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Posted December 16, 2009

Book: Be Holy: A Catholic’s Guide to the Spiritual Life
Author: Father Thomas G. Morrow
St. Anthony Messenger Press. Cincinnati, OH. 2009. Pp. 180

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

If you’re hoping to get to heaven, you’ll need a plan to reach your goal. Do you pray? Give any thought to the virtues? Do works of mercy? And what about the sacraments? Been to confession lately? Are you doing any spiritual reading? This handy manual not only presents all the elements of a successful life, it also helps you incorporate those elements into everyday practice. Be Holy is the guide you need to achieve holiness now and heaven later.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Dryness in Prayer

How often people say to me that they don’t think they are praying as effectively as they ought. I like to mind them of these words of Saint Teresa of Avila: “The Lord doesn’t look so much at the greatness of our works as at the love with which they are done.” Saint Francis de Sales wrote, “We should labor without any uneasiness as to results. God requires efforts on our part, but not success.”

Some people say their prayer doesn’t seem to “go anywhere.” They don’t get that wonderful feeling they used to get in prayer. This should never worry us. At times we all have what is called “dryness” in prayer, or prayer with no consolation. Unfortunately some individuals withdraw from prayer when this happens. But this is wrong. We should pray all the harder when everything is dry, knowing that we receive that much more grace when we do.

Saint Francis de Sales wrote regarding prayer: “If [God} consoles me I kiss the right hand of His mercy. If I am dray and distracted, I kiss the left hand of His justice.” And Saint Therese said that she could expect heaven because she prayed when all seemed dark and arid.

Why does God permit us to suffer dryness in prayer? Why doesn’t He reward us with consolations every time we pray?

In withdrawing consolations God is asking us, “Do you love Me or My consolations?” He wants to see if we will love Him as spouses promise to love, “in good times and in bad.” Saint Francis de Sales tells us to seek not the consolations of God but the God of all consolations.

Table of Contents:

Part One: Motivations for Holiness

1. The delight of heaven: the divine marriage

2. The reality of hell

3. The suffering of purgatory

4. The pursuit of happiness

Part Two: The life of Grace

5. The foundation: prayer

6. Beginning prayer

7. Spiritual reading

8. Meditation and contemplation

9. Difficulties in prayer

10. Commitment to prayer

11. The sacrament of penance

12. The mass, “source and summit of the Christian life”

Part Three: Loving Our Neighbor

14. The spiritual works of mercy

15. The corporal works of mercy

Part Four: The Life of Virtue

16. The theological virtues: faith, hope and charity

17. Prudence, justice and fortitude

18. Temperance

19. The fruits of the Holy Spirit

20. The shortest way to the kingdom