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Book review: 'Holy Desperation: Praying As If Your Life Depended on It'

“Holy Desperation: Praying As If Your Life Depended on It.” By Heather King.  Chicago: Loyola Press, 2017. 224 pages. Paperback: $10.84; Kindle: $9.99; Nook:  $10.49.
 
Like Heather King’s previous books, the most accurate word to describe this one is “honest” – sometimes brutally so. However, it is that very quality that makes “Holy Desperation: Praying As If Your Life Depended on It” so powerful. It is the honesty of a soul who has gone about as far down into the abyss as one can go, only to be overwhelmed and lifted out of those depths by the unconditional love of a forgiving God. Such an experience leaves a person changed forever.
 
As I read through the 13 chapters of this book, I thought how much the tone of King’s words echoed those of St. Paul, for it is obvious that she too is on fire with the love of God. By telling her story – without pulling any punches -- “Holy Desperation” ultimately becomes a book of hope for those who thought they had none left.
 
Although it is a reverent book, it is not a pious one, at least not in the ordinary sense of that word. The author makes no attempt to cover up the grittiness and messiness of life that brings people to God, nor does she say that, in order to approach the Almighty, one has to have on, as it were, one’s “Sunday best.” God, who knows us as we truly are, simply asks us to show up. “Come, all you who have missed the mark, who are dying for lack of meaning, all you who are sick and anxious and lonely and afraid unto death,” she says.  “Come…you who are caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s while your siblings play golf. … Come, you who live in chronic physical pain, you who are perpetually broke…you who live a life of hidden, silent martyrdom that not one other person sees or cares about.”
 
“Come close. Come as close as you can.”
 
It was just for these that Christ came into the world, she continues, for the sick, the wounded and the rejected. “Christ, with his special heart for the mentally and emotionally ill, constantly cast out demons from the people who came to him,” she writes. All that God requires of us is to acknowledge our own neediness and admit to our own demons.
 
That, however, is the hard part, and one that most of us do not come to easily. For King, who was battling her own demon of alcoholism, it came at the end of a very dark road. Then, what seemed like despair became instead the most sincere prayer of all. “The essence of prayer consists in doing what most of us have never done before and that no human being does unless we are utterly, completely out of ideas,” she admits, “and that is to acknowledge defeat and ask for help. Kneeling, our heads are close to our hearts. Kneeling, we feel our exhaustion. Kneeling, we’re the height of children.”
 
 
 
The balance of the book consists of lessons learned, experiences shared and encouragement to continue no matter where in our journey of life we happen to be. There is a chapter devoted to the traditional prayers of the Church, which the author loves and prays on a daily basis, but we are also invited to join King’s own prayers, which are as honest and sincere as everything else in the book. “Heavenly Father, help me believe that I am loved in spite of my ongoing incompetence, littleness and brokenness,” she prays near the beginning. “Help me remember that our brokenness is why you came. Help me not be afraid to come close to you, in any way, at any minute of the day or night.”
 
This book is highly recommended.
 
Author biography
 
Heather King is an essayist, memoirist, blogger and former lawyer. She struggled with alcoholism for many years, got sober in 1987 and converted to Catholicism in 1996.
 
She has written several books including “Stripped,” “Parched,” “Redeemed,” “Shirt of Flame,” “Poor Baby” and “Stumble.” A contributor to the Catholic magazine Magnificat, her column "The Crux" appears in Angelus, the publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
 
She currently lives in Los Angeles.
 
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Book review: "Humility Rules: Saint Benedict's Twelve-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem'

“Humility Rules: Saint Benedict's Twelve-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem.” By Wetta, J. Augustine, OSB. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017. 188 pages. Paperback: $17.95; Kindle: $9.15; Nook: $10.99.

If your spiritual goal for Lent is, in part, to break bad habits and attitudes and replace them with better ones, then Father Wetta’s book may be just the guide you are looking for. Unlike giving up chocolate or a favorite television program (although either of these things is good if it leads you closer to God) Wetta, a monk at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Louis, proposes something dramatically counter-cultural instead – giving up the pursuit of our own self-esteem in order to embrace a life of self-abandonment. In other words, as the title of his new book says, it may be time to let humility rule.

