Monday, April 29, 2013

Catholic Monday: Novenas for the Church Year

It's been about a month since I finished a Bible study series on prayer. I figured I'd be so much better at prayer now, but sadly I am not. I hope to get better, but I know I will not do so without better and more consistent practice. I used to have a book on novenas that I enjoyed, but at the moment it is missing in action. Fortunately for me, Our Sunday Visitor deemed I needed another one. God works in the big things as well as the little ones.

Novenas for the Church Year is exactly what the title suggests. I assume most people are familiar with what a novena is, but for those who aren't, it is a prayer that lasts nine days. For example, if you wanted to pray a Christmas novena, you would start the prayer on December 17th and finish on December 25th. In this book of novenas, Fr. Cameron provides a brief commentary on the specific feast day then the prayer you pray for nine days.

Fr. Cameron could have easily used already established novenas, but these are all original ones. You will notice that some months have more novenas than others, but that is dependent upon the liturgical cycle of the Church. January and December are extra busy, but July is very sparse. You aren't locked into praying a novena at a specific time of the year, though. St. Joseph would be just as happy interceding for us on May 1, his feast day, as he would any other day of the Church Year.

I do like that only major Feast days are focused on, such as the Ascension of Jesus or the Assumption of Mary. Yes, there are novenas to other saints, like St. Anthony or St. Benedict, but those don't exactly fit within the flow of this book and would have made the book unwieldy and large. This book is just the right size for a pocket or a purse, so you can carry it wherever you go. Pick up this 5 star prayer book and pray your way through the Church Year one novena at a time.

If you found this review helpful, click the link and hit Yes!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Children's Corner: Totally Catholic! A Catechism for Kids and Their Parents and Teachers

Another school year has ended, and that means our Parish catechesis is ending as well. Let me tell you that being a catechist is hard work! From a 4th Grade classroom with an average weekly attendance of one to a 7th Grade classroom where the children don't know 2nd Grade information, it's easy to get discouraged. To make matters worse, textbook chapters are hit or miss, and you wish that sometimes you had an outside source to pull from when your book isn't cutting it. Thankfully, Pauline Books and Media has released just such a book.

Totally Catholic! A Catechism for Kids and Their Parents and Teachers is a thorough resource for faith formation.The text is broken into 39 chapters and is based on the "Catechism of the Catholic Church." The first thought that popped in my head was wondering why they couldn't crank out one more chapter, since 40 is a well-known Biblical number." Apart from the typical textbook layout, each chapter contains the following sections:
  • "Did you know?" - Fun facts related to the material in the chapter.
  • "BTW" (short for "By The Way") - Extra information not covered in the chapter.
  • "Brainstorm" - Questions of reflection on the topic covered in the chapter.
  • "A Catholic VIP" - A short saint biography.
  • "Scripture Link" - A passage in the Bible related to the covered topic.
  • "From My Heart" - A short prayer.
  • "Now Act!" - An activity to perform.
The parts I found the most helpful were the "Scripture Link" and "A Catholic VIP." It is so important for our children to know the Bible, but we don't always do a good job of emphasizing it like our Protestant brothers and sisters. I also liked that each chapter had a saint, because it introduces the children to saints they don't always hear about, like Sts. Perpetua and Felicity or St. Andrew Dung-Lac.

Although each chapter is only 4-6 pages, Totally Catholic! is a very well-laid out book with a TON of information! I couldn't find an established age range for the book, but I would say it is appropriate for children ages 8-10, but you could probably use it a little younger or older if you wanted. I believe this book is intended for use as a primary text for homeschooling or Parish education, but you would need to add some outside reading or extra activities with it. I do think it would make an excellent supplement though and I look forward to using it with my 4th Grade class next year. Five stars all the way. I just wish I had this book at the beginning of the school year and not the end.

As always, if you found this review helpful let me know by clicking this link and hitting Yes! Thank you!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Orthodox Thursday: Born to Hate Reborn to Love

Today, is the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. He has a special place in my heart, so today I am bringing back a neglected segment on this blog...Orthodox Thursday! I apologize to my audience who missed this section, but there just aren't a lot of Orthodox publishers out there, and the few there are don't send review copies out to bloggers. I would like to thank Mount Thabor Publishing for sending me two of their books to review.

