Book Review

The Apocalypse: Book Review

Many of you sharp readers are aware of my admiration for Michael O’Brien.  It is no secret that I consider him one of the most talented and brilliant fiction authors of the last 100 years.  I’ve read most of his work, and I can’t praise it enough.  Seriously, you need to read him.  I recently highlighted his book Strangers and Sojourners, but if you’ve never read him before, you might also consider the widely popular Father Elijah.  You won’t regret it.

The Apocalypse: Warning, Hope & Consolation

Today, however, I’m going to highlight a lesser known work, a nonfiction piece, which was recently published by Wiseblood Books.  It’s The Apocalypse: Warning, Hope & Consolation.  (Click HERE for it on Amazon.)

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This book is a collection of talks, short essays, and selected readings all pertaining to the End Times – the Great Apostasy, the confusion in the Church, the Antichrist, Jesus’ warnings, etc.  And for O’Brien, this thing is short.  It’s only 161 pages long.

So, why read it?  I’ll offer you two reasons:

  1. The End of the World will happen.  Jesus says so in the Bible.  No, it’s not for us to know when, but it’ll happen.  O’Brien’s book explores that.  Many in the Church would have you ignore the Sign of the Times.  Of course (do I need to say this?) O’Brien in not a sensationalist, but rather a realist.   Just what is going on, on a Supernatural level?  He has a few provoking thoughts.
  2. Have you noticed the mass exodus of Catholics leaving the Church?  (This problem isn’t just a Catholic one, by the way, it goes for all Christian denominations.)  O’Brien’s best chapter is The Great Apostasy.  Here he tackles the difference between apostasies in the past and the Great Apostasy that is now taking place.  For example, O’Brien writes,
    “A civilization that has known Christianity (and is now largely ignorant about how dark paganism can be) is choosing to go back down into the swamp…”

    This chapter is so awesome.  O’Brien quotes G. K. Chesterton and Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman and Christopher Dawson and Joseph Pieper and St. Paul and Jesus.  You need to read it.

Lastly, I Came Across This the Other Day

Here’s the latest Gallup Poll on Mass attendance for Catholics.  Yikes.

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Some 70% of Catholics attended Mass weekly in 1955.  Today?  It’s closer to 39%.  What the hell happened?

As a reflection, just think of what has happened in the Church since 1955…  We’ve had the complete stripping away of our once beautiful churches.  Latin has been thrown out.  High altars have been ripped out.  Gregorian chant is almost nowhere to be found. Religious Sisters shunned their habits.  Ember Days are gone.  And Catholics know more about their favorite sporting teams than their own faith.

You can’t tell me something isn’t going on.  Michael O’Brien thinks so, and I’m inclined to agree with him.  Wake-up, people!  And go read his book.

Motherhood & Parenting

My Favorite Book of 2018 & It’s My Birthday

My Favorite Book of 2018

For those of you wanting to start the year off with a good read, I thought I’d look back on all the books I read in 2018 and pick my favorite.  It is Michael O’ Brien’s Strangers and Sojourners, which I reviewed HERE.  It’s actually the first book in a series 7.  Click HERE for a look at all 7.  (And yes, you should read them all!)

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Seriously, this book is awesome.  It was written in 1997 and is prophetic.  

Some of you may be wondering what I’m reading right now.  Well, I’ve got a few books in the hopper and hope to do a some reviews in the coming weeks.  So you’ll have to wait.

And now, it’s my birthday, and so to honor my loving parents, I offer my Birthday Post from last year.  (Be sure to note that I am now 37, not 36!)

It’s My Birthday; My Mother’s Birth Story of Me

Today I turn 36.

 

I’m sure of this because I asked my husband, and he’s good at math.  I remembered I was born in 1982; he commented it was 2018; I said I couldn’t do the math, and he said, “You’re 36.”

 

Well, and here I was thinking that I was older.

 

Because birthing stories are never boring, I decided to call my parents to find out about mine, and my dad answered.  I asked him what he remembered about my birth.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, there were five deer standing on the north side of the driveway.  It was snowy.”  And that was it.

