Paola’s Book Bites: Purity

Here are my go to list of books for passing onto family and friends, on the virtue of purity.  Each book or video offers something practical and more importantly spiritual for fostering purity in our own lives and those most near and dear to us!

Choosing Beauty: A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women
By Gina Loehr
Publisher: Franciscan Media

Gina Loehr does it again, I really enjoyed her insight into the lives of women saints in her book Real Women, Real Saints and learned much from their virtues….now Gina takes us on a real and practical retreat towards inner beauty…the kind that reflects the joy of our Faith. Mascara will help and eyeliner too, but the surest way to a beautiful you doesn’t require hours at the cosmetics counter. The best beauty routine starts within. Choosing Beauty guides you through a day-by-day inner makeover that will give you a glow that can only come through a life infused with the virtues. Learn how to step away from gossip, grow in courage, practice mercy and enter more fully into the qualities that will allow your inner light to shine. A great addition to Choosing Beauty is the inclusion of lively reflections on the virtues presented and questions for discussion. This is a good book to share with your teenage daughters, too! (High School+, 128 pages, PB, $$)

 

All Things Girl: Friends, Fashion, and Faith
By Cheryl Dickow
Publisher: Bezalel Books

In this exciting book, girls will explore John Paul II’s Letter to Women and will learn how to manage their time and money. They will see themselves in the light of Christ and will learn how to develop a rich and rewarding prayer life. All Things Girl is written for tween and teen-aged girls covering such topics as living a soulful life (what does it really mean to have a soul?), discerning a vocation (consecrated, married or single?), developing a prayer life (getting past boredom and into the good stuff!), living responsibly (financially and spiritually) with dignity and modesty, and finding the right role models (like St. Gianna Beretta Molla). This is the book all women wish they had when they were young girls…and now can’t wait to give! (Ages 12+, 84 pages, 7” x 10”, PB, $$)

 

All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters
By Teresa Tomeo, Molly Miller, Monica Cops and Cheryl Dickow
Publisher: Bezalel Books

This much needed and asked for book is filled with information that every young Catholic boy should have at his fingertips. The sections include: Dignity; Virtues and More; Media and Men that Matter; Vocations; Family and Friends; Body; Know Your History; Boys in the Kitchen; Strong Catholic Men Today; and Building a Prayer Life or bettter known as Basic Combat Training. (Ages 9-15, 200 pages, PB, $$)

“This book talks to kids straight on, no soft peddling, no sidestepping. It speaks to them where they live too much of the time – in the pop culture and media world. It says what good, faithful parents want to say, but may not always be able to find the words.” – Dr. Ray Guarendi, Best-Selling Catholic Author and Speaker

Theology of His/Her Body
By Jason Evert

From Genesis we know that God created men and women in His image and likeness, and from the first letter of John that “God is love”. Therefore men and women are made in the image and likeness of Love. This isn’t hard to see. Look at the design of the male and female bodies. They are made for each other. In fact, neither makes complete sense apart from the other. In this book — which utilizes a dynamic, “flip” book design to be “two books in one” well-known chastity speaker and author Jason Evert unpacks the mystery of what is means to be male and female in light of the Theology of the Body in a language teenagers understand. Your young adults will learn about the profound realities to which their bodies point – and how to live chastely and lovingly towards those of the opposite sex in the way we are created and not in the way the “world” is trying to lead them. This book is so well grounded and solid and never talks down to the reader but lifts them towards the divine plan God has placed in their hearts. (HS+, 102 pages, PB, $$)

Love is a Choice
Publisher: Ignatius Press

This sweet video documents the heroic life of St. Gianna Molla through interviews with her husband, children, friends, letters, and family mementos. You actually watch home movies of this amazing saint! Wow!

