Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Pathway to Prayer For Lent:

Order of Carmelites

To All Our Faithful Friends: In the Carmelite Rule of Life, we get a glimpse of how the first Carmelite hermits centered their lives around the Word of God. In our ways of praying today, we seek to recapture that center. One way to listen to God is to prayerfully read the Bible. In doing so, we can connect with the impulse of the men who gathered on Mount Carmel more than 800 years ago.

As our Lenten season begins I would like to share one way of prayerful reading of the Bible, called Lectio Divina or holy reading

I have posted the Lectio Divina for lent on our website at:

Below are some suggestions for your prayer time using the Lectio Divina:

  1. Say an opening prayer, invoking the Holy Spirit.
  2. Slowly and attentively read the text.
  3. Take a moment of interior silence, to recall what you have read.
  4. Look at the meaning of each phrase.
  5. Bring the word into the present, ponder it, in relation to your life.
  6. Broaden your vision by relating this text to other biblical texts.
  7. Read the text again as a prayer, giving a response to God.
  8. Formulate a commitment in your life based on the text.
  9. Pray a suitable Psalm.

May you find comfort in the word of God and know that He is present to you every day. Pray for his guidance in helping you to determine his special path for you. Father Sam Citero, O.Carm Provincial Director of Vocations

For further understanding on what life is like as a Carmelite, call Father Sam at 202-526-1221 Ext 109

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

This brings loved ones back to the Church

Patrick Madrid

I've spent decades
travelling the globe
explaining the Catholic
faith . . . but some of my
friends and relatives
refuse to listen to even
one word I say about it.

Patrick Madrid
Author, speaker, host of many
Catholic radio and TV shows

If, like me, your heart breaks when someone close to you leaves the Church (or refuses to come back to it), then perhaps you'll be helped by what I've learned from my own failures, and from others across the world with whom I've spent long hours discussing the problem that troubles us all:

How to bring our friends
and family into — or back into —
the Catholic Church.

What about your sister Jennifer who left
the Church in anger over a sermon she
thought was too harsh?

Or Bob from the office, who brings up
religion at lunchtime, but whom you
only seem to drive farther into

Or even your spouse?

You want to be closer, but
your Catholicism gets between


Whether you're a wife or a welder,
a poet or painter, a butcher, a baker,
or candlestick maker, you can learn how
to bring your loved ones into — or back into —
the Catholic Church.

And, contrary to what most people
think, it doesn't take hard work
or great learning to do so.

(Most of the apostles were simple souls
like you and me, as were the great
majority of the saints.)


To help you bring your loved ones into the Church, I've
gathered into a modest book all I've learned over the
years from the Church, from the saints, and from praying
with and talking to folks like you all over the world
— many of whom have actually succeeded in bringing their
friends and relatives to Christ.

Here's what one of the most successful Catholic
evangelists of our day says about it:

Scott Hahn
on Search and Rescue:

St. Francis of Assisi admonished us to "evangelize always. When necessary, use words."

St. Francis's advice may seem paradoxical, but it distills the wisdom that the Church and her saints have learned from 2000 years of successful evangelizing.

Relying on this principle, the Church swelled from twelve apostles in Palestine to hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world today.

In Search and Rescue, Patrick Madrid explains for you this basic principle of evangelization and shows you how to make it a part of your daily life.

Soon, like the Apostles themselves, you, too, will be evangelizing your family and friends. When necessary, you'll even be using words.

You see, successful evangelization
has more to do with love and
friendship than logic and rhetoric.

