Monday, October 27, 2014

Should Parents Introduce "Bad" to Talk About "Good?"

There is a dilemma that all parents face when raising their children. Desiring to keep them as innocent as possible for as long as possible is what lurks behind this conundrum. And the decision made in each family is the right decision—even when the decisions differ from family to family and even from child to child.

The issue at hand?

Do we as parents talk about “bad things” in a way that allows us to introduce the “good things?” And if we do, how “bad” can “bad” be without being too “bad?” And, of course, every parent’s definition of “bad” is different.

How do we equip our children to live in the world—and be salt and light—without robbing them of their innocence?

Is this even possible? More importantly: Is it necessary?

Can you talk to your young daughter about chastity without telling her—in honest language—what she will encounter in the world of boys?

Can you speak to your young son about temptation and hormones—in a realistic way—without introducing characteristics that girls exhibit at some point in their development?
So what is a parent to do?

We may want to put our head in the sand—or choose to believe that the best form of protection of innocence is denial. Yet that just isn’t the case. Maybe we feel ill-equipped ourselves to speak on subjects such as chastity but the answer isn’t to ignore the topic and hope it will go away—or to hide our children in hopes that this will keep them from confronting such things.

What we need to do is find great resources. The hallmark of a great resource (typically a book) is that it provides a third-party place where we can meet our kids. We ought to read it and they ought to read it. We can read it together, over time. Or separately and “compare notes.”

Our kids need to see it (the book in this example) as honest and forthright. It doesn’t make them roll their eyes because it is unrealistic or ignores the truth of what they are experiencing—or will be experiencing. In the meantime, it upholds our morals and values. We don’t have to compromise but can approach our expectations in light of what our kids are experiencing.

A great resource may introduce something we previously thought of as “bad” but in light of seeing how it allows us to honestly talk to our kids about the “good,” we see the value. It is never so bad that it does damage; rather it is an honest roadmap for our kids to use in their own journey towards adulthood. In All Things Girl: Truth for Teens, for instance, we emphasize that dating is with an intention towards marriage while also frankly—yet appropriately—discussing traits of boys. In a story-like setting we introduce The Octopus, The Cheater and The Narcissist while exploring The Nice Guy, The Hard-worker and The Brainiac.

Great resources create a groundswell of opportunity for discussions with our children. They give food for thought and nourishment for the soul. Great resources can’t be underestimated. They are a critical roadmap—something that will guide our kids to become all that God intended them to be and will support us, as parents, to help them along the way.

(illustratoin: ID 41185650  Chayunt Varapok

Friday, October 17, 2014

Alternative Medicine...Is It Right for a Woman of Faith?

Many women today suffer from chronic illness. It may be autoimmune related diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus or it may be digestive issues like Colitis or Crohn’s. 

And those are only the very tip of the iceberg. 

I don’t think there are verifiable statistics for this phenomenon because it doesn’t appear that there is a real awareness of the seriousness of this trend—but it is there.

I see it.

I hear it, too.

Since I’ve spent the better part of the past three decades (and probably even more time than that but I just didn’t put the pieces together) with what can best be described as “chronic illness” that evades concrete diagnosis, I may just be more sensitive to seeing and hearing the telltale signs of this trend among our female population.

But I’m no doctor. I have no qualifications to address this subject except my own personal experience—and those I continue to see and hear about which keep bringing the subject back to my awareness. Women who have suffered so long that they now are in the depths of depression as well.

What I’ve found is that a Catholic woman with undiagnosed health issues—or diagnosed health issues that are not getting “cured”—faces an issue when considering alternative medicine. She is often torn between her desire to get well and trying to find what avenue is acceptable to her faith.

A decision to consider alternative medicine as a piece of her health care is a personal one; it can only be answered by the woman herself—the seeker, the believer. Everyone seems rather comfortable with what I now call “traditional” medicine. Traditional medicine includes a doctor who has a license to practice medicine by a recognized university and through proper exams, tests, and certifications. All their accomplishments are worthy of praise and ought to be valued; but what I’ve found is that they are only a piece of a medical puzzle when a person suffers from things not in the “normal” range of traditional medicine—and even then, it can still be a hit-or-miss journey towards health.

