Book Review- Dear Communion of Saints by The Ironic Catholic

This book was flippin’ hilarious.  I caught wind of it a few weeks ago after discovering the Ironic Catholic (a.k.a. Susan Windley-Daoust) and her blog.  This piece of work is exactly that, a piece of work.  It takes common (and not so common) questions from the Church Militant and taps the shoulder of the Church Triumphant to field them.  For every question, one or two canonized Saints responds with a soft shell taco filled with the guacamole of humor, the lettuce of common sense and the meat of undeniable truth.  The result is a delicious literary snack for Orthodox Catholics to munch on at any moment of the day.

In one of the questions, the Ironic Catholic herself questions why mothers are unable to bilocate.  She argues that such a grace would be very helpful for a mother whose son is dipping his hand in the cookie jar while she bathes her youngest.  She interrogates the Communion of Saints as to why this particular grace has only been given to consecrated religious nuns and priests up until this point.

The responder is none other than famed bilocator, St. Padre Pio.  He tells her in short discourse that she knows not what she asks, that it is greater to seek Christ first and allow the graces to flow from that love, not the other way around.  To keep the mood light, he finishes saying that the mother should put brussel sprouts in the cookie jar.  Problem solved.

This book is a quick read for Orthodox Catholics looking for a lighthearted giggle as well as “casual” Catholics who are looking to awkwardly laugh with everyone else around them even though they don’t quite get the jokes.  In either case, I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions as I read it, mainly because the Communion of Saints were laughing right along with me.

If you like this book, you might want to try Saint Watching by Phyllis McGinley.

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Book Review- The Church and New Media by Brandon Vogt

For the past 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has survived numerous attacks, slanders, conspiracies and persecutions.  It is considered to be “the Bride of Christ”, “the communion of God’s people” and “the pillar and foundation of truth”.  Besides having celestial protection, one of the aspects that makes this Church so great is that it is constantly evolving to better serve its people.

Brandon Vogt’s book, The Church and New Media, is a perfect example of how the Church evolves in its capacity to spread the Gospel message in the new age of communication.  Social media has become the foundation of the current generation, and Vogt’s book introduces readers not only to the new technologies, but to the the main players of those technologies.

For example, when introducing blog technology, he passes the baton to Mark Shea, famed Catholic apologist and writer, to better describe the do’s and don’ts of blogging.  When mentioning the online community, contributor Lisa Hendey goes into great detail as to how to foster them.  In each aspect of social media, Vogt consults with the masters of each domain to paint the best picture of the Christian’s role in online evangelization.

From social media beginners to tech savvy sages, this book is a must have for all Catholics who find themselves online on a regular basis.

The World’s First Love by Fulton J. Sheen

 

Front CoverVery few books have the ability to envelope one’s mind and soul as much as Fulton J. Sheen’s, The World’s First Love.  I must admit that for the past few months, the majority of my time has not been dedicated to the Guardian Angels of Education.  Rather, it has been dedicated to savoring the spiritual food that this book presents.  On every page it seemed like there is something delectable to chew on, to ponder, and to fall more in love with in regard to Our blessed Mother.  
It has been a month since I finished this book, and as I write this post, I am still enamored with the vibrations of Sheen’s words.  His sheer love for our Spiritual Mother is painted in the eloquence of his words that so beautifully describe her. In this book, he describes Our Lady’s role our tireless spiritual companion and he calls us to recognize her importance amongst the backdrop of modern society.  
One of the arguments he makes is that the roles of both men and women have changed  since the promotion of a equality amongst genders.  He claims that since men and women are becoming more and more “equal” in the economic and social senses, the rearing of “real men” and “real women” has been affected to a point that little honor is given to either of the sexes.  He argues that women and their innate nurturing dispositions are the foundation of functional society.  Like Mary, their ability to foster boys and girls into “real men” and “real women” is pivotal to the survival of our race.  Without strong women, both men and children lack direction and love.
As I stated before, this book is filled with so much spiritual “meat” that every page requires the reader to ponder in their hearts the meaning of Mary’s role in their lives as well as her importance to Christ’s plan of salvation.  It is the best book I have read in many years and I recommend it to anyone who has questions about Mary or the Catholic Church in general.

Live Jesus in our hearts forever!

