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July 07, 2010
 
Summer Reading List
 
 
Faith Formation Update continues to offer free monthly encouragement and direction for catechetical ministry within the classroom and beyond. I’m Jeanne Hunt. In each issue I offer a brief starter and my “ Every Family” column. My co-worker and fellow religious educator Joan McKamey offers media resources and ideas in her “ Seen and Heard” column. Our co-worker Angela Glassmeyer suggests other faith formation resources for adults in her column, “Sowing Sampler.”

These wonderful lazy days of summer give catechists time to replenish our souls. This issue will offer a spiritual reading list that is sure to do the trick. Share your own favorite books for spiritual reading in the Faith Formation Forum at the end of this newsletter.
—Jeanne
 
     
 
 
Have a Mystical Summer
 
 

Armchair Mystic: Easing Into Contemplative Prayer  by Mark Thibodeaux, S.J., has been a great success in print. Now it comes to us as an audiobook, just in time for that long vacation drive. Armchair Mystic offers practical, first steps to contemplative prayer. The best part of the audio edition is that we hear the author’s voice as he brings us along to a new way of praying.

Father Thibodeaux brings humor, stories and very practical direction to the ancient art of mystical prayer. He helps us experience this lofty prayer form in a most unassuming, easy way. If your summer is a time to learn new things, why not take on learning to become an everyday mystic. A little mysticism could be good for your summer soul.

 
     
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Enjoy a Good Rest...and Read!
 
 
Remember those hectic Sunday mornings of mid-winter: Review your catechetical lesson, get to Mass, find a moment to talk with a concerned parent, fill out your media order form, etc. And now, all is quiet. You have peaceful Sundays, and the parish ministry is slowed until September.

The Divine One wants you to enjoy a good rest. You have earned this break. God expects us to use this summer vacation well, however, and has a little reading list for his teachers: First, open the Word faithfully. Read the next Sunday’s Gospel every morning and reflect on it. Use a study resource or practice lectio divina. Whatever suits your style of mediation will help bring the Gospel alive for you this summer. To get you started, here's a sample of Bringing Home the Word for the Sundays of July.

Next, read a Catholic newspaper, magazine or Web site during your break. Being Catholic in our time means being informed concerning the life and movement of the Church.
 
Finally, spend at least half an hour each day reading a spiritual book. Perhaps you will read a classic like St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s autobiography The Story of a Soul or St. Francis DeSales’ Treatise on the Love of God. There are many contemporary books as well: Ronald Rolheiser’s Holy Longing or Murray Bodo’s Francis: The Journey and the Dream (also available as an audiobook) can bring new depth to the tired catechist’s spirit.
 
     
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Change Up the Routine
 
 

Summer in my home is when school-year routines are tossed out the window. We have fewer family dinners because of the need to get the grass cut between work and the next summer storm. But when we do eat together as a family, our time together is more leisurely since there’s no homework to follow. Kitchen clean-up is simplified by the use of the grill. Our favorite television shows are reruns, so we may take more time in the evenings for talking, reading or playing a game.

A word many parents hear in the summer months is “bored.” I remember using it several hundred times each summer when I was a child. Why did I never figure out that my mom always found work for me to do when I complained of being bored? A wise college professor of mine said that “Bored people are boring.” I have found this to be true—yes, even of myself.

If you’re bored in spirit, the summer break from the school-year routine may be a time to address this by starting a new routine of prayer and reflection. Mark Hart has written an inspiring and entertaining book Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit: A Young Catholic’s Search for Meaning. We’ve recently released it as an audiobook, and I’ve selected a clip (RealMedia | Windows Media) to share with you.

Whether you’re young or not-so-young, this book’s humorous and hard-hitting reflections drive home the point that God isn’t calling you to be a good person—someone who merely obeys the rules—but a new and renewed person in Jesus Christ.

 
     
Franciscan Radio
 
Women's Spirituality
 
 

Do women possess a unique spirituality? Are we truly different from men as both genders struggle and churn inside to understand our deepest needs? The authors of the award-winning “Called to Holiness” series would say yes.

 

The most recent book in the series, Weaving Faith and Experience: A Woman’s Perspective by Patricia Cooney Hathaway, concentrates on the “middle years” when a woman is found asking: Who am I? Who am I with? Where am I going? What is the meaning of suffering? She calls these years the autumns and winters of our lives—challenging yet hopeful times for women to further explore their unique spiritual needs.

 

More spirituality books are found in our online catalog.

 
     
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Faith Formation Forum
 
 

Share your ideas on faith formation at our online bulletin board, Faith Formation Forum. Our editors will screen and post your thoughts, and you can learn from others' ideas. Submit your ideas by clicking here.