Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feasts by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina

The book “Feasts” by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina is about the rhythm of the church. The very life of the church and seasons are a catechism. Even before there were books written down, the days and seasons told the story of Christ’s life. I loved the history of our holidays which coincides with the history of the church. I wanted to read this book to give me a sense of being part of the church, part of the body of Christ. I was surprised at the detail of feasts, fasts and saints. As Catholics we are incarnational people, always looking to the resurrection. The book takes us through Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter which you would expect. It also takes a broad view of the seasons and the year while also providing specifics that would intrigue the more seasoned Catholic reader. I would describe the book as bringing the beauty of the church closer for the reader to examine while welcoming all to take a closer look. I read the book straight through but I will also use it as a devotional during each season to remind me of our Catholic heritage. I recommend this book for understanding how the liturgical year makes us who we are as Catholics.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Believing in Jesus: A Popular Overview of the Catholic Faith 5th edition

This book was a pleasant surprise. The use of the word “Overview” made me think of the words basic, beginner, or just too easy. On the contrary this book goes very deep into the meaning of our Catholic faith. I found myself rereading some lines over and over, not because it was hard to understand but just beautifully stated by the author. It touches on topics such as why Jesus had to die for us and there was no other way for salvation, dying to self and choosing God everyday and continual conversion. From Appendix A, you read “Ours is a lifetime journey, always a “becoming” as we reflect, pray, learn, search, and ever deepening our insights.” There are many great references at the end of the book. You can spend a long time delving into all the book has to offer. In the Postscript, you read “Being saved is being cleansed, liberated, and raised up to the life of Jesus daily. You can use this book for groups or individual study with questions for contemplation at the end of each chapter. These questions are open ended and great for discussion. This book has cleared up some of my questions and re-enlivened my sense of the beauty of our Catholic faith. I definitely recommend this book in our time of the “New Evangelization”. It is for those new to the Catholic faith and those re-opened to the faith. The better you know your faith, the better you can love, live and share your faith.