Traditional medicine has been part of my journey, too, in the past few decades; unfortunately it has been to no avail. I’ve been told I had Lupus, RA, and other diseases along the way. None have been firm, conclusive, or have provided physical relief. It has been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.

At some point I found myself interested in seeing a Naturopathic doctor. I liked her a lot and saw her for a few years. And while I can’t say that seeing her actually provided any more help than my time seeing traditional doctors, I did form a bond with her because I felt that I was working with her in seeking understanding and “cures.” Whereas my traditional doctor was offended when I inquired about the safety of HRT (at a time when it was a given that a woman would take it—which is no longer is!), my naturopathic doctor explored with me as I read and researched and sought health.

And once I entered into the realm of “alternative medicine,” I wanted to keep a foot in that world but I also wanted whatever I was doing to be reconciled with my faith. Fears of stumbling into “new-age” practices kept me hyper-aware of each step.

That’s both good and bad.

What I’ve learned is that lots of good things are thrown out under the fear of new-age. The new-age banner has been applied to things which may well be God-centered. What I’ve concluded is that the only person who can truly decide if seeking alternative medicine is right is the seeker herself.

I believe it is important to recognize that what is more accepted today—things like kinesiology and meditation to reduce stress—were once considered outside-of-the-box thinking in the health care industry. This means that the label “Alternative Medicine” is either greatly expanding—or shrinking—depending on how you look at it. Either way, it is good for the seeker of health: alternative medicine is expanding and pushing into the realm of “traditional”—or traditional is expanding to pick up what was once alternative. It ultimately means more options that are seen as viable enter the arena and the chances of those who are stumbling through their years of chronic illness will more likely find some combination of things that will lead to health.

I accidently came across Hildegard of Bingen’s writings last year and it opened up a whole new world to me. While “gem therapy” is thrown out as new-age and has frightening and damnation consequences written all over it—you can only imagine my surprise when I read about Hildegard of Bingen’s crystal therapy and her understanding of “energy” systems in the body! We are talking about a doctor of the church explaining how holding a gemstone in your mouth can cure something or that a certain type of cookie can help alleviate spiritual and physical symptoms. I say I “accidently” came across her work but of course there are no accidents in a faith walk. Although I am not advocating gem-therapy in the new-age sense or any alternative treatments that conflict with or possibly undermine traditional medicine, I am confident in saying that there is a bigger world of health care than we are currently offered through strict traditional medicine and a woman of faith—yoked to Christ through constant prayer and adoration—shouldn’t be afraid to ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to find answers.

Someone needs to say this and I’m willing to be that someone.

Many Catholic women today—myself included—have tried to reconcile their suffering and seeking health with their faith but have come up short. It’s exhausting and frustrating. It is depressing. Confusing and mixed messages (take up your cross, “no” is an answer to prayer, offer it up, and so on) send us back and forth between suffering and hope. In the end, a woman of faith should be confident that she can be guided by the Holy Spirit towards those things that will provide her with the health she seeks and which may include alternative things like biomagnetic pair therapy and attending healing masses while also seeing a traditional M.D.

We don’t replace “traditional” with “alternative” but we can certainly live in confidence that God who loves us and desires we live in health and peace will help us on our journey.

My prayer for you—whoever is reading this message—is that the God you serve, the God who loves you and sent his only begotten son to heal you through his stripes, the God who hears your prayers for health and healing, answers you today.




(Image: ID 27770634 © Alexmillos |

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Things Girl: Friends, Fashion and Faith

It’s that time of that year again when girls groups are starting in home settings and Catholic parishes.

We’ve received many exciting inquires about the new release of All Things Girl: Friends, Fashion and Faith and wanted to share these two excerpts as an example of what you will find in the book for Catholic tween girls and the accompanying journal

The Table of Contents is also offered here. 
And if I can be of any help, please just let me know!

Having a Soul Gives You Inherent Dignity…

Joan lives in a neighborhood where the houses are huge and everyone has a pool. Katie lives in a neighborhood where some of the houses have broken windows and lots of kids share bedrooms. Which person has more dignity?

Tamar is from the Middle East and has olive skin, she speaks with a thick accent. Mary has long, beautiful brunette hair and perfect skin. Betty is chubby and has greasy hair. Gertrude is skinny and cuts her own hair. Which girl has more dignity?

