Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Last Fisherman

A novel of the last Pope, the Antichrist and the end of the age by Randy England

Some time ago, I got connected to a site called Tuscany Press LLC.  Tuscany promotes Catholic fiction writers, and I for one am glad they do.

I get regular emails from them because I signed up for Catholic, Ink a weekly newsletter highlighting new Catholic fiction and articles about authors and things going on in the Catholic writer world.  I am happy that I signed up for Catholic, Ink because I have then gone on to purchase several of the novels referred to by clicking over to them on Amazon.  1 Click and the novel is on my Kindle app on my iPad.  Pretty simple.

The other day I purchased 3 new novels that way, and have just today completed reading the first one, "The Last Fisherman."

Randy England told a fictional story of the end of the age, with a credible last Pope and a credible evil Antichrist character.  It was a book I did not want to put down, and so basically I didn't, finishing it in a couple of extended reading sessions.

The good news is that it is a well written story.  The bad news is that if Tom Clancy had written it, it would have been 650 pages longer.  David Baldacci or Robert Ludlum would have only added another 250 to it. So, simply there could have been more detail in character development, and plot thickening.

At first, that irritated me, but then I prayed and thought about it, and came to a different conclusion.

Good Catholic fiction has a somewhat different objective than other good fiction.  Good Catholic fiction should be faithful to the Magisterium (bingo), faithful to the Bible (bingo), faithful to Church tradition (bingo), and it should tweak your faith, and lead you to prayer (bingo).  Though it should entertain you it should leave you thirsty (bingo once again).

In His Message for Lent 1993, Pope John Paul II referenced the words of Jesus on the Cross "I thirst." Mother Teresa subsequently wrote a letter to her congregation about the thirst Jesus has for us, His Beloved. So, it is my contention here that if Jesus thirsts for us, should we not thirst for Him?  Accordingly, then should things that are Catholic that we read or see increase that thirst in us for Our Beloved Saviour?

Clearly, for me at least this book of Mr. England's made me thirst.  I was driving for two hours to Toronto, 120 miles away from home today to visit with my daughter and prayed about "The Last Fisherman" and contemplated as I drove.  In that two hour drive I drew to the above conclusions.  On that basis alone I would rate Mr. England's book a success as Catholic fiction.

Though I enjoyed the book from cover to cover (or at least electronic cover to electronic cover) there was one particular excerpt that caught my attention.  In this excerpt, the new Pope describes a one act play for a non Catholic believer to explain some of the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism.  That alone was worth reading the book, because it was very thought provoking.

This book can be acquired for Kindle or for Kindle readers on other formats here at Amazon.  As of today, the book can be purchased for 91 cents for Kindle.  How can you go wrong with that?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stop Wasting Time

I am an inveterate time waster.  Since I no longer have a job that I have to get dressed for and get out the door to go to, I don't.  I have my relationship with my wife to nurture, have friends and pursuits that occupy my time, but a lot of time is wasted in my day.

But, I have had a sense that I am called into a deeper relationship with Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour. Anyone who has spent a modicum of time in prayer would probably sense that, so there is not special revelation in the earlier statement.  But, frankly what does that mean - to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?

Fortunately, a new prophecy arrived late last night that gave a clearer answer to that for me.  As I have noted previously, there is a soul under the direction of Father Sam Johnston in Ridgetown Ontario who receives words of prophecy from Jesus that she writes down and which I have the privilege of posting to the internet over at a blog for Father Sam called Life in the Spirit.

As also stated previously, there is no obligation for anyone to believe these words.  They are not approved by the Church, and will not be any time in the near future, since they are not required to be, and there is no move by anyone for them to become official from a Catholic Church perspective.  If you read them and if they support your faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church, in other words if they line up with the Bible, teaching of the Magisterium and Catholic Tradition, then let them draw you into a deeper relationship with Jesus, as this latest prophecy has invited us.

I am finding these prophecies to be getting deeper into us and Him, and how we are to function in Him, and relate to Him.

