The Power of the Cross
Posted in Amy Welborn, Bambinelli Sunday, Books, Pope Benedict XVI, Works of Mercy, Writing, tagged Amy Welborn, Catechism, Faith Formation, First Communion, PSR, saints on August 28, 2013 | 6 Comments »
…then you are blessed!
Seriously – thank you to all those who volunteer as catechists.
And If you are teaching 2nd grade – the traditional age for First Communion formation – you might be interested in the page describing the books I have that might be good First Communion choices – for gifts (too early, I know!) or supplements to instruction.
These books include Friendship With Jesus - a picture book with excerpts from a question-and-answer session Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had with children; Be Saints! another picture book with excerpts from a catechesis Benedict had with British schoolchildren; as well as the Loyola Saints books.
(Which are good for all ages – not just 2nd grade, of course!)
Posted in Amy Welborn, Catholicism, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Saints, Writing, tagged Amy Welborn, Bible, Catholic, Catholicism, faith, Mary Magdalene, religion, saints, spirituality on July 22, 2013 | 3 Comments »
She was, after the Blessed Virgin herself, the most widely-venerated saint of the Medieval period, and today is her feast day.
As Pope St. Gregory the Great said of her (as is quoted in the Office of Readings today)
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognise me as I recognise you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher,because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.
These are the only books I have in stock right now, and you might as well buy some of them to save us from moving this, er, one box.
Go here to order. The following are available.
Church’s Most Powerful Novenas - 1 copy remaining
Plus a couple of Pocket Guides by other authors (Hahn,Kreeft).
And don’t forget the free! Free ebook downloads of
Those links will take to individual pages at my site where you can download pdfs. You can also read all three via Scribd here.
Also, I was honored to hear that a local parish woman’s group is using The Words We Pray as a discussion book this fall.
Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Amy Welborn, Bambinelli Sunday, Birmingham, Books, Italy, Jesus, Mad Men, Pope Benedict XVI, Saints, Travel, Writing, tagged Amy Welborn, Bambinelli Sunday, St. Francis of Assisi on July 13, 2013 | 2 Comments »
We are slowly moving. I closed on the new house a couple of weeks ago and will put this one up for sale in…a couple of weeks. I’m sad about leaving my front porch, my bungalow style and this street with its close neighbors and sidewalks, but….it was time to get some more room, a bit more storage space, a more exciting yard and a basketball goal.
I’m going from the cozy 30′s to the swanky 50′s with this move. The “new” house was built in 1958 and has a sweet built-in feature that makes me want to start amassing atomic-style glassware. Soon I’ll remember to take a photo of it when it’s actually daylight.
For some reason, I am reading Zola’s Three Cities. Downloaded it from Gutenburg. I know Zola’s point of view, but I’m also just interested in his reporting. It gives me a better view of the history of the period, particularly how Catholicism was practiced – from his perspective, anyway.
It’s Christmas in July, people! Bambinelli Sunday will be published in August, so here, in July, I’m starting to get ready. I’ve got a Pinterest board going and everything.
Ann and I will be attending the Catholic Marketing Show in early August on behalf of the book. We’ll be signing Thursday at noon, so if you’re around – come see us!
We went to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago – I wrote a bit about it here.
Speaking of San Francisco, my current project is St. Francis-related. In sorting through things tonight, I found a little booklet I’d purchased in Santa Maria degli Angeli (the town at the base of the hill on which Assisi rests – it’s where the train station is and where the Porziuncola is). The Pardon of Assisi is really just the text of a talk that then-Cardinal Ratzinger gave there in 1996. The “Pardon of Assisi” or the Portiuncula Indulgence is described here. Cardinal Ratzinger describes his childhood memories of it and ends his talk with a gentle exposition of its spiritual fruit. I love the image of letting ourselves ” fall into the communion of saints.”
I remember that in my youth the day of the Pardon of Assisi was a day of great interiority, a day on which we received the sacraments in a climate of personal recollection. It was a day of prayer. In the square in front of my parish church, a particularly solemn silence reigned. There was a continuous flow of people into and out of the church. One felt that Christianity is a grace and that this grace is revealed through prayer…..
Basically the Indulgence is a little like the church of the Portiuncula. Just as you have to pass through the rather cold, extraneous space of the huge basilica to find the humble church at the center that touches our heart, so too, one must pass through the complex plot of history and of the theological ideas to arrive at that which is truly simple: the prayer with which we let ourselves fall into the communion of saints, to cooperate with them, for the victor of good over the apparently all-powerful evil, knowing that in the end, everything is grace.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Posted in Amy Welborn, Books, Catholicism, Good Friday, Lent, Pinterest, Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion, Saints, Writing, tagged books, Lent, Pope Benedict XVI, Reading on February 12, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Richard Russo has long been one of my favorite writers. Nobody’s Fool is one of the great 20th century American novels: truthful, funny and redemptive. Straight Man leaves me helpless with laughter. He’s very recently released a digital novella called Nate in Venice - available for Kindle here and Nook here. Read it the other night.
It was pleasant to be back in Venice (the setting of his Bridge of Sighs) with Richard Russo for an hour or so, even though the descriptions were less detailed than those you’d find in any travel guide - narrow streets, campos, bridges, squid-ink pasta, getting lost…disappointing in that respect, then.
Nate is a retired college professor on a Biennale-related tour of the city with a group that includes his estranged brother. The often mysterious Venice is the setting, then, for some other mysteries: what was the incident back at the college that resulted in great trouble for Nate? What’s the problem with his brother?