Olivia is 99 years old and can’t bathe herself or feed herself. Ruby has a birthmark on the right side of her face. Jessica is a beautiful model who stars in television commercials. Which person has more dignity?

All people are equal in dignity because they’ve been given a soul by God at their creation.

Here’s another excerpt—the topic is Catholic Baptism:

Being baptized is really quite simple but its simplicity shouldn’t make anyone underestimate its power! Have you ever noticed that during Easter Vigil the priest leads you through a renewal of your baptismal promises? That’s because it is always good to remember what it means to be a baptized member of the body of Christ.

Check it out. This is an example of what the priest might say and what you would say in response.

·  Do you reject Satan? I do.
And all his works? I do.
And all his empty promises? I do.
·Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do.
·Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
·Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? I do.
·God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever. Amen.
Table of Contents
 ·         You Are Here for a Reason                
·         Relationships                                                       
·         The Real You                                                       
·         Me and Social Media                                          
·         Fashion, Skin, Hair and Makeup                             
·         Financial Responsibility                                  
·         Role Models                                                                          
·         Virtues to Live By                                                             
·         A Prayer Life                                                       
·         Glossary                                                                      

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do You Know the Four Marks of the Church?

Every time a Catholic recites the Nicene Creed, he is proclaiming belief in the “Four Marks of the Church.” He joins with all other believers and professes a faith which says, “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church…”

These “four marks” are called “indelible” in that they cannot be changed or removed. They are the same as when Christ founded the church and will remain the same until his return. As indicated in the Nicene Creed, they bind together the believers in a unique and significant way.

The first mark: the church is one.

As diverse as we are, we are also considered one in that we are one body in Christ. Even as we bring our different cultures to the one body of Christ, we all believe that this Christ is our Lord and Savior; in him we have our redemption.  All who have been baptized are part of his one, true church.

The second mark: the church is holy.

The teachings of the church lead each believer to holiness. They never lead away from God—who calls all to holiness.

While we continue to stumble and often even grope our way to our eternal reward in heaven, we can look towards the church to aid us in our call to holiness. The teachings of the Magisterium help us unwrap the Truths of our faith as we seek holiness.

The third mark: the church is catholic.

Catholic means “universal.” It beckons all men—throughout the ages and across the globe—towards the truths of Christ. Its universality began at Pentecost with men of every nation gathered and has since retained the same fullness of faith throughout time.

The fourth mark: the church is apostolic.

The Catholic Church is apostolic in nature. It began with the teachings of Christ given to the apostles and will remain the same until Christ’s second coming. It is the only Church which can trace its roots back to the first apostles—and the first Vicar of Christ: Peter.

These four indelible marks of the Catholic Church are proclaimed by believers in communion with other believers and are meant to inspire the humility of Christ in each one. They are immutable gifts from God, established by Christ, that exist because of his grace and mercy. These four marks of the Catholic Church (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) and are meant for our sanctification and his glory.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Woman of Faith Ages Gracefully, Right?

You’ve discovered what it truly means to be “young at heart.”

The wrinkles around your mouth and the pouchy jowls have no effect on you.

You see the varicose veins in your legs and feet as a sign of victory—having carried children and lifted the loads of life.

You are able to make fun of your bat wings and still wear sleeveless shirts in the summer.

That’s what it means to grow old gracefully; it is a sign of maturity of spirit.

Something we attain while we nurture others and as we, ourselves, learn and grow from life’s experiences.

Yeah, not so much…

My own struggle with getting older has been a quiet one—but a real one. And I don’t get that. As a woman of faith my struggles against aging make me question my faith.

Shouldn’t I be sort of excited to be on the dark side of 50? Isn’t one step closer to eternity a bigger milestone than the number 60 that looms in the not-too-distant future? Nope. Not at all.

So it makes me wonder: What’s up with that?

I went to a Neil Diamond concert a few years ago and all I could think was: What are all these old people doing here?

Don't get me wrong: I am glad to be alive and yet the reality of facing aging is still very real.

And I get that some people who are in their 70s think I’m still a babe in the woods; but the fact is, I can’t even call myself “middle aged” unless I can honestly say I think I will live to be around 112 “ish.” Probably not going to happen regardless of how Suzanne Somers spins aging—but I do like her spunk and am very tempted to order her electric-zapping facial contraption (has anyone tried it?).