Born to Hate Reborn to Love is the spiritual autobiography of Klaus Kenneth. The book starts off with Mr. Kenneth explaining where his hatred came from. His relationship with his mother can best be described as emotionally abusive. Then, a priest sexually abused him for seven years. One could argue that there is no wonder he developed a hatred for both Christianity and humanity in general. That's not to say that all priests perform such acts -- far from it! However, a tragedy like the one that occurred to Mr. Kenneth can definitely scar a person and make them question Christianity, because a priest is supposed to be someone you can trust.

We then follow Mr. Kenneth through a whirlwind of spiritual seeking. Demonic arts in Mexico, Transcendental Meditation in Hamburg, and Hinduism in India were just some of the escapes from Western Civilization and Christianity that Mr. Kenneth explored in hopes of finding power. I could definitely feel the frenetic searching for something more in his words, but I believe he elaborated on his darker moments a little too much. I understand that he was trying to make his life an open book, but some of his experiences of power that he gained from Satan could serve as a temptation to readers. Eventually, Mr. Kenneth made right with God and we learn that he ultimately became an Orthodox Christian.

The most amazing parts of the book to me were his talks with Blessed Mother Teresa and Elder Sophrony. These are two of the great spiritual giants, one Catholic and one Orthodox, and he got to have extended conversations with each of them! In fact, it was under the guidance and prayers of Elder Sophrony that this version of his book came to be published, as opposed to the original onein which the author feels he glorified his old adventures and built a shrine to his ego. It is truly amazing to have someone that wise and close to God, looking over you and praying for you.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out 5 stars. The author's story is a story of hope, hope that no matter how far away we run from God, He will always be there with open arms to welcome us home. In this book, you will run the gamut of emotions both with the author and toward the author. You will experience sorrow at his tragedies, frustrations at his repeated poor decisions, and elation when he finally figures it all out and realizes that Jesus is the answer to all the questions in this life. This was truly a tale of a sinner's redemption, and I guarantee there was a huge party in Heaven when Klaus Kenneth joined the flock!

If you found this review helpful, please click the link and hit Yes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Catholic Monday: At the Heart of the Gospel

It's Monday again, and I'm getting a strange feeling of déjà vu. I get told by many people that I run a very niche blog, and if you've reviewed one Catholic book, you've reviewed them all. I realize how it can seem that way to the outsider. I do try to combat that by reading books from different authors and different publishers that deal with different facets of Catholicism. However, it's Monday and I am reviewing ANOTHER book about Theology of the Body written by Christopher West and published by Image Catholic Books...hence, my déjà vu. (See this post.)

At the Heart of the Gospel is the second Christopher West book I have read in as many months. I say this not to brag, but as a point of reference. The first one I read was Fill These Hearts, which left me with mixed feelings. Everything I expected and wanted from "Fill These Hearts" was found in "At the Heart of the Gospel." Mr. West's audience for this book is anyone who is involved with the New Evangelization, in hopes that they/we will use the message of Theology of the Body (TOB) to reach out to those who are "sexually broken" and in need of healing.

Despite this book being only 7 chapters, it is a very dense read. Each chapter is between twenty and forty pages long and therefore makes you read slowly. If you try to rush through it, you will miss a great deal, so pace yourself. I normally don't appreciate lengthy chapters  in books, as they tend to drone on, but it felt necessary in this book. Mr. West laid out a remarkable history of how our culture became "sexually broken" and what we as a Church must do to fix it and redeem the body.

The chapter which clicked most with me was "The Narrow Gate Between Idolatry and Iconoclasm." I have a great love for icons, and if if you love icons like I do, you know that they are more than just pretty pictures. They are prayers and windows into Heaven, which reveal theological truths to us. Mr. West uses the history of icons, idolatry, and iconoclasm as an apt metaphor for the body. Like icons, the body started out pure and holy. People became twisted though and veered off toward idolatry with sacred images, much like we veered off by idolizing the body. Iconoclasm occurred, just as our puritanical nature occurred. Eventually, icons were restored and seen as not evil in and of themselves. We hope one day the body will reach this state again.

