Book Review: Mary and the Christian Life by Amy Welborn

This is a short book, designed to help us appreciate the Mother of Jesus more and show the importance she has for all Christians. After all, no one was closer to, thought more about, or had a greater influence on Jesus than His mother. He took His existence from her, His very DNA was based on hers, she was by His side through His childhood, raising Him, teaching Him how to live in this world. No one in the history of the world spent more time with our Savior, and therefore it’s important for us to reflect on her so we can understand how we can be a more perfect disciple of Him.

Amy Welborn takes us through the Bible, discussing Mary’s appearances in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation:

The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Magnificat
Mary’s Pregnancy and Birth of Jesus
The Presentation
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The Miracle at Cana
Mary at the Foot of the Cross
“A Woman Clothed with the Sun” (John’s Vision in Revelation 12)

Each of these stories tells us something about Mary and her relationship with Jesus which in turn tells us about what we need to do to grow as close to Jesus as His mother was. Welborn also traces the beliefs and traditions about Mary through Church history, showing that Mary was revered and honored from the earliest history of the Church, quoting from Church fathers and ancient Christian prayers honoring Mary.

This book can help us all grow in our appreciation of Mary and help us all to understand how she can help us go closer to Jesus. This book can help us get “To Jesus, Through Mary” as Saint Louis de Montfort wrote centuries ago.

Book Review: Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano

I read a number of good reviews of this book, but wasn’t particularly interested in reading it. I ended up receiving it in the mail from a charity I support (I’ve forgotten which one), so I decided to read it.

It’s a good read and helps us to remember how we should pray when we pray to God. While it has some Catholic references, it’s really written for all Christians; indeed, of the four “advance praise” quotes on the back cover, only one is from a Catholic. (I haven’t heard of the other three people quoted, so I presume they’re non-Catholics of some sort.)

The prayers that DeStefano lists are:

God, Show Me That You Exist
God, Make Me an Instrument
God, Outdo Me in Generosity
God, Get Me Through this Suffering
God, Forgive Me
God, Give Me Peace
God, Give Me Courage
God, Give Me Wisdom
God, Bring Good Out of This Bad Situation
God, Lead Me to My Destiny

The common thread among these prayers is a desire to come closer to Him, to be more like Him. They’re not about what God can do for us, but about shaping us to do His Will, to grow to be more like Him.

My favorite part of the book was where he points out the foolishness of those preachers who claim God wants us all to be rich or that He will give us anything we ask for if we pray with sincerity. God doesn’t desire us all to be wealthy; as the Psalmist wrote, “He hears the cry of the poor.” Plus, enough lose sight of Him as a result of their self-sufficiency and security, that being wealthy can be a detriment to a properly focused life.

This book reminds us that the greatest prayers we can make are to be more like our Lord; concern for others, sacrifice, love, acceptance of God’s will. Desire to grow in those virtues is something God will always help us with.

Bush & the Pope

Bush greeting pope in big way – CNN.com

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history.

That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

Meanwhile, we have an article some link to with the description “George W. Bush, ‘closet Catholic'”:

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff’s books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope’s writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush’s inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America’s first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation’s first Catholic president.

This isn’t as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the “Catholic president” label. “He’s certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy.”

Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church’s discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation — with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter’s successor. “I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility,” says this priest. “He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability.” The priest also says that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism — by comparison with Catholicism — may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush’s domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.

Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. “I think he is a secret believer,” Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush’s first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a “closet Catholic.” And he was only half-kidding.

In 2004, after the election, I went on a retreat at Malvern Retreat House. Talking to one of the other retreatants, he told me that he thought Bush was practically a Catholic given his stances on many issues. I had to agree, and stated that he was certainly more Catholic than his putatively Catholic opponent. And as stated above, more Catholic as President than JFK. (I’ll not compare him to Al Smith. I’ve got no beef with Smith, who by all accounts was a faithful Catholic.)

His brother Jeb is already Catholic. A while back there was a photo of W. with a picture of Mary on a table next to him in either the White House or some other personal location. He’s gone out of his way to consult with the Pope more than any other President in history. Maybe another Bush will crossing the Tiber soon….

Bush & the Pope

Bush greeting pope in big way – CNN.com

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history.

That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

Meanwhile, we have an article some link to with the description “George W. Bush, ‘closet Catholic'”:

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff’s books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope’s writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush’s inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America’s first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation’s first Catholic president.

This isn’t as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the “Catholic president” label. “He’s certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy.”

Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church’s discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation — with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter’s successor. “I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility,” says this priest. “He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability.” The priest also says that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism — by comparison with Catholicism — may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush’s domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.

Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. “I think he is a secret believer,” Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush’s first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a “closet Catholic.” And he was only half-kidding.

In 2004, after the election, I went on a retreat at Malvern Retreat House. Talking to one of the other retreatants, he told me that he thought Bush was practically a Catholic given his stances on many issues. I had to agree, and stated that he was certainly more Catholic than his putatively Catholic opponent. And as stated above, more Catholic as President than JFK. (I’ll not compare him to Al Smith. I’ve got no beef with Smith, who by all accounts was a faithful Catholic.)

His brother Jeb is already Catholic. A while back there was a photo of W. with a picture of Mary on a table next to him in either the White House or some other personal location. He’s gone out of his way to consult with the Pope more than any other President in history. Maybe another Bush will crossing the Tiber soon….

Bush & the Pope

Bush greeting pope in big way – CNN.com

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history.

That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

Meanwhile, we have an article some link to with the description “George W. Bush, ‘closet Catholic'”:

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff’s books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope’s writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush’s inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America’s first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation’s first Catholic president.

This isn’t as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the “Catholic president” label. “He’s certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy.”

Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church’s discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation — with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter’s successor. “I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility,” says this priest. “He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability.” The priest also says that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism — by comparison with Catholicism — may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush’s domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.

Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. “I think he is a secret believer,” Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush’s first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a “closet Catholic.” And he was only half-kidding.

In 2004, after the election, I went on a retreat at Malvern Retreat House. Talking to one of the other retreatants, he told me that he thought Bush was practically a Catholic given his stances on many issues. I had to agree, and stated that he was certainly more Catholic than his putatively Catholic opponent. And as stated above, more Catholic as President than JFK. (I’ll not compare him to Al Smith. I’ve got no beef with Smith, who by all accounts was a faithful Catholic.)

His brother Jeb is already Catholic. A while back there was a photo of W. with a picture of Mary on a table next to him in either the White House or some other personal location. He’s gone out of his way to consult with the Pope more than any other President in history. Maybe another Bush will crossing the Tiber soon….

Bush & the Pope

Bush greeting pope in big way – CNN.com

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history.

That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

Meanwhile, we have an article some link to with the description “George W. Bush, ‘closet Catholic'”:

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff’s books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope’s writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush’s inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America’s first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation’s first Catholic president.

This isn’t as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the “Catholic president” label. “He’s certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy.”

Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church’s discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation — with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter’s successor. “I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility,” says this priest. “He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability.” The priest also says that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism — by comparison with Catholicism — may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush’s domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.

Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. “I think he is a secret believer,” Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush’s first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a “closet Catholic.” And he was only half-kidding.

In 2004, after the election, I went on a retreat at Malvern Retreat House. Talking to one of the other retreatants, he told me that he thought Bush was practically a Catholic given his stances on many issues. I had to agree, and stated that he was certainly more Catholic than his putatively Catholic opponent. And as stated above, more Catholic as President than JFK. (I’ll not compare him to Al Smith. I’ve got no beef with Smith, who by all accounts was a faithful Catholic.)

His brother Jeb is already Catholic. A while back there was a photo of W. with a picture of Mary on a table next to him in either the White House or some other personal location. He’s gone out of his way to consult with the Pope more than any other President in history. Maybe another Bush will crossing the Tiber soon….

Bush & the Pope

Bush greeting pope in big way – CNN.com

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history.

That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

Meanwhile, we have an article some link to with the description “George W. Bush, ‘closet Catholic'”:

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff’s books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope’s writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush’s inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America’s first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation’s first Catholic president.

This isn’t as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the “Catholic president” label. “He’s certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy.”

Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church’s discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation — with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter’s successor. “I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility,” says this priest. “He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability.” The priest also says that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism — by comparison with Catholicism — may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush’s domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.

Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. “I think he is a secret believer,” Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush’s first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a “closet Catholic.” And he was only half-kidding.

In 2004, after the election, I went on a retreat at Malvern Retreat House. Talking to one of the other retreatants, he told me that he thought Bush was practically a Catholic given his stances on many issues. I had to agree, and stated that he was certainly more Catholic than his putatively Catholic opponent. And as stated above, more Catholic as President than JFK. (I’ll not compare him to Al Smith. I’ve got no beef with Smith, who by all accounts was a faithful Catholic.)

His brother Jeb is already Catholic. A while back there was a photo of W. with a picture of Mary on a table next to him in either the White House or some other personal location. He’s gone out of his way to consult with the Pope more than any other President in history. Maybe another Bush will crossing the Tiber soon….