In the meantime, I ponder this surprising dilemma more and more and look in the mirror less and less.

I’m trying to find the balance between my faith and digging in my heels against time as it flies by—although I do like the idea of the gusts of time pulling back the skin of my face and giving me a more youthful look.

Maybe it is a win-win after all.

(picture: © Mellefrenchy |


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Men Ask "What Did It Cost?"...Women Say "This Is What I Saved!"

“You saved $58.00,” the cashier said to me as she handed me the receipt for the cute summer dress.

“And that’s exactly what I tell my husband,” I replied.

She chuckled and we exchanged a knowing nod.

We each fully understood that this dress, marked down twice on clearance and then with a coupon tendered, was a total deal—it would almost be wrong not to have bought it.

Where men ask “What did it cost?” women say “This is what I saved…”

Somewhere into our second decade (yes, decade) of marriage my husband stopped trying to understand my logic when shopping. He stopped pointing out what I had to spend to save because he finally realized that my brain simply did not compute his logic.

Around the same time, I gave up trying to understand why he had 32 different kinds of string and dozens of power strips hanging on the pegboard in the basement. For me, what was most frustrating was that whenever we needed string—or a power strip—what we already owned “wasn’t the right kind.”

It made me crazy—and so for my own sanity’s sake, I had to finally stop staring at (and reminding him of) the numerous power strips and countless spools of string that we already owned but were never “right” for any job that needed a power strip or string.

Fortunately for our marriage, we each adopted a willingness to let go of that which seemed incomprehensible.

He no longer tries to understand why I have about 25 pairs of black leggings and I no longer try to understand why he has only one pair of lounge pants to wear on the weekend. (I can’t even tell you how many pairs of comfy pants I have purchased over the past 30 years that I’ve returned because he “doesn’t need them.”)

So next summer when I wear this adorable dress and he compliments me, I will tell him that I saved $58 and he will understand—not in a logical way of how I came up with that figure but in the way that makes our marriage work because he will know that saving all that money on the dress made me happy and, more importantly, that his power strips and string are safe on the pegboard in the basement.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Go-To Latin Phrases To Enrich Your Life

The Latin Mass is often called “the closest thing to heaven on earth.”

Rich in history with a language that most closely resembles the spirit of the Gospels, the Latin Mass is considered, by many, to most accurately reflect the mystery of the presence of Christ at the altar. After decades of Novus Ordo (Latin for “New Order” is the 1969 Mass of Pope Paul VI in which the Mass was offered in English with additional changes such as the priest facing the congregation instead of the altar), there is a renewed interest in the Latin Mass.

Indeed, with Benedict’s 2007 interest in revising the Latin Mass, many Catholics have been introduced to the beauty of the Latin language for the first time while others are recalling their great love for Latin.

Outside of the Latin Mass, additional Latin words and phrases are now proving invaluable in the spiritual life of a Catholic and can undoubtedly enrich the lives of other Christians as well.

Dominus is Latin for master or owner. Taken in context of the faith, it most perfectly reflects the beauty of being in a loving relationship in which Christ is the master. Unfettered by a secularist world view, dominus is the truest indicator of what it means to be a believer: we are “owned” by the one who loved us so deeply that he died for us and for our salvation.

Lectio Divina is Latin for Divine Reading. It is an invitation into the reading of Scripture wherein we enter the heart of God and he enters ours. It is a slow inhalation of as little as a word or as much as a paragraph that takes root in the soul of a reader. Lectio divina requires we let go of the world and let God, through the Holy Spirit, speak his sacred word divinely into our heart and soul.

Oratio Ignita is Latin for Fiery Prayer. No longer satisfied with a mundane prayer life, a believer who enters into a more intimate union with God often finds that his or her prayer takes on a “fiery” or even a somewhat heightened aspect of communing with God. Erupting from the depths of the heart, oratio ignita reflects a deeper understanding of God’s will and desire to be in obedience.

Bios Praktikos is Latin for Active Life. According to Aristotle, those who engage in bios praktikos are able to attain noble things. This is due to the fact that all things wind back to the Divine and this becomes more apparent the more a believer participates in the things of life, particularly bringing those experiences back into prayer.