This was a fascinating read for me. It made me realize that we have a hard battle ahead of us to set the pendulum rightly in the middle where it belongs. We are fighting against not only a culture that has grown accustomed to debasing the body, but also against the puritanical mindset on the opposite end. Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body has laid out a plan for us, and we must follow it. Christopher West's books will help us get there, especially this one, as he quotes from Blessed John Paul II and his other works. Five star book. Pick it up if Theology of the Body interests you.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. For helpful links related to this book see below. As always, if you found this review helpful, please click this link, and hit "Yes."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Children's Corner: Holy Crocodile: Stories of Saints and the Animals Who Helped Them

Greetings to my loyal readers and hopefully some new readers! When I first started this blog, I wondered how much of a success it would be. I didn't know if people would even care what I had to say or if I would have enough books to carry this on long term. Thanks to both generous publishers for the works to read and all my faithful readers, I have officially made it to my 100th post (not necessarily my 100th review).

Holy Crocodile: Stories of Saints and the Animals Who Helped Them is written and illustrated by Caroline Cory. Ms. Cory draws on traditions from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic Churches. I love this aspect of the book because it gives your kids exposure to saints they might never hear of any place else. For example, the cover and inspiration for the book's name relates to a tale of St. Pachome. We are also introduced to the stories of some lions with St. Prisca and St. Cuthbert and his sea otters to name a few.

Of all the religious children's books I have reviewed, this is by far the most visually appealing. The colors are bold and vibrant and really come alive on the page. In fact, I would go so far as to say that even if the stories within were awful, I would buy this book for the illustrations alone. Fortunately, that is not the case, as the stories within the book are just as wonderful as the artwork. I particularly enjoy the story of St. Gerasimos and the lion he saved. The lion went on to become a member of the same monastery as St. Gerasimos.

I really loved this book and have been reading it to my newborn son, who also happens to have an affinity for lions. It's never too early to teach our children about the saints and their faith, and this book does just that. I know it will be a favorite bedtime read for years to come, and I can't wait until he can focus his little eyes on the pictures better. Pick up this 5 star book for you and your kids!

If you found this review helpful, please click the link and hit Yes! Thank you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Catholic Thursday: Clement of Rome and the Didache

As human beings, we like to think back to the good ole days. We think that life used to be simpler and more beautiful, and that everything modern is now bad or evil. Catholics have a tendency to fall into this trap as well, especially as it relates to our Church. We are always looking for that Golden Age of Christianity, before heresy crept in and everything was under attack by worldly and demonic forces. Well, the Church has never been perfect and never will be. Just read the New Testament, and you will see it in Paul's writings. However, if you would like to read writings after the New Testament, then I recommend starting with the Early Christian Fathers Series available at The Coming Home Network.

Today, I am reviewing Book 2 in the Early Christian Fathers Series, Clement of Rome and the Didache. Clement was considered the fourth pope, and the primary work attributed to him is his "Letter to the Corinthians." When reading through this letter, one can see that he had to write to this church community in Corinth for the same reasons that St. Paul did - sedition and rebellion. The "Didache" or "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" is considered a bridge between the writings of the New Testament and the Early Church Fathers like Clement or Polycarp. It contains early teachings used to guide the Church in her infancy.

In this book one finds both a new translation of the two works mentioned above, the "Didache" and Clement's "Letter to the Corinthians," and chapters explaining their context and content. I've tried reading these works before, particularly the translation of Philip Schaff, which were available for free online. While those texts were readable, they were a bit stilted. I guess that is to be expected since they were translated back in the 1800s. Kenneth Howell does a masterful job translating these two texts and provides plenty of footnotes at the bottom of every page to help the reader understand the texts better.

The most helpful part of the book is the chapters at the beginning, which set the stage for the subsequent texts. Like the Bible, one can pick up these works and read them and interpret them how they wish. To understand these texts, or the Bible for that matter, you need to understand the audience to whom they were written and their historical context. And while these works are not considered Scripture, they were widely read in the Early Church and thus hold an important message for us today. Therefore, I appreciated Dr. Howell spelling these things out in order to help us understand the meaning of these texts.

This book gets a 5 star rating from me as it helps make the Early Church Fathers accessible and readble to today's world. The only thing I would consider changing with regards to the book is the layout. Instead of putting all the chapters of introduction and explanation first and the texts second, I would break the book into two parts. The first part would have the explanatory chapters on Clement of Rome with the text to follow, and the second part would have the explanatory chapters on the "Didache" with the text to follow. I look forward to seeing how many books this series will ultimately comprise, and realize I now need to get Book 1, Ignatius Of Antioch & Polycarp Of Smyrna, in the series to read that as well.

