Thursday 9 March 2023

Finding Peace with Jesus Prayers and Thoughts - Father Sean Finnegan - CTS Devotions

Finding Peace with Jesus
Prayers & Thoughts
CTS Devotions
Fr Sean Finnegan
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784693237
CTS Booklet D690

Over the last few years I have read over 330 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. I stumbled upon them while doing research on an author, and have been hooked ever since. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and I loved the books in the CTS Great Saints Series. I love reading about so many saints, their lives and their times. My other favourite books form the CTS are the Prayers and Devotions books. This is the 76th book I have read in the Prayers and Devotions series. This volume is a little different than many of the others in this series. 

The description of this booklet is:
“The words of Jesus can help us to understand and accept what happens to us each day, wherever we are, and however we feel. With important themes such as loneliness, temptation, family, and happiness.

Loneliness, temptation, making the right choices, family, friendship and happiness are part of our everyday lives. The words of Jesus can help us to understand and accept what happens to us each day, wherever we are, and however we feel.”

The chapters and sections in this book are:

My Family
On Your Own
When Things Get Tough
Which Path To Choose
True Friendship
True Happiness

Each chapter has quotes from the following catagories:

What the Bible Says
What Others Say
What The Church Says
A Sincere Prayer

There is a full page colour photo at the beginning of each chapter. A sample chapter is:

When Things Get Tough

Sometimes we can look at others who seem to have everything; looks, wealth, faith, friends, family, intelligence, and so much besides. It sometimes seems that God has short-changed us in some way, put us at a disadvantage before others. We know in our hearts that this isn’t true, but when things get tough, it isn’t always easy to remember it.

What the Bible says
If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

Life does have its challenges; even those golden people who seem blessed in every possible way have to carry their cross in some way or other. It is a fact of life, and a fruit of sin; not necessarily our own personal sin, but the general sinfulness of humanity. This is a consequence of a world that rejects God; God has accepted our choice, and respects the decisions which we have made.

However, in Christ, he has done something wonderful. He has shown us that suffering, which is the just penalty for sin, can also be the way out. By accepting the things that happen to us generously from the hand of God, they become redemptive. That is why Christ suffered and was raised from the dead. If we offer our sufferings with his, and put our faith in his saving death, then we shall share his resurrection.

What others say
If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that he has great designs for you and that he certainly intends to make you a saint. (St Ignatius of Loyola)

What the Church says
How do we collaborate with divine Providence?
While respecting our freedom, God asks us to cooperate with him and gives us the ability to do so through actions, prayers and sufferings, thus awakening in us the desire “to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). (c. 56)

A sincere prayer
Give me thy grace, Good God, to set the world at nought, to set my mind fast upon thee and not to hang upon the words of men’s mouths, to be content to be solitary, not to long for worldly company, little by little utterly to cast off the world, and rid my mind of all besides thee,… Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything to conform my will to thine, that I may truly say, ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me grace to labour for. Amen. (St Thomas More)”

The volume can easily be read in a single sitting. Or take a chapter or section of a chapter at a time for prayer and reflection. I highlighted a number of passages my first time through this volume, some of them are:

“The Christian Faith offers us something genuinely new each day. Christ himself offers us peace in the face of anxiety, life in the face of death, forgiveness in the face of selfishness and honest answers to our heartfelt questions.”

“Even if our physical family has, for one reason or another, been taken from us, families are still something familiar to most of us. Human beings are meant to belong to each other. We wither when cut off from others. Catholics see the family as being one of the most important building blocks of society - where the family is protected, there society can flourish most fruitfully. Where it is not supported, then society itself becomes more and more dysfunctional.”

“Dear Father, I know that I am never truly alone because you are always there to watch over me and care for me. Help me to feel your presence more keenly, to know the warmth of your love, that I may share it with others.”

“If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that he has great designs for you and that he certainly intends to make you a saint. (St Ignatius of Loyola)”

“Choices face us all day, every day. Shall I eat this, or that? Shall I say this to somebody or not? Some choices are morally neutral; nobody gets hurt either way. Others are not. As Christians, we are called to do good and avoid evil, but sometimes it seems as if we are caught in a trap and compelled to a course of action that we would rather not take.”

“Friendships rarely just happen to us; we have to meet them half way and remember that they are as much about giving as receiving and, like all relationships, they can wither and die if they are not tended. Friendship is about going out from yourself and finding yourself in another; in this way it can be said to be a profoundly Christian thing. If you take a real interest in others, if you want to hear about them more than you want to tell them about yourself, then you will start finding friends straight away. It is as simple as that.”

“Human beings are made for happiness, and the fact that we spend a lot of the time unhappy is a real violation of our true nature. The trouble is that we look for it in the wrong place; seeking to take happiness from the world around us, whereas anybody who is truly happy will tell you that happiness comes from making others happy. Happiness is found in moving outwards, not inwards.”

I hope that sample chapter and the quotes give you a feel for this volume. It is very different from many of the others I have read in the series or from the CTS, but it was well worth the read. This book released in 2007 and the eBook edition was made available in 2017. It is an excellent little volume and one I can easily recommend. Another great little booklet from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 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 Sean Finnegan:
A Book of Hours and Other Catholic Devotions
Ad Completorium: Being the Rite of Compline for Everyday of the Liturgical Year According to the Roman Breviary of 1960
Consecrations, Blessings and Prayers
Consecrations, Blessings and Prayers: New Enlarged Edition
Lent: Learning to Love Like Jesus
The Book of Catholic Prayer
The Essential Catholic Handbook
The Way to Happiness: Lessons from Jesus

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