Book Review: Manual of Practical Devotion to St. Joseph

I freely admit that this title first struck me because it boasted of being “practical”. After all, what good is something to me if it’s unpractical? We can theorize all day long, but it won’t benefit us unless we can put it into practice. Thus, I am happy to report that ‘A Manual of Practical Devotion to St. Joseph’ fulfills its claim. The work is divided into three parts: the first part is dedicated to telling the motives for devotion to Saint Joseph, the second describes the protection and patronage of Saint Joseph, and the third and final part consists of practices, prayers, hymns, etc. in honor of Saint Joseph.

Father Patrignani does an excellent job. After Our Lady, St. Josephis the man we should turn to in our need. His patronage is extensive and effective, as Fr. Patrignani outlines in the first two parts. St. Teresa of Avila had a great love and devotion to St. Joseph which Fr. Patrignani describes well in the first part. St. Theresa said of St. Joseph that,

“Among all those who are sincerely devoted to him, and who make an open profession of honoring him, I know not a single individual who does not daily advance in virtue, so powerfully does he assist all those who place themselves under his protection.” (p. 85).

St. Joseph has granted numerous gifts and favors to those devoted to him, and Fr. Patrignani gives plenty of examples. Once we have been sufficiently convinced of the motives and efficacy of devotion to St. Joseph, the third part of ‘A Manual of Practical Devotion to St. Joseph’ provides practices for every day, particular seasons, numerous prayers and hymns (some in Latin!) to honor St. Joseph. Especially helpful is the breakdown for the month of March, traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph. Fr. Patrignani provides a short meditation (taken from the motives for devotion to St. Joseph), a hymn, and a prayer toSt. Joseph for each day in March.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review of A Manual Of Practical Devotion To St. Joseph for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

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Book Review: Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament

“Though an assent of Catholic faith be not due to them (miracles), they deserve a human assent according to the rules of prudence by which they are probable and piously credible.” Pope Benedict XIV

Moments Divine’ is a little book (pocket sized) of about thirty chapters containing accounts of Eucharistic miracles, prayers, and act of contrition, a reading regarding the Sacred Heart, and a prayer for spiritual communion. The end also contains a small section with litanies and other prayers, as well as prayers for Benediction. And at the very end there are a few pages with quotes from various Saints and theologians on visions and miracles. ‘Moments Divine’ can be a good preparation for Adoration, especially if you need a little something to help you turn your mind to God and holy things. Its size is fairly compact, which makes it easy to keep in your car, purse, or pocket.

Both the miraculous accounts and the Sacred Heart readings are documented by way of footnotes, and the Eucharistic miracles are titled by location and date such that it would be relatively easy to look up more information about a particular account at a later time.

“There are two sorts of apparitions, and both of them true, supernatural and divine, the handiwork of God. First of all, God by His absolute power can make such an impression on the senses of His servant, that while others see the absolute whiteness, roundness, thinness and quality of the sacramental species, he beholds a beautiful vision of the Babe of Bethlehem presented to him by the Divine Will; and it is no deceit; for as St. Augustine says, a fiction which is referred to as signification is not a falsehood, but a figure of the truth. Or again, when it is God’s will that a whole multitude should behold the vision, instead of miraculously impressing their senses, He may please to change all the accidents of the Host, its commensurable quantity excepted– which is the root and support of all the accidents– and may convert them into this appearance; and thus the laws of the Sacrament are not injured, falsified, or fundamentally disturbed, the dimensions remaining inviolate… These, as appearances of flesh and blood, are astounding evidences of the truth of the Blessed Sacrament; these apparitions of an infant are literally types, figures of its spirit, manifestations of its sweetness, disclosures of the devotional character which is apt to form.”Father Frederick Faber

I wrote this review of Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Tis the season…. of ADVENT!

