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The Heart of a Saint: Ten Ways to Grow Closer to God [Hardcover]

By Bert Ghezzi (Author)
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Item description for The Heart of a Saint: Ten Ways to Grow Closer to God by Bert Ghezzi...

God offers every human being the gift of himself, promising to come and make his home in the hearts of all who love and obey him. Saints respond to this gift by giving their hearts wholeheartedly to God. In The Heart of a Saint, best-selling Catholic author Bert Ghezzi portrays ten heroes of the faith whose lives demonstrate how we can grow closer to God as we give our hearts to him. From Therese of Lisieux and Francis of Assisi to Dorothy Day and Pope John Paul II, the author paints a portrait of men and women taking on the heart of God in prayer, service, justice, and love of neighbor. Each chapter ends with suggestions for reflection, prayer, and action for growing in the particular spiritual quality exhibited by each saint. Ghezzi's engaging style as he tells these stories is both refreshing and inspirational.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Word Among Us Press
Pages   182
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2007
Publisher   WORD AMONG US PRESS #1425
ISBN  1593251084  
ISBN13  9781593251086  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bert Ghezzi

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bert Ghezzi, who holds a PhD in history from the University of Notre Dame, is a popular speaker and author who has written nearly twenty books, including "Mystics and Miracles," "The Sign of the Cross," "Keeping Your Kids Catholic," and "Voices of the Saints." He is currently an acquisitions editor for Our Sunday Visitor. He and his wife reside in Winter Park, Florida.

Bert Ghezzi currently resides in Winter Park, in the state of Florida. Bert Ghezzi was born in 1941.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Inspirational

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Heart of a Saint: Ten Ways to Grow Closer to God?

A Great Book To Help You Emulate the Saints  Mar 31, 2008
(4.5 out of 5, even though the website won't calculate it)

As Bert Ghezzi might say, saints are to be emulated, not simply admired. Ghezzi does a great job in not simply relating the lives of 10 holy people, most of whom are canonized saints, but also in providing guidance regarding how to model them. As summarized by Catholic author Patricia Treece, who has written a fine book on St. Maximilian Kolbe (A Man For Others, Our Sunday Visitor, 1986), "I particularly recommend the end-of-chapter questions, which are simple but potentially life changing." Ghezzi makes clear that sanctity is not simply possible for all Christians, but something that God 1) greatly and lovingly desires us to achieve, and 2) gives us the means to do so. As one priest elsewhere said and Ghezzi would agree, the Catholic sacraments are "meetings" or "encounters with Jesus," and the Good Lord provides us other means to grow closer to Him and thus increase in holiness. "The more you and I worship at Mass and pray the liturgical hours," says Ghezzi, for example, "the more we will have Christ working through us in our daily activities" (pg. 81).

I profited from all of Ghezzi's profiles, in which he illustrates how each person excelled in a particular way by which to grow closer to God. But I particularly enjoyed his chapters on St. Aelred of Rivaulx; St. Jane Frances de Chantal; St. Angela Merici; St. Katharine Drexel; and Pope John Paul II. St Aelred distinguished himself as a 12th-century Cistercian abbot who never dismissed a single monk in 20 years. He wasn't lax; he just kindly worked with monks to overcome troubles, troubles not to be confused with the very distinct minority of modern clergy and religious guilty of sexual wrongdoing. Such orthodox, pastoral spiritual fatherhood is essential to nurture the vocations of priests and religious in our troubled world today. Ghezzi also shows how St. Angela Merici served as a good role model for community life among women religious.

While the chapter on St. Frances de Chantal was on perseverance, I was also impressed how saints like St. Therese of Lisieux (reminded) and St. Katharine Drexel (learned more about her) had their own trials in being patient and persevering re: the discernment and fulfillment of their religious vocations. In his chapter on Pope John Paul II, Ghezzi argues that the main reason more lay people are not involved in evangelization is their ignorance of their duty to do so (pp. 116-17). But Ghezzi answers the question better in quoting John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Christifidelis Laici: "[Evangelization] will be possible if the lay faithful . . . overcome the separation of the gospel from life" (pg. 118). Indeed, a great number of lay people need an adult conversion re: their faith, growing closer to Jesus personally within the context of serving their brothers and sisters in the Church. This necessarily also means a great knowledge of the Faith, so the faithful will truly know Jesus, as opposed to remaking him in their own image, as can often occur when Christians have an erroneous understanding of conscience.

On a constructively critical note, Ghezzi said Pope John Paul II commemorated the 1000th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislaus of Krakow in 1979, but it was the 900th (pg. 126).

In addition, Dorothy Day did much to help the poor, defend life and advance peace, but it's a bit inaccurate to say that she "anticipated the social justice issues now championed by the official church, including preferential concern for the poor, defense of all human life from conception to natural death, and advocacy for peace" (pg. 83). The Church, beginning with her founder Jesus Christ, has always had a concern for the poor. Similarly, the Church has long defended innocent human life. Perhaps Ghezzi means the Church's move to oppose the death penalty amidst our culture of death, although the Church makes clear that capital punishment is not an intrinsic evil, whereas abortion is. Regarding advocacy of peace, the Church has also long sought to avoid war, with the destructive capability of modern warfare making her mission all the more urgent. In addition, despite undoubted wrongdoing associated with them, the Crusades were a defensive response to Muslim aggression in the Holy Land and elsewhere, not an example of ecclesiastical imperialism. The Church had to repel similar incursions into Europe, as the memorable Battle of Lepanto illustrates. Indeed, the Church will always uphold its "just war" teaching, but would that our government have more critically applied it before initiating the current war in Iraq, as distinguished from the war in Afghanistan.

