Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Conversion: Following the Call of Christ

Fr.Robert Barron's latest cd-talk, Conversion: Following the Call of Christ, is a wonderful tool for increasing your spirituality during this Lent.  The review set I received from Catholic Company contained a two-CD set of six talks (plus an introductory overview of conversion to the Truth) given by Fr. Robert Barron, a professor at Mundelein Seminary (Illinois) as well as a popular speaker.  Also included in the set was a study guide and workbook written by the talented Amy Welborn.

The talks by Fr. Barron are twenty minute sermons based on various Biblical conversion stories: 
  1. Bartimaeus (the man born blind whom Jesus cures) from Mark 10:32-52
  2. The Rich Young Man (who is not too sure about selling everything and following Christ) from Mark 10:17-31
  3. The Calling of Matthew (the tax collector known sometimes as Levi who choses to give up his life as a tax collector and follow Jesus) from Matthew 9:1-13
  4. Jonah (the only OT story of conversion where Jonah at first heads the other way when God asks him to go to Ninevah) from the Book of Jonah (which Fr. Barron describes as "a hoot to read").
  5. The Woman at the Well (who, as Fr. Barron explains, is definitely from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks) from John 4:1-42
  6. The Journey of the Magi (a tale of the calling of the Gentiles) from Luke 2.
Fr. Barron's talks -- each about 20 minutes -- cover many interesting and provocative descriptions and explanations of each of these conversions to the Truth ... conversions to God.  The talks assume knowledge (or pre-reading) of the particular scriptural story.  The short talks are just long enough to listen to on a run to the store or just before starting evening prayers.  Fr. Barron has a pleasant speaking voice and his message is deep, profound, but lovingly delivered. 

The study guide/workbook by Welborn is a nice addition, with leading questions for each talk to help the listeners really meditate and understand what Fr. Barron is saying.  The questions are split into "questions for understanding" (with definite answers) and "questions for reflection" which should lead to some pretty lively discussions.  This workbook is quite useful for small groups (or, for us, in the homeschool!) when listening to the talks. 

In addition, Word On Fire (the publisher of the cd's and workbook) has password-protected, free supporting materials for this set of talks.  The materials include a facilitator's guide (for small groups); promotional materials for stirring interest in the small group meetings, and an answer key for the workbook questions. 

This set -- especially with the additional materials on the website -- really makes for a practical small Lenten retreat to do at home or in small groups.  And, because it is so self-contained, it's not too late to order for this Lenten season!  I highly recommend this set, Conversion: Following the Call of Christ -- VERY nice.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Conversion CD Bundle (CD/Study Guide Bundle) . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

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