I made a promise that as the holidays approached, I’d help with your Christmas shopping–by publishing reviews of some of the great books that have shown up in my mailbox. For today, a series of recommendations concerning prayer: How to grow in holiness, how to pray as a family, how to pray a 30-day retreat.

Whether you’re shopping for a friend or family member, or you want some inspiration to help you over the hump in your prayer life, there will be something here you’ll want to consider.


The Family That Prays Together, Stays Together. That was the message of Servant of God Patrick Peyton, the founder of Holy Cross Family Ministries who was best known as the “Rosary Priest.” From Saint Benedict Press comes a book chock-full of ideas and inspiration for parents who want to lead their families in prayer. The Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation authored the beautifully illustrated hardcover book, titled A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day.Roblox Hack No Survey No DownloadMovie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., archbishop of Philadelphia, wrote the Foreword. “If parents love God,” he wrote, “children see and learn faith. Parents who pray together teach by the way they live that God is real; that he is present, listening, and eager to be part of our lives.”

This is a great little book for families.

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THE HEART OF HOLINESS: Friendship With God and Others

the-heart-of-holinessDo you understand what it means to be truly holy? This new book by Redemptorist Father Gary Lauenstein demonstrates that the heart of holiness lies in an intimate relationship with God. With simplicity and grace, Fr. Lauenstein will show you how to meditate on your understanding of yourself, others and God.

In The Heart of Holiness, Father Lauenstein shows how our friendship with others can be a stepping stone to holiness. Our experiences with those we care about can shape who we are in light of the eternal.

The book is packed with stories from the author’s own life–but he also offers practical advice for how to make the most of human relationships, including the steps to take when choosing a friend who will help you to grow in holiness.

Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid calls The Heart of Holiness a “humble, graceful treatise on love and friendship.” Inspirational author Vinny Flynn notes that the book is “filled with wisdom and anecdotes…. from Aristotle, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II and many others.”

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living-the-mysteryLIVING THE MYSTERY OF LOVE:  30 Days With Thérèse of Lisieux

What better way to learn holiness than to sit at the feet of a saint? In this book, Anthony Lilles and Dan Burke have brought together excerpts of letters from St. Thérèse of Lisieux to her sisters and close friends, all of which focus on the goal of sanctity. Living the Mystery of Love is a 30-day retreat; but in the spirit of Thérèse herself, you don’t need to go off to a mountain retreat. Instead, the book challenges you to go about your daily work, inviting God to be your constant companion throughout the day.

Each day along the journey, there is a spiritual exercise which will prepare you to renew the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. Each daily meditation is focused on a different aspect of the Act of Oblation for consideration and prayer. As you work and pray with St. Thérèse, the authors hope that you will enjoy a deeper and more personal encounter with God.

Fr. Sean O. Sheridan, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, said of Living the Mystery of Merciful Love,

“Addressing such themes as discernment, unworthiness, loneliness, abandonment, suffering, and despair, the insights of St. Thérèse will greatly benefit people today as they did more than a century ago.”

Mike Aquilina said, “Don’t be fooled by the roses. This book is Parris Island for the interior life. To prepare souls in this way is itself a work of mercy.”

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