Monday, August 3, 2015

Sacred Reading: The 2016 Guide to Daily Prayer by the Apostleship of Prayer

I have been pursuing a better understanding of Lectio Divina. This ancient spiritual practice seems simple but yet complex and hard to begin. I love Sacred Reading because it takes you by the hand and walks you through the process. The steps are 1) Knowing that God is present, 2) Read the Gospel reading for the day, 3) Notice what you think or feel, 4) Pray as you are led, 5) Listen to Jesus, and 6) Ask God to show you how to live today. Starting with Advent 2015, the beginning of the Catholic Church year, the gospel readings are included for each day following the church year calendar. The Saints for each day are included as well. The Apostleship of Prayer is an international Jesuit prayer ministry. They have a popular website Apostleshipof Their organization has put together this different type of prayer book. Just as important as the content is what is not written within the pages, your prayers, thoughts and hopes. What we bring to the book, the more we can reap from the instruction in Lectio Divina. I truly believe that after using this book for a year, I will have evolved in my knowledge and practice of this ancient prayer practice. The other benefit is helping the reader tap into the life of the Church and the liturgical seasons. I definitely recommend this book to you. I am looking forward to rereading and using Sacred Reading in my prayer life in the next church year. This book has helped me to grow closer to God’s word and enriched my prayer life and relationship of faith. If you ready to go beyond basic bible study and are ready to pray with the bible, then this book is for you. Living the bible and incorporating God’s word into your daily life is within reach using these pages as teacher and guide.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Arriving at Amen: Seven Prayers that Even I can Offer by Leah Libresco

I have always found conversion stories to be fascinating, but an atheist converting to Catholicism is the most interesting story of them all. I am especially attracted to the intellectual thought process laid out by Libresco in Arriving at Amen. Libresco takes the reader from Javert in Les Miserables to Peter, the rock on which the church is built. The author starts with treating faith and proof of God like a mathematical proof and ends with the beauty of the Eucharist. Arriving at Amen is organized by different types of prayer such as petition, confession, examen, rosary, divine office, lectio divina, and mass. For all the readers who have wondered how to start praying and am I doing it right, this book is a refreshing comfortable reinforcement of faith and your growing relationship with God. Libresco has a fresh approach to learning about praying with the perspective of a new Catholic. The use of humor makes the book very conversational and easily approachable and digestible. My favorite quote is “For me, this is the resolution to the ancient paradox of Theseus: the grace present in the Eucharist alters me, but it does so by making me more myself. Like a mellified man, I find that I am changed by what I consume, but the holy food distributed at mass brings me healing and eternal life, not just sweetness in death.” This gives you a flavor for the book and is a beautiful sentiment of what the Eucharist can mean to you. I would definitely recommend this book to you. I thoroughly enjoyed the format and the voice of the author. Arriving at Amen is a different kind of prayer book that gave me many new ideas of how to begin different types of prayer that I was previously not familiar. Libresco’s conversion story is overarching throughout the story but the reader can also feel confident in the author’s knowledge and leadership with strong Catholic prayer details.