CWG Book Blast – Cynthia Toney’s “6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face series, book three”

This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Guildie Cynthia Toney’s book, 6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face series, book three).”  It is an SOA winner.

Teaser:6 Dates to Disaster FC 5x8

When Wendy’s family has money problems, she must find a way on her own to see Mrs. V and Sam again—but in the process will she lose everything she counted on for the future, including David?

Summary:

For her mom’s birthday, Wendy finds an old jewelry box at a flea market—the perfect gift for someone who loves salvaged junk. But inside the box is a cryptic note that appears to have been written recently. Who wrote the note, and did the intended recipient ever see it?

Wendy’s curiosity leads her on a search with boyfriend David at her side and eager to help.

But Wendy needs more personal and urgent help—the financial kind—because her stepfather has lost his job. The family’s plan to visit Alaska on vacation is headed down the sewer like a hard Louisiana rain. How will Wendy ever see Mrs. V or Sam again?

When an opportunity arrives in the form of tutoring Melissa, one of the Sticks, Wendy’s money problems appear to be solved. Until the arrangement takes a turn that gets Wendy into trouble like never before.

And in the final months of ninth grade, she might lose everything she counted on for the future.

Benefits to the Teen and the Family:

This story addresses academic honesty and communication with parents and demonstrates how abandoning either might affect a teen’s relationships and future.

“6 Dates to Disaster” is a Finalist in the Grace Awards.

Website: http://www.cynthiattoney.com

Blog:  http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/CynthiaTToney

Twitter: @CynthiaTToney

Instagram: @CynthiaTToney

Pinterest: Cynthia T. Toney, YA Author

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiattoney

Excerpt:

A tightly folded piece of blue paper was stuck in the back corner of a drawer. I pulled it free and unfolded the bottom of a page from one of those small-sized spiral notebooks people use for journals. It had one edge of ragged paper fingers torn from the spiral, but the paper felt crisp and looked clean. Where had I seen paper like that before? I opened it.

Meet me in the park after the Mardi Gras parade. It was written in a loose, flowing script that could belong to a male or female. No signature. How odd.

My back straightened.

Someone had hidden this note. Hidden it where no one else would find it, shoving it like that to the rear corner of a drawer so small. To keep the meeting a secret without throwing away the note—and still be able to look at it again later. Or, maybe the note never arrived where it was supposed to go.

My curiosity kicked in like it had when I’d learned about a lost uncle no one in the family wanted to talk about.

Who’d written this note, and where was the person it belonged to? One thing for sure—the sender must be someone important to the recipient.

My eyes narrowed. Was the note a directive for a romantic rendezvous? An exchange of some sort? What? How did an old jewelry box wind up at the flea market with what appeared to be a new note still inside?

If the message referred to this year’s Mardi Gras parade, it was scheduled for next Saturday.

Anticipation drummed in my chest.

What if the sender or the recipient showed up at the park next Saturday and no one else came?

I threw away everything from inside the box but kept the note.

Bio:

Cynthia writes novels for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her contemporary and historical fiction has twisty plots with elements of mystery and romance—because life is complicated. Ask any teen! Cynthia’s Bird Face series (so far) includes 8 Notes to a Nobody, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, and 6 Dates to Disaster. Her coming-of-age historical, The Other Side of Freedom, releases August, 2017. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs.

Buy Links:

Amazon Paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/Dates-Disaster-Bird-Face/dp/1944120246/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Amazon Kindle edition:

https://www.amazon.com/Dates-Disaster-Bird-Face-Book-ebook/dp/B01MXUMV8K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Barnes & Noble Paperback:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/6-dates-to-disaster-cynthia-t-toney/1125288374?ean=9781944120245

Books-a-Million Paperback:

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Dates-Disaster/Cynthia-T-Toney/9781944120245?id=6564263577253

Tweet: Her goal is Alaska. Her family is broke. Is a chance to make money the answer to a prayer—or the road to disaster? www.amzn.com/B01MXUMV8K

Posted in Catholic book blast, Catholic Writing and Publishing, Faith, Family Life, Fiction, fiction, Juvenile fiction, Young Adult Novel | Comments Off on CWG Book Blast – Cynthia Toney’s “6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face series, book three”

Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk

Rightfully Ours (cover), by Carolyn AstfalkRightfully Ours tells of buried gold, but more importantly, it reveals something far more precious in rural, North Central Pennsylvania.  The treasure hunters, Rachel Mueller and Paul Porter, find themselves in the Mueller’s kitchen early in the school year, flummoxed by their improbable and unforeseen encounter. Blame it on Ron Mueller, who guards Rachel, his fourteen-year-old daughter, with strict rules about dating. He quickly introduces potential boyfriends to his “three-barrel shotgun” to assure their compliance with his standards. But his response to economic pressures—leasing the southern portion of his property to a gas-mining/fracking operation and renting an in-law cottage located near his house—unwittingly creates conflict, temptation, and a compelling story.

