Taste and See – a book review

As the breeze blew the scent enveloped me like a cloud, surrounding me with its sweetness – lilacs! It was a cool but clear early evening in May and I was out walking. The scent was intoxicating and for a moment I stopped and breathed it in deeply. I was deep in that moment and I was also full of the memory of the lilacs of my childhood. Ahhhhh… So beautiful. A short while later, traversing a path in the woods as I made my way home, the sun appeared – a golden orb like a ball stuck upon the upper branches of the trees. In reality, it was on its way down, soon to be followed by the shimmering white disc of the moon rising on the other side of the sky. As evening walks went, this one was pretty spectacular, and was truly a feast for the senses.

407173_LARGEIn her latest book, Taste and See, Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses (Loyola Press), author Ginny Kubitz Moyer dives deeply into the sensual realm of Catholicisma as lived through our senses. Yes, some may think we are a pretty uptight crowd – and with good reason! But in our hearts, if we pay attention, the Catholic faith invites us to luxuriate in the world around us with each one of our senses.

As a writer with a deep Ignatian sensibility, Continue reading

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Q & A with author Joe Paprocki

Church-on-the-Move-540bIt was a great pleasure to read and review the latest book from Joe Paprocki, A Church on the Move, 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion. Today we have a short Q&A with him, one that I hope you will enjoy.

Joe, if you are unfamiliar , is the “catechist’s catechist.” An expert in catechesis and ministry, Joe is also one of the most down to earth, humble people you will ever meet. His passion for the Church is steady and clear, he is a great evangelist in that way.  Joe offers insights to us via his blog, The Catechist’s Journey, as well as through books and articles authored by him. Learn more about Joe and his work at this page. Not a catechist? Not a problem! Joe offers Continue reading

A Church on the Move – a book review

For many people the Catholic Church is something that they left behind, like a most beloved possession, cast aside when it had worn down or lost its usefulness. It perhaps became moribund, inflexible, or just more burden or gift. There are many who left, there are many who stayed, there are many who join, yet we are not there yet. Pope Francis has been a tremendous source of inspiration, but as with any organization, what happens at the top is not always in sync with those in the trenches – even if that is the desire from both ends!

Church-on-the-Move-540bGot some ideas about how to change that? If you don’t – or even if you do, prolific Catholic author Joe Paprocki has some and they are worth sharing! He offers us his vision in “A Church on the Move, 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion.” (176 pp, $15.95)

If you have ever read any of Joe’s books you will know that he has considerable gifts as an author, and that he writes in a manner that is both accessible and compelling. This book is no exception to that, and in fact, it takes his style up more than a few notches if you ask me.

This book communicates the author’s belief that we are Continue reading

Lent Resource Reviews

7056_ImportantUpdateIMPORTANT UPDATE… please take note!
It has come to my attention that even though Amazon is offering Not By Bread Alone. The page for the book says that it is out of stock, will ship later – but they are NOT selling the book. Please go to the Liturgical Press website to order!

That got me thinking, what if that is also the case for Sacred Space for Lent? It also shows as out of stock. Anyway, that can be ordered via the Loyola Press website.

If you visit the Ave Maria Press website you will find Sacred Reading for Lent and the Living Gospel.

And how could I have forgotten two important resources? I did! One is absolutely free – go to the USCCB Daily Readings page to sign up for an email of each day’s Scriptures. Video reflections are also offered and can be found here.

Last but not least, I highly recommend a subscription to Give Us This Day. Yes I have a bias, I do write for them, but before that day ever dawned, I was a charter subscriber. Go have a look at their subscription page, you can even request a free sample.

 

Lent-631x295While it was my hope to have had this post out earlier, here it is at last! Lent begins on February 10, a little more than two weeks away. As has been my custom, I would like to offer up some ideas for your Lenten prayers and reflection.

Sometimes we feel too busy for Lent, but most of these resources are small enough to put in a pocket or purse, and are short enough for brief periods of prayer. The idea is not to add stress, but to create spaces, however “small” they may seem, to invite the peace of God into our lives. At Lent we truly are on a “journey” through the desert, as we make our way towards Easter. It is good to have one or more resources to accompany us – maybe think of these books as road maps pointing us toward the Triduum.

In no particular order, I present to you:

While it was my hope to have had this post out earlier, here it is at last! Lent begins on February 10, a little more than two weeks away. As has been my custom, I would like to offer up some ideas for your Lenten prayers and reflection.

Sometimes we feel too busy for Lent, but most of these resources are small enough to put in a pocket or purse, and are short enough for brief periods of prayer. The idea is not to add stress, but to create spaces, however “small” they may seem, to invite the peace of God into our lives. At Lent we truly are on a “journey” through the desert, as we make our way towards Easter. It is good to have one or more resources to accompany us – maybe think of these books as road maps pointing us toward the Triduum.

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In no particular order, I present to you: Continue reading

UPDATED – Suggestions for Advent

rcLxMoaKiGreetings! I have updated this post to add some new information… read on, updates can be found at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Here it is November 9 and I have Advent on my mind. It is only three weeks away! With that in mind, if you are interested, I have some recommendations for your Advent prayer and reading. These are presented in no particular order!

