Book Review: Navigating the Interior Life, Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God

Navigating the Interior Life

From the Description:

“…this book will serve the souls of those who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God and find their spiritual direction. Whether you are at the beginning of the process, a veteran of spiritual direction, or struggling outside of spiritual direction, this book will help you uncover a map of success for your journey.”

My Comments:

I first discovered spiritual direction way back when I was discerning a vocation to religious life. Once a month I met with my then Mother Superior, and a few times a year I would meet with the Mother Provincial. It didn’t take long before I realized how important spiritual direction is for living out our Christian vocation. My faith and growth in the spiritual life soared under the direction of my superiors. After leaving the order, I went for a period of time without spiritual direction until I discovered Opus Dei. When I became a “Cooperator” I was able to meet with a member once a month and again, I saw my spiritual life grow. I now life too far away to have an active part with Opus Dei but I have someone else that I go to for spiritual direction.

I share my experience because I want to urge you to read Navigating the Interior Life and consider finding a spiritual director for yourself. If you give it a chance, I am sure you will find spiritual direction invaluable, too.

Navigating the Spiritual Life:

Navigating the Spiritual Life starts out as a basic “how-to.” It answers the typical questions about spiritual direction: “What is spiritual direction?” “Am I ready for spiritual direction?” “How do I find a spiritual director?” It even answers the question, “I can’t find one. Now what?”  The book also discusses the challenges of spiritual direction and the responsibilities of the spiritual director and the responsibilities.

I already have a good understanding of spiritual direction so, to be honest, I read through this part pretty quickly. Having said that, I think the author, Daniel Burke, does a great job explaining spiritual direction to those unfamiliar with it.

After those questions are answered, then begins my favorite part of the book. There is a chapter on spiritual self-evaluation that is very enlightening. Even if you decide not to find a spiritual director, this chapter would be worth the cost of the book! There are exercises to help you discover your “root sin” and how to battle against it.

The book even has a short chapter about developing a rule of life. It is a very practical chapter that quickly shows you how to use a plan a life to help yourself overcome a fault or grow in a particular virtue.

In short, this book is a “must read” for anyone looking to take their spiritual life to the next level. I give it 4 (four) stars.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the Catholic Company <http://catholiccompany.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Review: Holiness for Everyone

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I have a great devotion to St. Josemaria, so I am thrilled to review Holiness for Everyone for the Catholic Company. And I’m happy to report that this book didn’t disappoint.

One of the reasons I am drawn to St. Josemaria is because he is very practical and offers down-to-earth, practical advice on living out our Christian Vocation in the world. And, Holiness for Everyone takes St. Josemaria’s counsel and lays it out in an easy format that helps the reader to actually put St. Josemaria’s words into action.

The book has two parts. The first, called “Laying the Foundations” gives the reader an introduction into the life and spirituality of St. Josemaria. The second, called “Building a Saintly Life” outlines just that; it offers practical steps we can take to bring Christ into our everyday life.

One of the things I liked about this book is that at the end of each chapter the author gives the reader a section called “Read, Meditate, Pray, Contemplate.” In this section the reader is given various works from St. Josemaria to read (free online) and then points to meditate about, pray about and contemplate.

Although I read this book straight through so that I could do this review, Holiness for Everyone is not meant to be read like a  novel. It is meant to be read slowly, digesting each point carefully.

If you are looking for practical ways to bring your relationship to Christ to another level, then I recommend this book.

I give it four (4) stars.

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This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Holiness for Everyone: Practical Spirituality . The Catholic Company is the best resource for gifts for every Sacrament celebration, such as First Communion gifts and Baptism gifts, as well as a great selection of limited-time Year of Faith gifts and resources.

Book Review: Catholic Update Guide to Communion

Catholic Update Guide to Communion

From the back cover description:

“What is Communion? Why did Jesus give us this extraordinary gift? How do we receive Communion? The Second Vatican Council described the eucharistic sacrifice as the ‘source and summit of all Christian life.’ Using the most current translation of the Roman Missal, our bestselling authors explain this great mystery.”

