Thursday, August 09, 2007

Book Reviews

Wow... again I've let the books pile up! Let's see if I can write at least a quick book review of a few of them, before the kids find out where I am and demand my attention!

Oh. Too late. Marie was in the kitchen shouting, "Maaaa-meeee! A baaapes!" (which translated means, "Mommy, I want some grapes!")

No Wonder They Call it The Real Presence
An inspirational book consisting of interviews of people who have make weekly Eucharistic Adoration a crucial part of their spiritual life. Some stories are more dramatic than others, but all have the obvious common thread that time spent before the Lord is never wasted, and He takes the time that we spend with Him to mold us and change us into the people we were created to be. It has made me toy with the idea of making a weekly "pilgrimage" to the chapel with my kids, so that ALL of us can get into the habit of physically spending time with Him.

The Shadow of His Wings
This is the story of a German seminarian in WWII who was drafted into the Nazi army. In the midst of great difficulties, he managed not only to hold onto his faith, but also to bring the light of Christ to the German soldiers who so desperately needed to hear the Gospel. In spite of the hardship, mistreatment, and outright persecution he and his fellow seminarians faced, they made it mandatory to spend the precious few hours of rest they had in prayer and meditation at whatever church was nearby.

"In the evenings, tired though we were from the day's exertions, we forced ourselves to go to a nearby Catholic church to refresh and strengthen our spirits for the coming debates in the barracks. We knew that somehow we had to win; we knew how important it was for us always to maintain the battle for souls. War or no war, army or no army, in spite of harassment, bullying, ridicule, and pressure, we could not let down our guard before these men. Perhaps even one among them would come to see the truth we served; if that were so, we would be well rewarded.

"Only one of the eleven seminarians in our group gave up his faith; and he was the single one who didn't go with us to the church in the evening for meditation and prayer." [p. 36]

That spoke volumes to me. Too often I think that I can somehow, in my own strength, keep going. I fool myself into thinking that I'm somehow too tired, or too busy, to spend a few minutes in prayer and meditation. Too often I have fooled myself into thinking time spent reading the Scriptures is optional. It isn't. These men KNEW Who had to give them the strength to go on, and they were not about to squander the time they had to be with Him. Like the book I mentioned earlier, it was time spent before Him in the Blessed Sacrament that made all the difference.

Left to Tell
I have wanted... and not wanted... to read this book for quite some time. When I saw that Kristen over at Small Treasures had been reading it, it brought it to the front of my mind again. On Tuesday, I was brave enough to see if our little library had it and, amazingly, it did! So with great trepidation, I started reading...

This is not an easy book to read. If you are like me, and you fear all the great "what ifs" that your nightmares can produce, then this will be quite unsettling (to say the least) to read. What she and her fellow countrymen experienced can only be called hell. It was the most terrifying, satanic attack I could possibly imagine someone going through.

How do you manage to hold on to your faith -- let alone your sanity -- when your fellow countrymen go berzerk and start torturing, maiming, raping, and murdering others based on what tribe they were born into?

Here is the story of how one woman did just that. Hiding out for 91 days with 6 other women in a 3x4' bathroom, Immaculee Ilibagaza tells how the Lord carried her through. Armed with only her father's rosary and her faith in God, she managed to hold on, grow by leaps and bounds spiritually, and even thrive despite the terrors that surrounded her constantly.

I cannot allow myself to dwell on the horrors she faced, or I will go nuts worrying about my children and what I would do in the same situation. Those who know me know that that is a battle I face often, so I can't let my mind go there.

What I *can* focus on, however, is the recurring theme found in each of these books: prayer is crucial. All of these people have found that to be true, and I would do well to take that lesson to heart NOW.


suburbancowgirl said...

Thank you for the timely "reminder that prayer should not be an "optional / when I just around it / when it's quiet and the kids don't need me" sort of thing.

Learning to be prayerful, even if I can't sit/kneel down or even close my eyes, will be a lifelong task for me, I'm afraid. I think it is learning that it is attitude that is important and not just having the externals 'correct' (i.e. the silence, the right book, or even the right feeling) is the important thing.


Beth said...

Hello Ouiz,
I am scared to read Left to Tell. I'm one to dwell on things like that. What do you think - should I give it a shot?

Jennifer F. said...

Very interesting! Thanks!

Ouiz said...

Beth, if you are like me, this is a rough one to read. It *is* terrifying for those of us prone to worry and fear. I found myself asking, "what if that happens here someday? They never expected anything like that either!" and on and on. I freak out and worry about where I would hide my kids, and how I could protect them, and blah blah blah. My mind goes berserk.

*IF* you think you can handle it, however, it is a good book to read, because God got her through that hellish time in her life. In spite of the hardships, she viewed her time hiding as a time of great growth. The woman prayed the Rosary SIXTEEN HOURS A DAY! Amazing...

Beth said...

yeah and she's coming to speak at destination jesus and at our church in february