Book Review: Angels and Saints by Scott Hahn

Hahn_9780307590794_jkt_r1.inddI had never driven in a whiteout before, and after that night, I swore to do whatever I could to avoid driving through one ever again.

It was May in Denver and I, having moved there from Atlanta, was still not used to the fact that there are states where snow falls in the mountains year-round. My then-professor Dr. Ted Sri and I needed to leave the conference that we were attending early, so we decided to caravan down the mountain. Off we drove, Dr. Sri leading the way and I following, having no idea of the nightmare that was in store for us.

The excursion down a seemingly never-ending mountain, in what turned out to be a total whiteout, was every imaginable negative adjective you can think of and…prayerful. I could hardly see the faint red taillights in front of me (my only chance at avoiding doom just one mountain-edge to the right) through the thick packs of snow that had fallen on my windshield, remaining unmoved by wipers and only getting thicker. I couldn’t cry; tears would only fog my vision more. The only thing—aside from inching forward—that I could do was pray, and so I did. I prayed to my guardian angel, and to this day, I believe it was our angels that guided our cars down the mountain that night.

That’s what angels do. They guide and protect. They are there for you when it seems like you’re all alone.

I have my mother to thank for my devotion to the angels, dating back to my childhood years when she would pray the guardian angel prayer with my sisters and I every night, asking our angels to watch over us as we slept. My mother would tell my sisters and I, when we were off to take a tough test or going on a band trip, “I’m sending you my angel,” reassuring us that the tests and adventures and trials of life were more bearable and more complete with angels at our sides. She still frequently sends us her angel.

In his beautifully-written new book, Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones, Dr. Scott Hahn writes about making the angels “our partners in a holy conspiracy as we try to draw friends and neighbors and coworkers into a deeper life of faith.” I love that—a holy conspiracy! We need more holy conspiracies in our world today!

One angel who helps lead such sacred conspiracies is St. Michael the Archangel, mighty among the angels and our patron amidst the spiritual warfare in our lives. In his chapter on St. Michael and the Angels, Hahn recalls that through most of the twentieth century it was common to invoke St. Michael’s intercession at the end of every Mass through a prayer reportedly composed by Pope Leo XIII. In my own family, it is also customary to pray to St. Michael at the close of every day, which has unquestionably helped us through many spiritual battles each day and at night, since many in my family suffer with nightmares and night terrors.

It’s a shame that so many people fail to befriend the angels because they may seem so different from us, when really, these personal beings are powerful guiders of history and of our own lives, helping lead us closer toward union with their boss—God. Hahn reminds readers, “By God’s design, the angels are active in our life, from the time we are conceived to the moment of our earthly end. Our moments go better if we work with the angels, as the Scriptures show!”

I love Dr. Hahn’s new book, Angels and Saints,  because I desire to fill my life with a series of these better, holier moments. This book is sure to ignite the same passion in you. With meditations from the lives of the saints and thought-provoking wisdom from saints themselves to “ponder in your heart” at the end of each chapter, this is the kind of book that is meant not only to be read, but also to be prayed and lived. It’s the saints and angels who animate and inspire us to live extraordinarily, rather than ordinarily—to live with our eyes fixed on our heavenly goal, so we too can be numbered among the saints and rejoice with the angels in God’s eternal family someday.

“To be in God’s family: that is the deepest meaning of sainthood…” –Dr. Scott Hahn, Angels and Saints

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On the Rise in Stay-at-Home Motherhood

I don’t know why, but I was surprised to find in researching for my latest article in the National Catholic Register that stay-at-home mothers are quite a minority in our culture. Minority or not, I am thankful to God and to my husband for the opportunity to number myself among them. I’m now in my sixth month of professional stay-at-home motherhood and I can undoubtedly see the benefits it brings to my family…including and especially me! Here’s a link to the feature story, “Choosing Full-Time Motherhood.” The stories of other mothers (working mothers included) and the sacrifices they make for their children never cease to amaze and inspire me. As the Jewish proverb goes, “God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers.” Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this supreme and challenging mission to bring a little (and hopefully, as I grow in virtue, a lot of) godliness to my family every single day.

Book Review: Why Be Catholic, by Patrick Madrid

why be catholic coverIt’s the book Catholic readers and fans of author Patrick Madrid have been waiting for. His newest book, Why Be Catholic: Ten Answers to a Very Important Question, is finally a hard cover reality, being released June 3rd by Image Books.

I love being an avid consumer of Catholic literature, amassing a collection of religious reading material in my home, and I covet opportunities to serve as a resource guru for many of my Catholic friends when they are looking for recommendations. Because of my work with Catholics Come Home, I am equally passionate about having an arsenal of top picks for those considering returning to the Catholic Church or converting to Catholicism. Patrick Madrid’s new title is a long-awaited one on my currently-unwritten “most highly recommended” list, and one that I plan to advocate heavily to friends, friends of friends, and the many email-inquirers I engage with on a daily basis. Here’s why…

For those unfamiliar with his numerous works, Patrick Madrid is particularly gifted when it comes to clarity and charity in sharing truth, and this book is a masterful example of it. A cradle Catholic in a writing atmosphere that often seems dominated by energetic converts to Catholicism, Madrid explores the tenets of the Catholic Faith that he has always held dear, which he now confesses with precision and passion, after years of careful scrutiny of Church teachings and decades of practice engaging in apologetics. Why Be Catholicreminds me of why Patrick Madrid is one of our family’s favorite apologists: in about 200 information-packed pages, he champions the Catholic Faith in a way that is sure to make Catholics proud to be Catholic and non-Catholics question why they’re not Catholic.

In the first few words of the book, Madrid reminds the reader that the Catholic Church, like Noah’s ark, was built for endurance. In a modern culture and media climate that love to shoot flaming darts at the Church for Her unchanging and very logical teachings, Madrid writes to answer the question that “demands an answer now, more than ever”: why be Catholic?

He explores the gems that make Catholicism utterly unique—its history, sacraments, papacy and saints, as well as its love of the Blessed Mother and its teaching about good works, all while remaining blatantly honest about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” that the Catholic Church has to offer a world in need of Jesus Christ and the Church He founded.

There is something incredibly poetic about any writing—even the most informational—that speaks of the truths of Catholicism, because, in all of our hearts, whether we realize it or not, we crave the fullness of truth and happiness that we can only find in Christ’s Catholic Church. God Himself put that longing in us, and we all owe it to ourselves to be able to clearly articulate to others why we are Catholic, and why others should be, too. This book is written to help you do that.

In short, I hope this new book finds a respected place on your bookshelf, as it will on mine.

You can pre-order here.