Monday, March 25, 2013

Catholic Monday: Faith of Our Fathers

Welcome back to Stuart's Study. We're on Day 2 of the greatest and most beautiful time of the year, Holy Week. We talked about the Triduum at our last young adult night and it made me sad. The Triduum does not fall under the category of Holy Days of Obligation, but that was because the Church Fathers thought we would want to go and respect the days so much that we wouldn't dream of missing them. That's not the case anymore. Why do I bring up the Church Fathers, you ask? Today, I am reviewing the book Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will by Mike Aquilina.

To me, this book read like a series of mini-essays, not that that is a bad thing. Just some of the topics covered include who the Church Fathers are, the Domestic Church, icons, and the canon of Scripture. The Church Fathers wrote about all of these things, and much, much more. We are truly blessed to have the writings of these saintly, learned men preserved and even more blessed that so many of these works have been translated into English. It's also great that our Protestant brothers and sisters are starting to discover these writings and realize that the Church wasn't founded at the Reformation. :) There is even a chapter on one of the great converts from Protestantism, Blessed John Henry Newman. He discovered the faith of the early Church in his readings of the Fathers and came home to the Catholic Church.

It's hard to find a clear favorite section in this book for me as I simply love all things about Patristics. Early in the book, Mr. Aquilina did a nice job explaining that even though the Fathers are a source of authority for us, it doesn't mean they always agreed on everything or got along, especially good ole St. Jerome. However, if I had to pick a favorite chapter, it would be the one on Christmas. As much emphasis as our American culture puts on Christmas, it's not the most important Feast Day in the Church Calendar, and it never has been. It was fascinating reading about the history of Christmas and how in early times no one could even agree on a date.

This book is a true pleasure to read, and the great thing about it is that it does not have to be read straight through, in order. If icons interest you, you can skip to that chapter. If you want to know more about the reasons why we now say, "And with your spirit," there's chapter on that as well. Faith of Our Fathers lives up to its name, because this book really shows us not only how, but why their teachings still matter today. If you want to know more about the Fathers, you can pick up other books by Mike Aquilina. He really is the go-to author for all things Church Fathers in the Catholic Church.

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