Sixteen-year-old Paul, the brother of one of the fracking roughnecks, is Ron’s tenant. He and Rachel live next door to each other and ride the same school bus. Thrown together, Rachel’s awkwardness and Paul’s resentment keep them apart. Eventually, Paul’s teasing tells Rachel that heknows she exists. Slowly their relationship warms and later endures tragedies, misunderstandings, discoveries, and disappointments.

Paul’s unearthing of a Civil War artifact in Rachel’s garden inspires him to write the term paper of the century. As part of his research, Paul and Rachel discover something controversial and of great monetary value—something to excite history buffs and the custodians of Fort Knox.

Despite Mr. and Mrs. Mueller’s efforts to discourage teen passions, Paul and Rachel find themselves unsupervised. They weigh what is best for their short term relationship against what is more valuable in the long term. Young readers will be able to identify with Paul and Rachel as their love develops, and to feel their pain as storms tatter and threaten a far more valuable treasure, one they may soon lose.

Carolyn Astfalk brings life to the pages of her books. She fills her teen romance novel with tenderness, humor, and irony. As with Romeo and Juliette, parting with Rachel and Paul will be “sweet sorrow.”

I had the privilege to work in the Catholic Writers Guild Fiction Critique Group with Carolyn Astfalk as Rightfully Ours came to be. She shared each new chapter and eventually sent me a review copy of the completed book. I’ve enjoyed all of Carolyn’s published and unpublished novels including Ornamental Graces and Stay with Me. I am grateful for her assistance with my own efforts.

Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Catholic Fiction, Faith, Fiction, fiction, Humour, Juvenile fiction, Love, Novel, romance, suspense, Young Adult Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Promise of Lent and Grace of Eastertide

Supper at Emmaus Bartolomeo Cavarozzi (Getty)

Supper at Emmaus Bartolomeo Cavarozzi (Getty)

The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 1:6)

As the end of Lent nears, we see how far we have come. And we see how far we have to go to become the holy children of God he created us to become.

God began a good work in us on Ash Wednesday and inspired us to launch out into the deep of many unknowns. The unknown of our capacity to make the change he inspired in us. The unknown of our perseverance and the strength of our expectant faith.

Coöperating with grace

What is not unknown now is that new sureness inside us that we are growing spiritually. Whatever the outcome of our Lenten resolutions, something in our spirit is urging us on to continue to coöperate with the grace poured out on us during these 40 days and abounding even more during Eastertide.

Perhaps it is the grace to continue with a new devotion, more consistent prayer time, or additional time spent pursuing spiritual wisdom or before the Blessed Sacrament. It could be a new appreciation of a food or activity we denied ourselves that we will always enjoy more because of our sacrifice this Lent. Awareness of a weakness we hadn’t recognized before can bring us the resolve to coöperate with God in strengthening our faith so that, with the help of the Lord, we will be victorious.

Growing up in the Lord

We are growing up in the Lord! Let us now look forward to the Easter season and all the beauty, glory and new life springing up around us and praise God for the beauty, glory and new life budding in our soul.

The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 1:6)

What good work that God began in you during Lent will you continue after Easter?

© 2017 Nancy H C Ward

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CWG Prayer Chain Post: April 9, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Philippians 2:6-11

Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. And for this God raised him high, and gave him the name which is above all other names; so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


APRIL INTENTION PRAYER

The Gloria
Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will. We praise You. We bless You. We adore you. We glorify You. We give You thanks for Your great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father: you Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. You Who take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You Who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are holy. You alone are the Lord. You alone, O Jesus Christ, are most high. Together with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Comments Off on CWG Prayer Chain Post: April 9, 2017

When Picking up Your Pen Is Picking up Your Cross

By Janice Lane Palko

How do you regard your writing career? Perhaps you’re like me. I’ve been putting words on paper for more than 20 years, and I’ve always regarded my propensity to write as a being a blessing and as a calling of sorts. I wrote last month how God and, to a lesser extent, we humans can take something meant for harm and turn it into good. My writing has been a blessing wrought from misery.

