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
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.
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
For those of us devotees of Downton Abbey perhaps we should pause and consider the line that was drawn in the sand when the world pivoted and the Edwardian era came to an end. That was the era of gloved servants, silver salvers, “dressing” for meals, weekend hunts and the pecking order of the downstairs help. “World War I, the Great War, was the product of a crisis of civilizational morality…” WWI changed the face of the world. In The Cube and the Cathedral George Weigel takes us on a fascinating trip beginning with WWI and continuing through the 20th century (almost one hundred years now) using these two structures to illustrate the political and cultural decisions that have changed Europe and which should give America pause for thought. Continue reading
“I knew nothing. I was nothing. For this reason God picked me out” (St. Catherine Labouré).
To know God’s grace. To embrace God’s grace. To live God’s grace. St. Catherine was a model of God’s grace from her childhood – she knew God and the Blessed Mother and never wavered in her faith. What a glorious gift from God; would that we all should be so blessed.
The Miraculous Medal by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a journey through and to the sainthood of St. Catherine Labouré. And sainthood is not easy. Even with the enormous graces given to Catherine, she had to struggle against her father (a former seminarian!) to fulfill her vocation.