Inside the Pages

It was a delight to talk once again to Dr. Kevin Vost.  In his new book Three Irish Saints: A Guide to Finding Your Spiritual Style, he brings forward of 3 incredible saints who can help us bring about a greater awareness of ourselves, as well as bringing us closer to our relationship with God.  Dr. Vost is psychologist and physical fitness expert who examines the lives of these three great saints, reveals their gifts and virtues.  He then explores the question:  Are you a thinker, a doer, or a lover? Included is a a simple self-test to find out which spiritual master you are most like.   I was well aware of St. Patrick, knew much about St. Brigid, but was knew nothing about St. Kevin, but the list really doesn’t stop there, Dr. Vost brings the lives of other Irish saints as well.  A fun and fascinating read.

You can find the book here

Be sure to check out Dr. Vost’s other “Inside the Pages” discussion:

IP#33 Dr. Kevin Vost – From Atheism to Catholicism on Inside the Pages


A big “THANK YOU” to Ignatius Press for this excellent 2nd edition of the classic “Dare We Hope That All Men Be Mark-BrumleySaved?: With a Short Discourse on Hell” by Catholic theologian Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar.  The newer edition contains an outstanding forward by Fr. Robert Barron.  The conversation with Mark Brumley sheds even greater light on why this is such an important work.  Mark also corrects the misrepresentations that have been put forward about it’s contents in recent years, including the false characterization of von Balthasar as an advocate of  “universalism”.  An exceptional work!  Once again, a great discussion with Mark Brumley.

Dare-We-HopeYou find the book here

“Truly deep theological questions can rarely be answered with a simple yes or no. Rather, they are approached by the careful theologian, who circles around them, making distinctions, bringing essential aspects to light. The issue of who and how many will be saved is surely one of the thorniest theological puzzles in the Catholic tradition, and I don’t know any theologian-classical or contemporary-who performs the nimble task of bringing out the complexity and profiles of this issue better than Hans Urs von Balthasar. In this short but rich text, you will hear of grace, punishment, mercy, the awful self-absorption of sin-but above all of hope.”
– Fr. Robert Barron, Rector/President Mundelein Seminary/University of Saint Mary of the Lake


How can the Crusades be considered “glorious”?  That was the first question that popped up in my mind when I saw “The Glory of the Crusades” come across my desk.   Steve-WeidenkopfAs I found myself caught up in the history unfolding inside the pages of this incredible book, I found that author Steve Weidenkopf approached this subject in an incredibly balanced, engaging and thoughtful way.  By far one of the best books I have ever read on the subject.  Steve is a lecturer of Church History at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and the creator and author of Epic: A Journey through Church History, an adult faith-formation program on the 2,000-year history of the Church.  Meticulous researched (just check out the end notes), with little hint of any political agenda, Steve lets history stand on its own solid clear footing.  Thank you Catholic Answers for this outstanding book!

The-Glory-of-the-CrusadesYou can find the book here

The Glory of the Crusades is valuable not only as history but also as a scholarly debunking of centuries of Protestant and Enlightenment distortion of the facts about the West s struggles against militant Islam. –Rev. C. John McCloskey Research fellow, Faith and Reason Institute

This excellent book employs decades of scholarly research to show average readers what medieval historians have long known that popular culture s image of the Crusades has nothing at all to do with the events themselves. Catholics who cringe at the mention of the Crusades will find in this work a surprising and inspiring story of faith. –Thomas F. Madden Director, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University

Dr.-Alan-Schreck In “St. Francis and Pope Francis: Prayer, Poverty, and Joy in Jesus” Dr. Alan Schreck provides wonderful insights on the connections between Pope Francis and St. Francis.  Much has been written about the “Jesuit” nature of the pontificate of Pope Francis, but not as much about the “Evangelical” spirit which unites the hearts of the Francis who lived 900 years ago and the pontiff who claimed his name.  Dr. Schreck is an engaging writer, who is capable of not only sharing relevant history of the past, but is gifted in making it come alive and meaningful for our lives today.  A fascinating work!


You can find the book here

From the book description:

Dr. Alan Schreck explores the times and messages of St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis, bringing together their shared emphases, including:

  • Conversion — their stories are different but their message the same: turn to God
  • Prayer – union with Jesus is for everyone
  • Poverty – the imitation of Christ heals and restores
  • Church – faithfulness is the foundation for renewal
  • Mission – the same in every age: share the Gospel
  • Joy – the hallmark of Catholic life and possible for us today


“How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization” is a phenomenal book on this subject.

Mary Eberstadt Mary-Eberstadtdelivers a compelling theory about the decline of Christian religion in the Western world. By the analysis of data on the family,  from pre-Revolutionary France to contemporary culture in the West, she demonstrates how the natural family is the prime nurturing force for Christianity in a society.  When that family structure dissolves, so does the Christian religion in a culture and the rise of secularization is fostered.  While presenting the problem, she also offers hope for the future.   Another  fascinating and provocative read. by Mary Eberstadt!