  1. Sacred Space 2015Sacred Space for Advent and Christmas 2015-2016, Loyola Press. This annual offering from the Irish Jesuits is a great go-to for Advent. Organized by week, and then by day, offerings are insightful and reflective. Small enough to carry around, this book can truly be in your pocket so that you are not without prayer this Advent. One thing that I love is that it goes into the Christmas season, not stopping at December 25. At a $1.25, this is a great value.
  2. Unto-Us-A-Child-Is-BornUnto us a Child is Born, Daily Advent Meditations and Prayers from Henri J.M. Nouwen, Creative Communications. This booklet is lightweight in physicality, but not so light in terms of what it offers. Lovely and simple, but wise daily reflections that will touch your heart and help your prayer. This book is priced for parishes to provide, so there is a sliding scale by volume, but it is $1.49 for one copy – not too bad for spending time with Jesus and Henri Nouwen.
  3. 9780814649701Waiting in Joyful Hope 2015-16 Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas, by Genevieve Glen and Jerome Kodell, from Liturgical Press. I’m not going to lie, if you get (or already have) this little book, you will see a book blurb on the back from yours truly. This series from Liturgical Press is a long-time favorite of mine. This year the book is authored by two Benedictines, so the rich content remains, presented with fresh voices that stay with you well into January. The price is $2.00, a little bit more than the others, but certainly a great value.
  4. advent2015cover-200Rediscovering Advent, Advent Calendar by Rachel Srubas, with illustrations from Roy DeLeon, Presbyterians Today. Although this has been in my hands for a few weeks, I did not really experience it as a calendar, not that that matters. This beautiful  – well, it is calendar sized/shaped booklet is a treasure. The author writes from a deep spiritual well, the illustrations speak volumes of their own. In truth, the author gave me my copy. And in honesty, I had to include it here. You can purchase one copy for $4.00, with discounts for greater volumes, see that first link. This one is a beauty, and I’ll be glad to have it at my side this Lent.
  5. USCCB Daily Readings, Advent Supplement. The USCCB has the daily readings available on their website, and you can also subscribe to an email that includes them. If you don’t get that email, think again! Why? Because this year, on every Saturday, you will receive a lectio based on upon Sunday’s Gospel, but only during Advent. This is all free, and while I have no early access, I imagine that it is worth checking out.
  6. Give Us This Day, Liturgical Press. Give Us This Day is a monthly devotional with prayers, reflections, daily mass readings, shortened morning and evening prayer. Again, an revelation from me, I contribute periodic reflections to this publication. That said, I was also a charter subscriber way back in July 2011 when they began. This is something you purchase for a year via subscription, but something to consider to enrich your Advent, Christmas, and on-going life of prayer!

That’s the list for this year, many good choices. Whatever you do, may you find ways to live your Advent in hopeful, prayerful, joy!

UPDATES: Having come across some other resources, I wanted to add them for you…

12227178_1182882698391963_761743492576861953_nAdvent and Christmas Resources from 23rd Publications: Check out this link for a variety of excellent resources. Although 23rd Publications is well know to me, I did not include it, but Janet Schaeffler, whom you may know as a teacher, writer, speaker, and retreat facilitator, reminded me of these offerings. Her own offering, A Thrill of Hope is very good, and well priced for group or individual purchase. Interested in ordering? Click here.

9780814638095-1Another book from Liturgical Press… Last year, or was it the year before? Can’t recall! In any case, I have recommended this book before, and I am bringing it up again. It is not in the same daily devotional format. What book? A Time of Fulfillment by Anselm Grün, OSB. It is a wonderful way to read yourself more deeply into the season.

What brought the book to mind was a visit to O’Connor’s in Latham, NY. Albany area locals are well advised to stop by the store for a great variety of Advent items, and a good selection of religious books and goods in general. No, I am not being paid to do this, I am simply pointing to a local business with a lot of interesting merchandise, including many of the books that I have mentioned here, including A Time of Fulfillment. Not local? Use their website to order!

What will you be reading and praying with this Advent?

Living Under the Influence – a book review

404618_LARGEA phrase often overheard – for good or ill – at a bar is, “I’ll have another.” Yes, have another drink, you’ll loosen up and feel good.

Or will you? Perhaps you will end up, “under the influence” and that is not necessarily so good.

Years ago I heard Richard Rohr speak about the notion that alcohol was called “spirits,” something that I had not thought of before that moment. But we consume “spirits” or alcohol, to get a little buzz and feel good, and we begin to fall “under the influence.”

In his latest book, “Under the Influence of Jesus,” (Loyola Press, 176 pp, $15.95)  the wise and prolific Joe Paprocki sets forth a vision. The subtitle of the book says it all – “The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ.” Forget how we feel if we have a few drinks, how do we feel after we experience Jesus? Continue reading

Pentecost! What God has done for us

182522278_640I have so many thoughts about Pentecost that it is difficult for me to write about it! Hence the lateness of this post. “Come, Holy Spirit!” How I prayed, but many unfinished drafts litter my drafts folder, and no real idea.

About to give up and put the finishing touches on my post for tomorrow, a book review of “Under the Influence of Jesus” (Loyola Press)  by Joe Paprocki, I took a look at Facebook. Right there before my eyes a new post popped up on the Loyola Press page, a video about Pentecost from Joe himself. I stopped to watch and Holy Spirit inspiration came in a mighty wind!

Joe uses the analogy of a tremendous amount of debt amnesty along with the influx needed to start a new business. I’ll post the video so that you can see it for yourself. His use of the phrase “what God has done for us,” got me thinking.

What has God done for us? Continue reading