Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux is the newly released from late Bishop Patrick Ahern. What I expected was a typical memoir of a great Saint. What I got was surprising insights into the vocational call of a very holy man, who was obviously very dedicated to that call. As a mother who prays that one of her own sons will find God calling to priesthood, I enjoyed all the 'behind the collar' though processes. I particularly loved how he tied this discernment with his relationship with St. Therese. Bishop Ahern writes, "Therese had a special love for priests and a desire to help them, and the thought that she would support me encouraged me to pursue the priesthood without fear. She opened up a new world for me and made me feel like someone who was grown up. ' Confidence and nothing but confidence.' was her motto..." (pg. 24).
Being a great devoutee of St. Therese, until reading the Three Gifts, I thought I knew her so well. Admittedly I have not read every biography, the great amount I have I still very much enjoyed the new tidbits Bishop Ahern shared - especially about all the maternal losses she endured, including little known background from her infancy. His writing invokes feelings of someone writing of a best friend and contemporary (although she was not), and you want to know more and more, and to be close friends with St. Therese as well.
While Bishop Patrick Ahern deftly shares Therese's three gifts, it is very clear that St. Therese, truly 'a saint for our times" is the true gift! "Living in the present moment is not something we learn to do quickly. It grows slowly over time into a habit of being, and even over the course of a long lifetime we will not master the art to the degree that Therese did. But we may never lay hold of a working principle so fundamental and important as this, one may we apply ourselves with the same determination and finality with which she gave herself to it. Surely we do not expect to equal her achievement by only to follow her way." (pg. 117)
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
Have you failed, like me for so many years, to unpack the Gospels? Perhaps, also like me, once I finally opened and unpacked the Gospels were not always completely sure how to use them? Do you wonder if they were written today if God would have inspired them differently? Do you see how, or do you want to see how, those words transcribed so long ago are still timeless, dynamic, and indeed divinely inspired? I had all these questions (and more) running through my head when I saw Megan McKenna’s book, Like A Hammer Shattering Rock, among my many choices at Image Books (specifically through the Blogging for Books program.*Disclaimer: I have received this book in exchange for a review. While that may be true, I still purposely selected McKenna’s book based on what I believed was a promise to help me discover an answer to not only these questions but to be thought-provoking tool to grow deeper in my faith. It has proven to be this and more, Like a Hammer… did not disappoint!
Megan McKenna is a gifted storyteller, yes I do realize this moniker is overused when describing writers who deftly use anecdotes in their writing. But, she is, and there really is no better way to describe her writing style! “Gifted Storyteller” just fits! She brings the Gospel messages into clearer focus with her plethora of stories weaved into each chapter. Through this book, I have learned to draw even more from my reading of the Scriptures than I ever had, which I will be sharing as I use the book for my blog reflections for the next month (February, 2014). So follow me here as we unpack the Gospel’s together. Once you start to see the Gospel's come to life, I guarantee you will order your own copy of Like A Hammer Shattering Rock by Megan McKenna!!