Tag Archives: Book Giveway

Lenten Workout for Your Soul – Book Review and Giveaway

404616_LARGEAbout six years ago, I found myself reading The Ignatian Workout by Tim Muldoon. In all honesty, I did not take to the book. At the time, I was still “working out” my relationship with Ignatius! Then I picked the same book up about a year ago, and got a lot out of it. Funny what time does, along with an open mind, right?

This is precisely why I was very interested in reading his latest offering, The Ignatian Workout for Lent, 40 Days of Prayer, Reflection, and Action, from Loyola Press. It did not disappoint!

Muldoon skillfully employs the athletic references of St. Paul, which we know are many. That kind of theme turn hackneyed and a-bit-too-clever in the hands of a lesser author, but not so with this one.

For me, another potential challenge with using the “running the race” motif is that spiritual pursuit can be turned into something that we have the power to do for ourselves, and by ourselves. Oh yes, if only we train hard enough and stay focused! Where is the room for God’s action and mercy in that?

In setting the tone for Lent in particular, but truly for our lives, Muldoon expresses some real insight about that thought in the introduction, reminding us of the “ecclesial” dimensions of lives of faith. Everything we do is not by and for ourselves, but should be ordered to the “good of the whole people of God.” It is this sort of wisdom, given at the beginning, that orients this resource towards a wide audience.

Other connections and contrasts, to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are set forth. This guide is organized around four “weeks.” For those familiar with the Exercises, this is a time frame used by St. Ignatius. My own experience with the Exercises, limited as it is, reminds me that my own need to “accomplish” this “race” in what I perceive four weeks to be, is not spiritually healthy.

The primary intent is on themed weeks, but the book is set in an Ignatian style, with 40 days of “exercises” for the holy season of our 40 days of Lent. They are not dated and do not refer to the mass readings.

So sports fans and non-sports fans alike, those who are immersed in Ignatian spirituality and those who have curiosity about how it might work in their own lives, please consider buying this book. It may just be the helpful foundation needed to get you going. And for all of us looking to deepen our Lent, this book has the potential be rich resource to turn to this year. And the next year, and the next year… It could have a very long life in your Lenten collection!

The Ignatian Workout for Lent is a little bigger that some of the other resources reviewed this week, perhaps the “largest.” It is still very portable, so the idea of taking it with you is not a problem, nor is taking up room on your nightstand. This volume is available in both paperback and several eBook formats. Visit the Loyola Press website, for more details and purchase, as well as web resources for whatever particular ebook format might be.

Today is the last review and as always, leaving a comment, however brief, puts you in the running to win. Please feel free to share this post with others, all are welcome to read and enter!

Here is to a great Lent for us, one in which we find ways to quiet down, strip down, and grow closer to God. My prayers are for one and all, and I am most thankful for your reading and journeying with me out here!

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Filed under Lent, Lent 2014

What do I crave most? The Cravings blog tour stops here today

Today the Cravings blog tour stops here, and it is a privilege to host this visit. Cravings, A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God, is the latest offering from prolific local, Catholic author, Mary DeTurris Poust. She gives us a book that is personal, provocative and moving. We who are members of God’s body have very interesting and challenging relationships with our own bodies. And we as Catholics, who gather to eat at the Lord’s Table, often struggle mightily with food.

The blog tour offers you the chance to win a copy of the book, by leaving one comment on the blog per day between now and January 20th. Not only can you win a book, your name will also be added to a drawing to win a $100 Williams Sonoma gift card.

Interviewed for the book, I Continue reading

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Filed under Ave Maria Press, Blog tour, Faith, Fear

Light and beauty – book reviews and contest!

Saved by Beauty and This Little Light – the November book review and book giveaway series continues!

I’ll begin this review of two books with the end in mind… If you are making a list so that someone may check it twice, I suggest that you ask for both books. Seriously – ask for both books! You will not regret this, even if it feels a bit over the top. Let me tell you why…

There will be pure joy upon giving and receiving such things, there will be no standing in long lines to return things that you don’t want, and no suffering the potential shame of re-gifting the wrong gift to the wrong person. Go ahead, attach this review to your wish list! And if you are looking for gifts for someone else, try using this as your shopping list. (Book giveway contest info at the end of the post, along with info about upcoming appearances by Brother Mickey!)

