June 22, 2019  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

The final book in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — “The Return of the King” — begins with Aragorn, Gimli, Gandalf, and others journeying from Helm’s Deep to Isengard. There they find two Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, feasting on salted pork and smoking the legendary Longbottom Leaf tobacco among the ruins of the city. 

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May 17, 2019  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

The more we honor the Blessed Virgin, the more we honor Jesus Christ, because we honor Mary only that we may the more perfectly honor Jesus, since we go to her only as the way by which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus.”

So begins what is, in the minds of many a saint — and many a living disciple of Jesus, — the best book on the veneration of Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven. “True Devotion to Mary” is St. Louis de Montfort’s classic statement, written from sermons preached by this priest while traveling by foot across France in the late 18th century, of who Mary is, and what role she should play in our hearts and spiritual lives.

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April 19, 2019  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
Spring is back in Colorado! Gone (we hope) are the snowstorms, replaced with the chirping of birds at morning, the budding of our trees, and the joys of lingering afternoon sunshine — hints and promises of spring. So why engage in spring cleaning when there are good books to read? This month we’ve selected a few that will bless you in particular ways — in heart, body, mind and soul.
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March 15, 2019  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
Lent is upon us, and hopefully we are upon Lent. This season of prayer and penance is set apart by the Church to prepare us for Holy Week and Easter. As we know, through voluntary amendment of life, acts of penance, and works of charity, we prepare our hearts, similar to those who in serious prebaptismal formation contemplate their own burial with Christ. Among specific works of charity is a rekindled devotion to the scriptures and to “holy reading” (with Lectio Divina or specific books that help us on our own Calvary road). 
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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Praying for Priests

A Mission for the New Evangelization
February 1, 2019  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
The purity of the church is undergoing a time of testing. While some are confused, others are angry. Still others are greatly discouraged, and not a few consider leaving because their faith has been badly wounded. While these may indeed be times that try men’s souls, as Thomas Paine said early in our American history, it is also the time for lay men and women to seize Heaven with their prayers for repentance and renewal.
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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Feasting on Words

Christmas Gift Guide and 2018 Awards
December 21, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

Of gifts at Christmas, novelist J.K. Rowling observed that “one can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Biblical Commentaries

A Guide for the Perplexed on a Budget
November 16, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
“The study of the sacred page . . . should be the very soul of sacred theology” (Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 24). In a time of testing for the church’s beliefs and practices, it will be those steeped in the scriptures, in the magisterial teaching and traditions of the church, and in the long-running dialogue of her scholars and teachers on the precise meaning and application of these sources of her authority, who will convince others and lead by their understanding, knowledge, and wisdom.
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October 19, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
One of the areas in Catholic moral theology that is frought with confusion and half-truths is that of same-sex attraction.  Until recently, it has been difficult to find books on this subject that are both well-researched and faithful to the Church’s magisterium. However, Father Mike Schmitz, a priest who serves as a campus minister in the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, has recently published a helpful book titled “Made for Love: Same-Sex Attractions and the Catholic Church” (Ignatius Press). The book combines a priestly perspective, a compassionate and loving tone and an effective attempt to bridge the gap between the conclusions of the Catholic Church and their impact on those who are affected by same-sex attraction.
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September 21, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
Many Catholics know that the month of October is the month of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What better time to look at the treasure-trove of excellent books to grow (or even begin) a vibrant and authentic Marian veneration practice within our hearts, our families, and our homes?
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August 17, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
We can all benefit from study and reflection that helps us to live the Mass more deeply, and fortunately there are many resources to aid us in this endeavor. Below are reviews of three that are worth investigating:
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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: The Fragility of Order

Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times
June 15, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

When Catholics seek a mature insight into the politics or history of the current times or want to enjoin a discussion of the utmost gravity, more often than not, author George Weigel is on the short list of potential commentators. Weigel, one of the more prominent public intellectuals in modern times, is the author of two dozen New York Times bestselling books and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: The Eight Doors of the Kingdom

Newest offering from Father Jacques Philippe
April 20, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
Happiness. Blessedness. Joy. While we may argue about the path, we seldom dispute the goal. We are born to live in blessedness. We strive to find joy and happiness throughout our lives, though sometimes that search takes us off the narrow path. Father Jacques Philippe, a priest of the Community of the Beatitudes living in Denver, reminds us that the path to blessedness, the Eight doors of the Kingdom, lies in the opening proclamation of Jesus in St. Matthew’s Gospel.
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March 17, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

As we seek to more actively pray the Mass, we are challenged by the presider to “call to mind” not only our failings, but to “prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.” The original word in Koine Greek is pronounced “mysterion,” which when translated is the Latin word “sacramentum,” from which we derive the English word “sacrament.”

Any resource we can discover that helps us to prepare ourselves for the Eucharist is worth the effort in its finding, and “Holiness and Living the Sacramental Life,” written by Father Philip-Michael Tangorra, is just such a help. This new book, part of the Living Faith series published by Emmaus Road Publishers, has as its purpose to help Catholics navigate their way in an increasingly relativistic world.

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February 16, 2018  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER
It has been said that rather than people judging great works of art, they rather judge us. A treasured painting calls us to encounter not only the subject matter of the painting, but also reveals how that particular beauty resonates in our memory, our hearts, and in the upward inclination of our souls. Art is very much an inkling of the divine that speaks to us. Madeleine Stebbins, a student and later assistant of the great Catholic 20th-century philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, has created a contemplative text to guide our reflections upon some of the greatest paintings in Western civilization.
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