Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Life Everlasting by Gary Jansen

This book is about Catholic devotions—prayers, meditations, and small actions you can take right now that will assist you in directing your life toward the greater good, helping you to find solace, healing and direction when all seems lost....

Devotions function as a tap on the shoulder, a way of reorienting our soul's journey to the divine. They not only help us know God better, but they help us know god's beloved son, Jesus, better and in different ways.
Everyone knows that praying the rosary is a very Catholic thing to do. But it is just one of the many options the Catholic church offers to help people find their way to God both in prayer and in living everyday life. This was really a revelation to me after my conversion. I loved trying out different devotions as I came across them, seeing which fit my life and which didn't, incorporating them into my journey with God.

Gary Jansen takes us along on his personal journey of discovery in this book of prayer and devotions. It includes insights, general guidelines to help prayer, insights, and examples from the lives of the saints. The devotions range from basic Catholic touchstones like the rosary and Stations of the Cross, to lesser known devotions such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer, and the Miraculous Medal. It also includes something which can be hard to find, a lengthy appendix of prayers for every need.

I enjoyed Jansen's way of leading us into each devotion by coupling the history with his own personal experience. Although these devotions are often rooted far back in time, he shows us that they can be vital in our own lives today. Jansen also casts a wide enough net to surprise those of us who feel we already know all about devotions. For example, I have long had a devotion to my guardian angel but it never occurred to me to ask him to pray with me. Here's a person you never have to feel shy about praying with. I was especially touched by the prayer in step 3 of the explanation.
Guardian angel, pray with me. Lead me closer to God. Protect me and give me direction throughout the day.
The prayer not only covers all the bases but leads us to a new intimacy with someone who has known us since the day we were born.

I had several such moments when reading this very enjoyable and inspirational book. This would be a great gift for people entering the church but it will also be a good refresher for those who, like me, thought they knew all about devotionals.

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