The mysteries are mostly solved and the novella is, as I said, enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying – but unsatisfying in a way that would probably please any author – it was unsatisfying because, as a novella, it just wasn’t enough. Once introduced to Nate and the others in the group and in Nate’s family, I wanted to spend more time with them, watch and listen as they plunged more deeply into Venice and then travel to Rome. That’s the case with any good book. But Nate in Venice, gave me just enough time to get to know these characters more than I would in a short story. A short story is also often focused so sharply that the reader is satisfied enough when the specific questions raised by the author are answered = when he shuts the light off and shuts the door, we’re content to leave with him. But here, there was just enough richness and breadth to plant the desire for more.
Which is, depending on how you look at it, either a good thing, or a bad thing, or both.
There’s a vulgar term used pretty prominently in this novella - since it’s a term invented by Nate’s brother, it’s intended to show us something about him. certainly, but it did seem forced to me and might offend some readers. So be warned.
Nate in Venice (I keep wanting to type Nate the Great…) is a digital book, which is kind of ironic, considering Russo’s battles against Amazon last year.
It’s part of a series of shorter fiction and non-fiction available through a site called Byliner. Looks interesting.
I’ve forgotten to mention that the “new” book is out – not exactly new, since it’s US edition of a book originally published in the UK.
It’s Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI.
Originally published by the Catholic Truth Society, it is now available through Ignatius Press in the US and Canada. Ann Kissane Engelhart created the paintings to accompany excerpts from Pope Benedict’s talk to youth at the “Big Assembly” during his visit to England in 2010.
Here’s the Ignatius Press page for the book.
And you can purchase it through any Catholic bookseller (I hope) – here’s the link for Aquinas and More.
Four years ago, my laptop died. At the same time, a friend was going into seminary. He had to have a computer in seminary, of course, but it could only be a seminary-issued machine. He’d purchased a laptop fairly recently, and so he sold it to me for $250. That was my laptop for, as I said, the past four years. It’s been fine – your basic Toshiba. I hurt it about a year ago when I spilled Diet Coke on the keyboard. I acted quickly, but not quickly enough to save the comma key – and so for about a year, whenever I needed a comma, I’d have to cut and paste one from another document. Awkward, but I accepted it as the consequences of my actions. Recently, the machine’s general sluggishness and size started to get on my nerves, as well as the whole comma thing, so I decided it was time to replace it – and the more I thought about the bloatware that comes on any non-Mac machine, the more I didn’t want to deal with it. So, yeah, I jumped in and got a MacBook Air this week. I figured four years of average yearly laptop cost of $60…it might be okay and averages out to a decent cost. I like it so far. I’m mostly amazed, like a toddler, at simple things: as in how it powers up instantly. Little things.
Not my usual thing, but this week, we went to a waterpark – called Splash Adventures. It was formerly a smaller full-scale amusement park called Alabama Adventures, but this year they shut down the non-water rides and expanded the aqua area. I paid way too much to get in – I understand there are discount coupons floating around, but I didn’t score any this time. It was a cloudy day, so the park wasn’t super crowded. The weather shifted from clouds to off and on rain in the afternoon, but that didn’t deter anyone – there was no thunder or lightening, so they only chased everyone out of the rides once, during a particularly heavy downpour. But for an hour or so in the afternoon, there was swimming in the rain. What I remember from swimming in the rain as a child is that it felt ecstatic – almost transgressive. Why is that?
I am needing to get serious about schooling plans. I am torn between the need and desire to research (because Research Is Fun) and the sure knowledge that each and every time, I will fall right down a very deep rabbit hole, and I have a life. I need to adopt the same philosophy I have in regard to travel plans. At some point, I just have to pick one, stop dithering, and move on.
I read Beautiful Ruins this week, partly because of the plot description, but mostly because of the cover. I admit it. I adore this cover and covet it. The book was okay. Lots of characters with various arcs, lots of jumping back and forth through time. It was all a little much, and I didn’t like the central conceit. To describe it would be to spoil a plot point that’s not made clear til partway through the book, but let’s just say I thought it was gimmicky and obvious, and I would have been more interested in the book without it – if the author had found another way to explore the lives of these characters – mainly a rising Hollywood starlet, a rising Hollywood producer, and the proprietor of a ramshackle hotel on a ramshackle town that didn’t make it into the Cinque Terre (which would have made it Sette Terre, then, right?).
Still covet the cover.
Have been reading The Pursuit of Italy for a while and hope to finish it this weekend. It’s a fascinating, rather iconoclastic look at the history of Italy. It’s iconoclastic because the author dispenses with the narrative of inevitability and destiny in regard to Italian unification and nationalism and takes a close look at the complexities and perhaps even negative consequences of the creation of the nation of Italy. He doesn’t really think much of the Church and hence doesn’t take a lot of time exploring the role of the Church in all of this through the centuries in a terribly deep way. I would like to find a relatively objective and contemporary history of the Papal States from the 18th century on to flesh it out for me, but I’m not having any luck.
I have also been reading The Betrothed - for weeks. That sucker is long. Maybe I’ll finish it this year. I read it and Beautiful Ruins on the Kindle app, and have The Pursuit of Italy in a hard copy from the library. I find that I really don’t like reading non fiction on e-readers. I do so much paging back and forth and referencing of indices and bibliography, I find print books easier for me in that regard. Also, I do find that for me, there is a relationship between the solidity of a book in space and my ability to retain information. I think they have done studies on this – one of my older sons told me about it – but I do think there is a connection (again, at least for me) between physical action and the senses and my levels of retention, especially with complex non-fiction.
For those of you in the Southwest, this is no big news, but for a foreigner, seeing all the adobe and adobe-like structures everywhere down there is a treat. The whole landscape is so different anyway, and the structures with their earth-toned colorways, flat roofs and rounded corners which blend into the hills, just add to the attraction. From an interior perspective, what I liked the most were the wide window ledges and the alcoves. I believe they have a specific name, but I don’t know what it is. I love them, though – this from our rental.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!