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October 30, 2006



What about Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer - by Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto? They're short stories, easy to read, but each carry a heck of a punch. If he's not particularly open to the Church, it might not be a bad starting point.


Maybe Mother Angelica's "Answers, Not Promises". Probably longer than you have in mind, but it's good, practical spiritual help. And she devotes a whole chapter to what she knows best -- suffering.


I'd look at St. Therese's "Last Conversations" if I were you. You might decide that it's not right. But the format is right--small quotes from her at the end of her life.

Rich Leonardi

An additional reason to give him the "Amazing Grace" book is the plethora of evangelical healing/suffering books on the market. In other words, it's likely he'll receive something from a friend or family member published by Zondervan, so it would be good to send him a book in that format by a reputable Catholic publisher.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "Arise from Darkness" is also good.


There is an excellent book, called "I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux" by Jean Du Coeur De Jesus D' Elbee. I think this book would be excellent for this situation. It is a very easy read, and really helps us understand how much God loves us.

If he is too weak to read himself, it is a good book for someone to read to him.

You can find it on Amazon.com at:


Romain' Roman

Hey all - I was the one who blegged, and while I would still appreciate hearing other suggestions on this, I did end up finding a book and am sending it to him today. It's a brand new book out, that I stumbled across after searching through the Catholic bookstore for over an hour yesterday, on John Paul II's greatness in suffering. The lady at the counter was even surprised by it, she hadn't seen it before and "that doesn't happen often in here!" Quite Providential I think.

It's called Let Me Go To The Father's House: John Paul II's Strength in Weakness, and has fours parts, written by people close to JPII during his last days. Go to the Pauline Books online catalog for more info.

I am also sending him a copy of another book I found yesterday, from Sophia press, Be of Good Heart: Sustaining Christian Hope in Our Difficult Days with a guide to confession tucked inside.

Finally, I decided on my way out the door to send him a Way of the Cross, specifically the very detailed one written by St. Josemaria Escriva.

So that's what I'm ended up sending, this go around anyway. I don't know how well it will be received, but... I do think the books I found are good ones for a person like him, if anyone else finds themselves in my situation and are looking for books.

I do agree heartily with the suggestion of "I Believe in Love" - I ALMOST got that one for him, because it is a book that I love dearly for my own reflection and meditation. But I finally decided against it. Also, the Jeff Cavins' "Amazing Grace" books would have been clearly in the running, but the bookstore didn't have them in stock when I went.

And please, if there are other suggestions, please make them - I think this is an area that needs more attention, I'm discovering. There's such a delicate balance here, where the person needs to be comforted, but also needs to be really witnessed to regarding the importance of the Church and the sacramental grace... there just do not seem to be any books out there that are written specifically for this type of reader!

maria horvath

I'd like to suggest a book of poems, like the beautiful collection of "One Thousand Years of Christian Verse," compiled by Joseph Pearce and published by Ignatius Press.

These would be wonderful, especially if read out loud to him. Good poetry, with its rhymes and meters and images, is much like music, which can be of great comfort and bring forth good thoughts.

Which brings me to music that would complement the book: "Gregorian Anthology--Following the Rhythm of the Liturgy," performed by the Monastic Choir of St. Peter's Abbey, Solesmes (Paraclete Press). For more than three years now I have begun every day with this cd. Its calm beauty sets everything right. The last track, with the more than 2 minutes of the tolling of the bells at Solesmes, takes you right there and brings such peace.


The best book I've found - by far - is "Fighting Cancer With the Help of Your Catholic Faith" by Lorene Hanley Duquin, published by Our Sunday Visitor. Lorene is a cancer survivor herself, and that brings a strong authentic beauty to her work.

An inexpensive, easy to read book, which deals with the steps that someone faces after diagnosis. It deals with both facing treatment and death - if the treatment is unsuccessful.

I've given away over two dozen copies since I found it last fall. It's been read and re-read by those who need it the most.

A beautiful resource for any Catholic - lapsed or strong in their faith - to find the steps they need to deal with their cancer.

Hope this helps!


If he's bitter, CS Lewis' "The Problem of Pain" might help with "Why Me?". It helped me awhile back.


Catholic evangelist Matthew Kelley's Book of Courage might be worth checking out (I haven't read it).


"Maurice and Therese" by Bishop Ahern might be a good choice. It is a compilation of the correspondance between St. Therese and an insecure young missionary priest on his way to Asia. During this same period, she was dying of tuberculosis and undergoing a trial of faith. Her own physical and spiritual troubles, largely unspoken in her letters, nevertheless make her a most empathetic and thoughtful spiritual advisor. Bishop Ahern's commentaries are excellent.

JB the (former) Kairos Guy

I know you've already sent your package. But if you are adding on, think about The Screwtape Letters. I read them as a lapsing Catholic and they did more than any book on theology to stop the process. And, the audio version, read by John Cleese, is spectacular! Instead of things that talk about why/how to believe, the book allows you to think about how/why you have lapsed, and how such ideas might have first entered your head. And given that the object of Wormwood's temptations eventually dies, its relevance to a terminal patient is not slight.


maria horvath


I forgot to include the most important part of the title of that book of poetry. It's "FLOWERS OF HEAVEN: One Thousand Years of Christian Poetry," compiled by Joseph Pearce (Ignatius Press).


Maybe "On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering", the 1984 Encyclical by Pope John Paul II.


Lessons from the School of Suffering: A Young Priest with Cancer Teaches Us How to Live (Audio Cassette)
by Jim Willig, Tammy Bundy
It comes in book format too, but I highly recommend the audio.

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