 If you found this review helpful, please click this link and hit the Yes button. Thank you for your time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Catholic Monday: Anselm Academic Study Bible

Today, on Catholic Monday I am reviewing the Anselm Academic Study Bible. It's pretty clear if you read my blog that I am a bibliophile (lover of books), but I am also a Bible-phile! When I was Southern Baptist, I tried to get as many different translations of the Bible as I could. That changed a bit when I became Catholic and developed a better understanding of the Bible. As it stands now, there are only two translations of the Bible that I currently read - the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE).

The "Anselm Academic Study Bible" is the NABRE. The NABRE is what you will hear every time you go to  Mass. Therefore, it is a very liturgical and pretty version. However, the NABRE is not the most literal translation. The RSV is translated more literally from the original text. Typically, if you have a Study Bible, it uses the most literal translation, so to have a Study Bible using the NABRE is a pretty big deal if you ask me. I won't go into a review of the actual translation of the Bible as I am not that scholarly. I trust our Church and that the translation is a great translation. I will instead review all the extra features in this Bible.

When you open the Bible, you immediately notice a plethora of essays, which detail different aspects of Sacred Scripture. The most interesting to me was entitled "Sacred Scripture in the Catholic Tradition." This article informs or reminds the reader that Scripture is not something which can be understood by private revelation. Instead, the way to understand Sacred Scripture is in the light of the Church, which has a 2000 year history. There are twelve other articles and some of the titles include "The Lectionary: A Canon within the Canon" and "The Christian Bible and the Jews." Each one is brilliantly written and opens new doors of understanding to the Bible that the reader might not have ever otherwise pondered.

Within the text of the Bible itself, one finds both the original New American Bible (NAB) introductions and new introductions by Biblical scholars. I found this very helpful as a reader. The NAB introductions presented a very basic viewpoint, but then the NABRE introduction gave a more detailed picture. Also within the Bible one finds copious footnotes at the bottom of every page. A lot of them help explain what the specific verse or passage means, but some of the footnotes provide cross-references to other Biblical passages.

This study Bible also provides plenty of charts and maps for reference. I think every Study Bible has to have the map of the Holy Land in Jesus' time and the maps of Paul's missionary journeys. However, this Bible provided some charts that were new to me. The chart which chronologically lined up prophets and kings of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms helped the Old Testament make more sense to me than just reading the books of the Bible. I also appreciated the chart, which showed all of Jesus' parables in the Synoptic Gospels. That's worth referencing frequently and would also make a good personal Bible study in and of itself.

What about the negatives? Since, I can't find anything in the content that bothered me, I am going to have to address some potential style problems. When you hear the words "Study Bible," most people want to be able to highlight massive amounts of text and take notes in the margin of their Bible. If you are one of those people, you will find the pages are a bit on the thin side, which means your highlighter will probably bleed through. As for the margins, they are almost non-existent. Unless you can write so small that only an ant could read it, don't expect to be able to do that either. Fortunately, I am not one who has the desire to highlight or write in my Bible (or any book for that matter), so this wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

This is a 5 star Bible and one you will want on your shelf. Pair it with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and you now have two translations (NABRE and RSV) to do some serious Bible Study...well, at least the New Testament. We're still waiting on the Old Testament to be finished with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. I feel richer having this Bible in my possession and would recommend it to any Catholic, whether they are ready to do serious study or not. The translation is inviting and accessible and the study aids will be there waiting for you when you are ready to dive in.

Thanks again to Anselm Academic for sending me this to review. If you found this review helpful, please click this link and hit the Yes button.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Children's Corner: Brother Francis Presents Let's Pray! (DVD)

Well, I think I am finally getting back on a normal blogging schedule. My wife and I had an unexpected arrival last week, so things have been hectic to say the least! From sleeping in hospital foldout chairs/couches to staying awake to make sure our sweet boy is still breathing, there have been a lot of sleepless nights. It's all worth it though, and it's amazing to see such BIG personality in such a tiny frame. :)

Today in the Children's Corner, I have another Brother Francis DVD to review. As you recall, I reviewed #2 in the series, The Bread of Life, several weeks ago. Well, I am finally getting the chance to review #1 Let's Pray! Like other DVDs in the Brother Francis series, the animation is a mixture of 2-D and 3-D. I liked the sports metaphor at the beginning of the DVD as it relates to prayer. Like sports or anything else you want to be good at it, you have to practice it every day, and that is especially true for prayer! Brother Francis also helps dispel the myth that prayer is boring. This is an important concept for children and adults to remember.

