What an extraordinary conversation we are allowed to experience! Because of the pious imagination of master philosopher/apologist Dr. Peter Kreeft, we get to eavesdrop as three Christian spiritual masters ponder together the mysteries of the Christian faith. Anyone who picks up a copy of “Symbol or Substance: A Dialogue on the Eucharist with C. S. Lewis, Billy Graham and J. R. R. Tolkien” will indeed be in the “presence” of faith-filled transcendence.
“We’ve all wished that we could be the proverbial fly on the wall. Peter Kreeft makes it possible in this wonderful book, which allows us to listen to an imaginary conversation between C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Billy Graham on the thorny topic of the Eucharist. Their imaginary presence enlightens our minds on the Real Presence.” — Joseph Pearce, Author, Catholic Literary Giants
“For one riveting evening we are invited to eavesdrop on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Billy Graham. Rarely have I learned so much while being so entertained. Perhaps this book’s greatest achievements lie in Kreeft’s tender analysis of what unites the different churches, his gift of charitable listening, and his singular ability to illuminate.” — Sally Read, Author, Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story
Join Bruce and I as we discuss with Dr. Philip Freeman, PhD, author of “St. Patrick of Ireland”, the life of this great saint.
A reading from the Confession of St Patrick (Conf 34,36,37,38,39)
“I give thanks to my God tirelessly who kept me faithful in the day of trial, so that today I offer sacrifice to him confidently, the living sacrifice of my life to Christ, my Lord, who preserved me in all my troubles. I can say therefore: Who am I, Lord, and what is my calling that you should cooperate with me with such divine power? Today, among heathen peoples, I praise and proclaim your name in all places, not only when things go well but also in times of stress. Whether I receive good or ill, I return thanks equally to God, who taught me always to trust him unreservedly. His answer to my prayer inspired me in these latter days to undertake this holy and wonderful work in spite of my ignorance, and to imitate in some way those who, as the Lord foretold, would preach his Good News as a witness to all nations before the end of the world.
How did I come by this wisdom which was not my own, I who neither knew what was in store for me, nor what it was to relish God? What was the source of the gift I got later, the great and beneficial gift of knowing and loving God, even if it meant leaving my homeland and my relatives?
I came to the Irish heathens to preach the Good News and to put up with insults from unbelievers. I heard my mission abused, I endured many persecutions even to the extent of chains; I gave up my free-born status for the good of others. Should I be worthy I am ready to give even my life, promptly and gladly, for his name; and it is there that I wish to spend it until I die, if the Lord should graciously allow me.
I am very much in debt to God; who gave me so much grace that through me many people were born again in God and afterwards confirmed, and that clergy were ordained for them everywhere. All this was for a people newly come to belief whom the Lord took from the very ends of the earth as he promised long ago, through his prophets: ‘To you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and will say, “How false are the idols our fathers made for themselves, how useless they are.” ‘And again: ‘I have made you a light for the nations so that you may be a means of salvation to the ends of the earth.’
I wish to wait there for the promise of one who never breaks his word, as he promises in the gospel: ‘They will come from the east and the west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,’ just as we believe the faithful will come from every part of the world.”
We give you thanks, almighty God, for sending Saint Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland. Grant that we who are proud to call ourselves Christians may never cease to proclaim to the world the good news of salvation.
(We make our prayer) through our Lord.
Through Christ our Lord .
Gary Jansen is one of my favorite authors; I love our conversations. He has a spiritual tenderness that appreciates the practical need to help the everyman find a way to deepen his relationship with God. “MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time” is a beautiful response to that need! In its pages, Gary offers an effective way to navigate the travails of the spiritual journey. We highly recommend this and all of Gary’s books.
Is it really possible to change my life—in ways that will last?
Author Gary Jansen knows how difficult it can be to create significant, sustainable change in our lives. Sometimes we feel too overwhelmed to even start, and in other cases this self-work seems like one more burden. In his new book he offers an answer that he calls “microshifting”—small, incremental adjustments that gradually reshape our deeply rooted patterns.
With a blend of masterful storytelling and dozens of practical tips, MicroShifts suggests simple, small changes across many aspects of our lives—everything from how we greet others to how we try to talk to God—to generate big results physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you are looking for steps to improve your life that are achievable, sustainable, and potentially life-changing, MicroShifts is a powerful place to begin.
“Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will” is another outstanding offering from Fr. Larry Richards! From start to finish Fr. Larry challenges us to place Jesus Christ first in our lives and our relationships with others and the world. Once we can do that, things begin to fall into place. Then he helps us to recognize the difference between God’s will and our will, and to trust that His will be better for us if we trust, love and….SURRENDER!
Fr. Larry Richards is an engaging writer, who never fails to keep us hooked through the entire book. This will be one of those books that you want to purchase at least two copies, because you’ll want to pass it on to another, and you’ll want to keep one for yourself for years to come.
…Surrender outlines concrete steps you can take to dwell in peace. Simply put, God wants every one of us to be a saint which is a lot of work! It requires developing a plan for your life, in accordance with the Lord’s will.
Prayer is the key to this, as it opens the soul to hearing God’s voice and accepting his guidance. But prayer too requires discipline and planning. Father Richards is the life coach every one of us needs on the sidelines of our daily life the tough love coach who calls it like he sees it.
Allow yourself to move out of the driver seat and surrender to the one who knows all God.
Mother Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Vicenza) in 1947.
This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, with the Daughters of Charity.
In Schio (Vicenza), where she spent many years of her life, everyone still calls her “our Black Mother”. The process for the cause of Canonization began 12 years after her death and on December 1st, 1978 the Church proclaimed the Decree of the heroic practice of all virtues.
Divine Providence which “cares for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air”, guided the Sudanese slave through innumerable and unspeakable sufferings to human freedom and to the freedom of faith and finally to the consecration of her whole life to God for the coming of his Kingdom.
Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experiences she went through made her forget the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers.
Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and sufferings of slavery, both physical and moral.
In the Capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought by an Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani . For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realized with pleasant surprise, that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated in a loving and cordial way. In the Consul’s residence, Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled by nostalgia for her own family, whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.
Political situations forced the Consul to leave for Italy. Bakhita asked and obtained permission to go with him and with a friend of his, a certain Mr. Augusto Michieli.
On arrival in Genoa, Mr. Legnani, pressured by the request of Mr. Michieli’s wife, consented to leave Bakhita with them. She followed the new “family”, which settled in Zianigo (near Mirano Veneto). When their daughter Mimmina was born, Bakhita became her babysitter and friend.
The acquisition and management of a big hotel in Suakin, on the Red Sea, forced Mrs. Michieli to move to Suakin to help her husband. Meanwhile, on the advice of their administrator, Illuminato Checchini, Mimmina and Bakhita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…”
Daughter of God
After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and was given the new name, Josephine. It was January 9, 1890. She did not know how to express her joy that day. Her big and expressive eyes sparkled, revealing deep emotions. From then on, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”
With each new day, she became more aware of who this God was, whom she now knew and loved, who had led her to Him through mysterious ways, holding her by the hand.When Mrs. Michieli returned from Africa to take back her daughter and Bakhita, the latter, with unusual firmness and courage, expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian Sisters and to serve that God who had shown her so many proofs of His love.
The young African, who by then had come of age, enjoyed the freedom of choice which the Italian law ensured.
Daughter of St. Magdalene
Bakhita remained in the catechumenate where she experienced the call to be a religious, and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa.
On December 8, 1896 Josephine Bakhita was consecrated forever to God whom she called with the sweet expression “the Master!”
For another 50 years, this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness of the love of God, lived in the community in Schio, engaged in various services: cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door.
When she was on duty at the door, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who daily attended the Canossian schools and caress them. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection and rhythm of the music of her country, was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering and encouraging for those who knocked at the door of the Institute.
Witness of love
Her humility, her simplicity and her constant smile won the hearts of all the citizens. Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her inalterable sweet nature, her exquisite goodness and her deep desire to make the Lord known.
“Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness.
Mother Bakhita continued to witness to faith, goodness and Christian hope. To those who visited her and asked how she was, she would respond with a smile: “As the Master desires.”
During her agony, she re-lived the terrible days of her slavery and more then once she begged the nurse who assisted her: “Please, loosen the chains… they are heavy!”
It was Mary Most Holy who freed her from all pain. Her last words were: “Our Lady! Our Lady!”, and her final smile testified to her encounter with the Mother of the Lord.
