Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make this Lent your best ever!

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Is your Lent off to a good start?  
Make this Lent your best Lent ever with any of these books:

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Simplicity: the sure path to God!

The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life.

That's easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for even the most tangled lives.

Relying on the words of Jesus and the lives of the saints, Fr. Plus maps out a sure path to the simplicity which Jesus praised, a simplicity that bestows on all of us who seek it happiness, courage, and inner peace, no matter how complicated our circumstances may be or how crowded our days.

Prayer and the will of God

Prayer is our lifeline to heaven, but most of us find it easy to neglect and even to forget. Our fitful efforts at regular prayer frustrate and disappoint us.  

Dom Hubert van Zeller knows why. "Prayer," says this beloved monk who taught scores of souls to pray, "comes from God, is kept going by God, and finds its way back to God by its own power." Prayer is not something we do, but something God does in us.  

Here you'll discover the true meaning and proper ways of prayer. You'll find out how to overcome distractions in prayer and deal with disappointment when your prayers seem not to have been answered.  

Zeller will show you how to make regular prayers possible and transform them into the source of joy they were meant to be. 
Raoul Plus, S.J.
96 pp $9.95

Prayer and the Will of God 

Dom Hubert van Zeller
176 pp $12.95

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Proof God's grace can conquer every human flaw . . .

Christ came not to call saints but to make them - often out of weak, stupid, and sinful men and women.   

Alban Goodier's classic Saints for Sinners shows us that even the greatest saints had to battle the same stubborn vices, temptations of the flesh, and bouts of spiritual dryness that afflict you and me today. In these pages, with a style that blends hagiographical detail, spiritual meditation, and a skilled storyteller's touch, Archbishop Goodier brings us tales of:

The dramatic conversion of a soldier and itinerant gambler; the sickly and abandoned teenager who became a miraculous healer; the willful Tuscan beauty who forsook vanity and lust to answer God's call;  The brilliant, brooding Spanish nobleman who gave up everything to be a missionary; the hedonistic heretic and womanizer who traded worldly pleasure for divine happiness; and other inspiring tales of imperfect souls "made perfect in infirmity."

These stories will fill you with delight, encouragement, and hope: No one is so sinful, weak, or desolate that God has not already raised another like him to the heights of glory.

Have a richer spiritual life now!

If you're ready to take the next step on the path of spiritual progress, these pages will provide you with the solid, faithful direction you need to develop a rich spiritual life.  

These short, accessible chapters, you'll learn how to identify the greatest challenges you face as you seek to live a spiritual life. Sound, proven strategies you can use to overcome the most common stumbling blocks:

How to hear and follow God's special call for you; how to find silence amid the world's noise; how to make your spiritual life bear fruit in your family and community; how to balance your active life with your prayer life; how your temperament affects your spiritual life; the secret of spritiual peace when life's in turmoil; how to pray when you're tired and discouraged; how to sort out seemingly conflicting calls from God; how to tell if you need a spiritual director (and how to find a good one); and much more.    

Stop wondering if you're living a spiritual life: the wise counsel in these pages will enable you to be sure.
 Saints for Sinners 
Archbishop Alban Goodier
176 pp $14.95
 Am I Living a Spiritual Life? 
Dr. Susan Muto and Adrian van Kaam
208 pp $14.95

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Make your prayer more fruitful

Whether you've just begun to pray or have been faithfully praying for years, the wisdom in this book will  rescue your prayers from distraction and superficiality.  

You'll discover how the sacraments fortify your prayer; why true prayer is not necessarily a matter of words; how to bring God into your home consistently and painlessly through family prayer; the two things that transform thinking about God into genuine prayer; and much, much more.   

If you feel your prayer life is not sufficient for keeping Jesus at the center of your life, The Basic Book of Catholic Prayer will help restore it to the source of divine peace and joy it was meant to be.

