Book Review: Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts (3/5)

14 Apr

I’ve had this book on my shelves for seven years. I always meant to get to it and never did. It was a gift from a friend for Christmas and I think I got it because I’m her only Catholic friend. It’s a short book and I always meant to pick it up but never did. I thought Easter weekend during a pandemic might be a good time to have some words of faith in mind.

Cover image via Goodreads

Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts: Words of Challenge and Hope by The Word Among Us Press

Summary from Goodreads:

The short excerpts in this book, taken from Pope Francis homilies and addresses since becoming pope, reflect his warm pastoral style and cover themes that we can expect to hear from him again and again: the mercy of God, the scandal of poverty, the need to come out of ourselves to evangelize, the call to unity in the Church, and the challenge to become true disciples of Jesus and not part-time Christians. This book will both challenge Catholics and fill them with the hope that Gods’ mercy endures forever.

I think I picked the right time to meditate over this book. I’ve been struggling with feelings of hopelessness and isolation during the pandemic that have brought me to tears more than once and having the Pope’s motivating words to help me feel grounded, even for a short while, was great. It was especially perfect to read this on Good Friday and Holy Saturday because a few of the excerpts were from Easter homilies and were very relevant to what I was hearing in church on those days.

I don’t normally share quotes from books, but there was one quote that I really liked and I sent it to a non-Catholic Christian friend who swims with me because I think we needed to hear it.

Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide… to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage!

Though this book was published seven years ago, it seemed very timely with the state of the world today. There is a lot of fear among us all and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s faith has been shaken by the situation. It was a nice little re-set for me to put in perspective that there is always suffering and darkness in the world that we have to overcome; COVID is just the one we’re fighting now.

I know one of the things that’s unique about my faith is that Catholics pray often for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. There was a section of the book where Pope Francis talked about why we do this and how to do it which I found insightful. (For a more ‘official’ explanation of this, please read here, complete with Joker meme).

I didn’t have a particular part of the book I disliked, but I had some issues with when it was published. The book came out in September of 2013. Pope Francis became Pope in March 2013. That wasn’t a lot of time for his homilies and writings to be collected and put into a book so I see this as a rush job and not a good representation of his words. That’s the only reason I give it a low rating. I think something published now or in the future could be more inclusive of his words and give a better idea of his thoughts and messages.

The book is divided into different themes or overall messages and the quotes are grouped around these themes which I liked. Francis has received a lot of praise for being very focused on the poor and for being a humble man and I think these early words of his share that sentiment. It’s refreshing and grounding.

Writer’s Takeaway: There isn’t much of a parallel between this book and what I plan to write and publish. The biggest thing I can take from this as a writer is to look at context. The quotes are well pulled and give a solid idea of what Pope Francis was saying or trying to say. However, the timing of the publication doesn’t give a lot of his messages as Pope, more so in his position as a Cardinal and beforehand so the title seems a bit misleading.

A great book to escape to right before Easter. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

One Response to “Book Review: Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts (3/5)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Challenge Update, April 2020 | Taking on a World of Words - May 4, 2020

    […] Girl in Green // Derek B. Miller (3/5) Cuando era puertorriqueña // Esmeralda Santiago (4/5) Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts (3/5) A Mother’s Reckoning // Sue Klebold (4/5) Moby-Duck // Donovan Hohn (5/5) The Alice […]

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