I’m a natural-born worrier. Some families seem to pass on the proclivity to become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling while others seem to be prone to divorce or commit suicide, but my family’s fatal foible is to fret. We are world-class worriers. After my third and last child was born, now nearly 25 years ago, I began to experience panic attacks. At first, I didn’t know what was happening to me, but as a worrier, I, of course, assumed it had to be something catastrophic like a brain tumor. After consulting my family doctor and a visit to a therapist, it became apparent that I was under too much stress—a lot of which I was putting upon myself. In addition to having three small children at the time and getting no sleep and experiencing several family health crises, I have a vivid imagination. As such, I realized through some introspection and prayer, that I was using my God-given imagination to terrorize myself. For instance, if I saw a carjacking on the news, I would cast myself as a victim and play out the scenario in detail in my mind of what it would be like to be taken captive and held by brutal criminals.

Through prayer, reprioritizing my things in my life, and discovering that I could terrorize people on the page through writing instead of myself, I found a happier, more peaceful, and more productive life. That’s why I’ve always viewed my writing career as a blessing in my life. It refocused my mind on more productive things.

During this Lent, however, I’ve come to another perspective–one that seems contradictory since I love writing so much. I’ve become aware that writing may also be my cross. Not to trivialize Jesus’s passion and death by comparing it to the life of a writer, but when you are a writer, life is not all sunshine and roses. There is suffering. How many of us could paper the walls with rejection slips? How many of us have had a piece you’ve sweated over fall flat? How many of us have looked at a paltry royalty check and wondered if it’s all worth it? How many of us have watched as books like Fifty Shades of Grey soar to the top of the bestseller’s list while our writing attempts to edify and inspire bump along the bottom of the Amazon charts? How many of us have put in a full day’s work or spent all day taking care of a home and children only to use what little “me time” there is to eke out some writing?

In writing this piece, I did some research on what it means for Catholics to “take up their cross.” It seems that passage of scripture is often difficult to define, but I like this thought on it that Saint Pope John Paul II gave during World Youth Day in 2001.

“As the cross can be reduced to being an ornament, ‘to carry the cross’ can become just a manner of speaking. In the teaching of Jesus, however, it does not imply the pre-eminence of mortification and denial. It does not refer primarily to the need to endure patiently the great and small tribulations of life, or, even less, to the exaltation of pain as a means of pleasing God. It is not suffering for its own sake that a Christian seeks, but love. When the cross is embraced, it becomes a sign of love and of total self-giving. To carry it behind Christ means to be united with him in offering the greatest proof of love.”

Like the proverbial double-edge sword, I’ve come to see my writing as both a blessing and a cross much as Jesus’s cross is both a curse as it spelled suffering and death and yet, at the same time, was the greatest sign of His love for us. Suffering and love are always intertwined.

Therefore, as we come to another Easter, I’m going to dwell less on the suffering endured as a writer and strive to be more like Jesus and take up my cross and offer everything I put on the page as a great proof of love.

Posted in Catholic Theme, Catholic Writing and Publishing, Encouragement for Writers, Faith, Family Life, Hope, Inspirational, Spiritual Life, The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Extraordinary Powers of the Catholic Priest–Imparting the Apostolic Pardon

My wife, Marty, passed away on March 27. Some of you may have seen my posts over the past few years about her ongoing battle with cancer and then Alzheimer’s Disease. No matter; what killed her was an infection called sepsis. It went to her heart and that was that.

There was, however, a spiritual beauty and inspirational moment that occurred during her journey to the end of her life. It happened soon after she was on life support. It showed me clearly why God had brought Marty and me together to begin with and how the power given to a priest through Holy Orders is so awe-inspiring. The following story, published at Aleteia, describes what happened.

I was standing next to an unconscious body that was being kept alive through the use of mechanical means and medications. Somewhere inside that body was my wife, Marty. She was on life support and my work of many years as her caregiver was either on hold or would soon be ended.

Marty has had Alzheimer’s for several years already, but as 2017 arrived, things had spiraled downward. Over these last three months, the disease has been markedly advancing and has affected her walking. Several times, she has even forgotten who I am.

One day a week or so ago, I wanted to give her the afternoon meds. She refused to take them. She said she could not let a stranger give her poison. I am accustomed to her unpredictability but this was a first.

I resorted to having a close friend come over to “identify” me to Marty. My wife was unflappable and refused to give in. After about a half-hour of cajoling, she finally, yet haltingly, relented and took her pills.

Last Thursday, Marty spent most of the day sleeping. She ate nothing. I attributed it to new meds she had been prescribed. Friday the sleeping intensified and again she did not eat. Saturday was worse and late in the afternoon, when I checked her vitals, her oxygen level was at 82.

I called 911.