The Educator’s Life Journey By: Antonio Botana, fsc

In all of the articles I have read throughout my brief, yet very involved Educational career, none have made more of an impact on my Educational beliefs than “The Educator’s Life Journey” by Brother Antonio Botana. This masterpiece draws out a framework for educational success that combines the logical with the spiritual. Through St. De La Salle’s charism, Botana gets straight to the root of what every Christian Teacher’s motivation should be as they go about their daily vocations.

Whether you are serving the poor, the rich, public schools or private, Brother Antonio outlines your mission and allows the Holy Spirit to fill in the lines with your talents.

Please, take the time to read this invaluable and free Lasallian resource. It will certainly help you understand God’s will for the schools in which you serve.

Click here to view the The Educator’s Life Journey in its PDF entirety.

Live Jesus in our hearts forever!

Summer Reading- Enrique’s Journey

We are a nation of Immigrants. Some of us are generations removed from our immigrant relatives while others arrive daily by risking their lives to cross the imaginary borderline that separates them from poverty and hopelessness in the native countries. Their story, and those of our immigrant ancestors is depicted in Sonia Nazario ‘s masterpiece, Enrique’s Journey.


While the story of immigration may be universal for all Americans, the specifics vary in detail. Most of our relatives came by boat from the Eastern Hemisphere while others, like Enrique, have traveled in a more contemporary, but equally dangerous route- atop the ever-curving train cars underneath the blistering Mexican sun.

From the beginning of this book, the reader is enticed by the sheer grit that Enrique must face to travel by himself to the united States from Honduras. While in his middle teens, he embarks on his journey not for economic stability, not for pride, and not for adventure- he does it for love. His mother left him to go al norte when he was just five. He misses her, and he wishes with all of his heart to be with her again.

The author tells Enrique’s story against the backdrop of factual information. She spent years traveling the route that most Central Americans take to enter into the country illegally. Using recent statistics, she paints a vivid picture that encompasses the ideological motives of those who seek a better life for themselves. She joins these ideologies with real life testimonies from those who have lived, and continue to live, through the struggle of globalized poverty.

This book does a fantastic job of joining the pros and cons of illegal immigration into a gut-wrenching love story of Enrique’s life. It is a must read for all teachers, especially those who serve migrant, children of migrants, and impoverished students with problems at home.

For more information on Enrique’s Journey, including pruchasing information, click here.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

Those Silly Saints

We Catholics put our Saints on top of a pillar of holiness. But did you know that St. Simeon Stylite lived on top of a pillar to achieve holiness… for 37 years!

The Saints were so human.  They’re also funny and quite entertaining. The book Saint-Watching by Phylis McGinley is a compilation of stories that range from the hysterical to the downright weird of those canonized brothers and sisters of ours.

Here are a few sneak peeks:

St. Christina the Astonishing hated the smell of unwashed flesh. So, when the poor and needy came to honor her during her funeral, her coffin rose to the ceiling to get away from their dirty stench. Being the obedient Nun that she was, she (and her coffin) came back down at the scoffing of the priest doing the service.

St. Bridget could make hens lay eggs on command for visitors. She could also make trees shake their fruit to the ground.

St. Ignatius (who apparently was quite the pool shark) was robbed (not playing pool). Two weeks later, he had heard that his thief had gotten sick. So, he traveled 100 miles on foot to take care of him.

St. Mary Mazzarello, after receiving her last rights, said, “Well that’s my passport. I expect I can leave now!?”

St. Charles Borromeo was apparently a chess whiz. So much that he was once quoted saying, “If the end of the world came, I’d keep playing chess.”

Last but not least, St. John Bosco was commonly thought to be crazy by his co-clergy. When they came to take him to the asylum, he cordially allowed these fellow priests to enter the carriage first. Once they were in, he slapped the horse and yelled “To the asylum!” Since the men at the asylum were awaiting a “crazy man,” they were not surprised to see two that claimed they weren’t John Bosco.

Want more? By the book at ebay or Amazon for a buck and enjoy the softer side of the Saints.

Saint-Watching
Phyllis McGinley
Hardcover: 243 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; Second printing before publication. edition (August 18, 1969)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670167754
ISBN-13: 978-0670167753

Live Jesus in our hearts forever!