St. Gianna, who sacrificed her life to save her unborn baby, was a mother, a medical doctor, a lover of opera, art, and culture; one who can speak much to our present day especially when family life is threatened on so many fronts. This DVD contains the following language options: English, Spanish, or Italian. (DVD, 52 minutes)

St. Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother and Doctor
By Pietro Molla & Elio Guerriero
Publisher: Ignatius Press

Another great role model for our time!! Dr. Gianna Molla (1923-1962) was a dynamic and devoted wife, mother and physician. She loved skiing, playing piano and attending concerts in her native Italy. During her fourth pregnancy she was diagnosed with uterine tumors. She refused treatment that would have aborted her child, opting for a surgery that posed greater risk to herself. After delivering the baby she succumbed to an infection from the surgery. Newly canonized, this multi-faceted woman shows us the ultimate maternal sacrifice as a worthy and even joyful martyrdom. A fitting intercessor in this age of endless attacks on unborn children. (High school+, 125 pages, Illustrated, PB $, .epub $$)

“A woman of exceptional love, an outstanding wife and mother, Gianna Molla gave witness in her daily life to the demanding values of the Gospel.”
– Pope John Paul II

Transformed by “The Hidden Power of Kindness”

Have courage and be kindLast Mother’s Day I received a lovely necklace from my children that had a hand stamped medal with the inscription “have courage and be kind,” the words and theme from the recent Cinderella movie.  The kids know how much kindness means in this world and in our families.  They know how I hold it to be preeminent in all their words and actions. Long ago I was introduced to the prolific writer, Fr. Lawrence Lovask. The same priest who wrote the dear little children’s booklets, St. Joseph Picture Books, that we all know and love, wrote with clarity and a mind to the practical for adults too!

kindness-1Transform yourself — and the world — through kindness! Kindness counts. If you have trouble acting with the consistent kindness our Lord expects, your relationships with God and those you love may be suffering. Probably you just can’t find the time — and can’t ever seem to develop the patience — that you need in order to be consistently kind amid the irritations that afflict you daily. That’s why this book is such a godsend. You’ll learn how to be kinder, even in difficult circumstances.

kindness-boys-on-path

There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindness that creeps — undetected — into the behavior of even the most careful souls. You will grow towards holiness with these beautiful and practical step-by-step instructions for overcoming all forms of unkindness and meanness.

You’ll learn:

Four ways you can become more considerate . . . immediately!

Sympathy: why it’s your spiritual responsibility to show it to others — and five ways you can start doing so.

Three things to do — and three things you must not do — in order to grow kinder quickly.

Four surprising reasons why it’s spiritually dangerous to criticize others.

Three sure-fire remedies to eliminate sinful anger from your life.

Seven ways you can turn to your own spiritual benefit the wrongs that others do to you.

Six ways you can find and root out the hidden envy that may be choking your spirit right now.

And much more to help you grow kinder — and holier!

Also includes a 67-question self-examination you can use to monitor your progress in growing kinder and holier! (.epub, 256 pages, high school+)


“This work cannot fail to influence for the good all who are indirectly or directly touched by it.” – Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln “This wonderful book increases our insights into the wonders of the message that speaks so powerfully to us: ‘Love is patient, love is kind . . .’ ” – Sr. Mary Rose McGeady, Covenant House

Speaks passionately about the nature of true kindness.” – Publishers Weekly

Fr. Lovasik’s book on kindness clearly shows that kindness is love put into practice, and traces how kindness must begin in our thoughts, be communicated in our words, and reach its fullest expression in our daily actions. This book is made to order for anyone seriously wanting to respond to the present movement of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth for Christ!” – Rev. Andrew Apostoli

Will the real Guy Fawkes please stand…

guy fawkes, james i
Nineteenth-century depiction of the Gunpowder Plot’s discovery.

Yesterday November 5th all England and the countries once under British rule celebrated Guy Fawkes day. This is the day marking the failed attempt in 1605 by a small group of conspirators whose plan was to blow up Parliament and King James I.  The failed attempt is known as the Gunpowder Plot. I have always been curious as to why this is  such an important day to commemorate and as a Catholic just a bit curious as to who was this Guy Fawkes.