The paramedics oxygenated her and took her to the ER. She was freezing cold and they discovered her core temperature was down to 93 degrees. Sepsis was suspected and later on validated.

By 4 a.m., she was in ICU and on life support. She had become “unresponsive” and needed to be intubated.

Through my jumbled thoughts in the midst of the commotion, one thought came crystal clear. Call the priest.

Read the rest at Aleteia.org.

 

Please keep both Marty and me in your prayers.

Copyright 2017 Larry Peterson

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CWG Prayer Chain Post: April 2, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Ezekiel 37:12-14

So, prophesy. Say to them, “The Lord Yahweh says this: I am now going to open your graves; I shall raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people, and put my spirit in you, and you revive, and I resettle you on your own soil. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done this — declares the Lord Yahweh.” ‘


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


APRIL INTENTION PRAYER

The Gloria
Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will. We praise You. We bless You. We adore you. We glorify You. We give You thanks for Your great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father: you Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. You Who take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You Who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are holy. You alone are the Lord. You alone, O Jesus Christ, are most high. Together with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Comments Off on CWG Prayer Chain Post: April 2, 2017

The Twelve Steps to being a Spiritual Writer

lrosarykeyboardStep Nine – Make direct amends to fellow writers, publishers, illustrators, family or readers that I may have harmed wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

During our last step, I asked you to make a list of all those you may have harmed or sinned against with your work, writing or writing career. It isn’t an easy thing to do. None of us want to admit that we may have harmed or sinned against another. Sometimes the sin we commit has become so much a part of our sin pattern or personality that we don’t even recognize it as a harm. I hope you took time in prayer to discover things done, said or undone that may have hurt others. All too often it is easy to hold grudges and grievances of wrongs that people do to us while forgetting the sins we have committed against others.

Now comes one of the hardest steps. We need to make reparation for the things we have done. It is one thing to go to confession and ask for forgiveness for a sin. If it is a venial sin, the penance may be just a prayer, service or alms-giving. However, if we go to the priest and confess that we robbed our mother’s purse and stole $1000 out of her wallet, we cannot receive forgiveness unless we make restitution. We would have to return the money and confess to our mother the harm we had done to her. I think that the easy part is returning the money. Left to my own conscience, I would slip the money back into her wallet and consider my part done. The hard part is letting my mother know that I am a thief. That I placed my own needs above hers. However, true reparation requires that I humble myself, admit my wrong and ask for forgiveness.

“Satisfaction – Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order repair the harm (e.g. return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must ‘make satisfaction for’ or ‘expiate’ his sins.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2468, 1459)

This is the moment to look at your list and decide what you should do to make reparation for your past. It may be as simple as writing that review you promised or making that call you said you would.  However, if you slandered someone you are required to go to them and let them know what you did, ask forgiveness and then make moves to restore their reputation. This is not an easy process. There are times when you will lose a friend or not be forgiven. Whether the person forgives you or not is none of your business. They have their own spirituality. Your spiritually demands that you live in truth.

If you plagiarized another writer or even stole a casual idea, you need to go to that person and confess, ask forgiveness and possibly face financial restitution.  Maybe you discouraged another writer. Ask forgiveness and then resolve to give that person who may be struggling encouragement and help.

None of this is easy. It is easier to try to forget or hide – trying to save our own reputations. However, the only relationship that really counts is our relationship with God and with our own conscience.

Most of the reparations we need to make will not be as harsh. Again the hardest part is admitting our wrongs to those we have sinned against. Many of those are people we don’t care for, which is the basis for the sin to begin with. It doesn’t matter. Our own soul requires we mend the tears we have made. I have even had to make restitution with writers who have passed on. How? A Mass said, a letter written and prayed, a gift to the family left behind. Our souls are eternal and even death cannot destroy the need for justice.

The funny thing is the way this step makes us feel. We lighten our burden. We free ourselves from guilt and worry. And we find it especially hard to commit that harm ever again. We may lose friends, but can also find friends we never expected. The biggest benefit is becoming friends with Jesus, and yourself.

There is one precaution. As the step says, we can never ‘unburden’ ourselves if to do so would harm the other person or others. For example: To confess to someone’s wife that you had an affair with their husband may make you feel great, but it would harm the wife and possibly destroy the family. You cannot resolve wrong by creating another. However, be careful that you don’t use this as an excuse not to tell the truth or to ask for forgiveness when it is appropriate.

Take your list and have courage. The courage of Christ will make you the spiritual writer, person and soul you were meant to be. We will explore more on this subject in our next post.

