Do We See?

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“Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world.”

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Do we know what is happening in the world today?

Evil runs rampant. Over 20,898,000 babies worldwide died from abortion so far this year; over 526,946 suicides; over $196,583,000,000 spent on illegal drugs this year (see https://www.worldometers.info/ for continuously updated numbers). And what about the numbers for violent crime, sex trafficking, sexual depravity, and—most troubling—the priest sex abuse scandal?

Plus, there has been a great loss of faith. Less and less identify as Christian. More and more embrace everything from hedonism and New Age beliefs to pure evil. And even among Catholics, over 69% no longer believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (see Pew Research).

We’ve known about all those things, but what have we done about them? And now, within the past few months, we’ve been struck with more–things we cannot ignore even if we wanted to! The entire world lives in fear of a virus, and we’ve completely changed the way we live our lives. Terrorists are destroying countries from within. Many churches are still closed. And who knows what lies on the horizon?

But do we really know what is happening in the world today?

The news media reports these tragedies, one after the other–too often with a slant. The situation in our world today can terrify us if we don’t have the right vision. We are called to live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). We need to look beyond the wars and rumors of war, the plagues and violence, and even beyond our own needs and physical well-being. We need to see with the eyes of faith. What underlies all the conflict and tragedy we see and hear about in the world? It is the spiritual battle between good and evil.

Are you a child of light?

Archbishop Vigano, in his letter to President Trump, recognized the two opposing sides that exist as eternal enemies and which are growing in our world today: the children of light and the children of darkness. He sees the forces of darkness, which once concealed their true intentions, revealing their plans openly in this generation, certain that they have won. He suspects that the riots in America, and those happening at the same time in Europe, have been orchestrated to dissolve the social order and build a new world without freedom.

Vigano recognizes the opposing sides within the Church as well: “the faithful Shepherds who care for the flock of Christ” vs. the “mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by the ravenous wolves.”

It is enough to make your head spin. It is enough to make one despair.

Has God forsaken us?

While it sometimes feels like God has forsaken us, God has already proven His love for us by sacrificing His only Son in atonement for our sins. He loves us and desires our salvation. He made each one of us to be happy with Him forever in heaven, so we can know with certainty that whatever cross comes our way, He only allows it so that some greater good will come of it. So the question is, have we forsaken God? Heaven is ours if we choose it, and we choose it by choosing God in our everyday actions.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Jesus, John 14:15

For those who are not living in the state of grace, misfortune serves as a wake-up call. For those in a relationship with Jesus, trials and crosses are meant to purify a soul like silver in fire. By uniting our sufferings to the cross, they become valuable, and when added to our prayers, they can help many souls. We have no need to fear pain, suffering, inconvenience, bad news, setbacks, and other disappointments.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

If we remain close to Our Lord and strive for holiness, we have nothing to fear in these dark times. But we do have a role to play. Pray, do penance, and have courage.

You were made for these times!

God wants you to be His instrument. And if you are tempted to think that you are too little, too much of a nobody to accomplish great things, think of Saint Joan of Arc, who was called by God as a teen, led the French in several battles, and then died a martyr’s death all by age 19.

Think of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He developed a deep spiritual life at a young age, and joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society so he could care for the sick and needy–even at the risk of his own health. He contracted polio from the sick he tended. So great was his love, so fearless his faith, that he even asked that his medicine be given to another.

Think of Blessed Isidore Bakanja, a merciful catechist who forgave the attackers who caused his death–they hated him for his Catholicism and his African race. He converted to Christianity at age 18, wore the Brown Scapular, and carried the Rosary with him everywhere he went. He also zealously shared his faith with anyone who would listen and on his death bed promised to pray for his attackers in heaven.

Or take this contemporary teen and expert in computers for your role model, with his brief but intense witness to an authentic Christian life. Venerable Carlo Acutis attended daily Mass, prayed the Rosary daily, and developed a website that catalogs Eucharistic miracles. He died of leukemia at the age of 15, after offering all his sufferings for the pope and the Church.

So, what are we to do in these difficult times?