All  one has to do is google his name and a wealth of material pops up stating, as fact, that indeed he was part of “A small group of angry Catholics, fed up with ongoing persecution at the hands of the Protestant monarchy, hatched an elaborate plot to blow King James I and his government to smithereens.”  He was a notorious traitor, a Catholic, who wanted to replace the throne with a Catholic monarchy.  This incredible act of treason for which most of the conspirators either died or were first heinously tortured and then executed is a day of fireworks and celebrations.  Wow!

In fact, even the government gets in the “fun” for since 1928 to this day, on the opening of the Houses of Parliament, the Yeomen of the Guard search by  lantern the Parliament cellars before the state opening.

Beefeaters carrying out the Ceremonial Search

The night of fireworks follows with the burning of straw dummies of Guy Fawkes (along with a few modern politicians).  To the world today Guy Fawkes represents “notorious treason.”

But is this the whole story? What part did Guy Fawkes play in the Gunpowder plot?

As I continued my search for details, much to my delight I found a connection of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the Gunpowder Plot.  Shakespeare wrote each line of each play deliberately and pointedly, often adding references to events going on in is time.  “To commemorate the discovery of the heinous scheme, King James had a medal created picturing a snake hiding amongst flowers. Lo and behold, we find a nod to the medal right in the play when Lady Macbeth tells her husband to look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it. “

“Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator. (Macbeth Act3.2.9-12).”

In these lines we see the reference to Father Henry Garnet, a Jesuit priest who was hung for supposedly hiding his knowledge of the plot. “When Father Garnet finally confessed, he insisted that his previous perjury was not really perjury because he lied for God’s sake. For this bit of spin doctoring he became known as the great “equivocator” and was promptly hanged. Sure enough, in Act 2, when Macbeth’s Porter wonders what kind of people would enter the gates of hell,” he recites the lines above.

The Gunpowder Plot is still the subject of controversy and anti-Catholic feelings. To get the full view of this historic event, there is a fabulous read,  The Gunpowder Plot, written in the 50’s by Hugh Ross Williamson. This book explains in detail, with tons of primary source references, what happened almost 400 years ago in England.  The bibliography alone, at 13 full pages, is a treasure trove of well researched documents on the subject.  It is well worth the read and told in an engaging style.  There is no doubt that this is a fascinating true story, full of intrigue and suspense…involving heroic actions, cowardly politics and unwavering faith! You can meet the real Guy Fawkes literally, in person, though this amazing book.

The book now out of print is available here as a pdf:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Williamson–GunpowderPlot.pdf

 

 

Choosing Beauty: A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women

6555864By Gina Loehr

Gina Loehr does it again, I really enjoyed her insight into the lives of women saints in her book Real Women, Real Saints and learned much from their virtues….now Gina takes us on a real and practical retreat towards inner beauty…the kind that reflects the joy of our Faith. Mascara will help and eyeliner too, but the surest way to a beautiful you doesn’t require hours at the cosmetics counter. The best beauty routine starts within. Choosing Beauty guides you through a day-by-day inner makeover that will give you a glow that can only come through a life infused with the virtues. Learn how to step away from gossip, grow in courage, practice mercy and enter more fully into the qualities that will allow your inner light to shine. A great addition to Choosing Beauty is the inclusion of lively reflections on the virtues presented and questions for discussion. This is a good book to share with your teenage daughters, too!

 

Surprised by Truth

Surprised_by_TruthBy Patrick Madrid

“When I received this book as a gift from my husband, little did I know that soon we would both be fighting to read it! It is absolutely a hopeful, inspiring collection of 11 conversion stories. You will be touched, moved and motivated to evangelize, while furthering your own knowledge of our glorious faith. Has many scripture references, and can be used by homeschoolers for the study of apologetics. Simply amazing!”        – Paola Ciskanik