The How to Book of Catholic Devotions: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You

Mike Aquilina, Author, Regis J. Flaherty, Joint Author, Lisa Grote, Editor
Mike Aquilina, Author, Regis J. Flaherty, Joint Author, Lisa Grote, Editor Our Sunday Visitor $13.95 (266p) ISBN 978-0-87973-415-2
Reviewed on: 03/27/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-59276-765-6
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Catholics could enrich their spiritual lives immeasurably by rediscovering their legacy of devotions, contend Aquilina (author of five previous books for OSV) and Flaherty (executive director of the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Cemeteries). The authors' enthusiasm for their subject is admirable. They cover various practices--including meditation, the rosary and confession--but such ambitious scope limits the reader's full appreciation of each practice. The reader's cursory comprehension of these devotions is further hindered by the book's awkward narrative structure. Each chapter highlights several practices by describing a prayer, offering a reflection and including quotations from notable Catholics about the prayer. The authors miss chances to connect devotion to devotion. For example, the section on ""How to Pray an Aspiration"" (a short prayer that glorifies God) follows the section ""How to Meditate"" without explaining whether these practices should be independent of, or foster, each other. The final chapter focuses on the necessary ingredients of a good spiritual life: making a spiritual plan, finding direction and living one's faith. Aquilina and Flaherty are at their best here--perhaps this should have been their starting point. The book's curiously abrupt ending demonstrates its narrative problems most plainly, leaving the reader to tie up loose ends. Despite good intentions, this manual will most likely miss the opportunity to recapture Catholics' enthusiasm for their rich spiritual heritage. (Mar.)
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