Monday, July 25, 2016

I've crawled out of hiding to post a review for a book I was given for that purpose.

I can hardly recommend this book highly enough!

Christian women, and Catholics in particular, have needed The Gift of Birth for far too long. I am unaware of any other book that develops the spirituality surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Given the childbearing is a unique way for women to participate in God's creative work, it is important that this books has been written.

This book is not a “how-to” in the same way that so many books on pregnancy and childbearing are. Its subtitle: Discerning God's Presence During Childbirth explains. In its pages a mother will find spiritual guidance as she progresses through pregnancy and childbirth, as well as practical ideas to help her achieve a satisfying birth experience. Each chapter ends with suggestions for prayerful reflection which could serve the growing family well, even beyond the immediate postpartum period.

The book addresses many variations on the theme of childbirth and the author carefully maneuvers through discussions on home births, hospital births and cesarean births without judgment. Ms Windley-Daoust points out that all experiences of giving birth are intensely spiritual and God-given. Suggestions are given to reclaim a birth experience that did not seem to achieve this.

There is a section discussing difficulties surrounding childbirth; the unexpected pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage and still-birth are all given a spiritual dimension. As an experienced spiritual director, Ms Windley-Daoust suggests ways in which the family can ease tension and grief, while seeing God in these situations.

The Gift of Birth quotes frequently from the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, from scripture, as well as from a host of others sources. Quotations from mothers, and some interviews with women who have already found God to be present in their varying birth experiences bring a personal dimension.

This is a book that has been needed for a very long time. I am thankful that Ms. Windley-Daoust was inspired to write it. It is a book I will repeatedly recommend to the young women with whom I work.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

This little bit of weirdness crossed my desk last night.  I do not for a minute claim to be in David Anthony Domet's league, but as another Catholic, Canadian blogger, I can tell you that this has given me a sense of doom I haven't felt in a long time.

The Church Militant has weighed in.

I do not know what Fr. Rosica expects to gain by this exploit.  David Domet on his blog, Vox Cantoris, has had plenty to say about Fr. Rosica's commentary on The Synod on the Family.  From my reading, I do not see calumny or libel.  David Domet simply allows Fr. Rosica to inform us of his views in his own words.  Vox simply points out the obvious and offers commentary.

Fr. Rosica's actions seem petty.  What is he afraid of?

And as for Fr. Rosica, I will leave you with this:

Father Rosica's Salt and Light interview with Gregory Baum, former priest

Really, why is Fr. Rosica worried about what bloggers say about him?  He speaks for himself rather well.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This is a link to my daughter, CatholicGinger's, blog.

Enjoy.  Catholic Ginger

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Te Deum laudamus!: Outrage Addiction: Its harm on the spiritual life ...

I borrowed this from the Te Deum Blog.  There seems to be so much outrage these days...

Te Deum laudamus!: Outrage Addiction: Its harm on the spiritual life ...: Our main goal in this life should be to get to Heaven and take as many souls with us as possible.  We not only have to learn our faith a...

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Book Review: Island of the World by Michael O'Brien

Island of the World is set initially in the Balkans in the period during the second World War, just before the rise of Tito.  It tells the story of a man growing up in the turbulance of this time and his triumph over horror and loss that would have broken many.

The books starts out with the story of the main character, Josip Lasta's, idyllic childhood and its abrupt end.  It is a story of love, loyalty and endurance.  It is also a story of faith and miracles. God's hand protects and guides the Josip into a manhood that would stress the psychological and physical fortitude of any.

This might not be a book for very sensitive readers.  There are portrayals of extreme violence and degradation; at the same time, this is not gratuitous.  It sets the scenes for the book.

The portrayal of Catholicism in this book is very gentle.  It is like a beacon for the main character which is at times more visible and less visible.  Ultimately, Josip finds his way home.

The history of the beautiful Balkans is complicated and in many cases excruciating.  Mr. O'Brien seems to have done his research and portrays history with less bias that is often the case.  This writer has the strong sense that there were personal stories involved in the writing of this novel.

Given the size of this book and the period of time it covers, I found the compendium of characters at the back of the book very helpful.

As with so many of Mr. O'Brien's works, this is a meaty book.  The vocabulary is well chosen to craft a story that is captivating and sustained.  Mr. O'Brien's ability with the paintbrush (he also designs the cover art of his own books and is a painter of some note) carries through into his writing.  He illustrates his books with words.