The virtue of humility has gotten a bad rap in the last few decades because it is largely misunderstood. It is often confused with the destructive notion of “putting oneself down” when, in reality, it is a genuine raising up of the true self. “[St. Benedict]”, Father Wetta notes, “is not focused on self-love, self-praise, self-aggrandizement, or self-promotion—not focused on the self at all, but on how to relate to one another and to God in light of our strengths and weaknesses. But such clarity of vision begins to develop only when you take the focus off yourself and devote yourself body and soul to a higher purpose.”

St. Benedict’s “Rule” calls this ascent to a higher purpose “The Ladder of Humility," and Father Wetta’s book is structured around each rung. Reading through his description of each – “Don’t be true to yourself, don’t follow your dreams, put your worst foot forward” for instance -- may inspire some to run rapidly in the opposite direction. Don’t be deceived, however; this is no dour monk writing to ruin your life or drag you down into a “slough of despond." Rather, it is a call to reality, to genuineness and to what really matters in life – both here and hereafter. As a bonus, it is written in such a way that a 21st century reader can understand and appreciate the truth of what the author is saying, even when those truths are as old as Creation itself.  As Wetta puts it, “…my goal here is to make St. Benedict’s handbook a bit more accessible—and perhaps a little less medieval.”

Another bonus is Father Wetta himself; although he takes what he is saying seriously, he does not take himself so. (A mark of humility?  Perhaps….) For example, the illustrations that he includes throughout the book, though drawn from medieval sources, have been given a decidedly modern – and humorous – spin. He also draws upon his own often quirky life experiences to illustrate his points (he is, for instance, also known as “the surfing monk” who was once almost eaten by a shark off a beach in New Jersey. He invites the reader to look it up – I did, and it’s true.)  In keeping with his other vocation as an educator – he teaches English, classics and theology at the Priory School, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he also coaches rugby and serves as director of chaplaincy – each chapter ends with a homework assignment. Don’t worry though; these exercises are designed to deepen and extend for yourself what Wetta has explained on the page.  I got to the point that I actually looked forward to doing them.

So why bother with humility? Because it brings us closer to God.  “…humility should never be confused with mediocrity,” Father Wetta concludes.  “Perfect holiness is the purpose for which we were created, so we can’t allow ourselves to be comfortable with the status quo. The minimum is not enough. ... Does this scare you? It should. But it should also thrill you, because it means you are infinitely important and always loved. ... So get to it. You know the steps, now climb the ladder.”

Author bio:

Augustine Wetta is a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.  In addition to earning two degrees in theology from Oxford University, Father Wetta also has a bachelor's degree in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations from Rice University and a master's in English from Middlebury College in Vermont.

Before entering religious life, Wetta learned to surf and was a lifeguard on the Galveston, Texas, Sheriff Department Beach Patrol. He has also worked as a professional juggler (“The Flying Fettuccinne Brothers”) and as an archeologist.
 
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Book review: 'God’s Guide for Grandparents'

“God’s Guide for Grandparents.”  By Susan M. Erschen.  Indiana:  Our Sunday Visitor, October 2017.  144 pages.  Paperback:  $14.95; Kindle:  $9.99; Nook:  $10.49.
 
Becoming a grandparent is a blessing from God; as author Susan Erschen reminds us in her new book, “God’s Guide for Grandparents,” it is “the fulfillment of Scripture’s beautiful prayer, “May you …live to see your children’s children” (Ps 128:5–6). For grandparents, the arrival of these little ones is not only a wonder and a joy, it is a sacred opportunity — a call to deepen one’s own faith in order to be able to share that faith more fully with the next generation.
 
Indeed, that is perhaps the most important thing this book does; it helps grandparents look closely at both what they believe and how they act on those beliefs. Talking about faith is one thing, Erschen notes, but a lived example of that faith shouts more loudly than any words we might say. “If we set our faith up on a shelf, point to it, and tell our grandchildren, ‘This is what you must believe,’ it will inspire them little more than a toy with a dead battery,” she says. “But if they see us living those beliefs, then we are giving them something of value.”
 