  • Look to the saints for the examples of courage and faith that we need today. It is really such an honor that we are called to be the saints of our generation! The light in our dark culture!
  • Using Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must learn our faith inside and out so we can embody it, teach it to our children, and share it with anyone who will listen to us. Our formation is a never-ending process, and we must make sure our children realize that too.
  • We should also learn our history. Some seek to erase it as part of their plan to destroy our country. And we should make sure our children know it.
  • Heed the messages of Our Lady made known at Fatima and elsewhere: God calls us to holiness, to lives of prayer and penance. He calls us to be faithful soldiers of Christ, in the army of God.
  • Visit Jesus often in the Blessed Sacrament, the unique gift of His presence with us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
  • Pray the Rosary daily, avail yourself of the sacraments, and invest in the Brown Scapular.
  • Live the Faith. Learning and speaking about it is nothing if you are not living it for all to see and learn from your example.
  • Let us also remind ourselves and instill in our children the fact that we were not made for this world but to be with God in the eternal happiness of heaven. We are pilgrims in this world, on our way to the castle of the Great King.

“Have we lost sight of this world being a pilgrimage? It’s a journey. You’re not home yet. A Christian must never lose sight of this passing reality of life.”

Mother M. Angelica

Heaven help us.

Jesus has not left us orphans. He has promised to remain with us always, to the close of the age (Matt 28:20). He fulfills this promise in the Most Blessed Sacrament, His true presence among us. And He will remain in our tabernacles and on the altar in every Catholic Mass until the end of the age. Even if we aren’t allowed to go to Mass for a period of time.

Who would’ve ever imagined that we would be forbidden from attending Mass for so long? These are indeed unsettling times. I seem to remember a verse in Daniel that talks about the Holy Sacrifice being abolished and abomination being set up in the holy place (see Daniel 12:11). Jesus referred to this verse when asked what will be the sign of His second coming and the end of the age (see Matthew 24:15).

Are we at the end of the age?

Some believe we are. Some also believe that we will soon experience the illumination of conscience that many saints, blesseds, and modern-day seers have told us about. If you have not heard of it before, let me explain. This will be like a mini judgment where every person sees their soul as God sees it. We will each see the sins of our life and the consequences of those sins. We will know and feel our eternal destination, should we die without repentance. This is a gift of mercy, whereby sinners will have the opportunity to reconcile with God.

To Saint Faustina Kowalska Jesus said: “In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish suffering mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy.  

Diary of St Faustina, #1588

I recently read a novella that reminded me of this supernatural event, though the author had not been following Marian apparitions and was not aware of the illumination of conscience. She wrote the story and set it aside for years but recently felt called to work on the story and publish it. I read an advanced copy and knew at once it was a story for our times. This story had me thinking hard about the times we live in and the drastic decline in morals. And it had me thinking of this prophecy, the illumination of conscience, which I do wish would come soon. I want to see my soul as God sees it, so that I can change whatever is displeasing to Him. I want the faithful throughout the world to grow in holiness and for the unfaithful to repent.

New release by Catholic teen fiction author T.M. Gaouette

Story summary: It all happened one morning. It was as if the world had gone mad. Well, maybe not the whole world, but enough of it to get noticed. People were waking up as if possessed; suffering souls resorting to tearing at their skin, crying out loud to no one in particular, haunted by a sudden internal torment that no one around them could decipher. For investigative reporter Elijah, this news story was way bigger than a scoop. Unless he could unmask the truth behind the madness, how could he stop it, once and for all? And more urgent – how could he keep it from happening to him?

Get the book HERE. Learn more about the author, T.M. Gaouette, HERE.


“Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day.”

Diary of St Faustina, #83

Get Your Pro-life Fiction at Bringing America Back to Life Conference

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This year’s conference takes place March 6th and 7th at the Embassy Suites in Independence, Ohio. Click HERE to check out the fantastic lineup of speakers! Click HERE for registration.

In addition to the awesome speakers I’ll be bringing a ton of pro-life fiction. And I do mean a ton!

You will be able to purchase titles by many Catholic Teen Books authors.

Fiction with Pro-Life Themes

For Eden’s Sake: New release! Endorsed by Alveda King, this contemporary page-turner gives a guy’s perspective on the abortion issue. Readers can’t say enough good things about it.

All in Good Time: A realistic, clean Catholic romance between a harried widow of little children, a guy who’s been single too long, and how pornography touches us all – not just men, but women and kids too – by degrading the dignity of the human person and how the damage done can be restored.

Life-Changing Love: themes related to contemporary dating practices and courtship. A teen character supports another in choosing life. Touches on the baby’s development in the womb and the importance of confronting another to save an unborn child.

BREACH!: A heart-warming, pulse-pounding, pro-life adventure about taking responsibility for your mistakes–and staying alive! The ultimate pro-life novel for teen boys and young men!

Contemporary books by Leslea Wahl: adventure stories that combine mystery and a hint of romance with messages of faith. Promotes purity and focusing on Christ.

The King’s Prey: A story about Saint Dymphna with themes including purity and mental and emotional instability. As two estranged brothers risk everything to save Dymphna from her deranged father and his sinful desires?

