Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ignite: A Review

Franciscan Media provided a book for my review.  All thoughts are my own.  Links are non-affiliate.

Over the years, I've tried a number of things over the years to get better at daily devotionals, but it's always a struggle for me.
I'm not one to rise before I *absolutely* have to.  But, this year the girls are both in school all day (aren't they cute?!), so there's been a little more breathing room during the day.

One of the things that has really inspired my interest in digging back into the Bible is reading Ignite.  The back and forth conversation of Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Sonja Corbitt leads the reader through two different perspectives and experiences with the Bible.  

The book is divided out into the the Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How of the Bible, as well as a thoughtful explanation of Lectio Divina.

Any response is correct, even negative emotions.  He's a big God; he can handle your ugly. (pg 8)

This has been one of the biggest insights for me over the last decade of low fertility, pregnancy loss, foster care loss and everyday upset.  Offering all of ourselves up, even the hurt and hurting pieces is an offering.  The encouragement to let scripture into those places as I read them is a new layer to add to my prayer.

In reading through the When of the Bible chapter, I loved the anecdotes and ties to our Liturgical Feast days and the rhythm of the Church calendar, and how we can uncover it more fully in reading the Bible.  

As a cradle Catholic of cradle Catholics, I really enjoyed Sonja's insights, especially in Which Voice Is His.  Coming from a different faith tradition (Baptist), she takes the reader through her upbringing and impressions of the Catholic Church from the outside, and then dives deeper into the richness of the traditions she found.

Seeing the Bible from the outside looking in was a unique opportunity to approach the Bible in a new way.  The structure and order of the book helped me feel like I had the complete picture of where to start and why.  

If you're looking for a way to inspire your Bible reading, with a healthy dash of conversion story woven through, this is the book to add to your reading list.  Available in paperback.

Let me know what you think of the book and share your prayer time habits to help you stay on track!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Every Rosary Has a Story

Franciscan Media provided a book for my review.  All thoughts are my own.  Links are non-affiliate.

When I was 20, I took a trip to Italy with a group of college students for the Jubilee.  There was excitement and newness, wrapped in a trip centered on the oldness and familiarity of the Catholic faith.

I am a cradle Catholic, from cradle Catholics.  Our lives have been punctuated by and woven through with markings of this faith.  The smell of an old church at the end of winter, with the boilers keeping time with the falling thermometer, the feel of a wooden pew, aged by generations of hands before yours.  These familiar sensations laced through my childhood.

Always, with these sights, sounds and smells, the rosary.  The hard wooden beads or slippery plastic beads dotted the path of my childhood.  At the start of a long road trip, at the end of a Sunday, always there.

As I stood in the beautiful gift shop at the feet of the Vatican, there were rosaries.  

All different styles and materials.  This one, though.  This metal rosary with the cross of St JPII's papacy was the one I picked out especially for my someday husband. 

And there, in Rome, as I stood in a crowd of hundreds, I held the rosary for a special blessing from St JPII as he called our group by name and prayed a blessing for our families.

This rosary, I presented to my husband on our wedding day four years ago.  This rosary, he keeps with him 13 years later.  This same rosary, touched to the relic of St JPII.

As Catholics, our rosaries can weave a story through our lives, touching our hearts, holding our stories just like the mysteries of the rosary walk us through the stories of Jesus' life.

Within the greater context of our universal Church, our stories are magnified and held within this simple strand of beads as well.

In The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare, Johnnette Benkovic and Thomas Sullivan dive into the miracles attributed to the rosary, as well as saintly devotions and tools to get our own devotion on track. 

They weave together a complete context and history of our Church's ties to the devotion of the rosary.  The book paints such a full understanding of where we are rooted in the history of this tradition that once finished, it feels like you are seated within the stories of the past as you pick up your beads. 

Just as I have the memory of my mother picking up her rosary, or the stories of my great-grandmother praying 15 decades every day, this book gives us all that rich heritage through the retelling of miracles and devotions.

Savor each piece of our history, and when you're done, share with me what most touched your heart.  The stories of St JPII kneeling in prayer as he was in forced labor as a young adult struck me with a pang to deepen my own devotions. 

Available in Paperback, Kindle or Audio.