Dei Gratia is Latin which means Grace of God. Grace being the favor—the gift—given to us by God; something unearned, undeserved. Exploring the true meaning of grace from the Latin perspective encourages us to think more clearly about this divine gift and possibly experience it in a new, appreciative way.

Beatus is blessed in Latin and easily brings to mind the Beatitudes—the roots of Christianity that cannot be divided.

Redemptor Hominus is Latin for The Redeemer of Man—Christ.

Exploring Latin words affords a unique opportunity to delve into the history of Christianity in a very unique way. These few words are just the beginning of a wealth of words and phrases which have the ability to speak to the heart and soul of a believer as they force a sense of concentration and seeking wherein God will be able to respond.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do You Have the Gift of Writing?

I was recently asked to contact a young woman who was attempting to write a book. The request came from a friend whose life in the church has resulted in her path being crossed with a whole lot of people from all walks of life with all sorts of varying gifts, talents, and calls.

In particular, I was told that the young woman had an “emerging gift of writing” which is why I was asked to meet with her and help in her discernment process. This “emerging gift of writing” is something, according to the friend who made the request, which is happening more and more often in the lay populace.

I agree.

I’m always receiving requests from people—everyday people who live their lives as nurses, mothers, engineers, government employees, teachers and even priests—who feel they are being called to write and would like me to help assess if this is a real call or just a wild goose chase. Catholics are on-fire for their faith in a new way and with that fire comes a wish, desire and even a need to bear fruit for the kingdom.

If you have begun to wonder if you, too, have the emerging gift of writing, it might be time to examine that idea more in-depth.

Here are a couple of tips that I try to share with those who are discerning this possibility:

  1. How long have you felt this “call?” If it is new, give it time to develop. See if God gives you “signs” to help you see that it is a gift. For example: someone might tell you that a thank you note you wrote really touched her heart. If you have the gift of writing, God will make sure you know you have it if you ask for his help in discerning it. 
  2. Take on an attitude of “holy indifference.” This means that you don’t become emotionally invested in the possibility of having this gift. Either way, you are okay with the outcome. You leave it all to God to help show you if this is a gift he has given you. 
  3. Spend ample time in Adoration and in prayer while you discern. This will keep you focus on serving God and knowing his will for you. 
  4. A specific thought or idea continually comes into your heart. Maybe you are a health care worker and out of nowhere, at any time during the day or any day of the week, you will feel a nudge to write about something that you feel will bless others. It happens again and again. In those cases, quietly but boldly ask God if he is putting that idea in your heart. 
  5. Don’t ask friends or family to help you discern—especially in the beginning. Sometimes even our best-intentioned friends and family can lead us astray. Maybe hoping to bolster our spirit or even willing to bend the truth so as not to offend us, our friends and family may not be able to offer objectivity so they shouldn’t be the first place we turn when we are seeking God’s counsel. God will provide what we need to know his will.

Like all gifts that are now emerging to serve God and the church, the emerging gift of writing can be fun and rewarding; but it can also be difficult and frustrating. Lots of people are doing their best to find God’s will in their lives but few are succeeding. This is because we tend to get emotionally invested in what we think must be what we are called to do (that’s why holy indifference is important). We even, incorrectly, assume that following God’s will has a particular “look and feel.” We falsely identify what is success and what is failure!

The peace that comes from knowing you have allowed God to reveal to you your own emerging gifts will be its own reward—even if a best-seller isn’t on the horizon.

Obedience is its own reward.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bezalel Books Author Named Teacher of the Year!

Rosemary McDunn, author of the Catholic favorite, The Green Coat: A Tale from the Dust Bowl Years has been named Teacher of the Year by the Archdiocese of Detroit!

We're so proud of Rosie--but not surprised!

As both her publisher and a former colleague, I personally know that she has a sincere love for her students and I feel honored to have her popular book as part of our Bezalel Books lineup of great fiction for Catholic families.

Rosie's heart for teaching is evident in this wonderful historical fiction story as well as in the thought-provoking questions and vocabulary section found in the back of the book making it a favorite for homeschoolers and parochial schools.

Congratulations Rosie!

Free Books for Catholic Families!

As part of our effort to introduce Catholic families to our work at Bezalel Books, we are now offering some of our titles for free on Kindle!