How-the-WestYou can find the book here

“An absolutely brilliant and strikingly fresh portrait of the ‘double-helix’ of faith and family, coupled with a potentially game-changing analysis of the why and how of secularization, all written with the sparkle and empathy that characterize the work of one of America’s premier social analysts.” —George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
“Mary Eberstadt’s account of the synergistic relationship between the fracturing of the family and declining religiosity is both chilling and utterly convincing. No theorist of secularization has come close to Eberstadt in sociological insight or explanatory power.”

— Mary Ann Glendon, author of The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt

“A brilliant contribution to the really big question about the future of the West, and a pleasure to read.”—Rodney Stark, author of The Rise of Christianity

Austen-Ivereigh“The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope” by Austen Ivereigh is a must read!

Shared from a unique vantage point, the insights Dr. Ivereigh provides are incredibly important for our times. He has an engaging writing style that offers vivid historical clarity to the issues and challenges which surround the pontificate of Pope Francis.  In this book he beautifully places into context Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s upbringing, the events taking place in Latin America, his formation in Jesuit spirituality, and the Church’s life on the world stage.   When we can appreciate the Holy Father as operating from the role he is most comfortable with, that of a master spiritual director and one who seeks to “discern” God’s will in the classic sense, then many of the “reforms” and the actions surrounding their implementation, make sense.  A fascinating conversation and an outstanding book.  Don’t miss!

The-Great-ReformerYou can find the book here

“Ivereigh has written the best available chronicle of the formative events in the life and thinking of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and demonstrates how his call for a ‘Church in permanent mission’ extends and deepens the ‘New Evangelization’ proclaimed by St. John Paul II.”—George Weigel, author of Evangelical Catholicism

“Well written, full of information; this is the best biography of Pope Francis to date.”—Thomas Reese, Senior Analyst, National Catholic Reporter and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church

“Probing, comprehensive, eminently readable and absorbing . . . In a growing list of books on the first Latin American pope, Ivereigh’s is uniquely well informed and persuasive.”—Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

Fr.-Christopher-Collins“Three Moments of the Day: Praying with the Heart of Jesus” by Fr. Christopher Collins S.J. is outstanding!

Our conversation with Fr. Collins may leave you feeling that you’ve received a wonderful spiritual “booster shot”!   What seemed old is beautifully new again. What we may have taken for granted is revealed to have delightfully renewing facets for us to explore.   Highly, highly recommended!

From the book description:

On the strength of the Apostleship of Prayer’s worldwide reach, retreat master Christopher Collins introduces a powerful approach to both the Sacred Heart devotion and classic Ignatian spirituality.
In the tradition of Michael Gaitley’s bestselling 33 Days to Morning Glory, Three Moments of the Day presents a classic Catholic tradition in a way that is fresh and compelling. Jesuit retreat master Christopher Collins introduces three simple, yet powerful prayer habits that are at the foundation of both the Sacred Heart devotion and Ignatian spirituality and that assist the reader in turning intentionally toward the Sacred Heart of Christ. Readers are guided through morning offering, evening reflection, and how to ponder the gift of the Eucharist throughout the day.


3-Moments-of-the-DayYou can find the book here

“Fr. Collins has written a dynamic and entertaining invitation to the Church: Let Jesus love us and heal us at the depth of our wounds. Here, in this accessible source, we can encounter the fire of the Sacred Heart, a fire of love searching for us all.” –Deacon James Keating, Director of Theological Formation, Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University

“This simple yet profound program of three moments a day will bless all who undertake it. In this book, a rich spiritual content is conveyed in heartfelt and accessible language.” —Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., Author of The Discernment of Spirits


Dr.-Vincent-RyanDr. Vincent Ryan joins us to discuss Sven Stolpe’s “The Maid of Orleans:The Life and Mysticism of Joan of Arc”.

There have been many books written about this fascinating French saint, but this one is a standout because it’s author sees Joan of Arc as primarily a mystic.  By making this shift, from the nationalistic accomplishments of Joan the leader to Joan the woman steeped in prayer and called to response, Stolpe provides a refreshing understanding of her motivation and legacy. Dr. Ryan, assistant professor of history at Aquinas College, Nashville, TN, who wrote the introduction to this Ignatius Press release,  provides wonderful insights which helps readers better appreciate the book as well as Joan of Arc the mystical saint.  Marvelous.

