Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith Book Review

By Fr. Robert Barron
$27.99; 291 pages

I received this book for free as part of the Early Reviewers book program at LibraryThing.com.

I haven't seen the documentary that this book is intended to be a complement to. [and prepostitions aren't what you end sentences with] Thus I may be missing some of the intent by reviewing the book simply as a book, rather than as a multimedia package. That being said, there are some beautiful pictures in this book, showcasing the treasures of the Church. This is really part of the purpose, since it has been argued that the works of art Christianity inspires are among its greatest evangelists.

This book is intended to be a brief, but complete summary of the Catholic faith. Barron accomplishes this. 

My single favorite part of the book is Barron's treatment of the Sermon on the Mount. Barron summarizes the Beatitudes as the more we draw on the divine life, the more we receive in return. Each of the positive attributes in the first four Beatitudes is something we need to be happy, and they are best possessed by giving them away.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. [Matthew 6:33] The negative Beatitudes are interpreted in a light of detachment. Blessed are those who love God enough that they do not need the ordinary comforts of life.

My least favorite part of the book was the section on four recent saints, Katherine Drexel, Thérèse of Lisieux, Edith Stein, and Mother Theresa. None of their lives speak to me. This is pretty normal, it is why there are thousands of saints, there is one that everyone will find interesting in the way they refract the infinite goodness of God. I found these four saints, or least Barron's presentation of them, pretty similar. This is mostly a matter of taste. Others may absolutely this this part.

Overall the book is pretty good. Anyone who wants an intro to Catholicism will find it here.

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