Do you like hearing about newly published books? I hope so, because I have a book review to share with you!

Ellen Gable Hrkach from the blog Plot, Line and Sinker, asked me to be part of the book-launch blog tour for From the Hub to the Heart, written by Andrew LaVallee.

Here is the Amazon description of Andy's book:
This book tells the story of what happened when a movie star known for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, looked into this successful man’s eyes one day and challenged him just as Christ challenged the rich young man. He dared Andy to visit Medjugorje, an obscure, poor village in Croatia, where for over thirty years it has been alleged that the Virgin Mary has been visiting earth and calling her children to live lives of prayer, penance and fasting. Andy’s first reaction was predictable; “No way am I flying fifteen hours to pray a Rosary!” But little by little, Our Lady’s call to Andy opened his heart and he boarded that plane, prayed that Rosary and his life has never been the same.

Here are a few thoughts of my own about this book:

Andy was a successful business man living life in the fast lane. It looked like he had everything. But he didn't. He had a hole deep inside him that needed filling. After his pilgrimage to Medjugorje he knew exactly what was missing from his life: God. 

So Andy turned his life around and started thinking about what God wanted him to do with his life. He'd heard about fasting and wanted to know more. Eventually he began to believe that God wanted him to use the talents he'd gained in his successful baking business to make special fasting breads, and to encourage others to take up the practice of fasting.

As Andy shares his story, he also tells us about the various means that are open to all of us to gain grace and so move closer to God. The Church has given us many treasures such as our Mother Mother, the sacraments, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

At one point in the book Andy writes:
When Lent comes around the most common question is, What are you giving up?” The typical answer goes, “For Lent I am giving up chocolate.” Big deal! Jesus was betrayed, scourged, crucified and died for our sins, and we’re giving up chocolate?
 Andy challenges us to examine our own lives. Is God asking more of us? Perhaps Andy's own story will inspire us to do what God wants of us too. God will give us the means to do it because nothing is impossible with Him.

Normally, I steer clear of any books mentioning Medjugorje, and would probably not have read this book if I hadn't been asked to write a review. I know that many people, such as Andy, have had their lives changed by their pilgrimages to this place. I do not deny that there are fruits coming from these alleged visions. But yes, the visions are at the moment described as 'alleged'? The book description even uses this word:

From the Hub to the Heart says:"... it has been alleged that the Virgin Mary has been visiting earth and calling her children to live lives of prayer, penance and fasting." 

So is this book still useful for those people who, like me, prefer to wait for the Church's judgement before heeding the messages of Medjugorje? Yes. Prayer, penance and fasting are not practices exclusive to the alleged messages. They should be practised by all members of the Church so I feel Andy's story, despite its association with an alleged revelation, is still one that can offer encouragement and inspiration to everyone. 

Andy LaVallee's book From the Hub to the Heart is available as a Kindle ebook as well as a paperback book. It can be purchased from Amazon or the Live the Fast website.

It has been my pleasure to be part of this book launch blog tour. Thank you Ellen for inviting me to participate.

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  1. This is an interesting book, Sue. I'm not sure I would read it, but I do appreciate your review about it.

    betty

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    Replies
    1. Betty,

      I like reading reviews, but like you, don't want to read every book I hear about. It was kind of you to read my post and to stop by. Thank you!

      Delete
  2. I have been to Medugorje (Long ago 1989 or '90). And... Yes the Church' is still waiting to pass jugdement of this place, but only because the apparitions are still going on - just like nobody is declared a saint until after they have died. The people coming back from there, seem at times to be rather obsessed, but then after a conversion who's not?
    The fruits of the apparitions are quite visible. People standing in line to go to confession, people praying rosay, going to mass and generally starting to live better lifes. For our little magazine, I (among a zillion other things) tranlate the messages from Medugorje into Danish, and I have yet to read a single word contradicting the teaching of the Church. I'm not an avid pro-Medjugorje person, but I have found this place more wronged against than wronging.

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    Replies
    1. Uglemor,

      Yes, the fruits are visible but maybe it's more complicated than it seems. If it was simple then there wouldn't be so much controversy regarding Medjugorje. I don't know all the ins and outs, preferring to wait for the Church's decision. Even if the visions are approved, the messages aren't essential for our faith. We have so many other treasures to feed our souls.

      I find it interesting you translate the messages into Danish. It's lovely to find out more about you!

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  3. Thank you for your review despite misgivings about Medjugorje. I was Andy LaVallee's ghostwriter who used the term "alleged'' in deference to the Church's final decision. My family and I went to Mejugorje on pilgrimage in 1987 and I can attest that my father had a similar experience to Andy; he was an observant Catholic but he became a fervent Catholic and attends daily Mass in his eighties.
    I carry a deep love for Our Lady and the Rosary from my experience there and would offer one thought to the skeptics. The Miracle of the Sun, the very public miracle of Fatima (newspapers reported that there were over 70,000) happened before the Church had approved the apparitions, because as was mentioned above, Holy Mother Church does not renter judgement on ongoing apparitions. Yet the miracles were edifying to millions. Sue was wise to note that the fruits of Medjugorje are many. Andy LaVallee;'s conversion is one of the most impressive.

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