Review: A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century

A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth CenturyA Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century by Robert Royal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book could be the single (or primary) textbook for a course on modern Catholic intellectuals. It covers theology, scriptural studies, philosophy, poetry, prose, and historiography of the great Catholic minds of the 20th Century.

It’s a very large book, both in page number and content. It took a long time to read but it is worth it. It provided me with at least a dozen more “Want to Read” books on GoodReads.

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Finding My Tribe

After two years of being separated and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

As a 40-something single Catholic man, I appreciated this post by the Boston Globe:

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

After two years of being separated (somewhat amicably) and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

During this time, when the thought of committing myself to someone else entered my mind and heart, I only had one real desire and that was to meet an educated and sweet Catholic woman with whom to share and grow in my faith.

I tried online dating, and though I did meet a few compatible and attractive women who lived far away, the search for someone I could see more than once a month proved to be unfruitful. There’s something really lacking in that whole process too that I can’t exactly explain.

There are very few Church-sponsored activities for single people past the age of 40.  I guess they figure that everyone by that age should be able to manage on his or her own.  Since divorce and annulment are considered a rare exception, perhaps parishes don’t want to draw attention to the reality that the pre-canaan guidance before marriages is often weak and some marriages are not valid from the start.

I went to some events that were geared for young adults.  I met some very lovely 20 and 30-something Catholic women, but many of them were way too young and I probably seemed like some really old guy (even though I still get carded sometimes).  It’s possible that a decade or two between couples could work, but it is harder to find two people who are evenly yoked with that much of an age difference.

Once you start dating 40 and 50 year-olds, you are getting into the grandmother territory, which I suppose is the natural course of things, but it takes some time getting used to, especially for someone like me who never has had children of his own.  I do appreciate the maturity and the common cultural references we share.  Of course, both men and women are a little set in their ways by this time, and there are many more concessions that have to be made regarding personal and financial habits and the definition of a “good life.”

All Catholic single men, regardless of age, are looking for that balance in a woman of serious faith and lightheartedness.  Often you meet someone who loves the Lord, but is way too over-scrupulous.  On the flip side, you meet happy-go-lucky Catholic women who might be fun to spend time with but have very little concern about what the Church actually teaches.  I’ve been out with non-Catholics, but I my faith is such a big part of my life that I don’t think it would ever get past the friend zone.

I have approached some men’s religious communities, and I think that might be where God is calling me to use my talents and to deepen my relationship with Him.  The reason I wrote this is because I think Catholic singles and Catholic dating for people past the age of “young” adults is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Review: The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints

The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints
The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints by Ralph Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was given to me as a gift by a friend. It is a large book of about 420 pages, and it took quite a long time to read, mostly because it is a book on prayer, and each small section requires time on which to meditate.

I can’t imagine any better book to read during Lent. Taking the wisdom of several of the spiritual giants of the Western tradition – Augustine, Bernard, Teresa, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux – Ralph Martin groups together common threads of all of these authors’ writings.

If you are interested in growing deeper in your Christian faith or just understanding how it all works, then this might be a good book to commit some time to.

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Resource for Catholic Songwriters

There is a good online resource for songwriters who are also Catholic.  It is called http://catholicsongwriting.com. It is a site that I built and maintain.

It is free to use this site and free to sign up to use the PDF worksheet.

It is not meant just for songwriters who write religious music.  Instead it is for Catholic songwriters who write any genre of music and who want their faith to inform their creative choices. If you write folk songs, jazz, classical, hip-hop, or rock songs – it doesn’t matter.

The homepage gives a step-by-step method for:

  1. Praying on the Mass readings of the day, the Saint of the day or liturgical feast day
  2. Using the worksheet to organize the words that arise out of prayer
  3. Choosing the song structure and coming up with a melody

A lot of this was subconsciously based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, whereby one uses the imagination to place oneself into a scriptural reading.

And ultimately, anyone can use this resource.  No one checks your religion card at the front door.  It is meant to help all people make the world more beautiful.

Please visit http://catholicsongwriting.com.