Over the course of 16 chapters, Erschen touches on the various ways our faith informs and inspires our spirituality, which is, she says, another word for “what we do with what we believe.” If the chapter titles look very much like the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, that’s because basically, that’s what they are. As grandparents, we received these gifts at our Confirmation; now we are given a graced opportunity to see whether we have fully opened them and used them as well as we can.
 
The author also makes the point that, not only do grandparents share their faith with their grandchildren, they can and should be on the alert for all the ways those same grandchildren teach them. “One virtue I admire in my young grandchildren is acceptance,” Erschen notes in chapter two. “It seems to me they are very accepting of people and situations that we adults may have learned to judge in negative ways.” 
 
She uses as an example her three-year-old granddaughter who had to move to a new preschool right after the Christmas holidays. Worried about how the little girl would handle the transition, she was delighted when the child came home, “bubbling” enthusiastically about the new friend she had made, the one who was so kind and helpful to her. She was so taken with his goodness that she apparently never noticed that this little boy was both mildly handicapped and of a different race. “None of this registered with her,” Erschen continued.  “She accepted him and liked him completely for the person he was inside. I thought how wonderful our world would be if we all were as accepting as this three-year-old.”
 
Ultimately, this is a book about becoming the people we want to inspire our grandchildren to be and, according to the Pew Research Center, there is ample opportunity for that to happen. In 2015 “94 percent of grandparents helped provide some care for their grandchildren — 22 percent provided regular care; 72 percent provided occasional care.” If we succeed in spending that time well, Erschen notes, the pay-off for everyone is rich in many ways.
 
“Wouldn’t it be the greatest blessing if each of us could have grandchildren … who love us, care for us and feel we have helped make them better people?” Erschen concludes. “By living and sharing the virtues discussed in this book, we just might be able to make that happen. May God bless each and all of us on that journey.”
 
Author bio:
 
Susan Erschen, a freelance writer from St. Louis, Mo., frequently addresses such topics as the spirituality of giving, gratitude, living simply and spending time with God. Her articles have appeared in America, (“Next to Godliness: Prayers over The Washing Machine”), The Priest magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, St. Anthony Messenger, and Today’s Catholic Teacher. She is the former director of stewardship education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Erschen enjoys spending time with family and volunteering in her parish community.
           
 
 
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Book review: 'Little Lessons from the Saints'

Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You.” By Bob Burnham. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2017. 216 pages. Paperback: $9.95; Kindle: $7.96; Nook: $8.49.
 
Over the years I have seen, read and studied many books on the saints. What piqued my interest about this one, however, was the subtitle: “52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You.” It’s a subtle thing, really, having to do with verb tense.  I wasn’t being invited to “become” a saint at some future time (if I just worked hard enough). Rather, I was being asked to recognize my own saintliness, here and now, in the present moment.
 
“We are called to imitate the saints because we are called to be saints,” author Bob Burnham explains. “But here’s the secret: we are already saints, albeit imperfect ones, for Christ lives in us, and we live in Christ. The saints teach us how to see that truth more clearly.”  What this book does, therefore, is invite us to become more fully who we already are.
 
The number “52” in the title is not arbitrary either; it is designed to match the number of weeks in a calendar year. Although Burnham assures us that the book can be used “any way you want,” he also provides a blueprint for how to get the most out of the stories and meditations it contains. In essence, each week the reader spends time with one saint, meditating on his or her life and how their charism is present in our own lives. For those new to meditation, the author gives some useful advice on how to proceed, step by step, and what to expect along the way. 
 
“Experience has shown me that meditation is never free from distractions,” he says.  “It is rarely a peaceful repose or an escape from reality. Rather, meditation is an exacting discipline.”
 
Perhaps because Burnham is himself a catechist, he then includes a brief section entitled “Little Lessons for Teachers,” outlining how the book can be used with students in the classroom, whether that is in a Catholic school or a CCD setting.  He notes that the saints are presented in a specific order by theme – surrender, freedom, pilgrimage, hospitality and loving knowledge -- echoing the specific lesson we can draw from each of them as our own spiritual journey unfolds.
 
