Friday, July 11, 2014

The Faith (Servant Books)

I first discovered Fr. John Hardon last year when I had the opportunity to read and review his Catholic Dictionary. It was then that I realized that he had a gift for condensing the Catholic faith into manageable bites and making it easier to learn. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us, but his books are still being published and republished, and his cause for beatification is currently in progress. Today, I am reviewing his book, The Faith, available from Servant Books.

When the Catechism of the Catholic Church was first published, a lot of people were confused as to what to do with this tome. It was well-organized by topic, but wasn't as reader friendly as the old Baltimore Catechism. To make matters worse, Catholics just started treating it as a reference guide. If you have a question that needs answered, simply turn to the index; find the topic; read that section; and put it back on the shelf until the next time you had a question. That is not how the Catechism is supposed to be read, so Fr. Hardon created this book, The Faith, so people would be able to understand the Catechism more fully.

The Faith can best be described as a compendium to the Catechism, though it should not be confused with the USCCB book, Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church. In The Faith, Fr. Hardon seeks to break open the Catechism and expose the heart and meat of it. The book is organized in the same order as the Catechism, but it is presented in a Q & A format. Each answer then contains the paragraph numbers from the Catechism which can be referenced for further clarity. Overall, there are 1306 questions and answers. These aren't basic questions with simple answers, but they are technical and deep, while still maintaining an ease of understanding. For example:

517. What is the history of Baptism in the Church?
From the day of Pentecost to the present, Baptism has been the door of the Church. It is through Baptism that a person is purified, justified, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (1226-1228)

With the recent Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, many people took up the challenge to read through the Catechism in a year. If you are like me and missed the opportunity, now is a good time to try again. It doesn't have to be in a year, but if you read a little bit each day of the Catechism and the corresponding Q&As in Fr. Hardon's book The Faith, then you will find a deeper knowledge of God and your Faith and hopefully a deeper love too. May we all strive for that deeper understanding and deeper love. May we also prayer for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Hardon. From the few books of his I have read, he was a great priest and a great teacher, and I can't recommend his books enough.

This book was provided to me for free by Servant Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!