical or electronic copy of this Stations I highly recommend you read the Forward and Front Pages, maybe even each time you work through the book. This is a wonderful Way of the Cross and one I can easily recommend for personal, group, or corporate use.

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

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

Books by Catherine de Hueck Doherty:
Apostolic Farming
Beginning Again: Recovering Your Innocence through Confession
Bogoroditza: She Who Gave Birth to God
Dear Father
Dear Seminarian
Dearly Beloved: Letters to the Children of My Spirit (3 Vol.)
Donkey Bells: Advent and Christmas
Fragments of My Life
God in the Nitty-Gritty Life
Grace in Every Season
In the Footprints of Loneliness
In the Furnace of Doubts
Light in the Darkness
Living the Gospel Without Compromise
Molchanie: The Silence of God
Moments of Grace (perpetual calendar)
My Russian Yesterdays
Not Without Parables: Stories of Yesterday, Today and Eternity
On the Cross of Rejection
Our Lady’s Unknown Mysteries
People of the Towel and Water, The
Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer
Re-Entry Into Faith
Season of Mercy: Lent and Easter
Sobornost: Unity of Mind, Heart and Soul
Soul of My Soul: Coming to the Heart of Prayer
Strannik: The Call to the Pilgrimage of the Heart
Uródivoi: Holy Fools

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Companion to Saint Peter - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series

Companion to Saint Peter
CTS Companions Series
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860822124
CTS Booklet Do698


A few of years ago I encountered the works of J.B. Midgley and was very impressed with his writing. I have worked at tracking all his books down. And it took me a few years. I now have all of his books, or at least the ones I am aware of. After reading this one I only have 5 volumes to go to have read all of his books. I have read his works a total of 28 times so far; with a few having been read more than once. It has been well worth tracking down all 28 books by J.B. Midgley. Twenty-six of those books were for the Catholic Truth Society.  And 6 of those were from the CTS Great Saints Series. And 7 are from the CTS Companions Series. I have also read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved most of them. I first read a book by Midgley almost nearly 4 years ago. This volume is a good book, by an excellent author in an amazing series! It is much more academic than some of his other offerings. 

The description on the back of the book is:

“On the life and times of the prince of Apostles.

This booklet provides a unique look at the life and discipleship of St Peter and at the legacy of St Peter not only in the early Church, but through the centuries and up to modern times. The feasts and devotions surrounding St Peter are explained, while special attention is given to the foundation of the Church, the role of the Bishop of Rome, the apostolic succession and the role of the papacy today.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

Introduction
Devotion to Saint Peter
The First Disciples
The Foundation of the Church
Holy Thursday
The Primacy of Peter
Acknowledgements

I have encountered this saint many times in the past, in Church history courses, and in Theology courses. And just generally in reading. The introduction to this volume states:

“Pope John Paul II recently reminded the Church that Christ, the Eternal Good Shepherd, appointed Peter to be the chief shepherd of His Flock so that His loving care should be experienced in Time and that salvation should reach to the ends of the earth. In the exercise of this pastoral office which he and the Bishops have inherited, he welcomes the dawn of a new millennium as an opportunity to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom with renewed confidence.

St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, has bequeathed to us his divinely inspired profession of faith which is the Rock upon which Christ built His Church. As guardian of the keys to Heaven’s gates, Peter Continues to guide us in the challenges of successive ages. He has left the memory of a life characterised by an absolute commitment born of love for Jesus, and an heroic witness which is an inspiration and reassurance of faith. It is hoped that these pages may contribute towards renewed appreciation of a Saint in whose abiding friendship we always find eager and powerful support.”