The lessons, as promised, are “little” in as much as they are short, occupying only two or three pages at the most, thus making them perfect for those who may not have unlimited time to sit with a book of meditations. That does not mean, however, that they lack substance. He often relates to even the most familiar saints in a way that startles the reader into thinking something new about them. When talking about the martyr St. Charles Lwanga, for instance, he notes that for most of us, it’s the everyday martyrdoms that we need to embrace. “It’s not…persevering in faith in the face of persecution, even if it means death... as if the only way you can show your love for and dedication to Christ is if you are being persecuted…The lesson I have learned from the lives of martyrs is simpler: I should not complain.”
 
Saints, Burnham concludes, “are not superheroes with magic powers. They are not idealized versions of what people should be. They were real people who chose to take the gospel seriously.”  Whenever we do the same, we are following in their footsteps.  “Any time I show love and compassion, I am a saint,” he says. “Whenever I show patience and understanding, I am a saint. … My goal is not to be canonized someday— my goal is to live the Gospel today. If I do that, I can look in the mirror and see a saint every day!”
 
Author bio:
By his own admission, Bob Burnham is “not a scholar or a theologian, nor am I ordained. I am just a guy named ‘Bob’ who takes seriously the counsel of the Blessed Virgin Mary when she said to the servers at the wedding in Cana, ‘Do whatever He tells you’ (Jn 2:5).” A Secular Franciscan and a spiritual director, he works as a freelance editor and writes about the spirituality of commuting on his blog, mtransit.org. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in Bartlett, Ill.
 
  • Published in Reviews

Reflections on fall

The first hard frost changes everything.
 
It tends to come to my garden a bit later than it does to a friend’s garden 10 miles further out, but come it does, and I can see its unmistakable arrival first thing in the morning from my bathroom window. In the night it has formed fanciful patterns on the glass and turned the front yard crystalline white; I know then that the last of the vegetables I was hoping to eke out for another week or so are beyond eking. The frost has had its way, and the season has come to its inevitable close.
 
Later, when the mid-morning sun has dissolved the chill, I go out to survey what is left. Stalks droop and leaves are shriveled; what was once so green has gone a shade of grayish brown. It is a melancholy sight, and both mourning and gratitude get mixed up in my mind – mourning for what is past, but deep gratitude that there was ever a splendid garden there to begin with. 
 
And make no mistake, it was splendid.
 
To the untrained eye, it would seem as if everything is now over and done with, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is if I’m to have another cup of coffee, it won’t be inside next to a cozy wood stove but right out here next to the compost pile. The new season is about to begin, and I have work to do.
 
The most important thing any gardener grows in a garden is the soil, and that process has to begin long before the first shoots of spring appear. That’s because it takes time, time for old things to break down and break apart, to return to the soil they originally came from so that new things can grow from them. That’s the brilliance of the compost pile – last year’s tomato vines become the rich humus for next year’s tomatoes. Dead leaves from the now bare trees are shredded to eventually enrich the lettuce patch, and all those dried egg shells contributed by the neighbor’s chickens will show up next summer as deep purple eggplants.
 
Then, having been cleaned and turned and composted, the garden slips into a much- deserved slumber. Frost gives way to snow, with storm after storm laying down nature’s thick blanket, and for at least four months, the garden is silent and asleep.  Nothing is happening.
 
Or so it seems. 
 
The seasoned gardener, however, knows better, which is why January’s seed catalogues fan the flames of both faith and hope. By March, grow lights appear indoors even as temperatures outdoors hover around freezing, and soon tiny plants in converted yogurt cups send out their first hopeful leaves. Outside, the snow that hid the garden so well now melts into the soil, nudging it awake, and vegetable beds, so tired in the fall, are warm and fragrant with earthy possibilities.
 
 
If the first hard frost changes everything, it’s the last hard frost that changes them even more.
 
 

Book review: 'The Discerning Parent: An Ignatian Guide to Raising Your Teen'

“The Discerning Parent: An Ignatian Guide to Raising Your Teen.”  By Tim and Sue Muldoon. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2017. 193 pages. Paperback: $13.55; Kindle: $12.87; Nook: $10.99.
 
From both my experience and the experience of other parents like me, it seems there are two times when we actively seek out books on how best to do our job of raising children. The first might be called the pre-emptive consult, when we know a life change is coming and we want to be prepared to meet it. The second is when we are in the midst of a crisis and desperately need some help and support in order to weather it constructively and well.
 
