Book Review: Catholic Mom's Cafe!

Prayer life getting a bit dry?  Maybe you would like something new to read and get ideas to ponder about faith.  I know that there have times when I’ve searched for a new resource to help me along a dry and just plain boring time in my prayer life.

 Five years ago, I was invited to participate in my first blog Book tour and it was one of  Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s books, a few years later I got to meet her in person at a Catholic Media Network/Catholic Writer’s Guild conference in Philly, what a very genuine and kind spirit she is!  Reading her other books were a joy, so this time when Donna-Marie asked me to participate for her newest book, how could I refuse!

Each book Mrs. O’Boyle writes is a true spiritual journey into a mother’s heart.  She, as a mother, knows just what we go through and need to sustain us through thick and thin times in the raising and nurturing of a family.  In her new book, Catholic Mom’s Cafe, Donna-Marie provides moms with a daily 5-minute retreat, and in just 5 minutes she packs in words of wisdom, a prayer, and something to think about.

When I received “Catholic Mom’s Cafe” I began my preliminary scan; the table of contents, acknowledgements, and I usually flip through the contents of the book to get the feel and guesstimate how long it should take me to read the book for my review.  What I discovered at the first scan is that this book is one I will take with me during the day and read it during violin lessons and piano lessons, during a 15 minute break at work and possibly during a boring school meeting, shhhh!!

The book is a retreat book for the entire year with each month a concentration of one of the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love.  Each day is divided up into four sections: Ponder is a scripture verse or a quote, Offer is Donna-Marie’s thoughts on the Ponder, then we Pray prayers that are provided in the front of the book, such as: Act of Faith, or Act of Love, and other prayers that she lists for easy reference and then a final thought to Savor throughout the day.

 This book is a real treat and I know that I am going to enjoy taking a daily break and be inspired, pray, and ponder my motherhood and my life in light of Holy Scripture and our Holy Mother….and I know you will too!

Please look for autographed copies of the book are to  purchase at Donna Marie’s website: www.donnacooperoboyle.com. Also, you can purchase Mom’s Cafe through the publisher: Our Sunday Visitor, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and their local Catholic bookstore.

Jericho March

Today is an interdenominational Jericho March at a local abortion clinic in our city.
This “medical facility” has been closed for about a month now for remodeling.
Photo Credit

Please join us in prayer that the doctors, nurses and staff have a change of heart.
That the scales are removed from their eyes.
That they have a conviction of what they’re doing brings death
 to an innocent unborn baby and great harm to the mother.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28
Blessings,
Noreen

Diary of a Country Mother: a review

Diary of a Country Mother

Cindy Montanaro is a Secular Carmelite and former homeschooler. She is also the mother of Tim, a boy she and her husband adopted as an infant. Tim had Tourette Syndrome, phobias, and other mental health issues. In 2005 he died tragically. Their story was published recently by Roman Catholic Books. Dairy of a Country Mother–so named by Tim when no one dreamed he was soon to pass away–is a gem to share with any mother this May.

“Five years ago today I picked up my pen and started a year-long journey of prayer, meditation, and writing. I envisioned an extended period of time in which to record, before memory failed me, all the little humorous and profound incidents that made up my son Tim’s short life. ” So begins this beautiful memoir of a boy who loved people. It is a story of the joy he brought to everyone he met. It is a record of his mother’s faith and acceptance. It is an exploration of the meaning of Tim’s life, which Cindy generously shares with us. She would probably say her generosity is one lesson she learned from Tim.

A tale of joy, not grief
Diary of a Country Mother: a Year Remembering Tim is not A Grief Observed. It is not a book about how Cindy and her husband and remaining sons struggled to accept Tim’s death. Instead, it is the celebration of his life.

Continue reading.

National Day of Prayer — Praying for Amrerica

For the last 62 years, the first Thursday in May has marked the National Day of Prayer Observance designated by Congress when people are asked to turn to God in prayer and Meditation. With the help of 30,000 volunteers, there are tens of thousands of events held across the country to turn our attention to the eternal.

 The theme for the 2013 National Day of Prayer is “Praying for America”. The organizers for the National Day of Prayer have suggested several techniques to raise our prayers to heaven. Keeping with the Praying for America theme, it is suggested that prayerful people follow a 7×7 prayer for Americas seven centers of power seven times a week. Namely, Americans are encouraged to pray for: 1) the government; 2) the military; 3) the media; 4) business; 5) education; 6) church and 7) the family.

Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.      How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.
Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)
That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)
Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.

But May 2nd is only the beginning of the ministry to Pray for America. During Memorial Day weekend, the organizers will launch the first Pray for America Rally Tour, with a specially decked out bus to promote fervent prayer in the communities where they will visit.

As an outreach to social media, the organizers of the National Day of Prayer are highlighting a video by Santus Real “Pray”.

In trying times like this, we need all the prayer that we can get.

h/t:  National Day of Prayer
      Pray for America

Rebuilt

Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran have written a book that at first glance would seem to be the answer to every parishes prayers. They have successfully taken their parish, the Church of Nativity in Timonium, MD and turned it from a struggling parish to a booming one. During that process and in this book are some good points and some bad points. In this review I will give some highlights of each.

Continue reading here

Why use a homily–not a sermon–format for homeschooling?

The Contemplative Homeschool helps children see all subjects as part of God's self-revelation.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote briefly about my faith-based method of homeschooling. To recap: I see methods such as Catholic Heritage Curricula, which bring the faith to individual subjects, as using a sermon format. In contrast, our Contemplative Homeschool starts with a Bible passage. I look for the themes in that passage, and add as many subjects as I can into the discussion of those themes. As my kids get older, I hope to make writings of the Church Fathers and official documents and creeds a starting place for our curriculum as well.

Here are some advantages to using the homily format.

1. Homilies promote meditation on Sacred Scripture. The Contemplative Homeschool is all about teaching our children to put prayer at the top of their priorities. It encourages a prayerful attitude and teaches methods of prayer, especially Christian meditation. As one blog commenter said, meditating on Scripture is like preaching a homily to oneself. My boys are forming the habit of looking for ways to connect Bible passages with their lives. I believe this will make it easier for them to create their own meditations as they grow older.

Read my other 4 reasons.

When you're too worn out to pray

Christ as Savior by El Greco. You can pray, even when you're too tired to think.

Prayer takes energy. When you are stressed, you may find you can’t use your imagination to meditate. You may be too worn out to converse with God. This was the case with me last year, when homeschooling three kids with a baby overwhelmed me.

Several times when I went to pray, I had too little strength to picture a scene from the Gospels. I could barely muster the energy to think the words, “Jesus, I love you.”

But I knew I had to pray. And I knew Jesus was there. I knew His love was constant. That meant He was loving me at that moment. So I decided just to soak in God’s love, like I might soak in the sunlight. I sat silent, reminding myself briefly every few minutes that God’s love was surrounding me. I let Him love me, and that was my prayer for half an hour.

I’ll never forget one trip to the confessional at this period of my life. I don’t remember what I said to the priest–certainly no specifics about my prayer method–but his advice astonished me. He said I should just sit and let God love me–the very thing I had felt inspired to do.

If you are too emotionally drained to pray, try this method.

3 reasons I love Catholicism: Truth, goodness, and beauty

 Micaela at California to Korea is hosting a link-up called “3 Reasons I love Catholicism.” You can submit your link all month. There are lots of good submissions, so check them out and join up. My reasons (in this post, anyway) are the triumvirate of truth, goodness, and beauty. I will show you how truth, goodness, and beauty are essential to the Contemplative Homeschool and to seeking God.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, in Spiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development “for those who seek”, uses the categories of truth, beauty, goodness, and oneness in a similar way to learning styles or temperaments. They signify to him four ways of relating to God. We can use these categories to help ourselves and our students/children grow spiritually.

Truth satisfies the intellect  The Catholic Church speaks the truth, no matter how few listen. She does not shy away from controversy. Countless Catholics have been martyrs for the truth. Unlike our relativistic culture, and some other religions and philosophies, Catholics believe the truth is objective and knowable. Humans have minds that desire satisfaction. By upholding objective truth, the Church upholds man’s dignity.

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An Interview With Christopher West

I recently finished reading and posted my review of Christopher West’s recent book Fill These Hearts. That review can be found here. This was the first book of Christopher’s I have read, but I have known about his work for some time now and was very excited when he agreed to an interview on the book and his ministry on the Theology of the Body. Thanks Christopher for taking time out of your certainly busy schedule and sharing some answers with my readers! Continue Reading