Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review of Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God's Holy Ones + Contest

The Review:
In his newest popular book, Dr. Scott Hahn, in his typically humorous and personal tone, looks at the importance and everyday relevance of the angels and saints for the ordinary Catholic.  The book has a pretty basic structure, with the first part focusing on the Church's theological understanding of the role and canonization of the saints, with special emphasis on the scriptural foundations.  In the second half of the book Hahn, in the form of a meditation, looks at the lives of particular saints.  One element of this section that I appreciated the most is that at the end of each chapter, Hahn lets the saint (or another saint speaking about that particular saint) speak for him or her self.

My favorite chapter is the fourth one, which Hahn calls What Do the Saints Do? He reminds us that the saints are an active element of our lives.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, who truly desire that we attain eternal life with them.  So, how do they help us?  Dr. Hahn points to the Book of Revelation which "shows us the saints in heaven, they're engaged constantly in worship.....note that they are pleading with God for those who remain on earth (59-60)."  And guess what?  Not surprisingly, God answers the prayers of His saints in pretty dramatic fashion: "In response to the prayers of the saints, God calls upon the heavenly priests to blow their seven trumpets, evoking the Old Testament Battle of Jericho (61)."  That right there reminds us that God mightily responds to those prayers.  The whole chapter should give us great encouragement when we say I (or we) "believe in the Communion of the Saints."

St. Paul:
As part of this blog tour, I have been asked to comment on chapter nine, which focuses on St. Paul.  I was very delighted to get to write a bit on St. Paul.  When I ask people what their favorite part of scripture, I often hear one of three things: 1) The Psalms; 2) The Gospel of John; 3) Paul.  Notice I didn't say which letter of Paul, but simply Paul.  I have found that Paul has touched so many people who are daily Bible readers, Catholic or Protestant, that often they are unable to pick which of his letters they like best.  It would be like selecting your favorite child.  I have often felt the same way.  Those thirteen letters of St. Paul provide us a rich insight into understanding the Church, how to live as Christians, the role of Grace and Faith, and, put simply, Jesus Christ himself.  As Hahn says: "When we read them, we sometimes feel as if we're being propelled forward by a hurricane, a tidal wave, or some other force of nature.  But it's even stronger than that, because it's a force of Grace (104)."  And as Hahn points out, when we read those letters, or hear them in the liturgy, we are exposing ourselves to that same powerful force (105).

As I was reading this chapter, I couldn't help but think of the Pauline year that our Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI called for all the Church to observe in 2008.  Of all the special jubilee or thematic years that recent Popes have called, I must say that the Year of St. Paul was the one I most participated in.  I spent the year reading, and re-reading, Paul, led a few Bible studies on his letters, and made sure to meditate on many of the rich passages that have come down to us from him.   I really felt like I had been wrapped up in that "hurricane of Grace" that Hahn describes in this chapter.  The word that was continually impressed upon me was passion.  Paul, perhaps more than anyone else, knew that his whole life had been forever transformed by his encounter with Jesus Christ.  He, then, dedicated the rest of his life to proclaiming, with passion, that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11)."  He did this, however, over a period of thirty long years.  We are so blessed to have St. Paul's words at our fingertips, as well as having documents that give biographical information about his life.  Yet, sometimes it is easy to forget that while he had many moments of not only trial and triumph as he went on mission, but also plenty of ordinary moments that made up his daily life.  I often want to be zealous like St. Paul, but Angels and Saints, and the Year of Paul in 2008, has helped remind me that the Christian journey is long.  The Lord often gives us this "ordinary" time to remember that we are totally dependent on him.  We need this time to grow in patience and trust in the Lord.  Often, I need to have a better understanding of this in my life far more than I typically do.  St. Paul, in all that he did, allowed God, in those extraordinary but more often in the ordinary moments, to build him up and remind him on whom he was totally dependent.

Our friends at Image Books are happy to offer you, my faithful readers, an opportunity to win a free copy of this new book by Dr. Scott Hahn.  I will follow the standard contest procedures, as with typical contest on this blog which are:

1) If you have a website or blog or are active on Facebook, please announce this contest.   If you don't, that is OK.  You can still enter the contest. 

2) Please enter your name in the comment section of this blog post along with your favorite verse from one of St. Paul's letters.  I will randomly draw one winner at the conclusion of the contest, which will be on Sunday June 1 at 11:59PM.   

3) I will announce the winners on June 2nd.  The winners must contact me, via email, within a week with their full name and address.  I will then forward their name to Image who will send out the book soon after.

4) One entry per person.

5) Contest is only available to those who live in the United States.

Angels and Saints Blog Tour
May 27: St. Michael and the Angels - Catholic Katie 
May 28: Moses - Abigail’s Alcove
May 29: St. Paul - Catholic Bibles
May 30: St. Ignatius of Antioch - The Orant
May 31: St. Irenaeus of Lyons - Seasons of Grace
June 1: St. Jerome - Stuart’s Study
June 2: St. Monica and St. Augustine - Happy Catholic 
June 3: St. Thomas Aquinas - Blog of the Courtier
June 4: St. Therese of Lisieux - Single Catholic Girl
June 5: St. Maximilian Kolbe - Random Acts of Momness
June 6: St. Josemaria Escriva - Catholic Mom 
June 7: Queen of All Saints, Mother of the Church - This Cross I Embrace 

Thank you to Katie at Image Books for providing me a review copy.


Anonymous said...

Tom O'Neil

2 Corinthians 1 3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions.

Unknown said...

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 if I speak in tongues...but do not have love, I gain nothing.

SF said...

Supriya Francis

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Susan said...

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited ...

Susan said...

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited,

losabio said...

In his own book about angels and demons, Peter Kreeft opines that a world with the possibility of angels in it is a more interesting world than one that doesn't allow for them. I always like it when homilists talk about angels or the spiritual combat. Topics like angelology, or the hope of a glorified resurrection body are some of my favorite things to talk about in religious ed. If the kids don't hear about this sort of stuff at home or from the lectern, when are they going to hear it (except in RE)?

Anonymous said...


1st Corinthians: 31 - As scripture says: If anyone wants to boast, let him boast of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

Thank you for having another contest.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

John McBryde

M.E. said...

"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him."
Thank you for the contest!

Dr. William Conley Th.D. said...

I already have this book both the printed version and the Audible version which is read by Scott Hahn himself.
I like Prof. Scott are both converts to Catholicism and members of The Coming Home Network (which is where I first heard of this book).
The Coming Home Network is an online support group for converts designed for Pastors, Theologians and religious converts to share their stories and gain support for coming home to Rome.
Now as far as the book "Angels & Saints" I really learned more from Chapter 4 "Angels" and my biggest surprise was in learning that there are way more Angels then humans in heaven.
Prof. Scott says it this way. "Everyone has a Guardian Angel, then there are the 1million x million Seraphim, Cherubum,Thrones, etc. that work for God...."
The thing that came to mind was that in heaven we humans will be a minority to all the others there.
Anyway- I highly recommend this book and if you can catch Prof. Hahn on tour his lectures are wonderful too. He is one of our Church's greatest speakers to date.

Hans said...

Thank you for another contest. I (Hans Plate) would like to enter.

1 Cor 10:13
No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it

Anonymous said...

2 Corinthians 8:9
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich."

Ken K

Kevin said...

Kevin A. Koppmeier

Ephesians 1:17-19

17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.