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Book review: Author satisfies the hungry heart

By Sister Jean Peerenboom

Truth for Your Mind; Love for Your Heart: Satisfying Your Hunger for God by Alfred McBride, O. Praem. (Our Sunday Visitor, $14.95).

Faith for everyday life is the way I thought of Rev. Alfred McBride’s latest book Truth for Your Mind; Love for Your Heart.

In each of the 34 chapters, he takes a Scripture passage or something from a Catholic teaching and pairs it with the faith witness of a saint or other exemplary person to show that living our faith leads us to understanding Scripture.

“The faith lived is the most powerful way to get at the heart of God’s word,” he says. He goes a step further and links each teaching with the spiritual and moral life of today’s readers.

“I believe that popular piety is a powerful way to open our minds and hearts to the revealed Word of God in Scripture, and above all in the New Testament revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us,” he writes.

The writing is clear and concise; the information is relevant and practical. In addition to his reflection, each section has informational side stories, reflection questions and a prayer.

While there are many good examples of integrating his themes with Scripture and examples, one of my favorites is the section on “Forgive Me – I Have Sinned.” He uses the touching parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

It is “the only time that Scripture shows God running,” he says. “The father runs toward his son with arms open and a heart overflowing with forgiveness. The father of the boy is an image of our Father of Mercies. Jesus is telling us what his Father is really like.”

The father in the parable did three things:
• He hugged his son.
• He put shoes on his son’s feet (a sign of equal membership with everyone in the house. In those days, slaves went barefoot).
• He placed a ring on his son’s finger – a sign of trust and welcoming him back into the family.

Like that father, “our heavenly father offers us holistic reconciliation, a reunion with him that is both generous and restorative,” the author says.

McBride ties this to the Good Friday when Jesus sacrificed himself for us. “His last words were filled with mercy and forgiveness.”

Jesus also gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation by giving the apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins, he says.

From there, McBride explores confession today. The decline in confession “is because of a steep decline in our awareness of our sinfulness.” He concludes with our need for continual repentance – “conversion from sinfulness and continual growth in real union with God.”

Other themes in the book include love, faith, devotion to Mary, illness, dignity of life, morality and social justice.

McBride, of De Pere, has written several books on the catechism of the Catholic Church. He is a contributor to Relevant Radio.

Sister Jean Peerenboom is the former religion/books editor from the Green Bay Press Gazette. Sister Jean is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. She writes a monthly book review for the Holy Cross Family Blogspot.

To read all of Sister Jean Peerenboom's book reviews, click here.

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