Friday, May 8, 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 11-15



I know I've been MIA for a while now but since losing my mother in February and having a baby in January, life has been hard. Now that I am enjoying my Summer Break, I joined a Bible study at women living well blog. I joined late but have been reading my daily reading and then one from the beginning to catch up. Now, on to my observations:

Basically this week's readings have been all about cleanliness/legal purity. This is pretty dry reading art first glance but makes you think about purity in the world today.

Morally, we are still so unclean but luckily our lamb has been sacrificed for us. When sin, we are offered instant forgiveness. In the Catholic tradition, we choose to confess our sins to a priest. We are not bound by church teaching to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation for all sins, only those that directly defy the ten commandments. All other songs can be forgiven through personal and private confession although many choose to congress those to a priest as well. This may leave you wondering: Why do Catholics confess to man?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "only God forgives sins" and "since he is the Son of God", he "has authority on earth to forgive sins. Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name" (CCC #1441). In 2 Corinthians 5:20, St. Paul tells us "... we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God".

Also, remember in Matthew 16:19, Jesus says, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.". This means that Jesus transferred his earthly authority onto man (specifically Peter) just as in Isaiah 22:22 when the keys to the Davidic kingdom were transferred. The key is a symbol of authority.

So basically we believe that Jesus handed over his earthly authority to man. One of his main actions while on earth was to forgive sins, therefore we believe that he ordered that some men on earth continue this action in the form of a sacrament administer by a priest.

On a personal level, it is very refreshing to confess sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation. The act of actually having to SPEAK the sins committed is very hard. We can explain them away and make excuses for ourselves in our heads but when it's actually spoken, we have to face it. Also it is freeing. If you read much about human psychology you have probably heard of the importance of speaking about fears and anxieties because sometimes this fees a person from thier internal thoughts. This works for speaking sins as well. Lastly, when we speak to another person who we know will not judge us and will offer advice on how to begin the healing process for this particular sin, it makes us love God even more.

On my way home from my first reconciliation in 2006, I Sat in my car and suddenly a light went off and I realized and spoke aloud, "I just talked to Jesus!". That's what it's all about!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: Passion and Purity


Passion and Purity
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



At first I was not too impressed with this book, thinking it would be something that I could not relate to. By the end of the book I learned why so many Christian women refer to Elisabeth Elliots books in their own writing. I found this book informational and a generally fun read, learning how she lived a life of celibacy waiting for the "ok" from God. It is a great insight into the struggles of abstinence in real life.



View all my reviews

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Book Review: The Catholic Prayer Book

 

Although I am a fairly devout Catholic, I am not a good pray-er. I have been struggling with this for a while and have tried reading tons of different books on the subject of prayer. As a convert, I do not have the background of growing up with praying parents who added memorized prayers to my arsenal to Heaven. Well, now I have finally found a resource to help me learn some traditional  Catholic prayers!

The Catholic Prayer book is a wonderful resource full of prayers for every life event and trouble that a person could go through. There are traditional prayers from the Bible, the Magesterium, and Fathers of the Church. There are also prayers of famous Saints included in this lovely little book. This is one of the most exhaustive resources I have ever seen in the area of Catholic prayer.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Catholic Prayer Book. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: Saint Francis of Assisi

 



If your children are anything like mine, you probably have trouble teaching them anything about the Catholic faith without their eyes glazing over and their shoulders slouching. Kids today are more interested in the colorful media that is constantly vying for their attention.

In the book, Saint Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace, kids will find not only the story of a great Saint of the Church, but a fun graphic novel as well. The illustrations are fabulous and the book is appropriate for children of all ages. As a matter of fact, I gave my copy to my 13 year old son who is going to choose Francis as his Confirmation saint this year. I think that graphic-novel loving adults will also get much enjoyment from this 80-page book.