As mentioned this work is more academic than many of Midgley’s other volumes I have read. It is for the most part a recap of Saint Peter through the gospels and book of Acts. And then as his story continues in church history. It was a great read. It was a volume I would have appreciated having when doing my Religious Studies undergraduate degree. I highlighted many passages mostly in the first third of the book. The booklet is 72 pages and I highlighted 11 passages not counting the introduction above. Most of those highlights spanned 2 paragraphs. The sections I highlighted were:

“Hesitation and fear were no more as he bravely endured an unjust imprisonment which could have culminated in execution, made the problematic decision to recognise the right of Gentiles to become Christians, undertook hazardous missionary journeys and, with Paul, nurtured the Church in Rome. The name “first Pope” and “Bishop of Rome” illuminates Peter’s incomparable vocation, and his establishment of the episcopal continuity which exists to this day.”

“”Peter inspired great affection because, in the vivid characterisation drawn by the New Testament, we catch a glimpse of his own failings and aspirations. He was quick-tempered, impulsive, selfish, generous, brave, frightened, striving to go forward, and often retreating.”

“In England, the Abbeys of Canterbury, Glastonbury, Malmesbury, Peterborough, Lindisfarne, Whitby, Westminster: and the cathedrals of York, Lichfield, Worcester and Selsby are dedicated to him, as is Peterhouse, Cambridge University’s first College.”

“The reading from the Acts of the Apostles records that Peter performed the first Apostolic miracle. He and John were entering the Temple for the prayers which were said at the ninth hour when a man, lame from birth, was being carried to the Beautiful Gate where the destitute traditionally begged alms from worshippers.”

“Three other Feasts of Saint Peter once adorned the Roman Calendar and are worth remembering in the context of Church History, Peter’s primacy, and the devotion of earlier generations.

January 18th: “Saint Peter’s Chair in Rome” celebrates the episcopal See of Rome as the centre of the Universal Church and seat of the Supreme Pontiffs who are Peter’s successors.
February 22nd: “St Peter’s Chair in Antioch” commemorates his authoritative Gospel mission to the Gentiles, and the fruitful establishment of the first Gentile Church in Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first described as Christians.

August 1st: “Saint Peter Ad Vincula” celebrates his miraculous escape from prison and certain death thanks to the intercession of an Angel sent by God.”

“Jesus, “the one who sanctifies is of the same stock as those he sanctifies” (Heb 2:11). The power He delegates to Peter and his successors to promote the cause of the Kingdom, and its rule of love in human hearts, is a divine power. It is this which is exercised in the spiritual order on earth, and concerning which our Lord will say to Peter after the resurrection.”

“Jesus’ rebuke to Peter “Get behind me Satan”, seems harsh because we cannot heart the tone of voice of an exchange between close friends. He did not want Peter to act as a stumbling-block on the road which His Father chose for Him, and which He willingly followed.”

“Peter was the first Apostle to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection because He wanted to reassure him that his sorrow for the denial in the courtyard of the high priest’s palace had brought forgiveness, and that their relationship was unaffected.”

“Peter’s appointment and commission are inherited by his successors who are the Popes and Christ’s vicars on earth and the pastoral office, with royal authority and responsibility is at the heart of the Church and is perpetuated by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.”

“A movement once preoccupied with Judaism was emerging as the Universal Church and, as new districts were evangelised, Peter assumed full pastoral powers and responsibilities.”

I hope those sample quotes will instil an interest in this volume for you. At the end of the book is a list of Acknowledgements referencing several other CTS resources that were quoted or used to prepare this volume. And then a bibliography 8 other resources used. This is followed by a list of 11 volumes in the CTS Companions series. 

This book is a good read in an excellent series. It is a little different than the others and more academic. That is not a criticism just an observation. I have been blessed by all of the books from Midgley’s pen that I have been able to read. I highly recommend this book, the series and many of the works from the Catholic Truth Society. 

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 other books in the CTS Companions Series click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

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


Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 
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Other books in the CTS Companions Series:
Companion to St. Joseph – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Mary – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Peter – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Paul – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Angels – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord - J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Order of the Mass - Mgr Bruce Harbert
Companion to Reading the Old Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Reading the New Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Praying with the Bible – Z. Mattam
New Companion to Advent & Christmastide - CTS
New Companion to Prayer - Celia Wolf-Devine
New Companion to Lent - CTS
...