Anyone but Him: a pro-life mystery romance for new adults. A story about second chances. Brings the shocking abortion statistics to light through a character that has founds himself too close to the issue.

Ornamental Graces: A realistic, pro-life Catholic romance with love, mercy, and a sprinkling of chocolate chip cookies and lavender. It emphasizes the far-reaching effects of abortion and God’s infinite mercy.

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch: Currently assigned in some Catholic schools, themes include children in foster care, overcoming past adversity and using it to strengthen our future.

Chasing Liberty series: a hard look at where our country/world is headed if we elevate the earth above man, lose the traditional family, and no longer have the freedom to practice faith. In this dark future, human life begins in the laboratory and the government indoctrinates from cradle to grave.

Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon: This rural fantasy deals with free will, friendship, and touches lightly on the dangers of genetic manipulation. Tweens and teens on up.

Faith & Kung Fu series: Characters face contemporary issues including chastity, modesty, drug use, and other temptations. Stories show how God’s strength can help overcome all temptations.

I Am Margaret  series:In a totalitarian atheist state of the future, a young woman rejects the accepted wisdom that the imperfect are more use dead than alive, and that religious belief is a threat to society. Fighting the culture of death.

Battle for His Soul: shows the detrimental effect of abortion on a guy who wanted his girlfriend to have one, even though she didn’t go through with it. 

Roland West, Outcast: themes include same-sex attraction, true compassion, and having the courage to speak up for the truth.

Someday: In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. What if it had happened in the West? This is their story–brought closer to home. Sold in aid of charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Come to hear the speakers but also pick up some pro-life fiction for yourself and others in your life. Fiction is a great instrument for sharing faith.

All titles at a special

conference price of

$10 a book!

Contemporary ♦ romance ♦ mystery ♦ dystopian ♦saint stories♦ fantasy

Fiction that entertains, inspires and supports your faith.

These stories have Catholic characters and themes and Catholic solutions to age-old and contemporary issues, including those on the forefront of the abortion and sanctity of life issues. The Catholic elements are not presented in a preachy way that makes you think of a non-fiction but in an entertaining way that sucks you into the story through characters you can identify with who face trials, challenges, and victories that have you turning the page well past your bedtime.

Get copies for:

  • Yourself (you will enjoy and benefit from them)
  • your teens (they will thank you and have something to do that doesn’t require a battery or electricity)
  • your loved ones (they don’t realize Catholic fiction is a thing)
  • your book club (they won’t mind paying back $10)
  • your parish library (it needs new fiction)
  • your youth ministers (they like new ways to reach teens)
  • your parish priest (he doesn’t have time to read but he should make time)

All titles are available online or through your favorite bookstore. Discount available only at the conference.

Sharing Faith-filled Fiction with Audiobooks

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A need in our culture

Now more than ever, we have a need in our culture for faith-filled entertainment.

  • stories with Christian themes
  • stories that support, rather than contradict or belittle faith and values
  • stories that convey the amazing love of God for us, His creatures
  • stories that make one think deeper about the choices they make and the values presented by society
  • stories that inspire one to seek the things that are above

Ways to reach more people

As a Catholic fiction author, I am always looking for new ways to reach and support my audience. I’ve created study guides for many of my books, I give talks related to story themes, and I’ve turned one of my books into an audiobook: Battle for His Soul.

Study guides can help readers dive deeper into story themes, whether used individually or in a book club. Audiobooks provide the freedom to listen to your story when you’re on the go, or even when your vision fails.


Audible book codes

I’ve published the audiobook of Battle for His Soul with ACX and they’ve given me free promotional codes. With these codes, I can introduce readers to audiobooks and even introduce readers to my faith-filled fiction.

ACX has improved the way it handles promo codes. Codes are now title specific and the redemption process–which was once tedious–is now easy; simply log in to audible.com/acx-promo or audible.co.uk/acx-promo and enter the code.

I have 50 codes available for Battle for His Soul and I’d like to give one to you. In return, I ask that you listen to my story and if you enjoy it, please leave an honest review on Audible so that more people can find my faith-filled fiction.

If you are interested, request a code in the comments. If you are not an Audible member, sign up for a free 30-day trial!


More Catholic fiction available in audiobook

I have read all of Carolyn Asfalk’s and Susan Peek’s books and most of the books found on CatholicTeenBooks.com website. These faith-filled stories are just what our culture needs and many of them are available as audiobooks. Check them out for yourselves or for the audiobook fan in your life.

