Friday, April 19, 2013

5 Highly Recommended Books

One of Esther's bookshelves

The following books are highly recommended.

1.  Prayer: The Key to Salvation by Father Michael Mueller, C.Ss.R. This classic is on sale right now at Tan Books for $3.28.  Redemptorist spiritual writer Father Mueller, stresses with many examples and stories, the importance and necessity of prayer.
"Prayer is not only the key to salvation, it is the necessary means to salvation."

"Man cannot be saved without prayer.  In order to understand this truth in its full extent, we must consider first, that we cannot be saved unless we fulfill the will of God; secondly, that we are unable to do God's will unless we are assisted by Divine grace; thirdly, that we obtain this grace by prayer alone; that consequently, we must pray in order to be saved."
This book is directed to sinners, seminarians, in fact, everyone will benefit from this reading this book.

2.  Defiance!: The Antichrists of History and their Doomed War against the Church by Rev. Joseph M. Esper.  Published by Queenship Publishing.  Now this was a very interesting book.  Father Esper, who appeared on Women of Grace to talk about his book, has done a lot of research listing in chronological order, individuals who have done much evil in the world: from the Pharaohs of Egypt until the present time.  They have so selfishly wreaked, evil upon people.  Their acts of malevolence were the antithesis of Jesus, and therefore had to be labeled as an "anti-Christ".  Father makes the distinction regarding an anti-Christ and the Antichrist.  No one will know who the Antichrist will be until God permits us to know.  But it is clear that throughout history the devil has been using certain malignant individuals as his precursors.
"In her 2000 year history, numerous enemies of the Church have attempted to destroy her-and every one of them has failed, usually at great personal cost.  From the perspective of Heaven, the Church is often threatened, but never conquered- and in troubled times, it's more important than ever for Catholics to hold this truth and find reassurance in it.  Defiance! Fr. Joseph Esper reminds us of the Church's many victories over her assailants, and demonstrates that-through the power of God-she will continue to triumph over every assault of her foes, including her ultimate enemy, The Antichrist himself..."
3.  The Spiritual Life was written by Father Jean Nicolas Grou and published by Sophia Press. It can be purchased here.  Of the five books listed, this one has to be my favorite.  It is more of a maintenance manual for your soul.  The book often refers the reader to his or her spiritual director.  But even those of us without a spiritual director will benefit abundantly from each and every word written in this masterpiece of spiritual reading.  I am almost at the end and I will be re-reading it as soon as I finish the first time.  This time I will be making notes in the book itself.  It is book that must be read over and over again just like, The Imitation of Christ and Spiritual Combat.
"From the ashes of Revolutionary France:  A manual to help you hold fast to Faith in a barbaric, faithless world."

"...This tough, uncompromising handbook will help you deal with all the obligations and problems of the spiritual life.  As such, it teaches you what you need to know and to do when the comforts and supports of life have been swept away.

Indeed, Fr. Grou reminds you right at the beginning that salvation is only won at a great price.  He wrote this book for those who are willing to pay that price themselves.  His focus is firmly on Christ, whom he maintains should be the model for your own spiritual life- not just in theory, but in the hard fact of sacrifice and love so great as to pierce your heart.

Our times are not so far removed form the Godless irrationality that swept across France in Fr. Grou's day.  That's why, in our own tumultuous age, The Spiritual Life is so desperately needed.  It's the one guide that offers you real help to navigate the treacherous spiritual waters of today's world, and through it all, to keep the faith.
An example of the counsel given is regarding repeating the same faults over and over again. We fall and then we go to confession, only to fail once more.  The following excerpt is found on page 91:
"What will it matter, after all, how many times you have fallen on the way if you reach your journey's end safely at last?  God will not reproach you."
4.  Father Damien .."A Bit of Taro, A Piece of Fish, and A Glass of Water" by Anwei Skines law and Henry G. Law. This book is available at Amazon and locally at the Cathedral Gift Shop and the Damien and Marianne Heritage Center in Waikiki.  This beautiful book is a collection of stories by the people who actually knew Saint Damien.  They lived and worked with him.  They loved him.  This book is also filled with rare photos of the people Father Damien ministered.  Our own bishop Larry Silva wrote the introduction to the book.  He shared the story he learned as an adult, that his great-grandfather had been sent to Kalaupapa for being suspected of having leprosy.  This is a personal story to Bishop Larry which he graciously shared.

5.  The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the last book I wanted to recommend. Many of you may have already read this classic work or may even have it in your bookcase somewhere like I did. You can also read it online here.  This was a book I intended to read many times but never did.  It is an interesting narrative on these three brothers, their unlovable father and other notable characters, and it is just a good read.  Even though this is a work of fiction, the reader will find herself/himself making notes of certain parts that are spiritually enlightening or helpful.

Well, that is my Spring list of recommended reading.


Jean M. Heimann said...

These sound wonderful, Esther! I am avid reader, but would you believe that I have not read any of them? Thanks for reviewing and recommending them! :)

Esther Gefroh said...

Well, I hope you let me know if you enjoyed them Jean. God bless.

Mimi said...

I cannot recommend highly enough the newer translation of "The Brothers Karamazov" by Larissa Velohnsky (sp?) and Richard Pevar.
As I am a bear of little brain, the episodes contained in the book I find amazing and ones I contemplate often, the overarching story of the book I find less compelling.

Esther Gefroh said...

Mahalo Mimi. I will have to check that out.