Doors of Mercy

Authors: Father Jeffrey Kirby, S.T.L., and Brian Kennelly

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Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte, N.C., 2016, 220 pp., $27.95 hardcover; 800-437-5876; tanbooks.com/saint-benedict-press.html

In declaring the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said that all of us “need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy” and that “our salvation depends on it.” While many beautiful texts on mercy have been produced in the last year, “Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History” is a perfect tool to help the reader continue to contemplate the spiritual themes of this Jubilee Year even after it draws to a close this November. In providing a systematic look at salvation history through the lens of mercy, this book offers much for consideration on the theme of mercy. The reader will discover anew the themes of mercy in the familiar stories of the Old and New Testaments, along with a beautiful array of full-color pictures. From Adam and Eve to modern-day saints, the Scriptures are full of stories of God’s loving mercy, which, of course, culminate in the Paschal Mystery of His Son. Described as a “rescue plan,” the book connects the dots through God’s plan of redemption.

The book also includes a chapter about the history of St. Faustina’s visions and the history of the devotion to the Divine Mercy, including the important role Pope St. John Paul II played in the spreading of it. In the back of this glossy hardcover are handy devotional tools, which makes this book not only informational but very usable.

Included is a summary chart of biblical covenants, as well as the text of the Divine Mercy novena and a how-to guide for praying the Divine Mercy chaplet.

Uncommon Grace

Director: Bridget Kurt

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Producer: Beata Productions, Atlanta, Ga., 2015, 62 mins., $19.95 DVD; amazon.com

The quirky, yet deeply Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor still inspires decades after her untimely death from lupus at age 39 in 1964.

She left behind a unique body of literature with strong Catholic overtones, written with a rural Southern backdrop. The eccentric characters of her work often serve as moral case studies of what it’s like to be split between worldliness and the search for truth.

“Uncommon Grace: The Life of Flannery O’Connor” examines what shaped her life and writing — people, events and her Catholic faith. It also offers a glimpse into the life of this interesting and often misunderstood teller of tall tales by using commentary and rare photographs.

The Mystery of God

Presenter: Bishop Robert Barron

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Producer: Word on Fire Ministries, Skokie, Ill., 2016, 133 mins., $59.95 DVD set; 866-928-1237; wordonfire.org

Our society publicly questions God’s existence and action in the world. Christians often encounter among their relatives, friends and co-workers those who don’t believe. Atheism and secularism is on the rise. This series by the profound and articulate Bishop Robert Barron seeks to answer those questions relating to who and what God is.

In “The Mystery of God,” the Catholic intellectual tradition is on full display, with insights from St. Augustine to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. This six-part film study program is perfect for individuals, classrooms or adult faith-sharing groups. Watching it will enable viewers to attract others back to God, helping reverse the tide of secularism.

Also available is a Study Guide, including a thorough commentary on the film and “Questions for Understanding” based on the film, Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Follow Christ

Authors: Dave Nodar, Father Erik Arnold, Ally Ascosi

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Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Ind., 2016, 128 pp., $10.95 paperback; 800-348-2440; osv.com

One of the main themes of the recent popes has been an invitation to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. We live in a world often confused about what matters. Secularism and relativism direct us to form our own philosophy and morality in deviation from the path of Christianity. But our Christian faith isn’t a new philosophy or morality; rather, it is a relationship with the risen Lord.

In “Follow Christ: Developing the Lifestyle of an Intentional Disciple” the reader will find resources for growing in the life of discipleship, in following Christ. The authors advocate for and equip readers with the disciplines necessary for discipleship.

Offering a toolbox for the disciple, this book covers topics including: regular, daily prayer; applying Scripture to daily life; finding nourishment in the sacraments; the centrality of forgiveness; and life in the Spirit. Pope Francis has invited us to ask, “How do I follow Jesus?” This book helps the reader intentionally start down that path.

Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

Author: The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

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Publisher: Tan Books, Charlotte, N.C., 2016, 122 pp., $29.95 softcover; 800-437-5876; tanbooks.com

Beginners or longtime adorers will find that this beautifully packaged devotional will equip them well for what Pope St. Pius X taught is “most profitable for our salvation.” Offering preparatory meditations for Eucharistic Adoration and the spiritual reflections with which to pray during a Holy Hour (including Scripture verses and inspiration from the saints), this book is sure to be an essential tool for those wanting to greatly enrich their time spent with the Eucharistic Lord.

Hope for the World

Authors: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke and Guillaume d’Alançon

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Publisher: Ignatius Press, San Francisco, Calif., 2016, 123 pp., $14.95 paperback; 800-651-1531; ignatius.com

“Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ” is a book-length discussion with Cardinal Raymond Burke, displaying an intellectual and pastoral churchman — one of American Catholicism’s most accomplished. Ordained a priest by Pope Blessed Paul VI, and ordained a bishop by Pope St. John Paul II, Cardinal Burke went on to work at the Vatican as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — dubbed the Vatican’s supreme court. He serves currently as chaplain to the Order of Malta.

Throughout his years as bishop, Cardinal Burke has spoken up often in defense of the Church’s teaching on marriage and family — themes near and dear to his heart. The book makes clear why these issues are of such great importance to him, and readers will learn through the intimate portrait of his early life on the Wisconsin prairie, where he grew up in a devoted and loving Catholic home. And this is no small thing. Cardinal Burke owes his existence to his mother’s deep faith, revealing in the book that a doctor advised his mother to abort him.

Always keen — and sometimes even provocative — Cardinal Burke tackles many other hot-button topics of interest to many Catholics today. Discussing everything from liturgy to poverty and feminism to Islam, he presents the teachings of the Church plainly and coherently. Inspiring and hopeful, Cardinal Burke’s candor and lucidity offer a useful and constructive contribution to the Church’s discussion of the primary moral and spiritual challenges of our day.