Only posts tagged with: Michel Esparza | Display all

Devra Torres

“High-Quality Love”: Four Questions to Ask Yourself

Oct. 24 at 10:17pm


It’s been a few years since I translated Self-Esteem without Selfishness, and I’m finally able to read it with fresh eyes--for enjoyment, not false cognates and typos.


One recurring problem I encountered during the translating was how to render “amor de alta calidad.” “High-quality love” just didn’t cut it: in English, it sounded like I was describing merchandise, hawking a product—exactly what the author was not doing. In the end I found several more palatable ways to render the phrase.

But Fr. Michel Esparza has some strikingly perceptive observations about love. They touch on something we’ve discussed

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Devra Torres

Surprise Diagnosis

Feb. 27 at 10:21pm

Last Tuesday, I brought my eight-year-old in for a checkup, sensing that something wasn’t right.

Johanna Paulina ("Jopa")

My mother’s intuition only took me so far, though:  I assumed that, whatever it was, a week of amoxicillin would probably take care of it. 

But it turned out to be juvenile diabetes.

Her prognosis looks very good, but treatment is time-consuming, especially for us beginners!  So it’s a fine day for 7 Quick Takes.  (Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting.)  Here are seven things that have been on my mind:


A heartening bit of personalism has found its way into the Pink Panther book, a highly acclaimed guide routinely given to parents of kids with this diagnosis.

         " Think

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Devra Torres

Q & A with Jacques Philippe

Nov. 29, 2013, at 11:01am

A recent gathering with Jacques Philippe ended with a question-and-answer session. One question especially caught my attention.  I’m certain this participant spoke for large numbers of us.  How, she wanted to know, are we supposed to reconcile “Accept your failures” with “Be perfect”?

This conundrum is a stumbling block to many—they’d like to take to heart the encouraging words of people like Fr. Jacques and Pope Francis, who insist that we can enjoy peace and an unshakeable interior freedom despite our weakness and moral failures.  But just how do you do that, without shrugging off divine and moral law--in this case, a clear directive, from the lips of Christ Himself, to "be perfect"?

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Devra Torres

Self Esteem without Selfishness: Now Available!

Nov. 11, 2013, at 1:58pm

The book I translated two summers ago (and wrote about here) is finally available, from Scepter, as both a "real" book and an ebook.    In English, it's called Self-Esteem Without Selfishness: Increasing Your Capacity for Love and can be ordered here (or, as they say, wherever fine books are sold).  Much wisdom from Dietrich von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, C. S. Lewis, and other luminaries, and many valuable, original, and strikingly practical insights from the author, Fr. Michel Esparza.

And more good news: it looks like the English translation will now be used as the basis for a Dutch edition! 

Devra Torres

Examining Your Examination of Conscience

Jul. 19, 2013, at 12:59am

I’ve been reading Jacques Philippe again.  This brings on the urge to just string together Jacques Philippe quotes and call it a post, because, after all, who could say it better, or what is there to add?

The book in question is called The Way of Trust and Love: a Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux (Scepter).

It’s perfect for people like me—and I suspect there are many—who suffer from the uneasy conviction that there must be more to the Little Flower than what we imagine, but who are too allergic to nineteenth-century religious prose to find out for sure.

This short paperback, as accessible as it is profound, will allow you to derive enormous amounts of spiritual nutrition from St.

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Devra Torres

Beyond God as Errand Boy

May. 26, 2013, at 9:37am

I’m reading a new book by Fr. Michel Esparza (author of Self-Esteem without Selfishness).  The title translates as “In Tune with Christ.”  

(Unfortunately, it’s not in English yet, but once I’m done with my current editing projects maybe I can start scheming to translate Sintonia. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Encountering Christ

and Pope Francis: Keys to his Thought, both from Scepter.) 

Fr. Michel has a way of zeroing in on the commonest misconceptions with the most far-reaching implications, and then clearing them up—or at least throwing brand-new light on the things we say we believe.

He did it with self-esteem and self-love, and he does it here with certain habits

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Devra Torres

A “Personal” Lord and Savior?

Jan. 2, 2013, at 5:03pm

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?”

What’s a personalist to make of this question?

It’s a familiar one to evangelicals—so familiar that you can easily gloss over what exactly it might mean.  It’s also a question to which, since becoming a Catholic, I’ve learned a couple of preliminary comebacks:

First, of course, nowhere in the Bible does Christ say “Go out to all the nations and instruct them to accept me as their personal Savior.”  It’s a relatively recent phrase, and its centrality to salvation—especially the way it displaces baptism—

is a modern invention.

Secondly, yes: the personal assent of the will, the free receptivity to the proffered gift, is

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Devra Torres

Coming Soon: Love and Self-Esteem in English!

Nov. 2, 2012, at 1:29pm

This is not official, but Scepter is hoping to have my translation of this book (about which more here and here) out by January 1st, 2013.

Devra Torres

A God in Our Image and Likeness

Sep. 27, 2012, at 11:10pm

Back in May, we talked about the trouble and complications “projection” can cause.  As Caryll Houselander explains, projection means

judg[ing] people by our own reactions, fears and desires.  We do not see them as separate people who possess their own souls and live their own lives, but as part of ourselves and our lives….we attribute to them motives which we would have in the same circumstances.

People who walk around imagining they’re privy to the inmost depths of other people’s souls are hard to live with, and conflicts with them are difficult to resolve.    

Besides projection, we all use various kinds of guesswork and construction to fill in the blanks about other people: what

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Devra Torres

Grains of Truth

Jul. 2, 2012, at 11:18am

     My kids were shocked one day to find me listening to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”  (My father, who has a penchant for accuracy, calls it “Some Things Considered from a Certain Point of View.”)  The children realize that I’m prone to fits of boredom brought on by onion-chopping and cheese-sauce stirring, but they’re used to seeing me cook supper while soaking in the wisdom of Kresta in the Afternoon

or at least getting my info-tainment from someone who’s generally on the pro-life side of the political divide.

     They never thought I’d sink so low.

     I explained to them that it’s important to keep tabs on what the bad guys are up to.

And that’s true, but it’s

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Devra Torres

Love and Self-Esteem: English translation in progress

Jun. 12, 2012, at 4:24pm

Good news!

Amor y Autoestima, the book that inspired this post on how to reconcile rightly ordered self-love with Reality-respecting humility, will soon be available in English.  I'll be translating it from the Spanish this summer, and it will be available from Scepter sometime thereafter.

As I was flipping through it before my first reading, I couldn't help noticing the footnotes.  Listen to this: C.S. Lewis, Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Leo Tolstoy, Bl. John Paul II, Gabriel Marcel, St. Josemaria Escriva, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Paul Vitz, Sigrid Undset, John of the Cross, and Victor Frankl.

I hope that whets your personalist appetite as much as it did mine!


Devra Torres

Oh, No, Not That Again!  Revisiting Self-Esteem

May. 23, 2012, at 11:19pm

What word is more overused than “love”?  Well, maybe none, but I'll wager “self-esteem” runs a respectable second, especially in America. 

We’ve got the students whose math scores are somewhere deep in the cellar of the international standings—but whose feelings about their math abilities are Number One.  

Or there was that class my daughter once took in which she was asked to describe herself in a poem.  One classmate’s effort began:

"I love me. / I'm cool as can be."

It went on in that vein, and it didn’t get better, either.  It became a sort of anti-legend in our house, an archetype of How You Kids Must Not Turn Out.

And yet, there’s clearly such a thing as healthy self-esteem, or

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