When it comes to strengthening your faith, sometimes the most effective method is to read about the many instances of spiritual phenomena that God has given us as proof that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. Perhaps the top contributor of books on these issues, Joan Carroll Cruz has written a number of books to collect the various categories together. And most of her books have pictures to help illustrate the accuracy of the events.
Eucharistic Miracles brings together all the best known instances of the appearances of the Holy Eucharist being changed to confirm the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. It also contains stories of various Saints' experiences with the Holy Eucharist, such as how St. Imelda, when unable to receive her First Communion due to age restrictions, asked the Lord to come to her, and then witnessed an incredible miracle: the Host left the Tabernacle on Its own and remained untouched in the air until a priest came to offer It to young Imelda! She died shortly after out of love of the Eucharist, and she was given the special grace of becoming an Incorruptible.
In The Incorruptibles, Cruz presents the stories of 102 canonized saints who received the same special grace of incorruptibility. She goes into as much detail as possible and lists other attributes that sometimes accompany this scientifically unexplained miracle, such as sweet fragrances, the exuding of holy oil from the body, and also the flow of fresh blood several years after death. It's truly amazing to read about the lives of these particular persons as they become heroic examples for all of us in virtues like humility, patience, and charity through learning about them.
Both of these list numerous cases of images of Our Lord and Our Lady through which miracles have been attributed; they include stories of statues, paintings, and other images speaking, curing illnesses, giving off light and heavenly fragrances, helping in the construction of Catholic churches, and suddenly becoming extremely heavy so as to prevent being relocated. All of the miracles that Joan Carroll Cruz describes in her books, unless otherwise noted, have been approved by the Church.
"The wonders described here include bi-location, levitation, odor of sanctity, odor of sin, transverberation and other miracles of the heart, miraculous transport, money mysteriously provided, multiplication of food, mystical marriage and heavenly jewelry, miraculous protection, lights and rays of love, fire and heat of love, prophecy, and invisibility."
Angels & Devils is a wonderful book that describes what we know about angels, both good and bad, from sources of theology, Scripture, history, private revelation, and well-known apparitions from Saints' lives. Joan Carroll Cruz answers many questions that people have concerning these spiritual beings, and also gives an excellent lecture on the need for exorcism and what can lead to that, citing many examples and explaining each.
I personally own several of her books, and I can say confidently that she presents all of them in an interesting way. She lists the facts, but she does so in a way that will keep you wanting to read more. She stays on topic incredibly well, and if you're ever in doubt as to the authenticity of her claims, she lists her sources as well, and she stays faithful to the Magisterium. Unlike Dan Brown with The Da Vinci Code, Joan Carroll Cruz actually researches the material she uses for her books in great depth.
He lives with his lovely wife and eleven kids in northern Colorado.
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