Tim and Sue Muldoon’s latest book, “The Discerning Parent: An Ignatian Guide to Raising Your Teen,” falls into both categories. Not only does it help prepare parents for the exhilarating but sometimes frightening ride called nurturing teenaged children, but also it serves as a reassuring touchstone when things might not be going as well as everyone had hoped.
 
Although the book is filled with sage advice gleaned from both the authors’ personal and professional experience, it is not a “how-to” book in the sense that there are check-off lists of techniques and activities that will “do the trick” in the face of difficulties. Rather, it leads parents on a faith journey that is as much about their own spiritual growth as it is their children’s.
 
For those not as familiar with the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Muldoon’s begin with a definition of discernment.  “Discernment,” they explain, “is a refinement of the practice of listening to God’s music in a world full of noise. We love that image: it suggests that what each of us is doing in discernment is using a tuning fork to ensure that the tune we play is in harmony with the music of God.” That’s because the goal, ultimately, is to not only for parents to find their own rhythm with God, but to help their children do so as well.
 
Because of the nature of the discernment process, it is suggested that the book be reflected on in small “doses,” no more than one or two concepts at a time. This reflection will then naturally lead to thoughtful action or, as the authors put it, “show(ing) your teen what your faith is; don’t just talk about it.” Action will then come back to still more reflection and discussion, which results in further action -- and so the process will continue and grow.
 
The book addresses six areas in the lives of both teens and their parents: the discernment process itself, developing a deep prayer life, establishing a strong and healthy sense of self, growing in responsible freedom, understanding the gifts of the body as means of divine grace and meeting life’s challenges in the company of God.  Each chapter includes quotes from Ignatian Spirituality as well as prayer and questions for reflection.
 
Perhaps one of the most comforting thing parents will take away from this book is the reassurance that “God calls us as we are. We need not be perfect people to be great parents.”  Even if, after all our efforts, our children wander from the faith or seem to move in a very different direction from what we had hoped, we need to remember that it is God who works alongside them in ways we may not yet know.  “God is free to act in our teens’ lives, and our teens are ultimately free to say yes or no to the various ways God is working to invite them,” the Muldoon’s remind us.  “Our role is to be faithful to our vocation as parents: to pray for our children, to educate them, to lead them toward good choices. Perhaps the way they are responding to God is still hidden to us and will reach fruition after we have died. Part of our faith, our discernment, means allowing that relationship to unfold.”
 
Author bio:
 
Tim Muldoon is a theologian and the author and editor of several books on Ignatian spirituality, marriage, and family. A professor for many years, Muldoon has taught at Mount Aloysius College and Boston College and speaks frequently at colleges, universities, schools, parishes, dioceses and retreat centers.
 
Sue Muldoon is a therapist and religious educator who has worked in clinical, collegiate and parish settings. Her work has focused on young adults and children.  They are the parents of three children.
 
 
 
  • Published in Reviews

Jesus, Mary and the rosary

There’s an old jewelry box at my house; it’s tucked away in the bottom drawer of my dresser, and it’s full of rosaries. Almost all of them have some sort of story attached to them, which is one of the reasons they are still with me – that and the fact that just about all of them have been blessed. They form a kind of spiritual anchor for me, and every once in a while I take them out and look at them, running my fingers over the different styles of beads and crucifixes, remembering who they came from or in what circumstances they came my way.
 
One of my earliest encounters with the rosary happened when I was four years old, and I’m sorry to say that it was less than devout. My mother, and many of the other women in the parish, belonged to the Legion of Mary; among other things, they used to do a “block rosary” once a week.  This meant that each member took a turn hosting the prayer at her house. I’m sure that coffee and dessert were also involved, but what sticks in my memory isn’t the food but rather that circle of women, all kneeling on someone’s living room rug, reciting the rosary together.
 
One of the weeks when the gathering was at our house, I was allowed to stay up way past my bedtime and pray with the ladies. This may have been a lapse of judgment on my mother’s part, because before the first decade was concluded, I decided it would be great fun to fall over sideways on the carpet. It was, in fact, so amusing that I did it a few more times before I finally stayed down for the count and fell sound asleep. Needless to say, I was tucked into bed long before the coffeecake was served.
 
