Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Reiser's Ramblings

I would like to invite you to join me on a spiritual journey that is inspiring, illuminating and heartening. “Reiser’s Ramblings”, by Father Bernard Reiser, is a collection of columns by the founding pastor of Epiphany Parish in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. These columns impart wisdom and advice on living in this world with a focus on Eternity. This book is not a Catholic book, although I am sure that people of the Roman Catholic faith will find it extremely valuable, it is a book for all who seek a closer personal relationship with God.

About The Author

Father Bernard Reiser was born in 1924 and grew up on a farm in Medina, Minnesota. Father Reiser was ordained into the priesthood on June 4, 1949. In 1964, he was chosen to start a parish in the fast-growing Minneapolis suburb of Coon Rapids. Under Father Reiser’s leadership, Epiphany grew to become one of the largest Catholic communities in Minnesota. In 1996, Father Reiser traveled to Haiti and decided to establish Reiser Relief Inc., a non-profit organization that funds relief and development projects in Haiti. Father Reiser is now retired from Epiphany, but he stays actively involved by helping some of the world’s poorest citizens as chairman of Reiser Relief.
All proceeds from this book will go to Reiser Relief and will benefit Haiti relief efforts.
The Early Years
Father Reiser shares many of the happy recollections of his childhood in the first section of the book.  Aloys and Otillia Reiser raised Bernard, his brother and his three sisters on a farm during the Great Depression. Father Reiser learned the meaning of perseverance and hard work from his father. His parents loved their children and they loved each other. Father Reiser never once heard his parents quarrel! It was on his family farm and at the events of a small country parish that he learned to love God. Every Sunday the entire family dressed up in their best clothes and went to church. When they got home, his mother always fixed a big dinner that included fried chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and apple pie. The family often entertained friends or family in the afternoon and filled the time with games and fellowship. Father Reiser’s family and friends were very influential in his decision to enter the priesthood.
The Beauty Of Nature
Father Reiser is able to see God’s hand in all of nature. He does a beautiful job seeing God’s face in a flower in this passage;

“We need to stop and smell the flowers! To take them in hand individually and to open our eyes and hearts to the message they all share so powerfully, of the One who fashioned them so beautifully and lovingly.”

Father Reiser has traveled all over the world and shares many of the wonderful adventures that he has had. He believes that nature is a prayer book and we should read it regularly and give praise to the Creator of the Universe.
Our Blessings Come From God
Father Reiser recounts a time when he had a serious infection in his left foot. He was confined to bed and had to take regular doses of antibiotics. He realized that we take so much in life for granted and we never truly appreciate the gifts that God has granted us…until we lose them.
When Father Reiser visited Haiti in 1996, he saw extreme poverty and appalling living conditions. His heart ached for the people he saw living in grinding poverty day after day. He knew that God was calling him to help the people of Haiti. We live in abundance but our world neighbors live in extreme poverty. Reiser Relief was created to provide essential services to aid in day-to-day survival of thousands. Today, Father Reiser stays busy doing his Father’s work by helping those who have very little to count as blessings.

My Thoughts
I truly feel like I have experienced a Divine connection. “Reiser’s Ramblings” touched my mind, heart and soul in a way that I will not soon forget. The prose is written in an expressive, emotional and melodious style that is music to the reader’s heart. Father Reiser writes with passion, conviction and confidence.
The photographs in the book provide a personal touch that made me feel a kinship to Father Reiser and his entire family.
The book is organized into columns that are one to two pages long. Father Reiser wrote these columns some years ago, but they are very relevant in today’s world. The reader can skip through the book and read columns that are appropriate to daily Bible study and prayer concerns. The columns can be used as a daily devotional and then read over and over again. All of the columns feature important life lessons that will build faith, hope and love for God.
I want to emphasize that this is not a book exclusively for those of the Roman Catholic faith. This book is for me and it is for anyone who is seeking a closer personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “Reiser’s Ramblings” will make a wonderful addition to your Christian library and it would make a marvelous gift for a loved one. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I want to thank the good folks at Reiser Relief for sending me a complimentary digital copy of this book to read and review.

Please share you thoughts in the Comments Section below ~ I love to hear from you!
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