If you happen to see any of the other four Brother Francis DVDs, you can definitely tell this was the first creation in the series as it tends to lean more toward music than story to get the message across. Don't get me wrong; I did enjoy the cute songs, and they definitely are a great way of teaching children to pray. With only 21 minutes on the DVD, all the songs left very little room for stories, which happened to be my favorite part. I love that children get to learn about saints and having them learn about St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her "Little Way."

Overall, I would give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. It was a well done DVD, but I would have liked a little less music and the DVD length to be a bit longer. With 5 programs so far in the series, there are still endless possibilities on the topics that Brother Francis could teach our children. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to collect them all. For a preview of the video see below, and if you found this review helpful, please click this link and hit the Yes button. Thanks as always!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Catholic Courses: The Christ - A Faithful Portrait of Jesus from the Gospels

I find that, now that I am out of college, I wish I could return. I have two degrees, a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration. I didn't particularly enjoy getting either degree, but I needed the MBA, because a Bachelors in Psychology isn't worth the paper it is written on. If I could do it again or had the spare income, I'd major in Theology. Unfortunately, I do not. Fortunately, there is a place called Catholic Courses where you can buy DVDs or CDs and essentially take a university level course at a fraction of the cost. The selection isn't limited to Theology courses either. They have history, literature, philosophy, etc. All are taught through the lens of the Catholic Church though.

The course I completed recently was entitled The Christ: A Faithful Picture of Jesus from the Gospels. In this course Father Alfred McBride presents 8 different talks, each approximately 30 minutes long, on different aspects of Jesus' life and ministry from the four Gospels. There are two classes from each Gospel with Fr. McBride focusing on some of the key aspects that make each particular Gospel unique from the others. For example, one of the major theme of John's Gospel is the divinity of Jesus, and one of the central messages of Matthew's Gospel is the Sermon on the Mount. You can see an Introduction for this course in the short video below.

There are several different ways one can "take" this class. None of them are wrong, but some are more fruitful than others. Since the classes are only 30 minutes each, you could knock all eight out in four hours, which I did. However, I also went back and watched two classes a week, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday. I then read some of the recommended reading, including on the disc to deepen each 30 minute session. It was like homework. I highly recommend treating this like a real college course. You will only get as much out of these courses as you put in them.

This is a great product, and Catholic Courses is doing a huge service to the Church by offering an affordable way to educate Her members. They looked and felt like I was taking a real course, and Fr. McBride is an excellent speaker and very knowledgeable on the subject of Jesus. The best way I can determine on how to rate a product of this nature is the, "Would I take another one?" factor. The answer is an emphatic yes. I plan on next taking The First 500 Years: The Fathers, Councils, and Doctrines of the Early Church, since I love Patristics! Check back in a month for my review of that one.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Catholic Thursday: Reflections on the Christian Life

Today in Stuart's Study I am going to share with you a book that I read during Lent. It is titled Reflections on the Christian Life and is written by Anthony Esolen. I must admit that I had never heard of Mr. Esolen before reading this book. However, once I started reading the book, his name kept popping up on different websites I visit. Most notably, I discovered he was a translator of Dante's Divine Comedy and has several DVD courses out discussing the Divine Comedy. That's pretty awesome in and of itself.

"Reflections on the Christian Life" spans eighteen chapters. In these chapters, Mr. Esolen walks us through different parts of Jesus' life as recorded in Sacred Scripture. The reader is then called to examine his life through this lens. From the Nativity and His Presentation in the Temple to His Passion and Resurrection, we are called to see the meaning of all the major moments of Jesus' life and how our life relates to His.

The book is also littered with both historical and literary references used in comparison to the life Jesus lived. We see the pride of Cicero in stark contrast to the humility of Jesus. We also see Augustus Caesar's claim to be the prince of peace, when in reality, Jesus is the true Prince of Peace. Mr. Esolen also makes the book personal though by adding his own stories of both his past and his family. It is always appreciated when an author can relate his own personal life to his work, because sometimes we can just feel so distant from the likes of Cicero, Shakespeare, and Dante.

