Book notes

SFA parishioner writes books to sell the Word
Charlie Traffas, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Wichita, has given hundreds of sales and marketing seminars across the United States. Often, after a seminar, attendees would ask for his book. Back then he didn’t have one.
Today he has two. Traffas wrote both books…not to sell and market products and services as much as to sell Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Traffas said the seed for the books was planted after the tragic death of his youngest sonin a traffic accident in 2001.
“In the two years following Dusty’s death, I read and re-read St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, and Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. I think I read each of them nine times,” Traffas said. “I didn’t read much of anything else. These two books, my Catholic faith, my wife Brenda, our sons Mike and Danny, our daughter Genae, extended family and friends kept us all going.”
In 2004 Traffas was inspired to compile the message of life everlasting in the style he had been teaching with for so many years. “I took passages from these two books, the Bible, along with several other sources, to show how one can only realize the rewards of this life when he or she first seeks the rewards of the next life. I titled it Salvation and Sales – A Handbook for Life. I don’t believe anyone had ever put the two topics together before.” Traffas said.

He published the book in 2007. While writing it, he began to read another book by St. Alphonsus de Liguori about the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Glories of Mary.
“Until then, I don’t think I ever fully realized what a tremendous resource our Blessed Mother is for our salvation. She is the Mother of God…the Mother of God,” Traffas said. “How much better of an Intercessor with our Lord could we have been given?” “After reading it, I knew I had to write a book in her honor and would attempt to make it my life’s greatest achievement,” he said. “Now, more than two years later, it is finished. I titled it, Our Way to the Way.”
Both books have been granted Nihil Obstats and Imprimaturs, official declarations that they are free from doctrinal or moral error. Traffas is offering the net proceeds from sales of the books in Kansas as a fundraiser for two diocesan Ministries, the Guadalupe Clinic and The Lord’s Diner, and the spiritual nourishment endeavors of the four Catholic Dioceses in the state, benefitting all parishes and parishioners.
Want a copy?
To purchase either book or both, go online to www.salvationandsales.com or www.ourwaytotheway.com.

Chosen, edited by Donna Steichen, 393 pages, softcover, $18.95, (800) 651-1531, www.ignatius.com.
By Christopher M. Riggs
A recently published book, Chosen, isn’t just another collection of those wonderful “fast food” convert stories that are popular in Catholic readers, it’s a sumptuous banquet of stories about those who thought, studied, and argued themselves into the Catholic Church.
Chosen contains the stories of 23 men and women who were clearly drawn to the Catholic Church through the grace of Jesus Christ.
One of the writers. Austin Ruse, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church focused his mind and heart. “For some Protestants, the notion of the Magesterium is a stumbling block, but not for all and not for me. It struck me as a great consolation that there was a place where you can get your questions answered – really answered too.”
One storyteller, Russell L. Ford, writes that he was beaten in an Alabama prison after he converted to Catholicism. Requests for parole were denied, Ford says, because he couldn’t in good conscience comply with requests by the parole board that went against his Catholic faith.
EWTN watchers will recognize one of the contributors: Kristine Franklin, a missionary with her husband who found her way into the Catholic Church after she wrestled with several dilemmas. One was baptism.
“Church of Christ missionaries teach that baptism is necessary for salvation,” she writes. “Pentecostals say it is only a testimony. Quakers don’t baptize at all. They can’t all be right!” Franklin realized that the more than 200 different kinds of evangelical missionaries in Guatemala weren’t bringing the “simple Gospel,” they were bringing chaos. Thomas Howard’s book “Evangelical Is Not Enough” put her on the path to the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church.
Another Chosen story teller is Stephanie Block who was received into the Catholic Church in 1972 with the world-renown philosophers and theologians Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand as her godparents. The writer, who aspired to be a Presbyterian minister, began her journey into the church after her first philosophy professor, Alice Jordain, opened the class with the question: “What is truth?”
Block, wanting to show that she was the intellectual equal of her philosophy professor, despite being on different sides of the professor’s podium, answered, “Truth is subjective, of course.”
Block writes that she half expected Prof. Jordain to take her aside and tell her she was a little too advanced for a beginning philosophy course. Instead, Jordain spent the next hour and a half shredding Block’s statement in what Block says was the most fantastic hour and a half in her life.
The collection is edited by Donna Steichen, an investigative journalist who has written numerous articles in various Catholic publications.

The Glory of Angels by Edward Lucie-Smith, hardcover, $35, publisher: Collins Design.
Glory of Angels will grace any home
The Glory of Angels is a beautiful coffee table book that would make a great gift this Christmas for anyone who has an interest or a love of angels.
The oversized book explores the importance of angels, and the many ways in which they have been depicted in illustrations, short stories, and aphorisms. In the beautiful, oversized book that opens with church-like doors, Lucie-Smith highlights the importance of the guardian angels and archangels, including Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The author also explores the ways in which music has been used to portray the voice of angels, the appearances of angels in mythology, and the role the angels play in the last judgment. He explores how angels guide us by protecting and warning us of danger, healing and comforting us, and urging us to follow God’s path.
In-depth essays in The Glory of Angels reveal the stories of fallen angels, angels in disguise, and angels who have given in to temptation. There are also inspiring accounts of those who have been visited by angels, including King Lear, William Blake, Lot, Daniel and Jacob, and how each eventually overcame hardship with the help of an angel.
Edward Lucie-Smith is an internationally known art critic and historian who has published more than a hundred books in all.