Friday, November 8, 2013

The Faith Understood (Emmaus Road Publishing)

Today, I am going to start my blog post with a confession. I am an avid book collector. I come home at least once a week to a new book in the mail. Gift requests for Christmas or my birthday are always for more books. I even look forward to Catholic lawn parties for the sole purpose of buying more books which I might never actually get to read. Because of this affinity, occasionally a book sent to me by a publisher will fall through the cracks, and I fail to review it in a timely manner. Today is one such occasion. So I would like to offer a sincere apology to Emmaus Road Publishing for letting The Faith Understood sit on my shelf so long before I finally read it.

The Faith Understood is the quintessential introduction to Catholic Theology. Dr. Zia begins the book by defining what theology is exactly. Next, he provides a brief blurb on eight Western and Eastern Doctors of the Church who we still look to today in matters of theology. He then dives headfirst into important topics that fall under the umbrella of theology, including Scripture, faith and reason, sin, Mariology, and eschatology. If all this seems overwhelming, do not despair. Each chapter is broken into manageable bites of knowledge that make it easy to grasp and retain.

Even though I have a deep love for Scripture and all things related to it, the chapter I found most enlightening was the one which discussed Mariology. Subtopics in this chapter are Mary's Immaculate Conception, her Perpetual Virginity, and her Assumption. Even though I have been a convert for over ten years, I still struggle with fully understanding parts of Mariology. I accepted them on faith before my conversion, but I just wanted a better explanation. This chapter definitely shed a bit more light on Mary for me. For example, the issue of Mary's death has always been difficult for me.  whenever I ask anyone whether Mary died or not, the response is almost always "no." However, my studies point in a different direction.  Many of the sources I read state that Mary died prior to her Assumption into Heaven. Dr. Zia explains that both positions are acceptable as long as you don't believe that she either died because she sinned or didn't die because she is a goddess.

If you are considering converting to Catholicism, this book is for you. If you are a cradle Catholic who doesn't really know what they believe, but have always wanted to, this book is for you. If you just wish you could explain your beliefs better to people who question you on matters of Catholic theology, this book is for you too. This book easily gets a 5-star rating and should be on the bookshelf of every Catholic.

This book was provided to me for free by Emmaus Road Publishing in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click the link and hit Yes!