The chapter that hit me between the eyes was titled, "The Hidden Life." It talks about how we want big things for ourselves and great things for our children, but we should be focusing on the small things. Mr. Esolen explains that Christianity is not made up of only the big things like writing a lot of important spiritual works or talking at fancy places, but Christianity is in the small things as well. This was humbling to read, as I have to admit that I strive for the grand and fancy things. I'm ashamed to admit it but it's part of what drove me to start my blog in the first place. I wanted to make a difference on a large scale and be known for making a difference. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a difference, I need to be more humble and not seek glory.

This book was an excellent Lenten read for me, but I feel one could read it any time during the Church Year and still grow from it. If you want to understand your life through the lens of Christ's life, you would do well to read this book, because your life doesn't make sense without God. "Reflections on the Christian Life" merits a 5 star, simply because I can't give it more stars. I look forward to future releases from Sophia Institute Press as all their books I have reviewed so far have been scholarly and well-written.

If you found this review helpful, click this link and hit the Yes button. Thank you.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Catholic Monday: Oremus - A Guide to Catholic Prayer

Greetings my dear readers. We are officially in the Easter Season, and it is a time of celebration and joy! Whenever a season ends, I like to reflect a little bit on the previous season and see how I did, especially if it's a penitential and anticipatory season like Advent or Lent. My goal this Lent was to do the Bible Study Oremus - A Catholic Guide to Prayer faithfully every day, and be a super prayer warrior when Lent was over. I did not meet my goal and am not a super prayer warrior, but I feel I have made some progress, and that's important. There is no plateau in the journey toward salvation. If we aren't moving closer to God, we're slipping further away. Anyways, here is my review of "Oremus."

"Oremus" is an eight week program presented by Fr. Mark Toups. Fr. Toups is a priest in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Louisiana. He is the Director of Seminarians for his Diocese and is also involved with the Institute for Priestly Formation. Each week you watch or listen to a presentation by Fr. Toups, break into small groups (assuming you're doing this on a large parish-wide scale) to discuss questions in your workbook, and then you go home and pray with an assigned Scripture passage for each day of the week, until you meet again the following week.

There are six different passages per week, with Day 7 being a reflection on the passage that spoke to you most. I would have preferred it if there were 3-5 passages. I understand that you don't undertake becoming better at prayer lazily, but it was hard some weeks to do all six passages and then reflect again on Day 7, which is presumably the same day you meet with your small group and watch the DVD. Even a gradual building up to a full seven days would have been welcomed. My wife and I both work and are preparing for a baby, so some days we felt we didn't have the time to devote fully to the study and opted to just read the daily readings from Mass.

The first two weeks of this eight week course also didn't feel as helpful as future weeks. In the first few weeks, you are simply told to read the Scripture passage three times, and then answer four questions. It isn't until Week 3 that you are introduced to Lectio Divina, and even then it isn't until Week 4 where your Lectio Divina is guided with suggestions like, "Consider how God is the author of all creation." These guided suggestions would have been very helpful earlier in the program as I felt that I was floundering a bit early on and trying to figure out what I was supposed to be meditating on. I feel early on when you are learning that you need the guided suggestions more, and as the series begins to come to an end, you are hopefully able to figure out what you want to meditate on for the daily Scripture passage

Overall, I would give this series a 4 out of 5 stars. Fr. Toups is an excellent presenter and speaker and you felt at ease with him talking to you. He seemed to genuinely care about the subject of prayer and helping people become better at praying. The content was also very good. The DVDs were well put together, and the Scripture passages were masterfully chosen. I took away 1 star from my rating, because I felt the program needs a little tweaking in terms of organization. I understand not wanting to overwhelm people early on in the study, but I just felt like I was doing the program wrong for the first two to three weeks, and it wasn't until the guided questions/reflections were introduced that it all started to click.

I'd like to thank Ascension Press for giving me the opportunity to review Oremus - A Catholic Guide to Prayer. You can find this study and other great studies for people of all ages, at their website. If you found this review helpful, click this link and hit the Yes button. Thank you as always to my wonderful readers.