Maid-of-OrleanYou can find the book here

“There have been many books about Joan of Arc, but none surpass this study by a Swedish biographer in its recreation of Joan’s milieu, the vividness of its narrative, and its sensitive understanding of the mystery of her life and death.” —James Hitchcock, Ph. D., Author, History of the Catholic Church

“As an actress who portrayed Joan of Arc on stage, this beautiful work by Sven Stolpe made her come alive again, but in a much deeper mystical way for me. Stolpe leads us through the complex and incredible journey Heaven asked of Joan the maid. He strips away the legends about her and gets to the heart of her profound sanctity.” —Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, Author, The Ear of the Heart

Peter-Kreeft“Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas” by Dr. Peter Kreeft is probably the best and most important book published in 2014!  An incredible work that transforms the potentially intimidating Summa Theologiae into a vital life-giving, soul-nurturing work for the pilgrim soul.   Dr. Kreeft offers us the religious wisdom of Aquinas in in 359 bite size pieces that can aid our growth in holiness.  He has framed these readings as answers to questions that people actually ask their spiritual directors. Each answer is taken word for word from Aquinas.  So many topics are covered.  You’ll be return to this book over and over again throughout your spiritual journey.  An excellent gift to give yourself and those you love!  Highly Recommended!!!


You can find the book here

“Its notoriously difficult to synopsize Aquinas on anything. However, if I were to choose someone to do the job well, it would be Peter Kreeft. Many will find this presentation helpful to develop their own replies to the questions that bother the minds of today’s searchers.”
– Romanus Cessario, O.P., Saint John’s Seminary, Brighton, Mass.

“A scintillating commentary on the deepest book by the greatest mind. Expert guide Peter Kreeft points out every foothold and crevice you need to scale Mount Summa, and feeds you plenty of oxygen along the way. Brimming with Kreeftian profundity and levity, this book scores a hat trick: it’s informative, formative, and transformative.” —Patrick Coffin, Radio Host, Catholic Answers

“How can we know the living God and attain to everlasting union with God? This is really the only question of life. Kreeft’s dialogue with Aquinas shows us what it means–existentially, not solely academically–to learn from a saint.” —Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

Dr. Adam English has done an outstanding job of bringing to life the story of St. Nicholas of Myra.  Going deep into the historical documents, he travails between the myths and the reality of this extraordinary bishop who would become an iconic saint.  I love this kind of read…steeped in rich history and filled with an enthusiastic joy for the adventure of discovery.

The book can be found here

“Adam English convinces us that the St. Nicholas we know is a cultural icon, as much Coca-Cola as Christian saint. But his real gift is in resurrecting through his painstaking historical detective work a flesh and blood St. Nicholas, whose courage and Christian generosity are worthy of emulation.”
–Greg Garrett, author of One Fine Potion

“A sensitive, erudite, and accessibly written introduction to the life and times of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. Having devoted his life to serving Jesus Christ, the real St. Nicholas invites us to a truer and more joyful celebration of Christmas.”
–Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, University of Dayton

Jay-RichardsWhat fun!  I love reading and discussing great authors and their work (especially if it’s someone of the caliber of J. R. R. Tolkien) . Throw into the mix the fundamentals of Catholic Social teaching, a bit of religion, history and politics  and suddenly you have a party…“The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot “ to be exact.   Much has written about Tolkien’s religious connotations in “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”, but authors Jay Richards and Jonathon Witt delve interestingly enough into the political aspects of the novels.  For fans of the books (and/or the movies for that matter), this a wonderful source of light which illuminates yet another facet of Tolkien’s incredible literary diamond.  Dr. Jay Richards is always great to talk with and what a joy to engage on this topic.


You can find the book here

“J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most widely read but arguably misunderstood of the twentieth century’s literary geniuses. In this book, Witt and Richards lift the veil on Tolkien and reveal a political and, yes, economic thinker who constantly surprises readers and whose insights are even more valuable for our time than his own. Tolkien fans who read this book will never think about this great author the same way again.”
— Samuel Gregg, Research Director, Acton Institute Author, Becoming Europe

“This book is a ‘drop everything and read it’ book. Richards and Witt have opened up an often ignored aspect of Tolkien’s work, namely the sense in which his myth bespeaks a political and economic order that stands in stark, even violent, contrast to the presiding power structures that dominate this unhappy globe. It should be made required reading in all courses in political philosophy. It’s a glorious book.”
— Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”

Tim-Staples“Behold Your Mother – A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines”, by Catholic apologist Tim Staples,  is  outstanding!  For those who are unfamiliar or even unsure what the Church teaches about the Mother of God, this is a tremendous entry point for your study.  For all who have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, this is the book to have in order to help articulate the truths of Marian Dogma clearly to others!   Director of Apologetics and Evangelization for Catholic Answers, Tim Staples, has authored a work that is easy to navigate and filled with solid biblical and historical reasons for what we as Catholics believe about Mary. A must for the Catholic library in every parish and home!  A GREAT book for Advent reflection and study, as well as a gift for family and friends!