This time of year brings out one of my greatest frustrations– the rush to reach Christmas whilst passing over Advent, as though time would move faster. Advent is probably the most under-appreciated and most forgotten liturgical season. Advent and Lent are similar liturgical seasons in that both demand an attitude of repentance (in preparation for the celebration of the coming Christmas/Easter). However, Advent is  less somber than Lent and is a season of joyful expectation. It’s also a season of waiting and patience. We join ourselves to those in the Old Testament who awaited the coming of the Messiah. Though the length of Advent is short, it’s impact is great. And while at the time of the writing of this post, Christmas is but a week away, let me remind you: IT IS STILL ADVENT! So whilst you rush around to finish your Christmas shopping and prepare for your Christmas traditions, take a few moments to remember that Christmas is not about anything other than the Incarnation of the Son of God. Nothing else matters. Nothing. So if your plans are going to keep you too busy to bear in mind that great truth, then trim your plans so you can focus on what really matters: the Infant born to bear our transgressions and pour out His Precious Blood for us.

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear…
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who orders all things mightily,
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go…
O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty, and awe…
O come, O Rod of Jesse free,
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave…
O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery…
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight…
O come, Desire of nations, bind,
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace…

Good reads for Advent:
the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, especially in light of the “O Antiphons
The Incarnation Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Redeemer in the Womb: Jesus Living in Mary by John Saward

Good Reads on Christian Marriage

With the recent news regarding the decline in belief in the Church’s teachings on Christian Marriage (i.e., sex), I thought some might appreciate a compendium of good reads on the topic of Christian Marriage: encyclicals, books, articles, etc.

From the Popes:
Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Pius XI
Arcanum (On Christian Marriage) — Pope Leo XIII
Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) — Pope John Paul II

The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II (* a general audience, which makes up the teachings contained in the theology of the Body, is not on the same level of teaching as a Papal encyclical or Conciliar document)

From the Bishops:
Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality – Pontifical Council for the Family
Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage – Pontifical Council for the Family
Love & Life in the Divine Plan — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Cohabitation Before Marriage — the Bishops of Kansas
Pennsylvania Bishops Document on Cohabitation — the Bishops of Pennsylvania
PDF on Fornication & other Sexual Matters — Archdiocese of Washington
Pastoral Letter on Cohabitation & Marriage in the Church — Archbishop Sheehan, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
The Vocation of Marriage in God’s Plan — Archbishop Stafford

From Priests, theologians, etc.:
Cana is Forever — Fr. Charles Hugo Doyle
Three to Get Married — Msgr. Fulton Sheen
Clean Love in Courtship – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik
Chastity: A Guide for Teens & Young Adults – Fr. Gerald Kelly, SJ
Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage – Fr. Donald Miller, CSSR
When Is Company Keeping Lawful & Prudent? – (“Company Keeping” = courtship/dating)
Little Book of Instructions for Christian Mothers – Fr. Pius Franciscus, OM Cap.
“Casti Connubii 60 Years Later” – John Kippley

Books not currently available (to my knowledge) online: (Get ‘em from your library or cool Catholic friend)
The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildebrand
The Sins of Parents by Fr. Charles Hugo Doyle
Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) (you can catch a decent size preview on Google Books here)
Called to Love by Carl Anderson & Fr. José Grenados (I briefly reviewed it here)

This is (and will be) constantly updated. Feel free to recommend something I may have missed.


Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM – R.I.P.

Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM died on Sunday, September 26 at around 4:45am after battling a long illness.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Fr. Dubay was the author of many books on the Spiritual life worthy of consideration and reflection:

Seeking Spiritual Direction
Prayer Primer
Fire Within
Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
And You Are Christ’s
The Evidential Power of Beauty
Happy Are You Poor
Faith and Certitude
Authenticity

In his honor, I hope to get a couple reviews of some of his books up on the site relatively soon.

Mary in the Church

In honor of today’s being the First Saturday of the month, I thought I’d share my compendium of Marian links (online Papal/Conciliar documents and writings of the Saints and other holy writers). I’m constantly updating my compendium, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve found something more.

Prayer of St. Anselm:

O Glorious Lady, grant that through you we may deserve to ascend to Jesus, your Son, who through you deigned to descend among us.