Visit CatholicTeenBooks.com for young adult faith-filled audio book titles.
Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s website for Christian inspirational fiction available in audio book.
For saint stories on audiobook, visit Susan Peek’s website.

If You Only Make One New Year’s Resolution…

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I went to Mass today, the last day of the year. I’ve always wanted to attend daily Mass and whenever I do, I’m so happy I did. I believe in the True Presence and in the awesome gift of Holy Communion, and I know that daily Communicants receive a ton of grace to help them live holy lives. After all, they are receiving God Himself as their spiritual food!

My duties have often prevented me from making daily Mass. And when it wasn’t my duties, my own laziness stood in the way. My excuse: I have trouble sleeping through the night and the best sleep I get is often in the morning.

Thanks be to God our oldest son (19 years old with autism) loves to serve Mass and often asks me to take him. How can you say no to that request? So I went to Mass today!

The first reading today really got me thinking.

“Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth.”

1 John 2:18-21 RSV-CE

Saint John’s warning is so powerful and relevant! We Christians must be on guard and we must cling to and spread the unchangeable truth passed down to us from the Apostles. We live in an age when anti-Christs abound. What are we called to do about it?

At the end of every year and the beginning of the new year, I often think of making New Year’s resolutions. I think of the past year’s failures, accomplishments, and blessings. And I think of what I’d like to overcome and accomplish in the new year.

It is part of human nature to evaluate our lives and to set goals for the future. I imagine that’s why pagans created the mythical god Janus, and why the first month of the year is named after him. Janus is the mythical god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He has two faces, one looking to the future and the other to the past.

Even though the pagans didn’t recognize the bigger truth of the one God who created and loved them, and who desired their holiness, they did seem to recognize the need to evaluate their lives and the choices they’ve made, to decide the kind of person they wanted to be, and to make concrete plans to grow closer to that goal in the new year.


Rather than make resolutions about my diet, exercise, and earthly goals, I’ve decided to make one New Year’s resolution. And that one resolution is inspired by the dogma and holy day we celebrate at the beginning of every year: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Virgin of the Lilies, Bouguereau, 1899

“Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 509

This dogma was defined in 431 AD in Ephesus, the very city where Mary had lived for years. It was declared so that people would understand the truth that Jesus is one person with two natures, human and divine. This Jesus whom we love is more than just our friend and personal Savior. He is God. He can do all things. And He desires to be in the most intimate relationship with each one of us. He desires this so much that He took on human form, lived among us, died to save us, and continues to give us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

So this year, I want to entrust myself to Him at every moment of my life, and to come to Him the way He came to us, through the Virgin He created to be His mother and to be our mother. Oh how pleased God is when we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary!

Concretely, how can we remind ourselves to stick to such a resolution?

The answer is simple. We can easily become distracted and temptations never cease, but to follow God and trust in Him is simple and the Church gives us simple means to remain focused, to renew the grace within us, and to remain committed to our holy resolutions. This is why Jesus built His Church.

I resolve to avail myself of the channels of grace Jesus gave to the Church, especially the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and to make use of sacramentals too, especially holy water and the Brown Scapular.


Another thing that helps me to grow in faith is my work and research as a Catholic fiction writer. Each of my stories touches on various Catholic truths, so I delve into studying them. I pray, think about the subject when driving (or when I should be sleeping), and read everything I can so that I can bring the teachings to life through a story.

I’m writing a Confirmation story now, so I’m focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered why some people don’t seem any different or even stop practicing their faith after Confirmation? Why don’t the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to come alive for everyone? And what exactly are the differences between some of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit? Through this story, I hope to show each of the seven gifts in action and to answer other questions about Confirmation.


If you’d like read a story with a Brown Scapular thread, I recommend my contemporary young adult fiction Standing Strong.

Written for teens but enjoyed by adults too, this story follows twin brothers as they seek to discern God’s will when the path is not clear. Keefe West has been a follower most of his life, but not following the right people. In Life-Changing Love, he turned his life around and now he finds himself attracted to the Franciscan way of life but discernment isn’t easy. Is the brotherhood for him?

His twin, Jarret West, lived a selfish and destructive life for many years. At the end of Battle for His Soul, he found his way to Our Lord. But in Standing Strong, he’s down from the spiritual high we sometimes experience when we allow God into our lives. And he’s surrounded by the same friends and faced with the same old temptations, as often happens when we try to make positive changes. Sometimes these temptations are strong. How is he to remain faithful to God?


For a few non-fiction book suggestions, check out Carolyn Asftalk’s blog post 10 Reads to Help You Be Better in 2020.