Mother Bakhita breathed her last on February 8, 1947 at the Canossian Convent, Schio, surrounded by the Sisters. A crowd quickly gathered at the Convent to have a last look at their «Mother Moretta» and to ask for her protection from heaven. The fame of her sanctity has spread to all the continents and many are those who receive graces through her intercession.
Every line of the Collect for Saint Bakhita merits attention; every phrase needs to be repeated in meditation.
O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita
from abject slavery
to the dignity of being your daughter and the bride of Christ,
give us, we beseech you, by her example,
to follow after Jesus the Crucified Lord with unremitting love
and, in charity, to persevere in a ready mercy.
“Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales” is outstanding. A wonderful “introduction to the devout life”… literally! Fr. John Burns breaks open up the teachings of the great spiritual director and Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales in a wonderfully fresh new way. Very practical and perfect for meditation during prayer times during the day, this is a mini-retreat we can all benefit from.
This practical book goes right to the heart of helping you kick the habit of floating along on your spiritual journey to start actively pursuing holiness and devotion to God. During the course of the retreat, you ll learn the basics of forming a daily prayer routine, including how to offer yourself to God, meditate on his love, and maintain peace in the face of suffering and clarity in the midst of temptation.
The meditations will help you:
Adopt gratitude as a daily prayer practice.
Examine and reorder your priorities and relationships to better reflect your love for God.
Discern between good and evil in your life.
Desire to love and serve as Jesus did.
In a very real sense, Burns helps you take St. Francis de Sales as your spiritual director for ten days. As you do so, you’ll feel God’s fatherly love and restart your faith life, equipped with the tools to connect with God and live for heaven now.
“What’s a Person to Do? Everyday Decisions That Matter” is an important work for those who seek to navigate through life’s daily choices. Dr. Mark Latkovic, who is a professor of moral and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, does a fantastic job bringing forward basic principles that should be a part of our discernment process in making decisions.- especially when there is no definitive Catholic teaching on a subject. Applying those principles, he then takes a look at 40 different questions and answers. Whether it’s areas of Facebook and Internet interaction, purchasing lottery tickets or giving to particular “charities”, or how we deal with decisions for children and for elderly parents, Dr. Latkovic challenges us to ask important questions and respond to issues with moral virtue. With an engaging and accessible writing style, Dr. Latkovic provides an important resource for us all.
This wonderful little book is a bracing wake-up call to those of us who often overlook the moral dimensions of the decisions we make in everyday life. Mark Latkovic not only wakes us up, but gently guides us through the ethical minefield of contemporary society. —Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
This little gem of a book is not only a reliable guide to resolving some of the ethical questions we face in our everyday lives, it is a guidebook to thinking well about decisions that shape our characters. It provides answers to specific ethical problems, but that is only part of the story. What Professor Latkovic is doing is teaching us by example how to think deeply and well about the moral dimensions of our lives. —Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and thou shalt see thyself that all manner of thing shall be well,” such are the words found in the Revelations of Divine Love written by the 14th century English Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. Her Revelations is the first book in English known to be have been written by a woman and offers a unique contribution to Christian theology. For some, her writing can be a challenge to grasp, but it becomes a wonderful delight to any seeking soul with the help Veronica Mary Rolf and “An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich“. This work is such a delight! It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a read this much; it was like unwrapping a wonderful gift that’s been under the Christmas tree for far too long. The world is in need of Julian and her message today and no one communicates her message better than Veronica Mary Roth!
“Julian of Norwich is among the most radiant of Christian mystics. The radiance is all the brighter for Julian’s frankness in questioning the darkness she experienced in her culture and in herself in a deeply troubled time. The unequivocal and insatiable love of God for all his creatures rings in her words throughout her book. Veronica Mary Rolf is a scholar with a deep heart that probes the mysteries Julian probes and uses her historical and textual research to shed clarity and light on Julian’s teaching that speaks to our own time with increasing urgency.” – Andrew Marr, OSB, author of Moving and Resting in God’s Desire, abbot of St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, MI
“Rolf’s work is more than an informative guide by an expert in Julian scholarship. The reader begins to feel the heartbeat of this great mystic as the author works around key texts and highlights choice quotations. This could only have come from someone who is intimately acquainted with her. Whether one is a first-time or seasoned explorer, this book will not disappoint.” – Simon Chan, Trinity Theological College, Singapore
Here is Veronica’s first book on the life of Julian of Norwich, you can find it here
