Monday, August 24, 2020

Deepen Your Relationship with Jesus by Imitating St. Therese


With the many, many books that have been written about St. Therese, it would seem impossible that there could possibly be something new to write about, yet Suzi Andres has taken on the challenge and succeeded in Something New with St. Therese – Her Eucharistic Miracle.

On October 19, 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed St. Therese a Doctor of the Church. In his apostolic letter Divine Amoris Scientia (“The Science of Divine Love”), he wrote: “The core of her message is actually the mystery itself of God-love, of the Triune God, infinitely perfect in Himself. . . At the summit, as the source and goal, is the merciful love of the three Divine Persons, as she expresses it, especially in the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love.”

In Andres’ words, St. Therese had an “outrageous idea.” St. Therese believed, and invites us to believe, that “we can never have too much confidence in the good God; He is so mighty and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for.” This idea did not come from St. Therese herself. She based it on Scripture (Mt 7:7; John 14:13-14; 15:7-8; 16:23-24, 26-27).

St. Therese believed in God’s love so much that she asked Jesus to remain within her as a tabernacle from the time she received the Eucharist until the next time she received the Eucharist. Not only that, she encouraged others to ask for the same grace. St. Therese did not feel this was a grace only for great souls. In fact, she would have argued vehemently (even if we might disagree) that she was not a great soul, but rather a very little soul.

Andres makes a very thorough argument for why we should, along with St. Therese, pray the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. She shares stories of other saints who also were blessed with the grace of being a long-term tabernacle for Our Lord. Andres also raises many objections that others might make to this argument and refutes them one by one.

In the appendices, Andres includes the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, a brief biography of St. Therese, and a list of recommended reading (I’ve already highlighted some books I want to read).

If you have ever wanted to have a deeper union with Jesus or wondered if there was something more you could learn about St. Therese, Something New with St. Therese is the book for you.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Learn About Miracles with Your Family

Heavenly Hosts; Eucharistic Miracles for Kids and Miraculous! Catholic Mysteries for Kids, both by Kathryn Swegart, O.F.S., were written to introduce children to some of the miracles that have taken place in the history of the Church, but these books are actually great for all ages. 

It can be hard to believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. After all, after transubstantiation, the bread and wine still look the same. We take it on faith that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but how can we be sure? God knows that we humans like to have tangible proof of things that are hard to believe and understand. Heavenly Hosts tells of various Eucharistic miracles in which the veil has been lifted and the consecrated bread and wine have been shown to be the true body and blood of Jesus. 

These include a miracle in Lanciano, Italy in the 8th century in which the bread turned to flesh and the wine turned to blood. A similar miracle took place in 1994 Buenos Aires. In this case the bloody flesh was scientifically tested and found to be part of a human heart that was alive at the time that the sample was taken. There are several other miracles included in which the power of the Real Presence in the Eucharist has been made manifest.

Miraculous! includes stories of all sorts of miracles. Learn about the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was moved by God from Nazareth to where it now resides in Loreto, Italy. Discover the mystery of the creation of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego’s tilma. Relive the moment when the Shroud of Turin was first photographed, revealing the Holy Face of Jesus in the negative.  The back of the book includes additional scientific evidence about several of the miracles included in the book.

Each of the stories in these wonderful books is short (a few pages) which makes them perfect for reading aloud as part of morning time, religion class, or before bed. Your whole family will love and learn from these miraculous stories. They might even help you and your children grow in faith.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Radical Role Models for Modern Catholic Women

In Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century, Melanie Rigney profiles 21 women who lived during the 20th century and were canonized in the 21st century. Saints can often seem far removed from us, depicted in statues and stained-glass windows. In contrast, these women from around the globe lived in our own modern times. 

Why are these women “radical”? Rigney explains, “Is there anything more radical than loving God with your entire being and loving your neighbor as yourself? . . .These women . . . got that. They lived it, and they didn’t care whether it cost them earthly love or respect.”

Each of the 21 chapters includes a brief description of that woman’s radical gift, a short biography, true stories of modern women attempting to live their own version of that particular gift (in a few cases, Rigney shares her own efforts to live out these gifts), reflection questions for private or group use, and a list of additional resources to learn more about each saint. It would have been helpful if the resources had included website addresses. As is, finding the recommended resources will require some additional internet searching. Still, it is helpful to know where to start looking for more information. 

Some of these women will no doubt be familiar to readers such as Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), Jacinta Marto (one of the seers of Our Lady of Fatima), and Maria Faustina Kowalska (St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy Message). 

Many of the others are relative unknowns. For example. St. Dulce Pontes served the poor in Brazil and was known as the “good angel of Bahia”. She was nominated two times for the Nobel Peace Prize. St. Laura Montoya Upegui spent thirty years in the jungle as a missionary. She was a fried to those others considered less than human. St. Anna Schäffer wanted to be a missionary, but a tragic accident left her bedridden. She adjusted her vocation to her new circumstances and reached out to others through her sewing, writing, and listening ear.

Several of the profiled women began religious orders. These include St. Giuseppina Vannini who began the Daughters of St. Camillus and St. Genoveva Torres Morales who began the community of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Angels.

Each of these women has a lesson to teach us. Reading of their faith and trust in God is inspiring. It may even encourage us to also live our lives in a “radical” way, putting God first in all that we do. 

Radical Saints by Melanie Rigney is an excellent book for private reading or for use with a Catholic women’s book group.

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