I wrote this review of The Island of the World for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Book Review: Tobit's Dog

Tobit’s Dog, written by Michael Nicholas Richard, and published by Ignatius Press is a fascinating book.  It is a re-telling of the Book of Tobit from the Old Testament.  This time, the story of Tobit is set in the southern United States between the two World Wars.

The book deals deftly with difficult issues such as racism.  At the same time, its well-developed characters illustrate human nature: good, bad and sometimes in-between.  Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, humor pops up from time-to-time and always seems natural to the characters involved.

The Book of Tobit is absent from many bibles.  Its use as the basis of this novel identifies it as a “Catholic” novel.  One of the story’s very compelling qualities is that when a Catholic teaching appears, it has no feeling of being superimposed; the Catholicism is integral to the story.

That said, I do feel that this book could have been edited a bit more carefully.  There was more than one instance of a quotation mark left open.  Chapter Eight had what appeared to me to be a word placement (“Almost he…”) error.

This book deals with some dark subject matter: racism, murder and rape, which might make it unsuitable reading for young teenagers.  These topics are discussed in a manner that is unlikely to upset sensitive adult readers. 

This is a book which might well raise awareness of the Book of Tobit in scripture.  Even if it does not do that, it serves as an enjoyable piece of summer reading. 

Disclaimer:  This book was supplied to me for review by Ignatius Press

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review: Abbess of Andalusia

  The Abbess of Andalusia was the first book I've read about Miss O'Connor and it has not been the last.

  Flannery O'Connor's style is jarring to many.  It was when she was alive, and it remains so.  To understand why she wrote as she did, it is important to find out about her,as a person.  Ms. Murray's work is among the books that seeks to help with this.

  Lorraine V. Murray makes her observations as a Catholic.  This is very important in reading Miss O'Connor, who was unabashedly Catholic in an environment that was not always sympathetic to that.  I did find that at times, there was a stridency to Ms. Murray's statements about O'Connor's beliefs that was off-putting.  It is possible that I felt this way because I was already seeing what was being pointed out. 

  What I gained from this book was a greater ability to see O'Connor's incorporation of Catholicism into her writing.  Her writing is anything but subtle, generally speaking, but in writing for a general market, she had to be subtle in incorporating her spirituality. 

  There is room for editing in this little book.  There were a couple of sentences which did not make sense, and a sentence that was repeated twice on the same page. I hope that future editions tidy that up. 

  I would recommend this book as a companion to anyone interested in Miss O'Connor's writing, particularly to those who are puzzled in trying to think of her as a Catholic writer.  It will help the reader to gain a valuable insight into Miss O'Connor's fascinating personality and noted intellect.  She faced a number of challenges which helped to shape her as a writer.

 I wrote this review of The Abbess of Andalusia for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.  I receive free books for writings the reviews.

Book Review: Father Elijah

   Father Elijah is the only book I reread on an almost annual basis, and I do not often read fiction. 

  I still hold this book to be the best among the books of Michael D. O'brien's which I have read.  Despite its size, it is hard to put down.  The story is captivating.  It is sub-titled "An Apocalypse", but it is hopeful, not frightening.

  The story contains several stories in various settings; wartime Europe, post-war Israel, and Rome as well as some minor settings are present.  The areas are beautifully and accurately described.

  Characters are many and very well-developed.  One was hard-pressed at times to recall that this is, in fact, fiction and not a work of prophecy, especially given event that have actually happened since the writing of this book.  Despite the number of characters, there is no difficulty in keeping the stories straight.

  Roman Catholicism is the thread that ties all of the characters and locations together. The Church is presented accurately and with love.  The Vatican itself is described accurately and in some detail.  

  This is a book of substance.  It is sumptuous in its vocabulary and in the mental images that are developed.  Its discussion of history and the Church confront both the light and the darkness that can be encountered in either. Good and Evil are both on display and treated with the mind of the Church.

  A friend to whom I'd lent this book said it was the first book he'd ever finished and then immediately turned over to start it again.

  On a practical note, the hardcover edition which I own has lasted well through the repeated readings and lending.  
The end of the book is satisfying, but with an unfinished feel.  I eagerly await a sequel.

  I wrote this review of Father Elijah for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

   Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore.  I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.