Which is why,
in Search and Rescue,
I show you:

• Why, as you undertake this work, you can have absolute confidence that Christ will give you all that you need to succeed

How — in your own way — you're already equipped to accept Christ's urgent call to evangelize your friends and family

• How you can overcome your embarrassment and the fear of failure

• Why you must always let God do the talking — and how to be sure you do

• Why questions are often better than statements — and the kinds of questions that have been found to be most effective

• How you can redirect conversations into areas that do win converts

• How to avoid hurtful arguments and keep conversations cordial

• Common ground: why, like St. Paul, you must seek it (and how to find it)

• Why God can't accept the excuses we use to avoid speaking about Him to friends and family

• How to uncover the unspoken reasons why folks dislike the Church

• Why, no matter what happens, you must never grow discouraged (and how to get free of it when you are)

• How to suppress the egotism that afflicts so many apostles today (and that drives many people far from the Church)

• The three most common reasons why those you love may refuse to hear what you say — and how to deal with each

• The three things you absolutely must be sure to do before you open your mouth the first time (and every time thereafter)

• Why you must listen for what they are not saying — and how to do so

• Why, reconciliation must remain ever foremost in your mind

• What the Church really teaches (and has never taught): keys to answering many objections to the Catholic Faith

• The Bible: why those who win souls read it and pray with it daily

• How to ensure that your efforts are always for God, and never for victory

• When you should share the Faith (and when stay silent) — and how to tell

• Church history: how even a modest acquaintance with it will help you immeasurably

• The central place of Confession in the life of every effective evangelist

• The fundamental spiritual attitudes that win souls faster than words (and how you can cultivate them in your own soul)

• Why, in approaching friends and relatives, you must never forget that you are no more than a junior partner with God

. . . and much more!

"How do you
bring a friend or relative
back into the Church?

First, you pray.
Then, you follow Patrick Madrid's advice in Search and Rescue."

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York


Search and Rescue

288 pages ppbk $14.95

Box 5284, Manchester
NH 03108

To better equip you for your task, I've also included the following in Search and Rescue:
Hundreds of Bible verses
to help you see the deep Biblical roots
of our Catholic Faith
Wise and consoling prayers
to pray before you begin
to speak of the Faith to others
Quotes from dozens of saints
to help guide you, including St. Paul, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Basil the Great, St. Jerome, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, St. John Vianney, St. Philip Neri, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and many others
A 3-tiered Reading Plan
that, over time, will equip even the least-qualified apostles to present the Faith simply, intelligently, and persuasively
And even an Action Agenda
at the end of each chapter, listing simple steps you can take now to make the Faith more appealing to those you love.

Even the Vatican recommends Search and Rescue:

"Patrick Madrid has done invaluable work in explaining clearly and convincingly why the Catholic Church is the true Church founded by Jesus Christ. His arguments and exposition are compelling and, I would say, grace-filled.

Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into — or Back Into — the Catholic Church is timely, relevant and welcome. Those who are familiar with Patrick Madrid's work will undoubtedly have another 'faith lift'; those who may be reading his work for the first time will be impressed, inspired — and convinced."

John Cardinal Foley
Chairman, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
Search and Rescue
288 pages ppbk $14.95

Sophia Institute Press

Box 5284, Manchester
NH 03108

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to others it might help.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FOR 2009:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  • Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants
  • Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
  • Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer.
  • Play more games.
  • Read more books than you did in 2008.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • Sleep for 7 hours.
  • Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
  • Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  • Don't over do. Keep your limits.
  • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
  • Dream more while you are awake.
  • Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  • Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
  • Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  • Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  • Call your family often.
  • Each day give something good to others.
  • Forgive everyone for everything.
  • Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  • Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

  • Do the right thing!
  • Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  • GOD heals everything.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • The best is yet to come.
  • When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
  • Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Catholic Books Forced out of Print


Saint Philip Neri
once gave a gossipy lady
this penance:

"Go to the market, buy a chicken, and pluck it on your way back here, scattering the feathers as you walk. When you give me the plucked chicken, I'll tell you the rest of your penance."

The baffled woman did as she was told. After she handed the plucked chicken to the saint, he said,

"Now that you've spread those feathers about, go pick them up."

"But, Father! It's impossible to know where they've all gone!"

"Just like the words of
your gossip,"
he said.

* * *

A chicken has about 12,000 feathers.

