BOOKS FILLED WITH SOLACE FOR ANXIOUS TIMES

If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of covid-19! Enough of social distancing, staying at home, connecting only by our screens, worrying about how the future will unfold.

At the moment, though, we have no choice but to carry on. And so we look for strength in many places: our church, family, friends — and, yes, even books.

Fortunately, this spring there is a treasure trove of new books being released that focus on exactly what we need. They offer hope in dark times, advice for staying healthy in mind and soul, practical hints on staying positive, connecting with God even when the doors to our churches are locked shut. Here are a few selections from the Novalis spring releases:

In times like these, it doesn’t hurt to turn to trusted spiritual guides. Henri Nouwen is one of the most popular of modern spiritual writers; even almost 25 years after his death, his insights into psychology, relationships and faith continue to inform our understanding of how to live. Michelle O’Rourke taps into this wealth of wisdom in Healthy Caregiving: Perspectives for Caring Professionals in Company With Henri J.M. Nouwen. Though the title talks about professionals, O’Rourke’s advice is valuable for anyone charged with caring for others. From nurses to employees in senior residences, to those of us caring for aging parents, or sick loved ones, we can all find spiritual and emotional nourishment in these pages.

Nouwen taught us to see ourselves as “wounded healers,” charged with responsibility for others even in our own brokenness. O’Rourke combines his insights with her own vast experience as a nurse and working in palliative care. Her book offers a manual for self-healing and care to help readers become more intentional, holistic and even vulnerable in their relationships.

Whether we’re dealing with our confinement as parents, with children at home, or as teachers attempting to pass on knowledge through virtual means, we can all use a little inspiration and fun right now. In There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere, husband-and-wife team Michael and Christine Way Skinner offer a smorgasbord of delightful stories drawn from their own families and church experiences. These refreshing anecdotes remind us all that a little humour goes a long way.

Christine Way Skinner is also author of another Novalis release, The Joy of Keeping the Faith: Thriving in the Church after RCIA. This book addresses the needs of those new Catholics who have entered into full communion with the Church at Easter. With humour and thoughtfulness, this book shows how you can enter into the full life of your parish in those heady after-Easter days.

The richness of our tradition throughout millennia provides as many ways to pray as there are prayers to use. Two new Novalis books delve into two very traditional sources of prayer to re-imagine them for these times.

In Written on My Heart: Classic Prayers in the Modern World, writer and Catholic Register journalist Michael Swan talks about his favourite classic prayers and how they have become a part of his very urban existence in downtown Toronto.

Greg Kennedy, SJ, a spiritual director with a love of all creation, re-writes the psalms as if they had been fashioned anew in Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New. With language and imagery drawn from the 21st century, he captures the emotional and spiritual power of the original psalms, but uses them to reflect on today’s worries about the environment, poverty, inequality and injustice.

Through these books, readers in search of spiritual nourishment and solace will find just what they need.

Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director, Novalis Publishing

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