Not lacking in information, this graphic novel is not the thin comic book of yesteryear. With 80 pages full of colorful illustrations, all readers will feel satisfied. I recommend this book for children and adults of all ages, especially Confirmation students or RCIA students who enjoy the graphic novel approach.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace . The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: Road Trip to Redemption



Sometimes I wonder if all of my talk of Jesus and God and Christianity is really getting through to my children. As a religious education teacher, I was often frustrated with the lack of relationship that tweens and teens have with Jesus and I rarely hear my own children refer to a Jesus as someone close to them. This worries me a lot.

This also worried Brad Mathias who authored Road Trip to Redemption: A Disconnected Family, a Cross-Country Adventure, and an Amazing Journey of Healing and Grace
. His life was in shambles until God took over. After reuniting the Mathias family, God alerted Brad and his wife that their middle daughter was in grave danger from her depression. Unbeknownst to them, she had suffered a traumatic experience and kept it all a secret. Finally, God sent the Mathias family on a road trip where each of them would find their personal relationship with their Savior.

At first this book just looks like a chronicling of the Mathias family's experiences. After reading and digesting, this book is a push to all parents to find that one thing that will make God real to your child. Once you have that thing in place, there is better footing for the future of your child's religious formation. My favorite parts were the journal entries, which are unedited. These gave a true glimpse into the lives of the family members as they went through their spiritual metamorphosis. If you are concerned about your child's relationship with Jesus, no matter your religious denomination, I recommend that you buy a copy of this book.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.



Other great resources:

Buy it now: Road Trip to Redemption: A Disconnected Family, a Cross-Country Adventure, and an Amazing Journey of Healing and Grace





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Come and See Bible Study: Exile and Return

I am on a mission. I have been looking for an affordable and easy to understand Bible Study that is Catholic. I used to love the "God's Word Today" monthly booklets where I would read a little each night so that by the end of the month I had read and digested a whole book of the Bible or Bible topic. Unfortunately, these are no longer being sold so I have been searching for something that was just as easy and something I comprehended just as well.

The Come and See Catholic Bible study is more in-depth than something like the little magazines I used to read but when used as individual study, I found that it is just as simple and even more comprehensive. With this study, you read a little and then answer some questions about the material. When used as a group study, I can imagine that many doors are opened within the group setting and the individuals get even more insight. As an individual, I appreciated that this study covers readings from the Bible and the Catechism. At the beginning of each section there is also a little introductory information, making it a wonderful aid for private study as well as group study.

The Exile and Return package is awesome! I have been wanting to read the "Catholic" books of the Bible and this gave me the perfect opportunity to get started! I haven't finished my study but I am pleasently surprised at what an interesting book Tobit has turned out to be!

Head over to the Catholic Company site and grab a copy of  Come and See:Exile and Return-Bible Study! You won't be sorry!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Come and See:Exile and Return-Bible Study. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: The Letters

Enter Today - 8/1 - 8/17!
The Letters Suzanne Woods Fisher


I just finished reading "The Letters" by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I have read a couple of her Life with Lily books and a couple of books from the Stony Ridge series so I was excited to dig into her newest series, The Inn at Eagle Hill.

The series starts with this story about a widow named Rose Shrock. She decides to turn her basement into a bed and breakfast to earn some extra money and ends up with a few surprise visitors. The lives of the Shrocks as well as those who visit the Inn are changed as new friendships are forged and the true meaning of love is discovered.

I think this was my favorite book by Suzanne Woods Fisher so far. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. The characters are well-developed and I love that some of the Stony Ridge characters are brought back into the book for cameo appearances. I don't think any book by Suzanne Woods Fisher would be complete without Jimmy Fisher. I was glad to see that he has matured- but not too much. A very enjoyable read!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The New Evangelization and You: A Challenge Week 1



In my review of a wonderful, wonderful new book out by Greg Willits of NewEvangelizers.com, I mentioned that I planned to begin a personal challenge to work on my own evangelization skills over the next 52 weeks using the ideas suggested in his book, "The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid
".

Today begins the challenge with week #1 and a simple task of identifying the sixteen documents of Vatican II. I already have the list printed and many of the documents printed and placed in a binder because I read much of the material during Lent.