 

So I asked my mother how it went.  You see, I am the Firstborn, which is always exciting because as you know, mothers and fathers have absolutely no clue what’s going on with Baby Number One.  And apparently I also offered some excitement for the little, rural hospital where I was born too.  For nobody else was having babies at the time, and those nurses were all bored and probably standing around the front desk smoking cigs.  In fact, I was the first baby of the year born there, and I had my photo taken for the newspaper.  This is my special Claim to Fame.

 

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This is the actual newspaper clipping of my mother holding me.

 

My mother said that she and my dad went to a New Year’s Eve party a few days before I was born, where everyone kept asking her, “When are you gonna have that baby?”  Her response was, “Tonight!”  Well, that didn’t happen, but on the morning of the 2nd she awoke with a pain.  So, at 8am she waddled out to the car and off they drove, apparently right by five deer in the snow.

 

Now as my mother was saying this, I could hear my dad in the background adding, “That car was a 1980 AMC Eagle.  Silver, and quite a fancy one.”  Then my mother added, “Well, and we needed that car like we needed another hole in our heads.”  And he responded with, “It was one of the first four-wheel-drive cars made.  And was a good one.”

 

Anyway, I was born at 6:28pm, and my mother was happy because I was normal.  Evidently she was pretty worried about that because I wouldn’t come out at the end of all that labor, so the doctor had to use some scary-looking tool – a forceps – to yank me out, which left a scrape alongside my upper right cheekbone.  (Look very closely at the above picture for the scab.)  So, besides my head being cone-shaped, which took her a little by surprise, she was thankful and happy to learn that scrapes do heal.

 

And so here I am, 36 years later, mostly normal, even though I was bottle fed and diapered with cloth and safety pins, which my mother said was “crappy.”  (They couldn’t afford the fancy disposable diapers.)

 

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This is my dad holding me.  Notice his sweet hair.  It was permed.  Now that’s getting your priorities straight – nice cars and sweet perms, but no disposable diapers.

 

Happy Birthday to me.  And Happy Birthday to St. Therese the Little Flower; she was also born on January 2, but in 1873.

 

St. Therese, pray for us.

Call Me Catholic

Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press Speaks Out

Anyone still following the latest in the Church Crisis?

I came across this article from LifeSite News, wherein Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press speaks out about Pope Francis’ silence.  It caught my attention for a number of reasons:

  1. I’ve always admired Fr. Fessio.
  2. I love Ignatius Press.
  3. Apparently Vigano reads Michael O’Brien, as he mentioned Father Elijah.*
  4. Anyone who has read anything of O’Brien’s finds his writing eerily prophetic.
  5. And finally, Fr. Fessio takes the words right out of my mouth, “Be a man.  Stand up and answer the questions.”

Here’s an excerpt from the article.  If you’re interested, click HERE for the whole thing.

“He’s attacking Viganò and everyone who is asking for answers,” Fessio told CNN. “I just find that deplorable.”

“Be a man. Stand up and answer the questions,” he added.

The publisher-priest told LifeSiteNews that he meant no disrespect for the Pope by saying this. Fessio observed that words said in conversation look “worse” in print but defended his opinions.

“I think the idea that I’m expressing there is a valid idea, and even if I tempered it somewhat, I think it should be said. And maybe … it will help the Pope to have some straight-talking. He seems to want to have openness, doesn’t he? He talks about frankness and openness and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind.”

“So I said what was on my mind–and not just my mind; it’s on a lot of people’s minds.”

Thank you, Fr. Fessio.

*Haven’t read Father Elijah?  Pick yourself up a copy today and be prepared to stay up all night, because it’s that good.  You won’t be able to put it down.

Book Review

Chris Van Dusen: A Children’s Book Review

Anybody reading children’s books these days?  No?  Then this post isn’t for you.  See you next time.  Yes?  Then read on.

I came across Chris Van Dusen’s work a few years ago with the Mercy Watson pig books.  He was the illustrator for this series, not the the author, who was Kate DiCamillo.  But I don’t like the Mercy Watson books, however.  They’re BORING.  But my kids like them, so I let them read a few.  I tend to agree with C. S. Lewis though, who once said, “If an adult finds a children’s book boring, then it sucks.”  Ok, those weren’t his exact words, but something like that. *

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Note the cute 2-year-old in her favorite blue sparkle skirt.  All girls should have a skirt like that.  I’m told they are a lot of fun to wear every. single. day.

