Monday, July 14, 2014

Journal of a Soul: Autobiography of Pope John XXIII

After the recent canonization of Pope John XXII, it is interesting to see into the mind of a saint. This book helps you to hear the inner thoughts of a pope. It starts with the early days in seminary and goes through 1962, the year of the Second Vatican Council. We hear often of the humbleness of Pope Francis, but he is not the first pope to be a humble servant of God. During Angelo Roncalli’s seminary days his writings are consumed with self discipline, often calling himself a sinner and pointing to where he falls short of becoming a saint. This is ironic now knowing him as St. John XXIII. His writing shows a growing maturity from his seminary days as he becomes, priest, bishop, cardinal and pope. It culminates in the beauty of his rosary meditations and prayers included at the end of the book. It follows a diary format that would lend itself to devotional time in prayer. It is harder to read straight through because you find yourself wanting to stop and contemplate his reflections. The writings of Pope John XXIII are beautiful and insightful. I would like to know more about the Second Vatican Council. This book gives very little information about the historical event and more of the thoughts of the pope in the background. I definitely recommend this book. One part that was striking was Angelo’s following of the “Little Rules” of the ascetic life as described in appendix two. This will help anyone trying to deepen their spiritual and devotional life. This gives the average layperson an idea of the devout life of a consecrated religious. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate by Dwight Longenecker and David Gustafson

Having been raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism, I was curious about the topic in debate about Mary. I dove into this debate discussion in an effort to deepen my devotion to Mary. I am very much for Christian unity and I know it is important to have a polite dialogue. Marian theology has always been a point of contention for our Evangelical brothers and sisters about the Catholic Faith. The debate is between two friends that went to Bob Jones University and then one became a married minister in the Church of England who converted to be a Catholic Priest and the other is an Evangelical lawyer with the Justice department of the government. The debate covers Catholic doctrine on Mary such as Mary’s perpetual virginity, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption. Prayers such as the Rosary and titles such as Co-redeemer and God’s mother are also discussed. This book has strengthened my faith and devotion to Mary. It will also help me to be able to evangelize and speak up for my faith and for Mary in a polite, intelligent way. I definitely recommend this book for all Christians to be able to take a more critical intellectual, reasoned approach to how Mary always leads us to her son Jesus.