If the main title, Reform Yourself! doesn’t catch you, take a good look at the subtitle of this new book written by Shaun McAfee (founder of Epic Pew!) – How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation. The subtitle is exactly what this book is all about. For me, it lived up to what it promises. I love to read and some books are really great…..this is one of them. It is easy to read, informative, interesting and causes a change to the very Spirit within us.
I have read two other books by Shaun McAfee; Filling our Fathers House (2015) and St. Robert Bellarmine (2016). I enjoyed both of those and in reading them, saw Shaun as an upcoming author. This last book proved me correct. His writing style has grown to the point that I would say that he definitely is a great author. I am anxious to see what he comes up with next.
Shaun belongs to the same “club” as Brandon Vogt, Jennifer Fulwiler, Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, myself, and so many more people do that I don’t have room to mention. To be a member of that “club” means that we are all converts to the Catholic faith. We strive to live much of our life trying to spread the good news of new life in Jesus, especially through Catholic spirituality. It makes me proud, as a convert, to see Shaun do such a great job of this. Shaun is a lay Dominican (Order of Preachers) and this book shows that he continues the Dominican tradition of preaching and teaching.
The book is timely as we recognize the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017; it looks at the Catholic response to the Reformation by choosing ten Saints who ministered during the Catholic Counter-reformation. The importance of this book is that it not just a historical book, but rather a book where we can look at these Saints and bring about reform within our own souls. The ten Saints that Shaun chose are all great examples of what we need to do to walk with Jesus and respond to His call to share the Good News. They are all powerhouses of faith. Shaun also shows their true humanity which helps us see that we too can strive to achieve what they did.
There are ten chapters, one for each saint. Francis de Sales, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Robert Bellarmine, Aloysius Gonzaga, Pope Pius V, Philip Neri, John of the Cross, Frances de Chantal, and Charles Borromeo are the ten saints Shaun chose for the book. In each chapter Shaun tells readers about the saint and shares some stories from their lives. He includes some of their quotes and makes suggestions on how we can be more like them. He includes a number of scripture passages to augment his suggestions.
When reading many of Shaun’s suggestions I felt like I was listening to a Spiritual Director. Shaun ends each chapter with a conclusion, information for further study and a prayer to the Saint. I definitely grew spiritually through the experience of reading, and praying, this book. I believe that you will too.
This book review of “Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation” was written by Deacon Marty McIndoe and published on his blog, Deacon Marty: Growing in Our Catholic Faith. It is republished here with permission.