May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!

New Contemporary Christian Novel: All in Good Time

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I highly recommend this story as an enjoyable, clean romance novel with three-dimensional characters and important themes.

Theresa Linden
Just came out October 22, on the Feast of Pope St. John Paul II

STORY SUMMARY

All in Good Time – With three rambunctious, young children, Melanie Lombardi can’t see beyond the day-to-day struggle to maintain her home and her sanity since her husband’s sudden death. A second chance at romance isn’t on her radar.

Brian Perella is done with dating, resigned to being the fun uncle and never the dad. Until he meets Melanie and her brood of lively kids on the sidelines of a Little League game.

But when Brian uncovers a co-worker’s secret, it re-ignites a temptation that Melanie can’t know about. It’s his secret to keep until an unexpected diagnosis brings everything to the surface, jeopardizing his future with Melanie and her children, who, when threatened by an unknown stalker, may need him now more than ever.


MY REVIEW

The characters in this story feel so real. So three-dimensional. They have strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, and face trials and challenges that many can relate to, especially in our contemporary culture.

Brian Perella loves kids and has wanted to be a husband and father, but he has yet to find “the one” and he’s almost given up. Then one day, it seems God has dropped the woman of his dreams—Melanie Lombardi—into his lap! He’s a solid character and he’s great with kids, but he’s not sure he wants to start dating. I really enjoyed the tension between the two main characters before they decided to see each other. As the story progresses, we find that his past failings affect his ability to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with Melanie. This theme is so well done and helped me really consider the temptations and effects of pornography even after a person has given it up.

Melanie Lombardi is one tough woman. At least on the outside. Her husband recently passed away, leaving her with three young children. My heart really ached for her at times. She is an extremely likeable character, a good mom who tries to be responsible—but one person can’t keep track of everything, and this leads to some chaotic and humorous incidents in the story as she deals with the trials and joys of life with three children. I both admired and, at times, could relate to this character and her challenges.

As the story develops, a mystery (a threat) begins to appear. I admired how the author did this—so subtle and yet relevant, as you discover in the end.

This fictional story is not only enjoyable because of the characters and storyline; it carries relevant themes—tough themes that aren’t often dealt with in fiction but should be. We can read articles and studies about the challenges of single parenthood and of losing a spouse and of the long-term effects of giving into temptation and pornography, but reading a novel that deals with these issues takes it to a deeper level. We get to see the thoughts and experience the feelings these characters have throughout their challenges, failures, and victories.


promo images by JustRead

Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s BLOG post to read why she writes romance that tackles tough sexual morality issues that people don’t want to talk about.

In the days since All in Good Time‘s release, a few people have commented about my “bravery” in tackling the pornography issue in this novel.

~ Carolyn Astfalk, Relevant Fiction for Body and Soul

BUY NOW

As an ebook:
Kindle
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In paperback:
Amazon

New Release: For Eden’s Sake

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Genre: contemporary Christian fiction

Audience: older teens and adults

Barely out of college, Isaac trades the quiet of his family ranch for the excitement of the big city with his dream job at an up-and-coming advertising agency. Until his perfect new world is shattered by bad choices, a pretty girl, a moment’s temptation—and a late night walk that quickly spirals out of control. Reeling with the horror of a mistake that can’t be undone, Isaac struggles to get his soul in order. Can he forgive himself? Can he make things right with God? What about Rebecca?With both their lives desperately upended, and life-changing consequences no matter what they choose, Isaac must finally overcome the pain from his past and find the strength from God to do the right thing . . . and somehow convince Rebecca to do the same.

“You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, so wonderfully You made me; wonderful are Your works! my very self You knew; my bones were not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.” (PSALMS 139:13-15)“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I love that I was able to read an advanced copy of this book. Here’s my Review:

Isaac made a mistake. A big one. And now he must face the consequences. This story does not make light of the effects of our choices, whether physical or spiritual. It goes deep into the emotional turmoil and suffering that follows bad choices, things that much of today’s young adult fiction downplays or ignores. Even though Isaac made a big mistake, I found him to be a strong character and a good role model as he strives to repair the damage and move forward on the right path. This is an excellent, pro-life story about getting up after you’ve fallen. It brings to light the themes that love is more than a feeling—it’s a sacrifice—and human life is valuable, and both are worth fighting for. The importance of faith-filled upbringing really comes through too. I highly recommend this for older teens and adults, and even for teens and adults to read and discuss. The subject matter is very relevant to our culture and must be addressed.


Visit Steven R. McEvoy’s BOOK REVIEWS & MORE for another review.