Be-Hold-Your-MotherYou can find the book here

Tim Staples respectfully but clearly answers every conceivable Protestant objection to Mary, the Mother of God. With the street cred of one who has been there, Tim backs up his words with Scripture every time. His answers are exhaustive but not exhausting! An invaluable book for thoughtful, truth-seeking Christians. —-Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., EWTN host and author of Mary: Virgin, Mother, and Queen

The greatest doctrinal obstacle to my return to the Catholic Church was fear that Catholics had no basis for or boundaries on the Marian dogmas. If only Tim Staples had written Behold Your Mother then! His presentation is fearless, precise, biblically wise, historically rooted, and popular in expression. He addresses objections I haven t seen addressed elsewhere. I can t think of a more insightful, comprehensive single volume that persuades so thoroughly. Great, truly great, piece of apologetics. — Al Kresta, president, Ave Maria Communications and host of Kresta in the Afternoon

Tim Staples presents a remarkable defense of the six major Marian doctrines, including a veritable compendium of source material from the Bible, Fathers, and Church documents. He gives clear presentations of the controversial issues surrounding each doctrine, makes careful definitions and distinctions, and thinks his way through each issue as if he were having a conversation with the reader. Even well-informed readers will benefit from this engaging book. – –Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., president, Magis Center of Reason and Faith

mark-hart“Behold the Mystery: A Deeper Understanding of the Catholic Mass”, authored by the phenomenal Mark Hart, is perfect for all who wish to explore the mystery of the Catholic Mass.  Leave it to the “Bible Geek” to steep us in the Scriptures in order to break open up our Sacred Liturgy of the Eucharist in a joy-filled, enthusiastic, life-sustaining way .  He even, in the last part of the book,  answers frequently asked questions, such as Why can’t I leave right after Communion? or Why did the words change? And be sure to check out Mark’s “10 things we can do to get more out of Mass”.  Perfect for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  A “Holy, Holy, Holy” must have read.

Behold-the-LambYou can find the book here

The gift of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is real and true and beautiful. In Behold the Mystery, Mark Hart shares this truth in clear and practical terms. Read this book and discover the life-transforming power of the Mass. –Scott Hahn, Scripture scholar and author, The Lamb s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

Anyone who loves the Mass, and even those who think Mass is boring, need to read Mark Hart’s newest book, Behold the Mystery. Hart’s clarity, humor, and faith will help all Catholics become more engaged, active participants in liturgy and in life. And for Mark, that s one and the same. –Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug, priest, author, TV & radio host, and founder of GraceBeforeMeals website.

You already know Mark Hart as a smart, funny, Spirit-filled leader and speaker. When you read this book, you will also know him as a pastoral theologian in the style of Pope Francis who can make you, me, and your non-practicing Catholic neighbor fall in love with God all over again through the Mass. –Fr. Jonathan Morris, program director, The Catholic Channel, SiriusXM 129, Fox News religion analyst, and author, God Wants You Happy


C.-John-McCloskeyWhat a delight to discuss our ongoing call to conversion with Fr. C. John McCloskey III especially as demonstrated by the hundreds of lives shared in”The Mississippi Flows Into the Tiber: A Guide to Notable American Converts to the Catholic Church” . The book, which contains a foreword and afterword by Fr. McCloskey, examines the careers and writings of almost five hundred notable converts, containing touching stories of all shapes and sizes. English author John Beaumont, after the success of his initial book “Roads to Rome”, has brought to us an exhaustive, fascinating work that inspires with every page.


You can find the book here

“[A]n inspiring work that covers nearly five hundred eminent American converts who lived from the 17th to the 21st century. In each of these entries, which are in alphabetical order, we find a succinct biography and, when known, one or more causes of conversion, often in the person’s own words. The entries range from part of a page to several pages, with citations from the subjects’ writings. A list of sources is also provided. This book will surely prove to be an invaluable reference work, but more importantly, it is a collection of priceless testimonies, well worth pondering at leisure.”

–Anne Barbeau Gardiner, Culture Wars.

I love “The Genesis of Science:  How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution”! James Hannam has written a fascinating study of the Christian Middle Ages and its foundational importance to the science of our day.  He’s brought back the important contributions of half-forgotten thinkers.  James demonstrates how they were brought to such a state because of the political agendas of the last 500 years.  Why is this important?  Because it has everything to do with fundamental Truth, and what is ordered in the Universe.  And at the heart, it is faith in God which drives science and it’s healthy functioning in society and culture.  It was, and should be today, rooted in the Christian understanding of faith, reason, philosophy, theology and all the other things that round out the wholeness of the human person and the created world.  Fascinating stuff indeed!

Be sure to visit James’ website.

Click here to pick up a copy of the book