Friday, May 2, 2014

Face to Face with Jesus and God is With Me Always and Everywhere (Pauline Books)

Face to Face with Jesus is a short book, which contains spiritual reflections that Archbishop Forte gave before a large audience during Lent 2012. In this "exercises for everyone," he reflects on Jesus' life as presented in the Gospel of Mark. He chose the Gospel of Mark because it is the oldest Gospel; the shortest Gospel; and because the Gospel is a life journey, a progressive journey, and a paschal journey. In this work, Archbishop Forte wants to address what evil in our lives we must rid ourselves of, what choices we must make to fully give our lives to Jesus, and what practices must we put into our lives to be a source of light and love for others.

The first chapter of the book details Jesus' baptism, His temptation in the desert, and the day he spent in Capernaum. In these three passages, we can see Jesus as the Son of God and one who must be sacrificed for us. We see the ongoing struggle between Satan and God. And we see Jesus preaching, teaching, and healing. In the second chapter, we see the prophecies of Jesus' Passion, the Garden of Gethsemane, and His Crucifixion. It is in these passages where we see Jesus freely accept His Passion and death. We also see that by Jesus dying, He has granted us life eternal. The third and final chapter addresses the empty tomb and the mission of His followers post-Resurrection. Like Jesus' disciples then, we must freely accept the new life He offers us and share that message with everyone.

Though this book is only 70ish pages, it packs quite a punch. Archbishop Forte did a masterful job extracting the message of Mark and making it available and understandable to all. While, I believe this book would best be read during Lent, you could read it at anytime. This book is "a manual for Christian living." In it you will find freedom from self; to purify your heart from world attachments; and to not fear death. I would like to close with a quote. "To live is to learn how to die; those who live for love, shall die in the love of the living and holy God."

God is With Me Always and Everywhere is a little hardcover children's book that teaches your children about God's presence. It is from the same author who brought you The Queen and the Cross and The Saint who Fought the Dragon. The book starts with Baptism, where a baby first becomes the child of God and then follows children in everyday situations, including school and interactions with siblings. It also teaches children the importance of the Virgin Mary and angels, particularly their guardian angel, in recognizing God's presence.

Your children will learn about God's unending and unfailing love for them. Even when children make mistakes, and they will, they will be assured that God still loves them, wants to forgive them, and will be with them always (if they let Him be). I appreciated the poetic way the words rhymed and flowed on the pages to make for easier reading. I also really like that this book is multi-ethnic, making it so that children of all races can relate to the pictures in the book. If you are looking for a book that emphasizes to your children the importance of forming and keeping a relationship with God, then look no further than God is With Me Always and Everywhere.

These books were provided to me for free by Pauline Books and Media. If you found these reviews helpful, click here and/or here, and hit Yes!