Monday, September 27, 2010

Reviews: Roots of the Faith and Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman

"Theirs is a landscape that will seem strangely familiar. In fact, sometimes it'll seem almost like home."

Mike Aquilina is referring here to the Church Fathers, and in  Roots of the Faith (more of his usual five-star work), he helps us survey the landscape.

Gregory of Nyssa on purgatory? A must-read passage.

Women and the Christian faith? Aquilina notes:
We can see a hint of what made Christianity so revolutionary, and such a threat to Roman society, in that famous last verse: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female." Right in the Church's most sacred writings, we find a dangerous notion that cuts at the heart of a firm Roman belief.

And what about St. John Chrysostom ... misogynist or one of the first and greatest defenders of the sacrament of marriage as we know it? Fascinating details and full coverage are included.

This is a terrific book packed with readable stories that are backed up by research and documentation. John Chrysostom is quoted as saying, "Learn the power of the type, so that you may learn the strength of the truth." Roots of the Faith is firmly planted in the strength of the Truth and reminds us that in aligning ourselves with the fathers of the Church, we are in the good company of home and family.


Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Velez

You know how much I love quotes.  This book is full of profound and moving quotations from Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. Each quote is accompanied by a short intro (which adds context), brief reflection questions, a Scripture quote, and a memorization passage.

As I sat in the dentist's office, waiting for my kids' teeth to be filled and sealed, I began reading Take Five and quickly found at least a dozen quotes I'd love to post. But I'll offer just one, from Meditation 42, "Think of the Martyrs": 
I myself thirty or forty years ago found it impossible to stem the current of popular feeling, which was adverse to me, and found that patience and waiting was all that was left for me; but what a trifle of a difficulty was this, compared with ... three centuries ago [when] the weapons of controversy were of a deadly character ... the rack, the gibbet, and the axe.

It's the kind of book you can pick up when you don't have much time. The only problem with that is that once you pick it up, you don't want to put it down. Alas, my kids' dentist appointment ended, and we had to move on. But I'll be picking this one up again and again.

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