2014 CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION BOOK AWARD WINNER!
2014 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARD – GOLD in Religion/Spirituality: Western Traditions
THE NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK AWARDS – 2014 WINNER in Religion Non-Fiction
Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic who spent the latter part of her life as an enclosed anchoress, is largely known through her extraordinary Revelations, one of the most popular and influential works of Christian mysticism. It was also the first book ever written by a woman in the English language. But until now, the woman herself was an elusive figure. In this fascinating work, Veronica Mary Rolf has offered a convincing reconstruction of Julian’s life, along with a comprehensive commentary on her Revelations—rendered here in a new translation from the Middle English.
“A Devotional Journey into the Mass: How Mass Can Become A TIme of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion” by Christopher Carstens is excellent. A Director of Liturgy and with a rich background in liturgical theology he leads us into the journey of mystagogy and the exploration of the “sacramental principle” which helps us to understand how the invisible God communicates with us through the sensible signs we have in our liturgical celebrations, in particular in the Mass. In our conversation, he opens the doors to eight elements of the Mass which enrich our spiritual lives in a transformative way when we open ourselves to full and active participation in this sacrament which is the Second Vatican Council called the “source and summit of the Christian life.”
“This book is simply a delight — from its grounding in the sacramental thought of Romano Guardini, through its wonderfully practical, beautifully written, step-by- step ‘how to’ guide to experiencing every key element of the Mass. It’s exactly what the title says it is: a deeply satisfying journey to the heart of Catholic worship.” Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia
“Christopher Carstens offers a guide at once profound and practical into the ways of full, conscious, and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy. By reading this volume prayerfully and attentively, we can all share more fruitfully in the celebration of Holy Mass.” William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore
In our conversation with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., we enter into “God So Loved the World: Clues to Our Transcendent Destiny from the Revelation of Jesus“, which is the third installment of his “Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence” series. Not only is Fr. Spitzer a brilliant theologian, but he has the heart of caring pastor who understands the needs of the questing minds of so many lost and wandering souls. With an extraordinary grasp of philosophy, theology and cosmology, he is able to take complicated concepts and mix them with joy, beauty, and a grace-filled enthusiasm without doing damage to the subject matter. In this volume, he addresses “What is LOVE”, “Who is LOVE”, and maybe in an even deeper way, “The why of LOVE”. Of course we know, “God is Love”, but God as a Father? God as a Son? God as Holy Spirit? How is the mind to grasp such penetrating Truth? And more importantly, how is the heart to perceive this eternal divine mystery?
We were able to meet with Fr. Spitzer for this discussion at his offices located at the Magis Center in Garden Grove, CA.
In this volume the brilliant Fr. Spitzer probes in detail the major question that if an intelligent Creator God – manifest in logical proofs, scientific evidence, and near death experiences – who is the source of our desire for the sacred, and the transcendental desires for truth, love, goodness, and beauty, would want to reveal himself to us personally and ultimately.
He then shows this is reasonable not only in light of our interior experience of a transcendent Reality, but also that a completely intelligent Reality is completely positive–implying its possession of a completely positive virtue – namely “love”, defined as agape.
This leads to the question whether God might be unconditionally loving, and if he is, whether he would want to make a personal appearance to us in a perfect act of empathy – face to face. After examining the rational evidence for this, he reviews all world religions to see if there is one that reveals such a God – an unconditionally loving God who would want to be with us in perfect empathy. This leads us to the extraordinary claim of Jesus Christ who taught that God is “Abba”, the unconditionally loving Father.
Jesus’ claims go further, saying that He is also unconditional love, and that his mission is to give us that love through an act of complete self-sacrifice. He also claims to be the exclusive Son of the Father, sent by God to save the world, and the one who possesses divine power and authority. The rest of the book does an in-depth examination of the evidence for Jesus’ unconditional love of sinners, his teachings, his miracles, and his rising from the dead. As well as the evidence for Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit that enabled his disciples to perform miracles in his name, and evidence for the presence of the Holy Spirit today.
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