Click HERE to get your copy of this must-read book!


T.M. Gaouette is a wife, home-school mom, freelance writer, ghostwriter, blogger and fiction novelist. She was born in Africa, brought up in London, and is now living in New England, where she raises goats with her husband and four children. A former contributor for Project Inspired, Gaouette is dedicated to glorifying God through her stories for children and young adults. She believes that life is too short to waste on the superficial and that adversity should be used to make one stronger. More importantly, Gaouette feels that the Lord has given us all special gifts and opportunities to make a positive difference.
T.M. Gaouette  is the author of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, The Faith & Kung Fu Series: Freeing Tanner RoseSaving Faith, and Guarding Aaron, and a contributor in the CatholicTeenBooks anthology, Secrets: Visible & Invisible. She is currently working on completing her fourth novel, the third book in her Faith and Kung Fu Series.

Connect with T.M. Gaouette:

​​Website: https://tmgaouette.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TMGaouette

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Instagram: @t.m.gaouette

I Am God’s Storyteller

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I Am God’s Storyteller invites children to use their gifts to shine God’s light and share the Gospel. Offering children examples of noted storytellers in Bible history (Sarah, Moses, Deborah, Esther, David, Isaiah, Mary, John the Baptist, and the Evangelists and early Church), this colorful and engaging picture book also looks at how Jesus used storytelling to teach and share his message of faith, hope and love. I Am God’s Storyteller concludes by asking children to be “God’s storytellers,” and helps them to understand that our world needs them now more than ever to shine God’s light.

Includes information for parents, teachers and caregivers, with suggestions and guidelines for building a love for storytelling in the hearts of children. With encouragement and empowerment, young storytellers are sent on a mission to engage the world around them with joy and creativity.


My Review:

I Am God’s Storyteller – the theme of this story really spoke to me, and not just because I am an author. Our Lord calls each of us to witness to Him and to the ongoing story of His love for us. With colorful illustrations on every page and clever insights, this book goes through salvation history with God’s story and His storytellers. And it challenges readers to see that they are part of this amazing story and they are God’s storytellers too!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Am-Gods-Storyteller-Lisa-Hendey/dp/1640601627

Author Website: https://lisahendey.com

It was a pleasure to meet the author at this year’s Catholic Marketing Network in Lancaster, PA. She signed my copy of the book to my parish with a personal note. Lisa visits schools and parishes, but is also available for virtual visits.

If you’ve read this book, share your thoughts in the comments!

NEW RELEASE: The Power of Forgiveness

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The Power of Forgiveness
by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Published by Our Sunday Visitor

ISBN-13 978-1-68192-466-3

Retail Price $4.95

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2YQq17k

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

How many times have we uttered those words in The Lord’s Prayer? How many times do we stop to consider what we are saying? We are asking God to extend mercy and forgiveness to us in the same manner as we treat those who have hurt us in some way. Do we really mean that?

It is hard to ask for forgiveness from God. It is difficult to admit that we have done wrong, that we have failed in our relationships with God and with others. This is one reason why people don’t take more advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is very humbling to have to say our failings out loud to another person. The bigger the failing, the more humbling it is.

In The Power of Forgiveness, you will come to understand more fully that God’s mercy is always there. Through true stories of the lives of saints and examples from the Bible along with a short prayer and reflection questions, this devotional helps us focus on the challenge and power of offering forgiveness.

The Power of Forgiveness is a useful reflection in preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or for every day prayer.

Part of the Companion in Faith series.

About the Author

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is a lifelong Roman Catholic with a B.A. in Art and History and a Masters in Applied Theology. A homeschooling mother of three, she has been working as a Catholic writer and editor for the past fifteen years. She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com and is editor of TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com

contact: pfmacarthur@comcast.net


Sample Reflection

They Know Not What They Do

And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ – Luke 23: 34

Jesus forgave not only those who personally ordered and carried out his torture and crucifixion, but all those who contributed by standing in the crowd shouting, “Crucify him.” When we repeat those words on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are forced to think about our role in crucifying Jesus.

When I sin, my thought process doesn’t usually go that far. I’m not consciously trying to hurt Jesus. Instead, I’m thinking about what seems good for me in that moment. The devil is skilled at making what is evil seem attractive. My human nature is weak. The guilt comes later, after I’ve given in to temptation.

The same holds true when people sin against us. Very rarely is someone intentionally trying to ruin our lives or inflict long-lasting emotional pain. Instead they give in to their human weakness. They are tired, frustrated, or angry about the pain in their own lives and take out their rage on us…The sins are real; the pain is real; but they know not what they do.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to forgive as you forgive those who hurt you.