Delightful saints' tales
for bedtime reading

This, truly, is a bedside book of saints. In this short book, Fr. Aloysius Roche shows you the saints not from the level of the theologian or academic, but from a less familiar one, a comfortable angle that makes for a certain coziness.  
Like a patchwork quilt, these tales have been sewn together, creating a delightful variety and charm to bring simple cheer. Without diluting the intensity and holiness of the saints, he brings them near to you, to your home, to your very bedside. 

A Bedside Book of Saints lets the saints themselves do most of the talking, in candid, often humorous stories to help ease your soul, calm your mind, and welcome good dreams.    

The Basic Book of Catholic Prayer 
Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik
224 pp $14.95 

The Bedside Book of Saints 

Rev. Aloysius Roche
176 pp $14.95

More excellent titles to make this your best Lent ever:

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Learn to pray as you've always wanted - and as you should

How to Pray Well 
Raoul Plus, S.J.
192 pp $10.95

Now you, too, can learn to
"pray without ceasing"

How to Pray Always 
Raoul Plus, S.J.
144 pp $10.95

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 Learn how to resist temptation
now - before it's too late!

How to Resist Temptation 
Francis J. Remler, C.M.
160 pp $12.95
Thirty steps to holiness
- in just ten minutes a day!

A Pocket Retreat for Catholics 
F. Maucourant
288 pp $14.95



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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


1st READING - Isaiah 55:10-11
P S A L M - Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
R: From all their distress God rescues the just.
GOSPEL - Matthew 6:7-15


The writer Matthew Kelly makes a good point when he says that most young people nowadays are missing a whole lot for the simple reason that they don’t know what they want. They don’t have singleness of purpose. And if one does not have a sense of purpose, it doesn’t matter much what happens. Anything will do. “Que sera, sera,” as the old song goes. Whatever will be, will be!

Kelly argues further that people who have a sense of purpose and are focused on what they want go a step farther. They eventually develop the virtues, habits and skills needed to propel that dream. Bill Gates knew what he wanted, and he lost no time developing whatever it would take to make him reach his dream. Blessed Mother Teresa also had it. So did Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Little Johnny Bosco also nurtured what he euphemistically called a dream. At nine years old, he already nurtured a vision that accrued from a dream about wolves becoming sheep. Almost 175 years after, that dream has become, and still is, a reality in more than 130 countries all over the world.

But apart from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, John Paul II, John Bosco and many other saints, there was someone else who had a dream for humanity, for the world, for all men and women of good will — God!

Today, the First Reading gives us a glimpse of that divine dream. Using the images of rain and snow that does not come down and return up without first producing good results, God’s Word, Isaiah tells us, does not return to Him void but achieves the end for which God sent it.

Our faith in the power of the same Word leads us to do as God’s Son did. We pray and talk to the Father in the words our Lord Himself taught us. And how do we know this prayer is efficacious? We know it through the example of the Son. He had singleness of purpose: to do the Father’s will, the end for which He was sent. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: Have you found your life’s purpose? If you haven’t, avail of the grace of the Lenten Season to listen to God and know the purpose for which He created you.
Grant me, Lord, a singleness of purpose that I may fulfill Your will for my life.

Blessed Daniel Brottier, pray for us.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Today's Gospel -February 26, 2012 with Reflection

1st READING - Genesis 9:8-15 
P S A L M - Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
2nd READING - 1 Peter 3:18-22
One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Mark 1:12-15
12 The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, 13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. 14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”



Mountain trekkers and climbers are familiar with the experience — that moment when one either retraces his steps back down, or decides to make that “final assault” to conquer the peak. But in order to face the “time of fulfillment,” one needs to make difficult decisions and hard choices. One has to travel light, to say the least. One has to leave behind all other accoutrements and pare oneself down to the bare essentials. And there is no tarrying, no bargaining, no ifs and buts. One simply has to choose and decide wholeheartedly.

In my much younger years, I remember a time we took the longer and more difficult route from Pulag, via the Kabayan trail. We had a guest climber from abroad who hoodwinked us into believing that he had training and experience. At a particularly precipitous and dangerous part of the climb down, he panicked. He froze. And he wouldn’t budge, shaking with fright. The fear was contagious and paralyzing. As team leader, I knew I had to act swiftly and decisively, as there was no turning back at that point.