The best places to find the sixteen documents are at the Vatican website or EWTN. Here is a list of the Documents:

1. Sacrosanctum concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963. 
  


2. Inter Mirifica, Decree On the Means of Social Communication, 1963. 
  


3. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, 1964. 
  

4. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Decree On the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite,1964.
   


5. Unitatis Redintegratio, Decree on Ecumenism, 1964.
  


6. Christus Dominus, Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops In the Church,
1965. 


7. Perfectae Caritatis, Decree On Renewal of Religious Life, 1965.
 


8. Optatam Totius, Decree On Priestly Training, 1965.
 


9. Gravissimum Educationis, Declaration On Christian Education, 1965.
   


10. Nostra Aetate, Declaration On the Relation Of the Church to Non-Christian
Religions, 1965.


11. Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation, 1965.
 


12. Apostolicam Actuositatem, Decree On the Apostolate of the Laity, 1965.
 


13. Dignitatis Humanae, Declaration On Religious Freedom, 1965.
 


14. Ad Gentes, Decree On the Mission Activity of the Church, 1965.
 


15. Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests, 1965.
  


16. Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution On the Church In the Modern World,1965.
 


I suggest that anyone who is interested in learning more about the Catholic faith choose at least one of these documents that looks interesting and print it out. Read over it and think about what the Council had in mind when writing the document and think about how it applies to the world today. This would be a great step towards a better understanding of the true teachings of the Church.
 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures In Odyssey ACTS



For moms with kids in school, the most hectic months of the year are usually September and May. The end of the school year involves parties, playoffs, and final projects. The beginning of the year has moms and kids feeling overloaded with shopping trips, sign-ups, and new schedules.
Establishing healthy, positive routines is a tough job. Too often, music lessons, sports practices, and after-school clubs can overshadow the routines that build family and healthy habits—both physically and spiritually.
One of the great new Adventures in Odyssey products released this year is 90 Devotions for Kids, aimed at kids 8 to 12.  This soft-cover book draws you in with illustrations, puzzles, and kid-friendly applications. It also includes a daily Bible verse, daily challenges, words of encouragement from different AIO characters, and more. Even if your kids aren’t already Adventures in Odyssey fans, they’ll enjoy these daily devotionals, and get to know the Odyssey crew along the way.
This devotional, and the edition coming this fall (90 Devotions for Kids: Life Changing Values from the Book of Matthew) are great tools to help your kids put a regular pause in their day for Bible reading, prayer, and thoughts about God. If you start now—by the first day of school, you’ll already have a spiritual component scheduled into your kids’ routine. After that, everything else will hopefully just fall into line! 
Leave a comment below by August 1st to win your own copy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: The New Evangelization and You





Are you confused about all this talk of the “new evangelization”? 

Are you looking for new ways to know your faith, live your faith, and share your faith?

Or are you a non-Catholic or fallen away Catholic who is thinking of coming into the fullness of Christ?

Are you breathing? 

Well, if you fit into any of the above categories ;) then Greg Willits newest book is for you! As the new director of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries for the Diocese of Denver, he lives out the New Evangelization everyday. As the founder of several apostolates such as rosaryarmy.com, New Evangelizers, That Catholic Show, and The Catholics Next Door podcasts, he is an expert on the nuts and bolts aspect of actually living out the New Evangelization and this book is truly a blueprint for you and I to do the same.

This book is full of Greg’s signature goofy style that makes him approachable and loveable while his knowledge of the subject makes him a reliable source. This is the perfect mix for the average person who wants to know what he or she can do to grow the Church. My favorite part of the book is at the end when Greg lays out 52 ideas each of how to know, live, and share your faith. The idea is for the reader to attempt to try some of them. He advises that you don’t try all of them at once but he wanted to offer enough ideas for everyone.

This book has inspired me to start my own The New Evangelization and You Challenge where I am going to attempt to post weekly on my blog one thing from Greg’s book that I have tried. I hope that this will keep me motivated and accountable and encourage others to try it too. So, head over to the Catholic Company and grab a copy of this awesome new book and join me in knowing, living, and sharing this beautiful faith that we are blessed to have!

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