Review: The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me four tries to read this book, each previous attempt has ended maybe 50 pages in, eveyone said it’s a great book, I just could not push myself to read it. I am not a fantasy fan. I am especially not a great fan of high fantasy. The idea of learning tons of strange to pronouce names and new magic systems was just too much for me.
On the fourth try I told myself that I have to read at least 20% of the book before I quit it for the final time. Well it worked. I now finished this monster of a book (over 1000 pages!!!) and I can’t wait for more.
I loved this book, and now consider Brandon Sanderson to be one of my favourite authors. I love every character he creates, and the world they live in is fantastic. There is so much to discover here, so much mystery and strange ideas. I think I’m becoming a fan of this genre.

 

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Review: Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church

Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church
Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church by Rev. Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A difficult book. I may have to read it again few times to get more out of it. This is by far the best treatment on predestination I have ever read. It states clearly the different schools of thought within Catholicism. It also shows the errors of various heresies.

Few quotes from the book:

We shall return to this point. But in any case, from this minimum admitted by all we get three propositions to which all Catholic theologians subscribe. They are: (1) Predestination to the first grace is not because God foresaw our naturally good works, nor is the beginning of salutary acts due to natural causes; (2) predestination to glory is not because God foresaw we would continue in the performance of supernaturally meritorious acts apart from the special gift of final perseverance; (3) complete predestination, in so far as it comprises the whole series of graces from the first up to glorification, is gratuitous or previous to foreseen merits. These three propositions are admitted by all Catholic theologians. But Thomists and Augustinians on the one hand, and Molinists and congruists on the other, differ in their interpretation of them.

We see that the teaching of the Church against these conflicting heresies may be summed up in these profound words of St. Prosper, which the Council of Quierzy makes its own. Against Pelagianism and Semipelagianism the council says: “That some are saved, is the gift of Him who saves.” Against predestinarianism it says: “That some perish, is the fault of those who perish.” Holy Scripture expressed the same thought in these words: “Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in Me.”

“Predestination is a part of providence. Now providence, as also prudence, is the plan existing in the intellect directing the ordering of some things towards an end. But nothing is directed towards an end unless the will for that end already exists. Whence the predestination of some to eternal salvation presupposes, in the order of reason, that God wills their salvation; and to this belong both election and love.”

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

The Twenty-fifth Day of December,
when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness; when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace; in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees; in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt; around the thousandth year since David was anointed King; in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome; in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace,

Jesus, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Review: On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century
On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Jorge Mario Bergoglio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title should be different.

This book is a series of conversations between Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now our new Pope Francis) and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. They talk about a wide array of topics giving both Jewish and Christian answers respectively.

I really liked the style of this book. The respectful conversation between these two men really impressed me.

It offers a great insight into the mind of our new Pope. This is maybe the best look at what he thinks about issues that I have found to date.

I was also very impressed with Rabbi Skorka. He is a very intelligent man and I’ve learned a lot about Jewish views on many issues.

I highly recommend this book for both Christians and Jews alike! We have a lot to learn from each other.

Saint Augustine on martyrs

We, the Christian community, assemble to celebrate the memory of the martyrs with ritual solemnity because we want to be inspired to follow their example, share in their merits, and be helped by their prayers.  Yet we erect no altars to any of the martyrs, even in the martyrs’ burial chapels themselves.

No bishop, when celebrating at an altar where these holy bodies rest, has ever said, “Peter, we make this offering to you,” or “Paul, to you,” or “Cyprian, to you.”  No, what is offered is offered always to God, who crowned the martyrs.  We offer in the chapels where the bodies of those he crowned rest, so the memories that cling to those places will stir our emotions and encourage us to greater love both for the martyrs whom we can imitate and for God whose grace enables us to do so.

So we venerate the martyrs with the same veneration of love and fellowship that we give to the holy men of God still with us.  We sense that the hearts of these latter are just as ready to suffer death for the sake of the Gospel, and yet we feel more devotion toward those who have already emerged victorious from the struggle.  We honor those who are fighting on the battlefield of this life here below, but we honor more confidently those who have already achieved the victor’s crown and live in heaven.

But the veneration strictly called “worship,” or latria, that is, the special homage belonging only to the divinity, is something we give and teach others to give to God alone.  The offering of a sacrifice belongs to worship in this sense (that is why those who sacrifice to idols are called idol-worshippers), and we neither make nor tell others to make any such offering to any martyr, any holy soul, or any angel.  If anyone among us falls into this error, he is corrected with words of sound doctrine and must then either mend his ways or else be shunned.

The saints themselves forbid anyone to offer them the worship they know is reserved for God, as is clear from the case of Paul and Barnabas.  When the Lycaonians were so amazed by their miracles that they wanted to sacrifice to them as gods, the apostles tore their garments, declared that they were not gods, urged the people to believe them, and forbade them to worship them.

Yet the truths we teach are one thing, the abuses thrust upon us are another.  There are commandments that we are bound to give; there are breaches of them that we are commanded to correct, but until we correct them we must of necessity put up with them.

(Lib. 20, 21: CSEL 25, 562-563) – Taken from Office of Reading for the memorial of Pope Saint Damasus I

What we can clearly see is the Church’s understanding of the communion of saints, celebrating the memory of the saints and asking for their intersession.  That this practice and teaching were there from the beginning of Christianity is undisputed.