Faith-Building Books for Teens (The Book Whisperer)

Book WhispererThis week I started teaching a class to prepare a small group of teens to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil this year at St. Basil the Great Parish in Kimberton, PA. So for the next few months — through Lent — I’ve decided that “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled” will be taking a spiritual journey along with them. And what’s a journey without a few good books?

This post will include a few titles that I’m recommending for my students.

The YouCat is a resource for teenagers that will provide reliable answers to any questions about the Catholic faith that you might have. I gave my students a copy at our first meeting. If you want to learn more, you can always read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on which the YouCat is based.

The New American Bible, which is the version read at Mass. On this website you will find daily Scripture readings, which you can follow to learn  more about what God has revealed to us, the “salvation story” that covers more than four thousand years of human history, and culminates in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for our hope; he created the Church while he was here on earth, and instituted the sacraments that strengthen us for the journey to heaven. The story of Jesus is found in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you’ve never read the Bible on your own before, you may want to start there. It is also a good idea to follow the daily readings, which will help you to understand how to read the Old Testament in relationship to the New Testament — that’s important when you are studying the Catholic faith.

my-big-bookIf you would like to read more about the heroes of the faith in Scripture, pick up a copy of My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. I compiled this book several years ago for Thomas Nelson Publishers. In addition to the beautiful pictures and stories, it also has Catechism references and other helpful information, and little prayers to help you apply the text to your life.

If you want to learn more about the saints, there are lots of books to help you! One I especially like is Mystics and Miracles: True Stories of Lives Touched by God, by Bert Ghezzi. You’ll find some of the better-known saints like Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, and Teresa of Avila as well as some lesser-known like Francis of Paola (who “defied gravity to move huge boulders … passed through fire and handled glowing coals unharmed”) and Gertrude the Great (to whom Jesus appeared as a sixteen-year-old boy and captured her heart).

Next week, I’ll share some of the books that helped me when I was journeying toward the Church in the winter of 1993.

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Five Ways to Motivate Your Team

Today I came across this post by Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson Incorporated, who will be publishing my latest book My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories in February 2010).

How do you motivate a team to do their best? Simple, as Michael writes.

In my experience, there are five ways to do this:

  1. Assume others are smart and working hard.
  2. Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
  3. Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.
  4. Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
  5. Remind them why their work is so important and the difference they are making.

Yes, you can talk about issues that need to be addressed, but it has to be done in a way that leaves people motivated about what is possible. 

This is as true for mothers and parenting as it is in the boardroom. Acknowledge. Ask. Appreciate. Admire. In a word … build up your team!

CWCO 2009: Recommended Reading from Ami McConnell

samsonToday Ami McConnell led a spirited discussion about good fiction — and how we can affect positive change in our culture with faith-based stories. She mentioned this novel by Lisa Samson, “The Passion of Margaret-Mary,” as an example of fresh voices of faith — Catholic voices, natch — that is doing just that!

Why not pick up a copy today?