Finally, in discussing St. Roque Gonzalez, Ghezzi cites the movie "The Mission" favorably in his book. As Ghezzi notes in this chapter, it is sadly true that Portuguese and Spanish conquistadors mistreated Indians in South America. However, Ghezzi missteps badly when he says, "For an accurate depiction of this hideous oppression of the Guarani [Indians], you should view `The Mission.' . . . Recently, when I watched it, I was horrified at the brutal treatment of the natives that has persisted even to this day" (pg. 104). While this matter is somewhat peripheral to the book, it's worth explaining given the movie's popularity and Ghezzi's endorsement of it. "The Mission" is a seriously flawed movie, despite its stunning cinematography and various other positive elements. In fact, these positive elements make it all the more insidiously appealing on a largely unsuspecting public. It badly misrepresents history despite claming, at the beginning of the movie, that "the historical events represented in this story are true."

I remember when this movie came out in early 1987. I was working at Fidelity Magazine and E. Michael Jones did a fine job in showing how historically inaccurate the movie was ("Mission Impossible: Jesuits at War with the Church," Fidelity, March 1987). In real life, Luis Altamirano was a renegade Jesuit who betrayed the Indians, although the wanton slaughter of women and children portrayed in the film never occurred. In the movie, Altamirano becomes a Cardinal and papal delegate who intervenes at the Indian's expense. Why the calumnious attack on the hierarchical authority structure that Jesus instituted? Because the movie recasts history in light of the 1980s Nicaraguan Sandinista regime and the dissident Jesuits who supported it. Father Daniel Berrigan, a consultant for the film, makes this clear in his book The Mission: A Film Journal (Harper and Row, 1986). For example, Father Fernando Cardenal, who persisted in working with the Communist Sandinistas despite orders to the contrary from his Jesuit superiors, is compared favorably to Robert DeNiro's character, the Jesuit Mendoza, who leads a bloody rebellion in the movie.

Some might protest that the movie made the Vatican's top movie list. What many don't know, though, is that film critics had inordinate input re: the selection of that list. As I was told in 2005 by a top official at the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, which was the Church body designated to oversee the selection process, the Council had to fight to get movies like "A Man for All Seasons" on the list. Which indicates the selection process had it flaws. In short, the Fidelity article is worth reading, as are Berrigan's revealing book and Philip Caraman's The Lost Paradise, which sets the record straight on the real Altamirano. When a film portrays the Catholic Church in a very bad light and claims to do so accurately, it's important to make sure the claims are indeed true, instead of taking them at face value and reporting them in a book that will have a long shelf life.

Wisdom from a "Doctor" of the Saints  Nov 24, 2007
Bert Ghezzi's insightful books on the saints have made him something of a "Doctor" (teacher) of the Saints for many of us. In this latest offering, he examines the lives and teachings of a number of saints (either canonized or at some stage in the process of canonization) to show how they portrayed ten qualities of holiness that we can learn to imitate. The author's enthusiasm and good humor are contagious. The wisdom he gleans from these holy men and women can lead us all farther down the way of holiness so that we too can become saints of God.
Saints Alive!  Nov 22, 2007
As a protestant, I needed a little primer on sainthood. Ghezzi's accessible writing and transparent research brought these 10 saints alive to me and inspired me toward everyday holiness. I initially intended to read only a chapter at a time, but ended up not being able to put it down. Highly recommended.
Grow On Your Own Path to Sainthood  Nov 20, 2007
In approachable fashion and with engaging language, Dr. Bert Ghezzi offers readers a wonderful resource for journeying along their own path to sainthood. Ghezzi shares in his introduction that each of us, in our own unique ways, is called to sainthood. "Here's the point: we can all become saints if we want," Ghezzi encourages.

The true beauty of The Heart of a Saint, however, is that it gives the reader concrete resources for growing in holiness. Ghezzi offers the stories of ten saintly men and women who answered God's call to lives of great holiness, using each of their stories to illustrate one of his "ten ways to grow closer to God".

From St. Therese of Lisieux, we learn to put a love for God at the center of our lives. The life of St. Roque Gonzalez, a missionary in Paraguay, offers an example of true concern for living out social justice in our own corners of the world. Readers can emulate the example of Dorothy Day, whose fervent efforts at prayer and study illuminated her work with the Catholic Worker movement. Examples of lives well led abound, with a commonality being a mutual decision to give their hearts and lives to God.

At the end of each chapter, Dr. Ghezzi offers a wonderful "Think, Pray, Act" section of reflection. Readers are encouraged to go beyond merely reading about these holy men and women and to truly begin to walk the path towards a more holy life. Recognizing, however, that true holiness is more than just doing things, Ghezzi counsels his readers to begin slowly and to avoid spiritual frustration by gently and carefully adding new spiritual disciplines to their routines.

This book is highly readable and wonderfully adaptive to spiritual seekers leading all different types of lives. Reflect on it individually or share it with a group of friends and begin growing the "Heart of a Saint" in your own life.
The latest from a saint expert  Nov 12, 2007
The best thing about this book is its human touch. It brings the saints to life in a way that is informative and touching at the same time. There is also Ghezzi's usual combination of the well known saints, plus the ones you've never heard of. This is a book that can speak to a seasoned theologian as well as someone who is looking for a first book to get to know the lives of the saints...I would reccomend it equally to both.

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