Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot

The Ancient Path is an autobiography of John Michael Talbot, but also informational and historical about the Church Fathers. I have read books about the influence of the lives of the saints on the course of a people's lives but never the Church Fathers. Why wouldn’t someone be affected by the wisdom of those close to the time of Jesus and the new Christians. I wanted to read the book to find out more about both. I was fascinated by Brother Talbot's Franciscan background and his community living. He describes the beginning of his monastic life with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. Against this background of his own history he teaches about the Church fathers. I was very interested in the description of how close the Church Fathers were in time period to the time of the Apostles. I knew the Catholic Church to be an apostolic church and that there is an apostolic succession of bishops. I now further understand how rich the Church Fathers words and works are to the enrichment of our Catholic faith. Polycarp of Smyrna was a friend of St. John the apostle. Since St. John lived to be 100 years old, and died a natural death, he had influence on into the 1st and 2nd centuries. The book’s stated purpose was to draw us deeper into love with the works of the Church Fathers. In this it definitely delivers. I will be reading more of the Church Fathers now that it feels a little less daunting. The history of the church comes alive through the love you hear in the author’s voice. Mike Aquilina co-wrote the book and probably added a scholarly component since his life’s work has been on the Church Fathers. I would highly recommend this book to enrich your knowledge of the Catholic faith and the ascetic lifestyle in modern times. Also, even if you are not Catholic, it will give you information on the history of Christianity and the early years after Christ, as one man tries to live it out. It is about a simple life lived abundantly with poverty of spirit.

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