Here are a few key excerpts from the prophecy starting with the opening lines:
My call to you is continuous, what I am seeking from you is an ongoing personal relationship.
That is a relationship where you will ask Me and tell Me about the small things of your day, important and insignificant things, your hopes and dreams.
So, Jesus, the Saviour of the world is interested in the small things of our days, not just the big stuff, the tiff you had with your wife, or your son or daughter, or your boss,  the anxiety you feel when you have a bad day at the office, factory or other employment.  You know, there are some things you don't even discuss with your spouse, because you do not want to cause stress or strain for him/her, and so you have nowhere to go with these things.  You might go to a friend and unload on him or her about your challenges.

Jesus has told us in other prophecies on the same site to keep our own counsel on many things, and not to blab them to others.  Well, sometimes I need to get it off my chest, and here He says to tell it to Him.

But, it's not all about me and Jesus wants us to think about Him and His needs:
I long for you to be concerned with the things that concern Me also, and how you might be of help with prayer and sacrifice
Tell Me perhaps what made you think warmly of Me today, and what may have caused you sorrow, tell Me of dear friends and family who may have increased your love.
Jesus wants us constantly looking for TRUTH.  For me that is a challenge.  Most times I am more interested in being right than in really knowing the truth.  I mean, I can tell that something is basically true, and if that lines up with what I want it to be, then I often go no further.  Painfully, I find out often that what I thought was true was, but had not gone deep enough and so created a stubborn conflict with a loved one that was not necessary, and was therefor painful when pain was not required.

The prophecy is filled with gems as they always are, and is worth some prayerful contemplation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Embarking on a Journey

Being thick in the head is a common Irish trait, so I understand.  It is one that I share then with my ancestors. One of my thickest Irish ancestors was my grandfather Anthony Sweet, who died when I was in my 20s, so over 40 years ago.  I loved my grandfather, and this morning I thought of him and that I was named after him, and inherited his stubbornness, because I read the blog post of Father Gordon MacRae, a priest falsely imprisoned for over 20 years now in New Hampshire for sexual abuse that never occurred.

Father MacRae writes often about things that make me wonder which one of us in actually in a prison, him behind physical Stone Walls, or me, in the prison of my own mind, and sinfulness.

Today, Father MacRae caught me off guard again, by expressing an example of his own sin, which mirrors mine in many aspects of my life.  He wrote of a man named Anthony (which brings me to my grandfather and myself) and how he had responded in unpriestlike fashion to Anthony's anger, and stubbornness.

It made me wonder how often I have brought out reactions such as Father Gordon's from people that I have been belligerent with over politics, religion, sports, or whatever.  I am not, of course, trying to remove the responsibility from Father MacRae for his own actions, but having lived most of my life (well all of my life actually) as a stubborn curmudgeon (even before I was old enough to know the word or be able to spell it), I can see how his reactions might be justified, if not Christian.

I was raised by parents who valued education, rational thought, debate and discussion.  We were taught to think.  It was said about my mother, as it has been said about many that she was not always right, but was seldom in doubt.  Since she was the daughter of Anthony Sweet, she passed this on to her son successfully, though I also inherited color blindness from Grampa, and left handedness, two interesting though generally less painful (at least to friends relatives and others) traits.

I had an occasion the other day where people I was with expressed political views that did not conform with mine.  In other words, they were wrong.  I chose not to engage in a discussion (likely to become heated) but just to listen.  I actually learned something, and think I might do it again, and hopefully again after that.  That exchange actually prepared me for Father MacRae's article this morning.

Recently, I began a self guided 33 day retreat called "33 Days to Morning Glory", which I first heard about from Father Gordon, and then from another friend.  It is a retreat about consecration of oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and therefrom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As I am getting into this retreat, I am finding that Our Blessed Mother Mary has many gifts in store for us, if we will just learn to trust her, and in turn Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  She has a special place in their hearts, and should have in ours as well, since she is the Woman Clothed with the Sun from the Bible.

Father MacRae's article this morning inspired me to continue the retreat that I had every intention of completing anyway, but opened my eyes to some nuances and some of the beauty of God's plan for my life, and for my part in His plan for the life of my loved ones.

It is my fervent hope that I will learn to follow the words of the Universal Prayer from Pope Clement XI, the opening of which is reproduced below:
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
I urge you to pray for Father MacRae, as he inspires us by his faithfulness, and I also urge you, if you believe it is God's will for you to contribute to his defense fund.