Pray my friends now and always. Reflect on God’s love for you and his call to be active in love all the days of your life. Never be afraid to give yourself over to the Lord and so become a light in the world for the good of all. Pray when you can, taking a moment here and there to give thanks to God, to ask him for your needs, and for those of your family and friends. Create some time during this Year of Faith, and beyond it, when you can to sit regularly in the presence of the Lord and, with the help of this book, recognise God’s love for you, your love for him and his call for you to be a person of faith, hope and love in the world. Do not be afraid; trust in the Lord always.
– Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
The title Faith Working Through Love indicates the essential spirit of the prayers, meditations and reflections found in this book by Fr Gareth Byrne. In it he offers the reader a rich fund of thoughts from which to pray, reflect and meditate.
Dr Byrne is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin and has written the first National Directory for Catechesis for lreland, Share the Good News. Drawing on this and many other documents and prayers of the church, he places Jesus at the very centre of our lived experience in this Year of Faith. From that sure foundation we are invited to listen for God and respond, when God prompts us to make Jesus present to others in our day-to-day living.
His book has a compassionate feel to it as it covers the mission of the church in the face of our worlds highs and lows. Its varied collection of writings invites us to ponder the call to ministry, the diversity of ministries which could involve us in our local parish communities, the centrality of working towards justice and peace, and the importance of on-going personal reflection and of nurturing our faith. With Christ by our side we too can bring gentleness, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, peace, joy and love. (pg. 4)
Rather than reading straight through, we are advised to dip in and out of the book and return to whatever is reassuring, whatever is testing, whatever helps build a mature faith.
This short collection is like a gentle balm to sooth the wounds we now bear publicly as the Catholic Church in the world. lt reminds us that the gifts we receive are for sharing. It aims to bring us back to the centre, to the beginning, to a person - to Jesus Christ.
– Reality Magazine, May 2013
This book of prayers, meditations and reflections celebrates the Year of Faith established by Pope Benedict to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. It gives the person using it an opportunity to reflect on Christian faith, on all that holds us close to Jesus Christ and through him prompts us to reach out to the world in gratitude and hope.
The title Faith Working through Love comes from St Pauls Letter to the Galatians (5:6). This phrase is quoted by Pope Benedict in his letter Porta fidei, introducing the Year of Faith. It sums up the whole of Christian faith, indicating that faith springs from and is orientated toward love. Faith makes itself know in love - love of God and love of neighbour. Along with well-known and lesser known prayers, the reader is invited to reflect on pieces of Scripture, passages from the documents of Vatican II and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as relevant sections from the Irish Bishops National Directory for Catechesis in lreland, Share the Good News.
This pocket-sized volume is conceived of as a series of meditations chosen to encourage reflection on the Christian life, the mission of the Church, the call to ministry and the variety of roles we can play in the local Church community. A simple differentiation is made between vocal prayer, meditation and contemplation. The passages emphasise the value of prayer and of continuing reflection and faith development for adults as well as for children and young people. The work of justice and peace and that of building up the Christian community are also highlighted.
This book invites us to recover our appetite for prayer, reflection and meditation on the beauty of God and of Gods creation, on our calling to intimacy with God in Christ Jesus and in his Spirit. We are reminded about the gifts we hope to receive and bring to the world and the mission of love that is the Church:
Our joy should be to live in the love of God as Jesus has done and to love one another as he has loved us. This is our programme for life.
(Share the Good News, 59).
This is not a book to be read through, but a series of prompts for prayer and meditation. The introduction recommends that the person using it takes just one page at a time or just one phrase even, and reflects on it in the presence of the Lord. In our busy world we all need to pause and open ourselves up to Jesus speaking to us, entering into conversation with him for a moment, for some minutes, for whatever time we may have.
This publication contains within itself a strategy for its use: Do not be in a rush, but ask the Spirit sent by Christ to encourage you in whatever you need. Stay with the text a while and make it your own. Allow Jesus to draw you to himself and allow yourself to be with him in love (Introduction). The book can be used personally at home. It is useful for teachers and school chaplains both for themselves and in their work. In the parish it will have many uses. Those preparing for marriage, those looking forward to the Baptism of their child, those involved in First Communion/Confession and Confirmation programmes, those visiting the sick as well as liturgical ministers can all make use of this volume in creating space for Christ in their lives and in the lives of others. It can be a focus for quiet time at home, on a park bench, while on a walk, before the Blessed Sacrament in your church or with a group of friends, colleagues or members of a group, organisation or movement.
It can be hoped that this initiative may cause some conversation among adult Catholics during the Year of Faith about the way they pray and about the importance of their faith for them. Being a follower of Christ is a personal decision that contributes to building up the Church in the world. In spending time with him and getting to know him we are called to mission in support of each other for the good of all. This is a book for those who are full of hope and those who have no hope at this time. You may wish to recommend it to those who are ill, to a friend in need, to anyone who might be open to meeting Christ in a new way. Its small size means you can have it with you wherever you go. Just as Christ too is always by our side, with his Spirit encouraging us to live our faith working through love.
– Intercom, April 2013
The Year of Faith in the Catholic Church marks the fiftieth anniversary of the second Vatican council. As well as being a parish priest, Byrne is head of religious education at the Mater Dei lnstitute of Education, Dublin City University, and also co-ordinator of the Irish centre for religious education, and so is well suited to produce this book of prayer, meditation and reflection. An attractive, pocket sized volume, it can easily be carried about and consulted in quiet moments to select prayers or subjects for meditation and reflection. It is a lively mix of prayers and quotations from church documents and individual Catholics, such as the recently retired Benedict XVI.
– Books Ireland, April 2013