My comments:

For those of us who are well-versed in Church Teaching, many of the points in “Catholic Update Guide to Communion” are going to be a review of what we all ready know – and that’s a good thing. 🙂 It is good to go back and remind ourselves of the richness of our faith and the Sacraments, especially the gift of the Eucharist.

For those of us who are not well-versed in Church Teaching, the “Catholic Update to Communion” is the perfect “handbook” for being introduced to the profound gift of the Sacrament or the perfect supplement to a course of study on the Eucharist. As a matter of fact, I am planning on using this book as a supplement for helping my son prepare for his First Communion coming in April (2013).

Sprinkled throughout the book are reflection questions that help the reader dig deeper into their understanding and love of the Eucharistic. And I love the practical aspect of the book in the way the authors lay out how to receive Communion. They even explain, in a clear and direct way, why Catholics can not share communion with other non-Catholic Christians.

I give this book three (3) stars and will easily recommend this book to others.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Catholic Update guide to Communion. The Catholic Company is also a great online store for all your Catholic gift needs, such as baby baptism and christening gifts. You can also find a wide selection of Catholic Bible Studies for both parish groups and individuals, as well as a variety of other Catholic Bible study resources.

Book Review: Catholic and Confident: Simple Steps to Share Your Faith

Catholic and Confident by Henry Libersat

From the back cover description:

“Pope John Paul II called for a New Evangelization, with everyday Catholic sharing the Good News. But evangelization can be a scary word. Catholic and Confident will help you embrace the call to spread the message of salvation to everyone in your life. Real-life examples of Catholics – a plumber who prays for his clients, an attorney who stuns his coworkers with the truth about the Church – show you it can be done. You don’t have to be a saint or a sermonizer, you just need a little confidence.”

My comments:

I recently became a reviewer for The Catholic Company, and when I saw Catholic and Confident  by Henry Libersat on the available list I knew it was the first book I wanted to read and review.

I’ve known for a long time, like many of us, that we are called to evangelize. I’ve read On Evangelization in the Modern World (which is actually mentioned in the book). I’ve seen the need to bring Christ to others in today’s world. And over the last several months I’ve felt a call from the Lord to share my faith in a deeper and personal way. Still, I’ve been hesitant.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you might not get the impression that I’m shy – but I am, painfully so. I have a tendency to hold things in and not speak up so the idea of talking to someone about my faith petrifies me. Besides that, I never knew how to share my faith with others. My practical nature has kept me hung up on the “how-tos” of evangelization. What if I do it wrong? What should I say? My story is “boring” so how could it possible make a difference?

Those questions were answered in a big way in this book. Catholic and Confident is a small (95 pages) book full of practical suggestions, stories and motivation designed to help us Catholic get the Good News out to others. It has inspired me and challenged me and I know it will do the same for you.

Catholic and Confident is broken up into three parts: The first part deals with why we Catholics need to share our faith and as the title aptly indicates, it lays “the foundation for sharing faith.” The second part gets practical and as its name implies, Mr Libersat tells us “how it is done.” In the third and final part, we are encouraged and shown how to “let the spirit act.”

One of the things I love about this book is that it deals directly with sharing to family members, especially with the teens and young adults in our lives. It also talks about sharing within one’s own local church community. We are encouraged to use our talents and gifts within our own life experiences. This isn’t something new, it’s a reminder of what many of us already know, but what Mr. Libersat does differently, is that he actually shows us how to do this, which appeals to my practical nature.

Another thing I love about this book is the end of chapter reflections. Mr. Libersat asks pointed, thought-provoking questions that help to deepen our understanding of what is read in each chapter and gets us started in actually putting it into action.

I highly recommend this book for all Catholics, especially those feeling the call to share their faith and I give this book four (4) stars.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Catholic and Confident. This is also a great Catholic gift store for all your seasonal shopping needs, such as Christian wedding gifts and Catholic Garden Gifts.