I would like to think that after the massive floods that Noah experienced, there was also no turning back. They just had to move on with life and move up to a higher plane. They were being invited by the Lord Yahweh to a covenant. It was a moment of fulfillment, something akin to what anthropologists refer to as a liminal moment, a threshold experience that leads one to something bigger, better, nicer and nobler. God did His part of the bargain. He promised no more floods ever. But Noah and his companions were taken to task, with a huge reminder for everyone to see — a “bow in the clouds to serve as a sign.”

That sign gives way now to a bigger one — that of the Son of Man who came down from the clouds, bringing a multiplicity of other signs. It is now the “time of fulfillment,” He says. And our end of the bargain is: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: Where do you find fulfillment?
Lord God, my soul longs to find fulfillment in You.

St. Porphyry of Gaza, pray for us.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lenten reading acclaimed by Mother Teresa, Fr. Groeschel, & Fr. Hardon

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In Gethsemane,
Jesus begged His
disciples to
"watch one hour"
with Him.

This Lent will you finally manage to watch one hour with Jesus, or even grow closer to him in prayer?

If you're uncertain, then consider this remarkable book, written in Jerusalem in the 1920s by a Dominican priest who lived there.

It will make it easy for you to watch not just one hour with Jesus, but many.

"By means of this book," said Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "we enter right into the Heart of Jesus and discover how precious we are to Him and how much He longs for our love in return."  

 The late John Cardinal O'Connor called this book "beautiful, devotional, and insightful."

Fr. Benedict Groeschel proclaimed it
"a powerful aid to meditation"
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand says
"This book should be in the hands
of every single Christian."

 That's because its author, Rev. A.D. Sertillanges (1863-1948), wrote with the care of a scholar, the eye of a cinematographer, and the tenderness of a saint.

In the pages of this book, What Jesus Saw from the Cross, you'll be jostled by crowds as you enter Jerusalem with Jesus, choke on the dust of the narrow streets, breathe the rich smells of the city at festival time, and share the Last Supper with the disciples.  

You'll weep in Gethsemane, witness the kiss of Judas and the lying accusations made before Herod and Pilate. You'll stumble with Jesus through narrow streets, bumped by pack animals and hawkers selling wares to the thrill-seeking crowd, sneering at the Cross Jesus bears.  

You'll weep as soldiers drive home the nails and tremble as darkness covers the earth when Jesus dies.

So intense is Fr. Sertillanges' account of Jesus' last days --- and so faithful to the Gospel --- that generations of Catholics have used What Jesus Saw from the Cross to prepare themselves for Easter.  

 The late Fr. John Hardon said that:
"Father Sertillanges' book immerses us into every detail, every event, and every emotion that accompanies the drama of Christ's suffering and sacrifice on the cross. After reading this book, every Christian will experience the vivid sense of being an eyewitness to the death of His Lord and view the Crucifixion as a personal event that touches his daily life. This is a book for all times, for all places, and for all people, especially our own age."

* * *  

Has your faith grown
this Lent, or are you still
"just getting by?"  

Join Mother Teresa, Cardinal O'Connor, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, and countless other good Catholics who have nourished their faith with What Jesus Saw from the Cross.
What Jesus Saw From the Cross (cover)

What Jesus Saw from the Cross   
by Fr. A.G. Sertillanges
252 pgs pbk $18.95

Order online now
or call toll-free: 1-800-888-9344

"I am happy to recommend 
What Jesus Saw from the Cross.
Blessed Mother Teresa

 "What Jesus Saw from the Cross is the perfect book to take to prayer during Lent and throughout the year."
Lay Witness

 "For families seeking spiritual reading, this book will be a valuable source of inspiration and of great value to parents when teaching their children about the central mystery of our faith."
Family Life

"This book deserves the attention
of all serious Christians."
The Priest

A. G. Sertillanges  (1863-1948)

Antonin Gilbert Sertillanges entered the Dominican order in France when he was twenty, was ordained a priest in 1888, and devoted the rest of his life to study and prayer.