Reflection

Looking over your life, can you recall the times that you unintentionally deeply hurt someone else due to your human weakness?

An Open Letter to Bishop Perez

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Updated with Bishop Perez’s response to the Open Letter.

1st May 2019

Dear Bishop Perez,

Re: Your letter to the faithful dated March 15, 2019.

Peace be with you and may Our Lord fill you with His wisdom, grace, and blessings.

We, the faithful, encourage you to relax your position on the Communion Rite posture policy, first promulgated in 2003, which enforces the policy of standing after receiving Holy Communion. Since the Diocesan Bishop may adapt actions and postures to the customs of the people, we further encourage you to reinstate the policy from the General Instruction to the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal (2002): “…The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei…” We are aware that the right to kneel has been secured by the Holy See, but we would very much like to have the encouragement and support of our bishop. Let the posture of kneeling bring uniformity.

We believe this posture of reverence best gives glory to God, deepens the faith of the believer, moves the heart of the unbeliever toward the truth of the True Presence, and can foster unity in posture during the Mass. Ironically, some parishes received your letter on the same day we heard this for the Second Reading: “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth…” (Philippians 2:10).

To many of us, kneeling resonates in our souls as the proper posture for these parts of the Mass, and we don’t understand the logic behind standing. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope emeritus Benedict XVI), in The Spirit of the Liturgy, laments that “There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling” (pg 184). He further explains how the Scriptures show the importance of kneeling. In them, we read about the night Jesus gave us the Eucharist and how he entered into His Passion by praying on his knees, giving us an example of the right disposition and posture one should have both in preparing to receive Holy Communion and after reception.

The book of Revelation gives us a peek at the heavenly worship, which faith tells us we participate in through the Mass. In this heavenly worship, the elders fall down before Our Lord whenever glory, honor, and thanks are given. Using this heavenly worship as a model, we see how appropriate the posture of kneeling would be when the priest, in persona Christi, lifts up our Eucharistic Lord and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”

We also read how the leper in Mark 1:40 falls to his knees before the Lord, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean.” His prayer is strikingly similar to ours. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.” Like the leper, we long for Christ to answer our prayer. Like the leper, we trust in His power. The leper, however, did not know the Divine nature of Jesus, like we do. Therefore, we have even more reason to be on our knees for this prayer.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ends this section on kneeling with this: “It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.”

Dear Bishop, let us kneel. First, the altar rails were removed and we were told to stand to receive Communion. Next, we were told to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Then we had to stand after the Lamb of God. Now we are told we shouldn’t kneel after we receive Him.

Belief in the True Presence dwindles. Let us kneel. Do not encourage us to stand at these parts of the Mass where our hearts beg us to kneel, but rather let us worship Our Lord, who we truly believe is present in the Eucharist. As it is, very little quiet time is given for the faithful to offer prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and love to the Lord their God who has humbled Himself to become their food. To discourage kneeling after the reception of Holy Communion will reduce the amount of time for such prayer even more.

We are in a spiritual battle that grows more volatile every day. Notre Dame went up in flames. Hundreds of other Catholic Churches have been recently vandalized too, including St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood. The persecution of the Church intensifies–Christians tortured and murdered in record numbers in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The faithful in Sri Lanka can no longer attend Mass. Here in the US, the faithful are labeled “haters” and laws are being created to punish those who stand for Catholic moral teaching. The priest sex-abuse scandals continue to rip apart the Church from within, increasing the already large numbers of Catholics leaving the Church. And studies show that the faith has been watered down so much that over half of the Catholics in the pews no longer believe all the Church’s beautiful, transformational, and saving teachings. Many no longer believe in the True Presence.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. As we worship, so we believe. In this dark culture, we need signs, symbols and reverent postures. We need solid and unwavering faith, intense devotion, and courageous witness. Let us kneel before our Eucharistic Lord so that the lukewarm may have their hearts set on fire and the believer may grow in deeper faith, and so that the unbeliever’s heart might be touched, and all the world will know: Jesus Christ is Lord.

Respectfully yours,

The faithful from several parishes in the Cleveland Diocese

Note: this letter has gone out to all priests of the Cleveland Diocese


If you share these sentiments, you are welcome to sign the letter here:
https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/allow-kneeling-during-the-communion-rite


I appreciate that Bishop Perez took the time to answer my letter and respond to the Open Letter and petition, even though I am discouraged with his decision.

Inspiring Our Children to Greater Faith with Knights

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photographer/artist: Eric Keeghan

Isn’t this St. George plaque beautiful?

