Have you read this Encyclical Letter by Pope Francis? Have you meant to, but haven’t gotten around to it? Share a comment below and enter to win the portable (paperback) version with a foreword by Scott Hahn! *US only please* – I love my Canadian peeps but there were quite a few snags last time
Giveaway has ended! Joan, please contact me! You’ve won this book!!
You may think I am crazy for attempting to review this book as it’s already been covered by the heavy heavies of the Catholic social media landscape.
I admit, thinking about how to give a unique perspective stumped me. Enter in, you know His name, The Holy Spirit and voila! Here’s my review, to get a new person in RCIA – a young person, for example, to pick up this small but mighty (kind of like me) book.
Aside from the contextualizing and framing by Scott Hahn, this reads, sentence by sentence, as a positive, faith-filled manifesto for Christian Life and the passing of the faith to others. So here’s what I’d highlight to this person:
Faith by an invitation demands renouncing the immediate possession which sight would appear to offer; it is an invitation to turn to the source of the light, while respecting the mystery of a countenance which will unveil itself personally in its own good time…Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth (p. 15-16)
Oh faith – to believe what is unseen. To abandon those idols that are other than that of God. For example, social media, television or even romantic relationships can become idols, can’t they? While all of these can be a good in the world, when it becomes a dependent need, instead of an interdependent resource where God is at the center, we lose ourselves in the idol. Lose ourselves in social media, in the constant interruption that comes from other and not from God or the passing of the faith.
When my kids want to play video games (and they most certainly do – Minecraft is a big hit). After their allotted time, they beg for more time. Always. I tell them, what will you have to show for the extra time? I always hear silence. So off they go to read, draw, pray or even clang away on the piano. I think here too, we should remember that balance is key. Sure, watch some television, but not until you’ve read scripture. Better yet, two birds, watch Catholic View for Women or anything on EWTN for that matter!
Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others, and out lives are enlarged by our encounter with others.(p. 52)
Encounter, relationship and other. This is hard. Stepping outside of yourself to seek relationship. There are plenty of ways to get your feelings hurt. Plenty of ways to share of yourself and not have that sharing reciprocated, but this is what we are. Relationship to the Triune God that flows through us and towards our parish families – or your new Brothers and Sisters in Christ (we’re talking to an RCIA candidate remember?) – to our parents, extended families and children. Even more loosely focused to our friends, and co-workers. It is the relationship with God and the seeing of others as He sees us, that makes us Christian. Give that Christian love and fellowship to others. Give what you have received from Him. Always.
Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. (p. 78)
I am not yet that old, yet I have lived enough to see my share of uncertainty, sadness, misfortune and darkness. There is no set of instructions to make it better or to know when it will end. Not in the bible, not in His person. However, knowing that He is there, that He is always there. That He has seen these sorrows time and again, within me, within the entirety of the human race for all eternity, is a comfort. I don’t question. I don’t doubt that. I doubt myself to be sure. I am fallen and that’s just how it is. But I don’t doubt that God is with me all of the time. I think it’s because of this, that the littlest flicker of light, is enough to illuminate the darkest rooms.
Now get out there and be Catholic! (Talking to my RCIA candidate).
Comment below and tell me what you think? How would you express this to a new Catholic? A fallen away Catholic? Has this invigorated your faith? Answer any or all of these questions and you’ve earned an entry to win this book!
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.