On Barb’s Bookshelf: Spring Meditations


A good meditation book doesn’t have to be weighty, complicated or designed for monastics who have hours to spend praying and pondering.

Spring Meditations by John Bartunek, LC, STD is small enough to tuck into your handbag, simple enough for teens and adults to understand, and set up so that you can read it when you have a few minutes here and there. Each of 12 chapters is only about 8 pages long.

spring meditations Liguori PubThat doesn’t mean that there’s not much to this book. On the contrary, I found the chapters packed with personal anecdotes, saints’ stories and inspiration to spare. In addition, each chapter ends with a “Making it your own” section featuring a journal prompt for each day of the week.

Because the book is completely undated, you can choose whether you want to begin your week’s meditations on Sunday, Monday, or whatever day works for you.

The twelve chapters are based on virtues and ideals: hope, courage, love, humility, loyalty, patience, responsibility, wisdom, discernment, purpose, beauty and faith.

From the introduction:

our day-to-day lives, our month-to-month lives, our year-to-year lives have, in general, gotten out of synch with the natural rhythms of the earth we were created to inhabit.

This causes problems. As humans, we are meant to unfold our lives in harmony with the natural world. The seasons, the processes of nature, the rhythms of this world–our world–were created out of live and given to us as a home. They have something to tell us about our deeper identity, the purpose of our life, the way to fully live life. (5-6)

What better time than spring, as day by day, minute by minute, we watch the natural world bursting with life, to examine how we can live our own lives more closely to the the rhythms of the natural world?

My plan is to take this book to Adoration with me–for the next 12 weeks.

If you’re looking for a Confirmation gift for an older teen or an adult who is entering into full Communion with the Church, pair this book with a nice journal.

Spring Meditations is published by Liguori Publications.

The fine print: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, but no other compensation, for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed here are, as always, mine alone.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope Francis


Lent starts tomorrow! Are you ready? No? Join the club. I’m still figuring out my give-ups and add-ons, my physical sacrifices and spiritual practices to put into place.

lent and easter wisdom from pope francisI’ve got a good book to help me stay encouraged and motivated all throughout Lent–and right through Divine Mercy Sunday as well: Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope Francis by John Cleary.

This book is practical and not at all heavy-duty. There’s no way I could handle a Lent filled with complicated spiritual reading. Pope Francis is down-to-earth; the homilies, encyclicals, letters and addresses quoted here are accessible but still spiritually challenging.

Journal prompts for each day inspire reflection based on the Pope’s quotes, a Scripture passage and a prayer. I’m not the best journal-keeper, probably because journals are so open-ended, but this could work for me.

Each day’s section in the book is 3 pages or less. I like that it doesn’t end on Easter Sunday but instead continues through the whole Octave of Easter, reinforcing the concept that Easter is not just a day!

This is an undated book; sections are divided by the day in the liturgical year, so keep your church calendar handy. The bonus here is that the book isn’t tied only to 2016!

Buy this book through my Amazon link to support Franciscanmom.com!

The fine print: I received a review copy of this book; no other compensation was received and all opinions expressed here are mine alone.