Today I Continue reading

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Filed under Albany Times Union, Book Reviews, Brother Mickey McGrath, Catholicism, Dominican Retreat and Conference Center, Dorothy Day, Thea Bowman

Book review and giveaway – My Sisters The Saints

How many things attracted me to My Sisters the Saints, A Spiritual Memoir, by Colleen Carroll Campbell (Image Books, $22.99, 212 pp.)? Let’s just say many. That said, I would add that I might have trouble enumerating the many things that made me not want to continue reading this book. In what is an apt metaphor for faith and religious practice, it seems that the ambiguity, the great “both/and-ness” of living a life of faith, that counts in the end. And along those lines, I found myself turning the pages in rapid succession.

I’ll begin with the attraction. My Sisters the Saints, A Spiritual Memoir – the title alone entices me, while inspiring a blush of envy. Can’t that be my book’s name? The topic is as seductive to me as the scent of freshly baked bread. A book filled with saints and memories of a spiritual life. What’s not to love?

The author is a gifted writer who employs a personal and conversational style that I enjoyed. The book is easy to read, and the words flow smoothly, carrying the reader along on a very personal current. That quality, along with carefully crafted prose that has the tone of an intimate conversation made “My Sisters” a pleasure to read.

As someone a bit older than the author, I still find myself in a position not unlike hers, when I recollect the days of my youth, and how those days were spent. (Hint: not always wisely.) My own rearview mirror reveals clear images of days spent in some less than savory ways. That is where Campbell and I begin to part company. Although I enjoyed her story very much, especially the parts when she was challenged to make hard choices, I can’t really relate to her particular trajectory.

For Campbell, the path out of one part of life and into another is a bit too much “either/or” for me, and much less the “both/and” that defines my own experience as a Roman Catholic woman. Yet because of that “both/and” place, I pressed on with this book, and grateful that I did so.

The volume is well crafted, with an interesting story to tell. The temptation to, in social media terms, “unfriend” anyone with a different point of view, is not only ridiculously easy (click!), but it is remarkably sad, if you ask me. So although I found myself uncomfortable at times, I did not put the book down and I was never disappointed in what I read. This reminded me of an important question; when is it a good idea to avoid discomfort? Especially in our conversations about our relationship with God, and the choices that we exercise in life? If it is not uncomfortable, how are we ever challenged and how are we transformed?

Perhaps that is the biggest takeaway in My Sisters The Saints. This is ultimately a book about faith, surrender, choices made, and relationship with God. That relationship also involves the saints that are generously given to us by that same God. In agreement or not, I found Campbell’s interactions, with these “sisters” most satisfying. We hear about Saint Therese, Saint Faustina, Saint Teresa, and Mary the Mother of God, through tales woven with the author’s life. Other saints include women like Edith Stein and Dorothy Day, which were beautiful additions to her great cloud of witnesses.

Perhaps the most moving element of the story for me, and a real reason for my admiration of the book, was Campbell’s family history. The scenes that unfolded, with descriptions of her parents, especially her father, were deeply touching. The deterioration of her father’s life as he struggled with Alzheimer’s, was beautifully chronicled, and emotionally charged. Ultimately that is what it is all about, isn’t it? Our relationships with one another through God, or through the saints, our family, or others are what matter. That point is never missed in this story. And it is in the stories that God works with us, challenges us, changes us, transforms us, a thought that is consistently represented in these pages. How could I not like that?

Sometimes a book shows up, and I am not inclined to read it because of the title, its jacket blurbs, or because of what I know about the author. Just as My Sisters the Saints called to me because of the title, it might have sent me away for other reasons, but I stuck it out. Oddly enough, a book that feels at time too “either/or” for my taste, invited me more deeply into the “both/and” of my own life and faith. As with any good relationship, it is really important to stay with the relationship and with the stories. That may be the very best message of this book in the end, a message worth reading.

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BOOK GIVEAWAY – All those who leave a comment will be entered into a drawing to win a book. Comments from all three of my blogs will be collected and one winner will be chosen at random. You will be contacted via the email that is required (but not listed publicly) to arrange for delivery. Enter as many times as you’d like by 6am Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 6.

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Blog Tour Book Giveway Winner

And the winner is…. Joanne Yarsevich!
Thank you to all who read the blog, commented and entered. I do highly recommend this book!

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