Friday, September 6, 2013

In the Redeeming Christ (Ave Maria Press)

Welcome back to Stuart's Study. Today, I'm pleased to review another book from Ave Maria Press, entitled In the Redeeming Christ. This book is part of their Christian Classics imprint. There's something about reading an old book that takes you back to the time it was written. This is true of fiction and nonfiction alike. And while I enjoy most all of the present Catholic authors out there, it is spiritually enlightening to read what the previous generations thought and taught as well.

In the Redeeming Christ starts with an introduction by Dr. Scott Hahn, which provides a brief biography of Fr. Durwell and the time he lived in. Living from 1912 to 2005, he certainly experienced almost the entire 20th Century. At the young age of 27, he made two important insights regarding theology. 1. Jesus' Resurrection was not receiving proper attention. 2. The Pascal Mystery of Jesus should be the center of Catholic theology. This shaped his theological teachings and writings, including this book. In the Redeeming Christ is broken into five parts:
  • Principles of Christian Life
  • The Sacraments of Christian Life
  • Christian Virtues
  • Our Master in the Christian Life
  • Mary Amongst Us
The five sections mentioned above allow the book to flow smoothly, as they outline the way faith grows within a person. First, one must be presented with the ideas of salvation, redemption, and sanctification, which are key tenets of Christianity. One's faith then begins to deepen through life in the Church. The Bible, the Mass, and the Sacraments help us live this life.  Once a faith is well established and practiced, the fruits of that faith, virtues, bear witness to our life in Christ.  As always, when we need some guidance in our faith journey, we are able to look to Mary, who is the perfect example of what the Church is supposed to be - the bride of Christ.

The most helpful portion to me was the chapter, "Faithfulness to Prayer," which can be found in the section on Christian Virtues. I feel that prayer is an area of my life in which I would like to grow, so I am always interested in books or talks that provide insight on prayer. Of particular interest to me was Fr. Durwell's explanation on the origin of Christian prayer. I never put much thought into the subject, honestly, but he explains that the Church's prayer was born when Jesus cried aloud on the Cross, "Abba, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." This echoes back to what I said earlier about the Paschal Mystery being the center of Catholic theology.

If you're looking for an explanation of what it truly means to live in Christ, you will want to read In the Redeeming Christ. It is a lengthy book at near 300 pages, so it will take you some time to work your way through it. However, it is also straightforward, explaining things at a level that is easily understood. When you complete the last page, you will feel like you have a better understanding of how to live a Christian life and realize that it is only possible by having Christ at the center of your life.

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