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CWG Prayer Chain Post: March 26, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Ephesians 5:8-14

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and uprightness and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, take no part in the futile works of darkness but, on the contrary, show them up for what they are. The things which are done in secret are shameful even to speak of; but anything shown up by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated is itself a light. That is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


MARCH INTENTION PRAYER

Ezekiel 34:11-13

For the Lord Yahweh says this: “Look, I myself shall take care of my flock and look after it. As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so shall I look after my sheep. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered on the day of clouds and darkness. I shall bring them back from the peoples where they are; I shall gather them back from the countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the inhabited parts of the country.”

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Comments Off on CWG Prayer Chain Post: March 26, 2017

Rejoice! Gospel Meditations, by Louis Evely

Lent invites us to refresh our souls, to refocus our lives, to set things right. Rejoice! by Louis Evely, has a way of growing us out of our comfort zones into the light. It challenges us to lift our crosses and follow Jesus. Evely writes: “There were times when Jesus was frightening in his logic, frightening in his relentlessness. He went beyond what was said of him; beyond the half-measures at which the Law had reasonably stopped. Jesus allowed nothing to stop him. He knows only one law: love. And from that law, he draws consequences with logic, which must either electrify or repel his followers.”

Consider the tax collectors and harlots who flocked to the desert to see St. John the Baptist. They asked John, “What must we do?” To their surprise, John told them, “If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.” Luke 3:11.  To approach God who we cannot see; we must first approach our neighbors, especially those in need. The message of John and later Jesus electrified their followers. Imagine the joy among the penitents at finding the path to forgiveness and love. Imagine the community that benefits from their joyful giving.

Consider the Pharisees. Why instead of the Pharisees, did the likes of Matthew, Zacchaeus, other tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes flock to Jesus? Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection and angels. They maintained their zeal for the Law and awaited the Messiah. “They should have been Jesus’ staunchest supporters.” On the contrary, many of them joined in the call for Jesus’ death. Evely explains that “The Pharisees were proud of their faith, their knowledge, their good works, and their religious observances. Therefore they were closed to God’s gifts and God’s forgiveness, for they did not believe that they were in need of either.” They believed that they had saved themselves through their rigorous observance of the Law. In their assumption of righteousness, they not only rejected God’s mercy, but they refused to extend mercy toward the unrighteous. Imagine their frustration when Jesus said that they had to change their whole approach to God and that their earlier efforts may have placed them behind the hated tax-collectors on the path to God. The message of Jesus repelled them.

Evely used the Parable of The Prodigal Son to compare the Pharisees to the tax collectors and sinners. The older son keeps the Law, but he does so, resentfully. The prodigal, like the tax collectors, rejects the discipline of the Law, but at least he realizes his sinfulness. He is willing to confess to his father and beg a place among his servants. The father, like God the Father is something of a prodigal in his mercy toward the younger son. God squanders love on sinners and reproves the cold-hearted legalists. God’s ways are not our ways.

Evely observes, “It is one of the paradoxes of human nature that we often find more generosity, compassion, and willingness to serve among libertines and loose women than among our moral rigorists.” To underscore his claim, he cites the Parable of the Vineyard Workers. Those who endured the heat of the day received the same pay as those who worked only one hour. Evely writes that those who worked longer should have rejoiced at the good fortune of the last to arrive. The day-long workers grumbled at their fair wage, but Jesus made the point that the vineyard owner was free to do with his money as he wished, despite how it appeared to the workers. God’s ways are not our ways.

If we proclaim Jesus in our liturgy, we must live according to His teachings by radiating God’s love. “God is no more and no less visible than love itself,” Evely writes. “Other men see it and know that the Spirit of God is present. In the early church, only men ‘filled with the spirit’ were chosen for important missions. And the pagans said of the first Christians, ‘See how they love one another!’ The love of these Christians was such that, through it God Himself was made visible.” The lives of the early Christians proclaimed the Law of Love. In loving, they won the culture war against their pagan environment. Why today, have so many churches closed or serve only the elderly? Why today, do some Catholics fear the lure of the secular culture? Shouldn’t they be more concerned about cold-hearted Church members who lack the compelling love that denoted the early Christians and attracted new Christians?

Wishing you an invigorating Lent, one that brings rejoicing.

Louis Evely also wrote a collection of meditations focused on the Easter-Pentecost season: Joy: Meditations on the Joyful Heritage of Christianity.

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Catechetics, Catholic Theme, Easter, Faith, Hope, Inspirational, Lent, Lenten Devotion, Love, Mercy, mystery, non-fiction, Prayer, Resurrection, Spiritual Life, The Mystery of Suffering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rejoice! Gospel Meditations, by Louis Evely