Sunday, July 20, 2014

Catholic Review: Angels and Saints

Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God's Holy Ones by Scott Hahn, May 27, 2014. 208 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
Angels and saints. Catholics tend to think of them as "different" from the rest of us. They're cast in plaster or simpering on a holy card, performing miracles with superhero strength, or playing a harp in highest heaven.
Yet they are very near to us in every way. In this lively book, Scott Hahn dispels the false notions and urban legends people use to keep the saints at a safe distance. The truth is that Jesus Christ has united heaven and earth in a close communion. Drawing deeply from Scripture, Dr. Hahn shows that the hosts of heaven surround the earthly Church as a "great cloud of witnesses." The martyrs cry out from heaven's altar begging for justice on the earth. The prayers of the saints and angels rise to God, in the Book of Revelation, like the sweet aroma of incense.
Dr. Hahn tells the stories of several saints (and several angels too) in a way that's fresh and new. The saints are spiritual giants but with flesh-and-blood reality. They have strong, holy ambitions--and powerful temptations and opposition that must be overcome. Their stories are amazing and yet familiar enough to motivate us to live more beautiful lives. In this telling of their story, the saints are neither otherworldly nor this-worldly. They exemplify the integrated life that every Christian is called to live.
Still, their lives are as different from one another as human lives can be. Dr. Hahn shows the heavenly Church in all its kaleidoscopic diversity--from Moses to Mary, Augustine to Therese, and the first century to the last century.
Only saints will live in heaven. We need to be more like the saints if we want to live in heaven someday. Dr. Hahn shows us that our heavenly life can begin now. 
First Sentence:
When people talk about "the Church," we know what they mean-or at least we think we do.

Scott Hahn is one of those authors whose writing helps one see the connections within the Bible or about the Church that you may know, but not fully realize the scope of what it means. I'm reading the introduction and his talking about the communion of saints and how the Church on earth and in heaven are one in the same...and yet, while the Church is in itself perfect, not the people, it is the same both here and there.

You know a book is going to leave a mark when you read the introduction three times before you can move on, and that is what happened to me with Scott Hahn's Angels and Saints. As he was talking about the Church, both hear on earth and in Heaven, it was like hello brain. I mean, saw the connection he was talking about prior to reading the book but to see it written so plainly just made it all the more obvious and mind-blowing.

The essential perfection can't be seen. It's heavenly. God has shared his life with the Church-divinized it-and divine glory is, for now, invisible to our mortal eyes. (Angels and Saints- Introduction pg 10-11)

Okay, I promise I am through talking about the introduction and am ready to discuss the actual book...

While this is the first, other than the Bible Dictionary, book of Scott Hahn's that I've featured on the blog, it is not the first book of his that I've read. One of the reasons I enjoy his writing so much is because he knows what he's talking about when it comes to the Catholic faith and because his writing is well rooted in Biblical truth.  That being said, while I enjoy his writing tremendously, his works can be a little hard to review because there is so much within the book to talk about.

One of the things I found to be the most incredible while reading Angels and Saints would have to be how the word 'saint' is so different between English and other languages. It was interesting to see how other cultures viewed that word when compared to our own. While I cannot fully explain it here myself, seeing it within the book as it gives a new richness to Gloria, especially if you were to hear it sung in Latin and then translated.
   Without just telling you, "Hey, read this chapter!" I am finding it incredibly hard to pull the words out of my head to tell you how much this chapter changed my personal perspective on the word and what it means n only within the Catholic. But one of the things was that we are not only called to be saints, we are currently saints striving for the final perfection that one can only achieve once they reach heaven...

From the first time I heard about the communion of saints it was a hard truth to wrap my head around. But the more I've read and delved into the Catholic faith the more I find the truth of it staring at me. While I know there is some confusion as to what exactly that means it is beautiful to know that those you've lost can be called upon to intercede on your behalf with their prayers. Let's face it, who better to ask to prayer for you than those who are in the presence of God and in full communion with Him. I thought Scott Hahn did a wonderful job of talking about and shedding light on what the term means and how it is not the worshiping of the saints themselves; rather it is the asking of their prayers the same as you would ask a friend here to prayer on your behalf.

In the end, Scott Hahn's Angels and Saints was such a well rounded book that covered key things withing the Catholic faith. I really enjoyed his writing, yet again, and how his latest book caused me to take an even deeper look into my own faith and what I believe as a Catholic. It is always nice to be able to read a book that gives one the opportunity to grow in not just faith but knowledge of the faith one professes. For these reasons alone I recommend this book.

Final Verdict: Angles and Saints- An incredible book that has taken me days to process and I'm still thinking about it. Definitely one to read if you are curious about the communion of saints and what it really means.

Angels and Saints earns

This book was received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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