So – it’s the first week of Lent and you’re still trying to decide what to take on or give up. Some of our Lenten goals go well, others not so well. If you’re stuck, you may want to start small. Finding a book entitled “Patience and Humility” by William Bernard Ullathorne, O.S.B. piqued my interest for the start of my Lenten reading. First published in London in 1908 and again in 1945, this edition was published by Sophia Institute Press in 1998. Continue reading
Darkness. We have all experienced it. Darkness can be anything from a darkened room to darkness of soul and heart. No one escapes. We may think we know people who lead charmed, untroubled lives, but these seemingly perpetually worry free individuals are out there, struggling and crying every day – by the hundreds, if not thousands. Continue reading
Anger is a beast. Justified or not, anger destabilizes relationships – husband and wife, families, and those in the workplace. Stress, frustration, bitterness over past or present events and situations, constant set-backs and dealing with unreasonable people contribute to the swirling vortex of anger in our culture. And then there’s politics. Anger separates us from God. Continue reading
For many of us prayer doesn’t come easily. Spontaneous prayer in time of trouble or crisis often takes the form of singular pleading, “God help me.” This direct cry to Him indicates our thirst for Him. It is no less sincere than hours of meditation and contemplation; in desperation we will seek God. Continue reading
There are few among us who haven’t gone through suffering – mental, spiritual or emotional and wondered where God was in the turmoil. In Archbishop Martinez’s book, When God is Silent (Sophia Institute Press), he introduces us to the idea that Jesus is not gone – he is sleeping. Continue reading
Being an extraordinary Catholic is no easy task, but Randy Hain’s new book Joyful Witness – How To Be An Extraordinary Catholic gives examples and insights of just those Catholics – those joyful witnesses. These are people who, as Randy writes, have become “better versions of themselves.” Not everyone he writes about planned on being so extraordinary – it was grace and determined will that led them on their mission.
“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” Romans 8:26
Why do most people find it hard to pray – really pray? Prayer is our spiritual highway to God and we cannot arrive at that destination without developing a meaningful prayer life. In The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer, Mgsr. Romano Guardini sets a path for those of us who seek to enrich and deepen prayer life. This book is not light reading; Mgsr. Guardini has produced a scholarly work that may require more study in parts. However, he has covered every aspect of prayer. If you are struggling with your prayer life – don’t we all? – this is a worthwhile read. Continue reading
Have you ever thought of yourself as a beggar? Being a beggar conjures up unpleasant visions associated with lack of material possessions and lack of hope. This is far from the vision Regis Martin sees in his book, The Beggar’s Banquet. The banquet is a series of rich meditations he presented to Cistercian monks over a period of five days. Each one is unique, spiritual and insightful written to help us consider our spiritual lives as beggars before Christ. Subtitled A Personal Retreat on Christ, His Mother, the Spiritual Life, and the Saints, Dr. Martin covers a variety of topics with reverence and depth and a dash of sly humor. Originally crafted as twenty-five minute meditations, they have been re-edited for print. As Dr. Martin writes, “We all need that horizon of absolute fulfillment, the insistent desire and longing that urges us closer and closer to the promised consummation. It is a movement borne aloft by hope.” Continue reading
Learning the Virtues that Lead You to God by Fr. Romano Guardini
Father Guardini’s book Learning the Virtues that Lead You to God is a re-printing of his book first published in 1963. He was an Italian-born German priest and a successful Catholic educator who won wide acclaim for his teaching and writing. According to the book’s biographical notes, “He was notable for being able to detect and nurture those elements of spirituality that nourish all that is best in the life of Catholics. His writings include books on meditation, education, literature, art, philosophy and theology. His most famous book was The Lord, which has been in continuous print in several languages since first published in 1937.”
Guardini begins his treatise by reflecting on the nature of virtues and his understanding of them as “something living and beautiful.” His meditations on sixteen specific virtues follow in the succeeding chapters. One leads into the other and connects the entire book to guide the life of the reader in Christ. Continue reading
Not found on Oprah’s Book List and probably not on the New York Times bestseller list, The Privilege of Being a Woman effectively dismantles the post-modern ideal of womanhood, femaleness and the so-called feminist creed. This book could really irritate Gloria Steinem because it extols humility.
Using her extensive knowledge of theology and philosophy, Dr. von Hildebrand builds her argument on the role of women and God’s plan for them. She gives a view that transcends the shallow, one-sided and sometimes bombastic writings of our culture regarding women. She doesn’t flinch and covers all of her bases – the bad, the good and the Divine. Continue reading