Anyway, I do really like Van Dusen’s two books that he both wrote and illustrated, If I Built a Car and If I Built a House.  They rhyme after all and are fun to read.  These books have great illustrations and articulate every kid’s dream of cars sporting swimming pools and houses featuring no-gravity flying rooms.

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My 2-year-old with If I Built a House.  This is our second copy, as the first was used to shreds, literally.

So, since I liked those two books, I thought I’d check out a few more Van Dusen books.  He has a Mr. Magee series, which is ok and Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, which is fine.  They’re worth checking out at a library.  But his Hattie & Hudson is bosh.  First of all, it doesn’t rhyme.  Secondly, Hattie is disobedient, sneaking out of her house at night.  And thirdly, I don’t like big sea monsters portrayed as kind and misunderstood creatures.  Nope.  Quit mixing up your symbols, Van Dusen.  Sea monsters and dragons should be evil.  Always.  Don’t agree with me?  Read Michael O’Brien’s Landscape With Dragons and drop me a line.  (Maybe I’ll do a post on that some day.  By the way, if you have children, you should really read that O’Brien book.)

Van Dusen’s  The Circus Ship is entertaining, however, and mostly appropriate.  Once again, the pictures are beautiful, and it rhymes.  There is a really fun page where one must find all 15 animals that are hiding from the terrible circus boss.  It’s great.  The only problem I have with this book is that all the animals are of course friendly.  Even a big, fat snake.  Humph!  Snakes belong in the sea monster and dragon category – just plain evil.  The only reason why I could still recommend this book is that he’s not saying anything at all about the snakes actually being good.  He’s only showing that they can be tamed, which is true.

One final note about The Circus Ship.  I know some of you are sensitive about anything circus related.  I know I am.  This is because shriners are typically associated with circuses and most of us don’t want anything to do with shriners, as they’re in turn connected to the Masons.  Yikes.  If you’re a Catholic, that should really bother you.  That said, I see no such connection between this particular book’s circus and the shriners.

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Now she’s onto The Circus Ship.  It is worth a read.

 

* C. S. Lewis’s real quotation is as follows.  And I couldn’t agree more.

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”  C. S. Lewis

Book Review

Michael O’Brien: Catholic Author Extraordinaire

Need a good read?

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Seriously awesome book.

My Book Club is reading one of Michael O’Brien’s novels for January – Strangers and Sojourners.   It’s excellent, and you should read it too.

Just check out this dialogue below, which happens between a woman named Turid and her husband, Camille.  Turid is helping her friend, Anne, give birth, while Camille tramps  in and drags off Anne’s husband, to spare him the whole birthing experience.

“Birthin’s fer wimmen!”  called back Camille.
“Birthin’s not fer cowards, that’s fer damsure!”  she yelled at the back of their heads.

All I can say is, that’s insightful.  But why should you read it?

  1. Because it’s a love story.  Anne Ashton, an Englishwoman, is teaching in the Bush in Canada and stumbles upon Steve Delaney, an Irishman lying fatally ill in his cabin.  She must care for him, or he’ll die.  And he hates the English.
  2. This book is about pain and suffering, which we can all relate to.  And it’s beautiful because beauty comes from pain and suffering.  We need only to look at a crucifix to realize this.
  3. And we can all relate to Turid L. O’Raison too.  (She’s the speaker of that above quotation.)  Well she might be a hard, crude woman, but she’s capable of making the most profound statements.  And she’s funny, and she gets it.  Giving birth is certainly not for cowards, as most of us know.
  4. This novel is mostly set in twentieth-century Canada, where it’s even colder and darker than here.  Man, do I feel sorry for those Northerners.  Just reading about them makes winter here seem like a Tropical Paradise.
  5. And finally, you should read it because it’s edifying.  Every time I read one of O’Brien’s novels, I am more human.
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In the end, consider reading all of O’Brien’s novels.  That should keep you busy for awhile.

Therefore, my suggestion is to get this book, pour yourself a big glass of wine, and if your house is anything like mine, lock yourself in the bathroom, so that you may read away undisturbed by the children.  You won’t regret it.