April 2014 On the Shelf
The Road of Hope
A Gospel From Prison
Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
New City Press
How wonderful it would be, Cardinal Thuan supposes, if we were required to love only God. But we’re also commanded “the difficult obligation to love our neighbor.” For the author, former Coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon and eventual president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, these neighbors included the Communist authorities who imprisoned him for thirteen years, mostly in isolation. Yet he’s certain of the courageous devotion of the Church in Vietnam. So many of the Church’s sons and daughters suffered persecution as confessors of the faith, inspiring these thousand and one simple yet significant thoughts: “Put your hand over your heart often and tell yourself: ‘God is living with me and in me.’” “Learn to have confidence that the hand of God arranges all things through many different people and circumstances.” Intended as a message of encouragement from a captive father to his children, readers who walk this road will find much hope and deep joy.
The Layperson’s Distinctive Role
Francis Cardinal Arinze
Christianity is not for spectators. It’s hands-on for all believers, and we should expect to get those hands dirty. We’re called not only to transform our lives to the demands of the Gospel, but also to witness this challenging message to those we live and work with and those who shape our culture, our laws, our attitudes and ideals, our forms of expression and rituals of celebration. “Faith and culture have to meet,” insists African prelate Francis Arinze. Cardinal Arinze encourages the laity to demonstrate conviction and courage in assuming their distinctive, dynamic, and demanding vocation.
Francis of Assisi In His Own Words
The Essential Writings
translated by Jon Sweeney
Francis remains one of the world’s most popular saints in every imaginable representation. Compiled from his Rules, letters, prayers, canticles, and Final Testament, with helpful explanations of setting and purpose, this translation by history writer and culture critic Jon Sweeney remains faithful to Francis in style and spirit: passionate, simple, earnest, and inspiring.
In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan
A Model for Peacemaking
Fructum Dabit—“it will give fruit.” So begins this exceptional film, inviting our readiness to participate in respectful understanding of another’s position. In this willingness “to be open to the truth of each one of us, is where peace begins.” So it is with Francis of Assisi on a mission to the Holy Land in 1219 to preach against the Crusades. Crossing battle lines, his encounter with Sultan Malik al-Kamil, leader of the Muslim forces, proves remarkable and is creatively presented in two parts. Modern and traditional images move us effectively between landscape and life of the thirteenth and twenty-first centuries. FranciscanMedia.org provides a free comprehensive study guide, making this DVD an excellent resource that will give fruit within classrooms, interreligious dialogues, and social justice initiatives.
Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day
Carol Benoist and Cathy Gilmore;
Illustrated by Jonathan Sundy
Liguori Publications $16.99 (hardcover)
In these weeks before Easter, we find any number of books for children—colorful tales of egg hunts, baskets brimming with all manner of sweet treats, talking jellybeans, and marshmallow chicks. While these are cheerful and amusing—and at times even thoughtful—it can be frustrating for those who want to pass faith on to our youngest believers but find it difficult to talk to them about Jesus’ last days on earth. Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day places one of the most familiar and beloved of these cultural characters within the resurrection narrative, inviting children into the deepest mystery of our faith with gentle reassurance. Beautifully illustrated and also available in Spanish, let Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day become a holy day tool as well as a holiday tradition.