Tomorrow you will have a chance to win it as part of the Grand Prize for the Belt of Truth Scavenger Hunt. But for now…I get to have it on my wall for a few days!!!

The stunning image is secured to an 11” x 14” wood plaque. Eric Keeghan is the photographer/artist and you can see more of his work and find one-of-a-kind pieces on Etsy: TheTravelingCamera and CatholicLittleFlower.


Pictures of Saint George often show him with a dragon.

And, indeed, one can find many stories about George fighting dragons. In one story, a dragon made its nest at the spring that provided water for a little town of mostly pagan citizens.

In order to lure the dragon away from the spring, the townspeople offered it a sheep every day. When the sheep ran out, the thirsty townsfolk decided that a maiden would be just as effective as a sheep!

They chose the victim by drawing straws, and one day the princess’ straw was drawn. Well, the king was not too happy about this and he begged for her to be spared. The thirsty townspeople said, “No!” and offered her to the dragon.

Fortunately for her, George showed up and faced the dragon. After protecting himself with the Sign of the Cross, he slayed the dragon. Amazed at his courage and victory, the entire town abandoned paganism and embraced Christianity.


A biography of Saint George will show that he died in year 303 A.D. He served in Diocletian’s army until Diocletian ordered the soldiers to arrest Christians and sacrifice to the Roman gods. As a Christian, George refused. Diocletian offered George land, money, and slaves if only he would sacrifice to the gods. But George, steadfast in his faith, refused. Diocletian then ordered his torture and execution.

Saint George’s faith and courage are inspiring! Stories about Christian Knighthood–with knights, castles, dragons and armor–are perfect for symbolizing the spiritual battle we face! What better way to inspire our children to arm themselves with virtue?

Saint Paul saw this too and wrote the following:

“Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day and,
having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

~ Ephesians 6:13-17

Those verses inspired my new Armor of God series. There will be six books in the series, one for each part of the armor: Belt of Truth, Boots of Peace, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation and Sword of the Spirit.

These books follow George Pennington and friends as they attend Knight School for Boys and Girls, where the children work to earn each piece of armor. The story themes and “Brother Coll’s Catechism Lessons,” weaved into each story, are geared toward children preparing for First Confession and First Holy Communion.

The BELT OF TRUTH comes out tomorrow, April 23, on the Feast of Saint George! In this story, nine-year-old George Pennington bravely faces the fearsome head knight at the annual “tryouts,” hoping to be among the few accepted to Knight School for Boys and Girls. Otherwise, he’ll have to sit next to his father for years . . . sitting, writing, and yawning as he learns his father’s trade. But George does not want to be a scribe. He wants to be a knight!

When George tries to sneak out and visit his friend, he accidentally burns his mother’s cherished tapestry and costly repairs threaten his ability to remain at Knight School. A lie seems like the best solution. As lying becomes easier for George, he discovers that students need to earn the first piece of armor: The Belt of Truth. 

With tryouts, treks through the woods, a one-armed knight, the Code of Chivalry, and rumors of dragons, I hope that the six-book ARMOR OF GOD series will captivate young readers. Written with children ages 7-9 in mind, these roughly 14,000-word stories appeal to the universal and timeless quest for virtue and inner strength.


Tomorrow, April 23, you are invited to take part in the Armor of God: Belt of Truth Scavenger Hunt. As you visit the stops along the way, you will get to know 7 authors of Catholic children’s books and you will have opportunities to win many prizes. Once you’ve collected all the CLUES, you can enter for the grand prize which includes the beautiful St. George plaque featured in the beginning of this post, 8 Catholic children’s books, one St. George rosary, and a St. George necklace! Please share this event with your friends.


I am the author of nine published Catholic novels and three short stories in two anthologies. Two books in my Catholic teen fiction series have won awards from the Catholic Press Association.

I love our Catholic faith, especially the unique aspects of it: the saints, the Eucharist, even Confession! Growing up in a military family and moving every few years, left me with the impression that life is an adventure. I rarely get to travel anymore, but I love to write, so the adventures continue through my stories.

My faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the realities we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. I hope the richness, depth, and mystery of our Catholic faith will spark my readers’ imaginations through my stories and make them more aware of these invisible realities and of the power of faith and grace.

I hold a Catechetical Diploma from Catholic Distance University and am a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. My books are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, Catholic Reads, and Virtue Works Media. The first in my Catholic teen fiction series is available on FORMED.


To find exciting books in a variety of genres for the Catholic teen in your life, visit CatholicTeenBooks.com