Since I established Sophia Institute Press to publish faithful Catholic books, I've sent forth into our world 10 million times as many words as there were feathers on that chicken!

That's 120 billion words, and they've traveled farther and longer than any feathers: 2 million Catholic books by or about St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Bishop Fulton Sheen, St. Robert Bellarmine, Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, and many other good Catholics.

Before combat, thousands of Catholic soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan pray with our edition of Fulton Sheen's Wartime Prayer Book, and chaplains rely on it, too.

Chaplain praying over injured soldier

You yourself may have grown closer to Christ through our editions of Angel in the Waters, The Aquinas Prayer Book, The Temperament God Gave You, A Mother's Rule of Life, Finding God's Will For You, or one of our other fine books.

Like those feathers, the wise and holy words in our books have spread far across this land and even overseas, but unlike gossip, which spreads itself, we've had to struggle to help them along.

It's never been easy, and for over two decades
bankruptcy has constantly threatened our tiny non-profit publishing apostolate.


Last year, our affiliation with Thomas More College brought a brief respite, enabling us to get a very large loan to replenish 45 of our out-of-stock books and to publish 5 new ones, including the remarkable book praised by St. Thérèse herself, The End of the Present World:

End of the Present World (book cover)

Right now, we have 18 more books in production, including a delightful children's book about St. Thomas Aquinas, a powerful classic on the angels, and even a charming book of Catholic family humor:
Bless Me, Father, for I Have Kids.

Angels and Their Mission (book cover)
Bless Me, Father (book cover)

Yet now we may
have to close our doors

. . . just as we were
getting back on our feet.

You see, last fall, cutting our staff and restoring four dozen books boosted our sales 70% and brought us close to profitability. Then this nationwide recession slammed us, crippling sales from individuals and bookstores.

Like many homebuyers who still earn enough to eat, but temporarily can't make the monthly payments on their home loans, we still earn enough money to stay open, but not enough to make the payment on our business loan:
$15,000 a month.

That one payment is stripping us of cash, and, without your help, we're going to run out of money April 1st, just seven weeks from now.

Our doors will close;
our holy Catholic books
will be forced out of print.


This isn't the first time Catholics have come up short. Years ago, Jesus said to Peter, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

Peter answered, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets."

When they did, they netted so many fish their nets began to break.

Like Peter, we here at Sophia Institute Press have labored hard and long — a quarter-century now — producing hundreds of books. And like him, in recent months we've not had the success we need.

Nonetheless, and also like Peter, we're going to abide by the command of Jesus. With this emailing to 135,000 Catholics, we're "putting out into the deep," confident that, if it's God's will, He will inspire you to help us now.

A dollar bill

Just $1
will save us.

If everyone who receives this e-mail contributes a dollar, our nets (like Peter's) will begin to break! Our loan will be paid up, our doors stay open, and we'll have enough left to ensure we can publish another two million holy Catholic books!

Not Wal-Mart nor even EBay
gives you that much value for a dollar!

And, using Paypal or your credit card, you can give that $1 here in less than a minute:

Use Paypal at our website or donate when you place a book order.

Do you remember the feathers the woman strewed along her path, not knowing where they went or when they would stop traveling?

Your dollar will help us strew 120 billion more Catholic words in the path of countless souls across the globe.


Like those feathers that kept traveling, your dollar will keep working: miles from here and years from now, it will continue to bring souls to God in ways far beyond our poor ability to foresee.

Finally, whether you contribute or not, please say a brief prayer that this appeal will work, and then forward this e-mail to every Catholic you know, strewing it across their path, too, like feathers from that plucked chicken.

With your brief prayer, your $1 gift, and by forwarding this message, you can save souls . . . and save our apostolate!

Thank you.

I'm praying for you;
please pray for me.

John Barger, Publisher

John Barger, Publisher
Sophia Institute Press

Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108

Please forward this e-mail to others
who might help.

Use Paypal at our website or donate when you place a book order.