Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quick Looks at 3 New Books

I haven't had time to read more than a few chapters of each of these books. Those chapters, however, are enough to put them on my "to read" list. I didn't want you to have to wait to find out about them until I'd read them and done a full review.

Transformed by God's Word: Discovering the Power of Lectio and VISIO DivinaTransformed by God's Word: Discovering the Power of Lectio and VISIO Divina by Stephen J Binz
Bestselling author and biblical scholar Stephen J. Binz offers the first book to combine the ancient Western practice of lectio divina (sacred reading) with the lesser-known Eastern Orthodox tradition of visio divina (sacred seeing). Binz suggests a life-changing way to pray through twenty gospel readings paired with beautiful, never-before-published contemporary icons.

The book's twenty Bible passages--starting with the Annunciation and ending with Pentecost--are paired with full-color icons of each story. The original, never-before-published icons, written by Ruta and Kaspars Poikans, are displayed in the Unity Chapel at the Mary of Nazareth International Center in Israel.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Stephen Binz's books about lectio divina. I myself have long had an affinity for icons and other art which help me connect with God so you can imagine my delight at receiving this book.

So far it is practically perfect in every way. I especially love the gorgeous icons. Their symbolism tends to be obvious enough to start me contemplating God's mystery, but Binz's notes add to the layers of meaning that I'd otherwise miss.

You Can Share the Faith: Reaching Out One Person at a TimeYou Can Share the Faith: Reaching Out One Person at a Time by Karen Edmisten
Sharing the faith doesn't have to be complicated. After all, Jesus himself just started with one person. Here are practical pointers from the author's own story and those of many others to help you share your faith joyfully, casually, confidently and with compassion.
This book resonated with me from page one. I don't know Karen Edmisten has managed to write a book that sounds as if I gave her notes on what I'd write myself, but she did. Her life story is different from mine, but her Catholic way of life is precisely what I answer when people ask me "how to" be a Happy Catholic.

I admit that I read five chapters before getting pulled away. They included engaging the culture, hanging with all kinds of people, being honest about struggles, and (most of all) doing it person-to-person. Get it. Read it.

The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts That Make Up a Catholic LifeThe Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts That Make Up a Catholic Life by Melissa Musick
This collection of prayers, crafts, devotionals and recipes will help readers make room in their busy lives for mystery and meaning, awe and joy.

This beautifully designed book will help readers celebrate Catholicism throughout the years, across daily practice and milestones. Like the most useful field guides, it is divided into user-friendly sections and covers such topics as the veneration of relics, blessing your house, discovering a vocation, raising teenagers, getting a Catholic tattoo, planting a Mary garden, finding a spiritual director, and exploring your own way in the tradition.
This actually might be the perfect "Easter season" book to read. Remember, we've got 50 days of Easter after Lent is done. It certainly would be a great gift for new Catholics. It's one of those books with the practical stuff about living the Catholic life. I remember I had questions about how to do Eucharistic adoration, what the Triduum is, how to fast and "give things up" for Lent, and much more.

I did not have questions about Catholic tattoos, consecrated virginity, planting a Mary garden or Catholic tattoos, but if you do, this is your book. They cover a lot of ground!

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