A gifted teacher and a prolific scholar, Fr. Sertillanges  published many books and over a thousand articles in the areas of philosophy, theology, art, and spirituality.

Fr. Sertillanges was admired for his skill as a preacher, spiritual director, and apologist, and had considerable success explaining the Catholic faith to the young and the unconverted.  

No "ivory tower" intellectual, but a passionate son of the Church, Fr. Sertillanges's works bridge the gap between theology and the Christian experience of ordinary laymen.

What Jesus Saw From the Cross (cover)

 What Jesus Saw from the Cross   
by Fr. A.G. Sertillanges
252 pgs pbk $18.95

Also for Lent:

A modest book to help you pray as you've always wanted - and as you should!   

We all pray, but few of us pray well. And although that's troubling, few of us have found a spiritual director capable of leading us further along the path of prayer.  

Fr Raoul Plus, S.J., is such a director, and reading this little book about the four types of prayer will be for you like hearing the voice of the wise and gentle counsellor you long for but can't find: one who knows your soul well and understands its needs.  

How can this be? Well, the interior life is in most ways the same - and in lesser ways different - for each of us. The good director understands the ways it must always be the same, and allows for all the ways in which it will be different, uniquely our own.  

By showing us in these pages the saints in prayer, their struggles and their insights, and by drawing on 2,000 years of Christian experience Fr. Plus is here able to make his spiritual advice both concrete and universal: suited to each of us as if we were speaking with him face-to-face.
To read is not always to pray; but to read this book is to be led to the very threshold of true prayer.

How to Pray Well (cover)
How to Pray Well
by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.
144 pgs leatherette

Box 5284,
Manchester, NH 03108

Raoul Plus, S.J. (1882-1958)    wrote more than forty books to help Christians understand God's love for the soul. His works stress the vital role of prayer in the spiritual life and show how you can live the truths of the faith.

Save over 25%:
Get both books
for just $22   

Lenten web special (book covers)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today's Gospel - February 22, 2012 with Reflection

Ash Wednesday

1st READING - Joel 2:12-18
P S A L M - Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
R: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
2ND READING - 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 16 “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”


All across the Christian world, the season of Lent begins today. Taken from the Old English word lencten, which literally means “springtime,” Lent challenges us to consider renewing ourselves as Mother Nature renews herself annually in a cycle of seasons. In the Spanish-speaking world, Lent is called Quaresma, indicating that this consists of 40 days of intensified spiritual exercises to prepare for the annual week-long commemoration of Jesus’ saving passion, death and resurrection.

Today’s liturgy points out that spiritual exercises call us to look back into the basics of our life. The cross is traced on our forehead to remind us of this basic mystery of our faith. The ashes on our forehead serve to tell us about the passing nature of our life and all things in this world. The Gospel proclamation speaks about prayer, fasting and almsgiving, considered the primordial pillars of Jewish devotional life. Three times in the Gospel, Jesus invites us to enter into the secret, for this is what the Heavenly Father sees.

Prayer, more than a simple reference to personal and communal moments of meditation and contemplation, embodies the full score of our relations and faith in God. The late Fr. Thomas Green, Jesuit professor on spirituality, loved to remind us in his classes at the Loyola School of Theology that “prayer” is “pray-er,” or “the person in prayer.”

Fasting is not just about food and water intake. It means an examination of our appetites for material things. It calls us to simplify our lifestyles and invites us to re-evaluate our attachments and priorities in life.

Almsgiving is but an expression of something broader: our love and capacity to manifest love through generous sharing with others, especially the poor. It makes us ask ourselves: How open am I to bless others with the time, talent and treasure that God has blessed me with?

The journey of 40 days in Lent begins in our hearts and progresses with concrete, particular, personal resolutions to be more of what we could be!  Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: Recall the most memorable Lenten experiences you have had in the past. What made these Lenten experiences memorable? What specific fruits did you reap from them? Start drafting your Lenten program for this year.
Lord Jesus, may the next 40 days bring me closer to fulfilling Your will for my life.

St. Margaret of Cortona, pray for us.

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