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Library

This section is devoted to your spiritual nourishment through various media that we have found helpful on our spiritual journey. Please browse and hopefully you will find something that may further you on your journey.

Reading Recommendations | Book Reviews | Bible Software Reviews | Web Links

Book reviews

Have you read a good book lately? Would you like to share it with your brothers? Here's your chance. Write a review not to exceed 300 words and send it to:

SacraMentors Book Review
P.O. Box 64787
University Place, WA 98464

Alternatively you may e-mail us at bookreview@sacramentors.org. It may be published in the Blessings newsletter!

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Zondervan, 2002

Review by Ron Reierson January, 2005

This vastly popular book, written by a Protestant Pastor, and referencing some Catholic texts as well as numerous Protestant ones, is based on a spiritual journey of 40 days, during which one should read a chapter each day. The chapters are short, full of quality thought processes, and end by re-phrasing the topic of the chapter, a verse to remember, and a question which will make you squirm on occasion...as you dig deeply into YOUR relationship with The Lord...and your "brothers and sisters" in Christ.

You'll find Rick Warren easy to read, and since each chapter builds on the previous text, you'll find it leads to the inevitable faith-in-action of which we as Sacramentors are all about. You'll find numerous references to the Sacramentor concepts brought forward in this book, such as letting go of grudges, forgiveness and love.

The author touches on the subject of having key biblical passages available, for us to quote or remember as we travel through our spiritual journey. You'll find many passages quoted during in your readings, referenced in the "Notes" appendix at the end. I found it helpful to underline the key passages I wanted to remember, then use the "Welcome to the Catholic Church" CD (discussed by Steve Egge, below) to locate and cross-reference to other versions and texts for a more fulfilling understanding of those passages. A good study bible will also suffice.

This is not a "read and lay aside" text; rather, one should find it helpful by reviewing periodically some of the key thoughts discussed; this is a "work book".

While the author does not reveal any new scholarship, the way he packages his thoughts is fluid and reasoned---of all the religious texts I've read, this is one of the most practical. It's 322 pages of text make it an easy and pleasant read. My own parish priest made it required reading for the staff at St. Charles Borromeo Parish! I can certainly see why.

Ron Reierson is a SacraMentor brother in Tacoma.

 

The New Man by Thomas Merton, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition , 1999.

Review by Richard Casmier

The theme of this book by Thomas Merton is the question of spiritual identity. As SacraMentors we've discussed how we must discover our true selves. Thomas Merton shows how we have become strangers to ourselves by our dependence on outward identity and success. ( Remember "Who Am I"?) He shows our real need is for a concern with the image of God within ourselves.

SacraMentors will sense a familiarity with the words as they progress through the book. Once you've read this book you will want to share it with others.

I've dog-eared my book on almost every page, especially in the chapter entitled "Spirit in Bondage". This book belongs in the libraries of every SacraMentors brother.

Richard Casmier is a SacraMentor brother for St. Andrew Parish, Sumner

 

Grief Recovery Handbook: A Step-By-Step Program for Moving Beyond Loss
by John James & Frank Cherry, Harper Collins, 1989

(webmaster's note: now available in a revised edition, 1998)

REVIEW by Alan Walby

In April my wife of 27 years died suddenly and just as suddenly grieving became my main preoccupation. A loss of this magnitude had never hit me before. I had little experience with grief up until then.

Many of our beliefs about grieving are really myths. For example:

Myth #1: Keep your grief to yourself. Just tough it out.
Myth #2: Keep busy. Time will pass and you'll feel better.

The list could go on and on.

Fact #1: We can't grieve alone. We need a partner to help.
Fact #2: Unbeknownst to us, prior "unresolved" relationships are slow our present grieving. The "father wounds" we speak of in SacraMentors ranks high on the list.

The solution is simple, but one we would never think of by ourselves. First, work to resolve those prior relationships. Then tackle your present grieving. On your own, this can be difficult and incomplete. But, with a partner, just following the steps brings relief. Before long you should notice a new perspective and outlook. Is it hard? Yes and no. The success you're likely to find will easily melt away any feelings of fear or reluctance. It's amazing! It works! The next step is to use your new found method to work on your current grief. If you are in a grieving situation, this book is a must read.

Alan Walby is a SacraMentor brother at St. Andrew Parish and resides in Sumner, WA.

 

The Redeeming Love of Christ
by Alphonsus Liguori. Edited by Joseph Oppitz, C.S.S.R.. New City Press, New York, 1992.

REVIEW by Richard Casmier

The message of Alphonsus Liguori is on that is familiar to SacraMentors. Ligouri was born in Naples, Italy in 1690. He was unusually gifted and successful in all of his studies as a young man in the upper nobility. At age 16 he became a doctor in both civil and church law. He became a priest at the age of 30 and immediately threw himself into working for the poor and abandoned of the slums of Naples and then the most forgotten, the abandoned mountain folk for whom neither church nor state seemed to care. In 30 years of mission preaching he published 111 books.

Some of the chapters in the book include: The Practice of Familiarity with God and The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection. Once you've read a chapter you will want to read parts of it again and again. Liguori said of his writings, "My writing is focused entirely on the practical and is not replete with theoretical questions. I have in mind rather to promote the salvation of souls and therefore I have selected matters that are most useful and helpful." And he does just that! Liguori was declared a saint in 1839.

If your bookseller doesn't have this book in stock, he can order it for you. It will become on of your favorites.

Richard Casmier is a SacraMentor from St. Andrew Parish and resides in Sumner, WA.

 

Against an Infinite Horizon
by Ronald Rolheiser. The Crossroad Pub. Co, N.Y., 1996.

REVIEW by Steve Egge

There are many books that strengthen one's spirituality. There are some books that open a door in one's mind and lead to a deeper spirituality. As you read them, the "Ah Ha – that's it" phenomenon happens. Ronald Rolheiser's book Against an Infinite Horizon opens your mind to the cause of underlying restlessness and the longings that are present in our hearts and everyday lives. This book is worth reading, and rereading. Rolheiser's book was given to me by Fr. Mike Ryan of Holy Spirit parish when I went to promote the upcoming SacraMentor series. (So if Carl Jones asks you to speak at a mass – Go! You may receive unexpected blessings.)

Here is a sampling of Rolheiser's writing:

To bless someone is, through some word, gesture, or ritual, to make him aware of three things:

i. The goodness of the original creation where, after making the earth and humans, God said that it was "good, very good".

ii. That God experiences the same delight and pleasure in him or her that he experienced with Jesus at His baptism when He said: "this is my beloved child in whom I take delight".

iii. That we, who are giving the blessing, recognize that goodness and take that delight in him or her.

Elsewhere he describes a view of birth, life, and eternity that will stick in your mind forever. Understand that I am at the beginning of my spiritual journey, but Rolheiser is the only author I have read who has ever really discussed human sexuality and the church and its relationship to marriage in such a life giving and healthful way. The book is in stock at Kauffer's bookstores.

Steve Egge is a SacraMentor from St. Andrew Parish and resides in Puyallup, WA