Sunday, February 22, 2015

Catholic Review: The Ancient Path

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today by John Michael Talbot, Janary 20, 2015. 208 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
People often imagine that the Church Fathers looked like their icons and smelled of incense, heroic figures wrapped in fine liturgical vestments of silk and lace, engulfed in billows of smoke from their golden censers. Yet, truth be told, even in their writings they resemble more the tattered cloak of Jesus or the dusty sweat-soaked habits of the early Desert Fathers and Mothers. Theirs is an utterly incarnational spirituality. It is heaven-sent, but it moves forward with both feet on the ground of the earth.

In this powerful work, John Michael Talbot tells the story of how these men deeply influenced his spiritual, professional and personal life. Coming to the Christian faith as a young man during the turbulent 1960s, he soon grew a fond of the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great and found guidance, reassurance and wisdom on his path to Jesus.

“The First Epistle of Saint Peter,” writes Talbot, “tells us that we are ‘a spiritual temple built of living stones.’ The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the Apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them.”
First Sentence:
People often imagine the Fathers of the Church looked like their icons and smelled like incense.

When it comes to deciding what books to feature here on the blog, I sometimes call on mom in the deciding process. Especially when it comes to books about faith and religion since there's an open bookshelf policy between us at home (we borrow like crazy from one another). So, when I first heard about The Ancient Path I thought it sounded like a good read, so, after talking it over with her, I decided to go ahead and give John Michael Talbot's book a whirl.

Was it worth trying an author, who happens(end) to be a singer, yes, I had never heard of? Yes, this was one of those times were an unheard of actually worked out. There was something about his writing style that was very down to earth and natural. Yet, it was his journey to the Church and his founding of the community, whose name I've forgotten (forgive me), that really pulled me in. I liked how he was able to look back on his journey and share what he learned from the Fathers of the Church and how their writings helped him find his path. It was really quite interesting to read.

One of the most striking things about The Ancient Path would have to be how well this book talks about the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and how things that concerned them then are still relevant today. It was also interesting because it showed the unity and continuity of the Apostolic Succession. The more I personally read about Church leaders from the first four centuries, the more I cannot help but be excited. Why, because I love reading their writings on the doctrines of the faith and community, and just so many more reasons. So, when one finds a modern author tracing things back to the early Church Fathers, one cannot help but get excited because they are helping to bring forth the things that make the Church what it is. Plus, history and church history is pretty much one of my favorite things to read about these days,

Probably one of my favorite things about The Ancient Path would have to be the lines drawn from Jesus' teaching on Discourse of the Bread of Life, and the foreshadowing of the Eucharist from the Old Testament. While there were a couple OT references that I was familiar with, it was one that I had never noticed that really hit me. I'm really wishing I had marked the page to share with y'all, but I didn't.
  There's no way I can do m favorite part of the book justice... just know that I was so blown away that I had to read it twice and then again to one of my sisters (she was surprised as well).

For many, many reasons I found The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot to be one incredible read about faith and the history of the faith of the Church. One of the things I liked best about this book, other than his writing, was they was he drew so much from the early fathers of the Church. It was really quite something to read about his story and how he came through some hard times.

Final Verdict: The Ancient Path- A well written book about faith and the early church fathers. Between the historical aspect and teachings of the Fathers of the Church, and, the author's personal story this is one book that deserves a chance.

The Ancient Path earns

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

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