Robert M. Haddad
Beacon Publishing for
As I was reading this book I was fascinated and could hardly put it down. It is sort of a mash up of different styles of books. Like a cross between the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe it Or Not? Or sort of like an Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, but specifically for Catholics. Some alternate titles for this book could be:
The Catholic Bathroom Reader
1001 Things I Never Knew About the Catholic Church
Catholic Faith and Tradition Believe It Or Not
But whatever you call it this is an amazing book. I typically only read eBooks. But with the design and format of this book, I have already ordered a physical copy to leave on my bedside table so I can reread it, or just randomly flip it open and be inspired, awed, and encouraged.
This book is comprised of 10 chapters:
Chapter 1: Great Church!
Chapter 2: Great Popes!
Chapter 3: Great Councils!
Chapter 4: Great Teachings
Chapter 5: Great Prayer!
Chapter 6: Great Sacraments!
Chapter 7: Great Miracles!
Chapter 8: Great Saints!
Chapter 9: Great Beauty!
Chapter 10: Great History!
And each chapter had an overview or introduction and then it has a number of points on that specific topic. The chapters have between 43 points - Great Church, and 171 Great Miracles.
I have a religious studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought, and there were numerous points, in fact many points in this book that I did not know. Reading this book has sparked research and study into a dozen topics. And Likely more will come from future readings of the book. I wanted to share some of the points with you and just could not decide, so I will share the 7th point in each chapter:
7. Being the church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church is the 'body of Christ', with Christ as its head: "Christ is the head of the church, his body" (Eph. 5:23).
50. St Pontian was Pope from 230-235. Under the persecuting Emperor Maximinus Thrax he was arrested and exiled to the salt mines of Sardinia. As a result, he resigned the pontificate to allow a successor to be elected as soon as possible. Also sent to the salt mines was the anti-Pope, St Hippolytus, who on encountering St Pontian's humility, renounced his claim to the pontificate and died in full communion with the Church.
99. The First Council of Constantinople (381) re-approved the Nicene Creed and the words "consubstantial with the Father." The Council Fathers also formulated additional words to define the divinity of the Holy Spirit against the heretic Macedonius: "… the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified." In addition, the Council Fathers re-affirmed that Christ possessed a human soul (against Apollinaris) and the primacy of the See of Rome over all others. The creed emanating from this Council is the same creed recited by the faithful today.
152. In affirming belief in Adam and Eve the Catholic Church echoes St Paul who said: "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).
302. The Catholic Church's feast days remind us that we always have someone or something to celebrate: Christmas; Easter; Pentecost; All Saints; All Souls; the Marian feasts; St Joseph; Sts Peter and Paul, etc. The list goes on and on.
428. Catholics are baptized "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", according to Christ's command to the Apostles (Matt. 28:19).
499. Therese Neumann was a German mystic favored with visions and the stigmata, which bled on Fridays and during the final two weeks of Lent. She also received miraculous interventions on the beatification and canonization days of St Therese of the Child Jesus, curing her respectively of blindness and paralysis in 1923 and 1925. From 1927 she ate no food at all, surviving solely on daily Holy Communion until her death in 1962. No official Church statement has yet to be released concerning her.
671. Catholics recognize Mary as the "woman" whose seed shall "bruise" the "head" of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).
771. Advent Wreaths originated in Germany and comprise of a circle of evergreen foliage with four candles (three purple, one pink) lit successively over the four weeks of the season of Advent. They are meant to symbolize the coming of Christ, the "Light of the World" born in Bethlehem.
885. The Catacombs beneath Rome and elsewhere contain many tombs of early Popes, the first examples of Christian art, evidence of prayers for the dead, petitions asking deceased Christians for their prayers, and altars for the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy - all proofs that the early pre-Constantinian church was in essence Catholic.
I hope those few samples will entice you. As mentioned this was an amazing read. It is filled with so much information. But is it also a fun and interesting read. Some of the medical miracles blew me out of the water. Some of the history I had not encountered before. I was inspired, motivated, driven to prayer, and encouraged by this collection of facts, and I believe you will be as well.
Overall just an incredible little book!
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!
Books by Robert M. Haddad:
1001 Reasons Why It's Great to be Catholic!
Lord of History Series
Defend the Faith!
Christ the Teacher Series, Vol. 1-4
Syrian Christians In Muslim Society: An Interpretation
The Case for Christianity: St. Justin Martyr's Arguments for Religious Liberty and Judicial Justice