For girls we are offering All Things Girl: Truth for Teens for free! The second edition offers a great new section on health and fitness by best-selling author Peggy Bowes (The Rosary Workout) as well as new content on vocations and social media.

For boys our popular All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters is now free! Filled with stories, facts about being a young Catholic man, and lots of encouragement, All Things Guy is a book young men really enjoy.

For mom, grandma, aunt or godmother we are now offering Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage for free. Elizabeth is a fiction story about a woman’s trip to the Holy Land and God’s hand in the friendships she forges. For the Catholic woman looking for a non-fiction book, we are now offering Our JewishRoots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment for free.

Lots of other great titles are now available at low prices as well.

For Catholic dads, grandpas, uncles and godfathers, The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights is now just $2.99! You don’t have to be a weight lifter to enjoy Jared Zimmerer’s popular book that precedes his recently released Man Up!

And if your tween son is looking for great fiction, Hiding the Stranger: The Trilogy is now just $2.99!

Then there's Rosemary McDunn's classic The Green Coat: A Tale from the Dust Bowl Years. McDunn's work is a favorite for all ages--literally from 9 to 90!--and among all readers from homeschool groups to parochial school If you haven't yet read The Green Coat, now is the time for $2.99. McDunn was just named Teacher of the Year in the Archdiocese of Detroit!

We hope you enjoy our invitation to great Catholic books for the entire family—and may God bless you through these titles!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Becoming the Best Prayer Warrior You Can Be!

Without exception, God calls each believer to become a prayer warrior.

While some believers are uniquely gifted as intercessors and their prayers seem to flow right out of their spirit, all are nonetheless expected to intercede for others.

But how do we respond to that call to mediate for another person—especially if intercession is not one of our gifts and we stumble along in our attempts at intercession, feeling inadequate and even inept?

How can we answer God’s call upon us and become the best prayer warriors this side of heaven?

Abraham is the first example of intercession as he speaks to God about Sodom and Gomorrah and gives us a couple of excellent clues on how to be a prayer warrior.

First and foremost, Abraham models a personal relationship with his God.

Think about it: which of our personal relationships allow us to be most like our real selves? Which of our relationships encourage us to be open and honest? It is always those relationships that are the most open and honest themselves that give us the platform to speak freely and not worry about condemnation or recrimination.

So the first step in becoming the best prayer warrior we can be for others is to develop a rich, authentic relationship with God.

The next thing that Abraham models is a boldness that often startles us when we read his words in Genesis 18: What if there are …. ?

Abraham is questioning God with a boldness that arises from the personal relationship he is in with God. Almost as if wondering out loud (but knowing God is always right there), Abraham queries God with a successive set of bold questions.

In this way, Abraham’s example encourages us, too, to be bold in our stand before God.

But let us immediately notice that right along with boldness is humility.

After all, who is Abraham to implore God—and by association, who are we to do that same thing? And yet that is exactly what Abraham does! Abraham’s example is that while we boldly stand before God, we simultaneously recognize the absurdity of it all. Who are we to have this personal relationship with God and to stand boldly before him?

Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah is the perfect illustration of the paradox of our faith: to be able to boldly approach the Creator of the universe in a personal, genuine way.

The last piece of becoming the best prayer warrior we can be is to know some of the details of the situation for which we are storming heaven. Abraham shows us the need for a personal relationship and to boldly ask while remaining humble. Beyond what we learn from Abraham is the need to, whenever possible, have real specific particulars when we pray. This isn’t because God needs to know the details but because it will help keep us focused and alert. It will aid us as we approach God for the needs of another.

If we are praying for someone who is having surgery, knowing the date, time, and location of the surgery helps us pray more vigilantly, more successfully.

Oswald Chambers said it best when he said: As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.

In other words, become the best prayer warrior you can be!

Man Up! now available at Catholic Answers

Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man, the popular new book that covers a wide variety of topics for Catholic men is now available in the Catholic Answers catalog and in their online shop.

Jared Zimmerer (also the author of The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights) has gathered the contributions of such men as Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Kevin Lowry and has created a "retreat you will want to attend again and again!"

Endorsed by Fr. Robert Barron and with a foreword by Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Man Up! is sure to please every man looking for encouragement and confirmation.