Popes

Supremi Apostolatus Officio, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/le…fficio_en.html

Octobri Mense Pope Leo XIII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/le…-mense_en.html

Adiutricem, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13adiut.htm

Augustissimae Virginis Mariae, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13augus.htm

Diuturni Temporis, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13diutu.htm

Fidentem Piumque Animum, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13fiden.htm

Iucunda Semper Expectatione, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13ro5.htm

Laetitiae Sanctae, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13ro3.htm

Magnae Dei Matris, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13ro2.htm

Superiore Anno, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13ro4.htm

Vi E Ben Noto, Pope Leo XIII
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13ros.htm

Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm

Ubi Primum, Pope Pius IX
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ubipr2.htm

Allocution, Pope Pius X
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10aniv.htm

Ad Diem Illum, Pope Pius X
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…ssimum_en.html

Ingravescentibus Malis, Pope Pius XI
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11GRAVE.HTM

Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…s-deus_en.html

Ingruentium Malorum, Pope Pius XII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…alorum_en.html

Fulgens Corona, Pope Pius XII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…corona_en.html

Deiparae Virginis Mariae, Pope Pius XII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…mariae_en.html

Ad Caeli Reginam, Pope Pius XII
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi…eginam_en.html

Christi Matri, Pope Paul VI
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6christ.htm

Mense Maio, Pope Paul VI
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6month.htm

Signum Magnum, Pope Paul VI
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6great.htm

Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pa…cultus_en.html

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/jo…mariae_en.html

Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/jo…-mater_en.html

Saints

True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Monfort
http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/truedevo.htm

The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori (excerpts)
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/glories.htm

The Secret of Mary, St. Louis de Montfort
http://www.ewtn.com/library/Montfort/secret.htm

The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort
http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/secret-rosary.htm

Other Marian works

The Mother of the Savior, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (excerpts)
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/mother-savior.htm

The Moral and Social Influence of Devotion to Mary, Dr. Orestes Brownson
http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/MORSOCDM.HTM

The Imitation of Mary, Alexander de Rouville
http://www.scribd.com/doc/4560439/Imitation-of-Mary

The Divine Purpose of Mary’s Compassion, Fr. Frederick W. Faber
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/mary14.htm
(taken from Fr. Faber’s The Foot of the Cross)

The World’s Happiest Marriage, Msgr. Fulton Sheen
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/happiest-marriage.htm
(taken from Msgr. Sheen’s The World’s First Love)

When Freedom and Love were One: The Annunciation, Msgr. Fulton Sheen
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/annunciation5.htm
(taken from Msgr. Sheen’s The World’s First Love)

Miracles

He that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

John 14:12

Reading Fr. Hebert’s Saints Who Raised the Dead and now enjoying Joan Carroll Cruz’s Mysteries, Marvels, Miracles in the Lives of the Saints has been enlightening and reassuring. It certainly has proved very interesting as well. The sheer volume of miraculous events, confirmed by doctors, non-believers, etc. is staggering.

I’ve always been a rather cautious (some might say “overly cautious”) person, and I think a healthy dose of skepticism is all right. Not skepticism in the sense that all things are impossible, but in the sense that natural causes and reasons should be considered. Attributing the miraculous to everything right away would be cause for accusations of gullibility, and a lessening of belief, as well as occasions of mockery (think of people who claim to see pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary in perishable things like toast). So, I do think we have to be careful. But I also see the need to recognize that we ought to give credit where credit is due. When it has been determined that there is no natural explanation for an event, it’s safe to term it ‘miraculous’ and give thanks to God through Whom all things are possible.

It is disturbing that there is a definite trend in modern “scholarship” to deny the miraculous. Instead of believing that Our Lord miraculously mulitplied the loaves and fishes, many modern “scholars”/”theologians” ask us to believe that there were traveling bread caravans that provided the extra food, or that everyone really had their own food and shared to make sure others had enough. Really?! Why would the Gospel writers feel the need to fabricate miracles after witnessing the greatest miracle of all? It does not make sense. When we start denying the miraclous in little things, we doubt the big things, and eventually… everything.

Miracles are real. Miracles are not impossible. God is still present and very much active in the world today. We need to refresh our memories with the history of our Salvation and the awesome things God has accomplished.

Read up on miracles. Read some good accounts of the miraculous (such as has been recorded in the 2 books I mentioned above). Pray, and give thanks.