Thankfully, as I grew older, my appreciation and respect for the rosary also grew.  When my CCD classmates and I made our First Communion, for instance, one of the gifts each of us received was a rosary, and one of the things that made it special was what it was made of. Rather than crystal or wood or something like that, these beads were white and glowed in the dark. That might not seem like a very big thing, except when you are seven and monsters have visited you in your dreams; then you could always find your rosary, glowing gently on the nightstand next to the bed. Many nights Mary lulled me back to peaceful sleep as I clutched the beads that protected me from things that went bump in the night.
 
I went through the rosary box recently, and it was like a visit with old friends. But mostly it was a reminder of how protected and loved I am. Life, on occasion, presents different “monsters” to me now, but praying the rosary reminds me that, no matter what happens, Jesus and Mary are never far away.
 
 Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
 

“Jesus: The Story You Thought You Knew”

“Jesus: The Story You Thought You Knew.” By Deacon Keith Strohm. Indiana:  Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2017. 176 pages. Paperback: $10.17; Kindle: $9.68; Nook; $10.99.
 
It was in chapter six of Deacon Keith Strohm’s latest book, “Jesus: The Story You Thought You Knew,” that I encountered a discussion about why many Catholics find even the word “evangelization” to be so intimidating. After stating that everything having to do with God is profoundly personal, Deacon Strohm notes that “[a] ‘personal relationship with God’ might be an unfamiliar or uncomfortable concept to a lot of Catholics. Many of us have experienced some of our Christian brothers and sisters asking us if ‘we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.’ This notion can feel foreign to our own experience as Catholics.”
 
Yet, it is the very personal nature of God’s relationship with us that is the subject of this book; not only is this relationship available to Catholics, he insists, it is at the core of our faith. Deacon Strohm, whose ministry centers on this liberating understanding of discipleship, takes the reader through the story of salvation, beginning with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, continuing through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, then culminating with our call to be His followers in our daily lives here on Earth.
 
One of the challenges to this idea that some Catholics need to wrestle with, Deacon Strohm contends, is an “institutional relationship with Christ rather than an intentional or personal one. … Many people participate in the external practices of their faith…without forming any explicit personal connection with Jesus.” That is not to say that such practices should be ignored or discarded; indeed, as Deacon Strohm asserts, such things are “instrumental in building and shaping a deep intimacy with God.” What he encourages readers to do is take that relationship one step further:  “The Great Story of Jesus is a clarion call, a declaration of love made over all God’s people, and an invitation to enter into the depths of that love.”
 
That is why Deacon Strohm approaches all of this, not as a study in theology, but as a love story between God and us. Over and over he shows how God goes out of His way to bring us to Himself, not because we are good, but because He is. There is no one who can “fall through the cracks” with God, and Deacon Strohm states that explicitly when he says in Chapter Two, “You matter. You. Yes, you. And the proof is that God himself became man for you.”
 
Oftentimes we can become oblivious to this because the story is so familiar to us.  Deacon Strohm therefore, makes a point of introducing us to Jesus, not only as the second person of the  Blessed Trinity, but as a person like ourselves, “in all things but sin,” with whom we can form an intimate friendship. He urges us to enter into the story of Scripture in a very personal way so that the words engage us on a gut level. 
 
For me, for instance, the most powerful chapter in the book is Chapter Four, entitled “Jesus Embraces the Cross;” although I have participated in the reading of the Passion for as long as I can remember – not to mention the many times I have read it outside the season of Lent – the full meaning of what happened on those days we call Triduum opened up in a way I had never considered before. I will never think of the Garden of Gethsemane the same way again.
 
Deacon Strohm’s book is written with both the individual reader and small groups in mind. At the end of each chapter he has written a section for further reflection, followed by several questions suitable for one reader or a group to consider. For any person or parish looking to be empowered as “evangelizers,” Deacon Strohm’s book is a good place to begin.
 
Author bio
 
Deacon Keith Strohm is a well-known international speaker and teacher on the subject of evangelization. A deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago, he is the former director of the Office for the New Evangelization there and currently the executive director of Ablaze Ministries (ablazeministries.com). He is a long-time collaborator with the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado, dedicated to making formation resources available to parishes and the laity.
 
 
 
  • Published in Reviews
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