Monday 25 March 2019

A Way Of Life For Young Catholics - Father Stephen Wang

A Way Of Life For Young Catholics
Fr. Stephen Wang
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824876
eISBN 9781784692421
CTS Booklet DO774

In just over the last year I have read over 60 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. So far there have been many great books, and many excellent series. This book is not called out as part of a series but based on the design and format of the cover it feels like it is at least associated with a few other books I have read or want to read from both Father Stephen Wang and from other authors by the Catholic Truth Society. This book is described as a ‘practical guide to young people wanting to live their faith’. And it is designed to do that, but any Catholic, any Christian can read this book and benefit from the wisdom imparted within.

Now it is true the book is designed to help younger readers establish their own faith. Separate and distinct from the faith of their parents and grand parents. And it is truly filled with practical advice. It is the sort of book I wish I had read 35 years ago when I was an impressionable teen and wandered away from the church off and on for many years. It is the type of booklet I look forward to reading with my children when they are a little older. My oldest is being confirmed this year and I plan on giving her a copy of this book and reading it with her soon after her confirmation.

The chapters in this volume are:
Using this Book
How to Live your Catholic Faith
      Five essentials of Catholic life
      Five activities that will help your faith
      Five ways to appreciate the Mass more
      Five inspiring Christian truths
      How to give your life to God
How to Pray
      Five ways of praying
      Five elements of prayer
      Five fundamental Catholic prayers
      Five other important prayers
      Five prayers for particular times in the day
      Five ‘acts’ to make frequently
How to be Holy
      Five spiritual practices
      Five Christian responsibilities
      Five ways to sanctify your home or room
      Five things to be
      Five saints for young people
      Five great saints of the twentieth century
How to go to Confession
      How to go to Confession: The basics
      Examination of conscience
      Five ways of dealing with recurring temptations
      Five common struggles
      Five things to avoid
How to be Chaste
      The meaning of chastity
      Dating and friendship
      How far can we go?
How to Discover your Vocation
      Five ways to become clearer about your vocation
      Five ways to find a good Catholic husband or wife
      Five ‘signs’ of a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life
How to find Support and Information
      Catholic groups, communities and movements

This volume was originally published in 2008, and the eBook edition was released in 2017. The book begins with these words:

“This Way of Life is written for young Catholics who want to live their faith more deeply but are not sure what steps to take. It contains practical, down-to-earth advice on all sorts of issues that come up in the lives of young Catholics. It is not for experts, but for ordinary young people who have been touched by God in some way but are not sure how to respond. It will be especially helpful for older confirmation candidates, for students at college and university, and for young adults who are hoping to learn more about their faith and put it into practice in the reality of their daily lives.

This is not the kind of book that you read straight through. It is designed so that you can dip into it. Look at the “Table of Contents” and see if anything interests you. There are lots of lists and headings and things to do - this is to make the book clear and easy to use. The risk with giving lists is that we become overwhelmed and do nothing, and end up feeling guilty about what we haven’t done! But the ideas that follow in this Way of Life are not meant to be a burden. They are here to give you food for thought, to guide you if you are stuck, to put you in touch with the wisdom and experience of the Church, and hopefully to inspire you. Perhaps one or two suggestions will strike you, and you will be able to put them into practice. You could keep this Way of Life on your desk or by your bed, and come back to it now and then. See if something new strikes you. As you grow in the spiritual life, the Lord will give you new insights just when you need them. And he will nudge you to take new steps when the time is right.”

Now admittingly I did not follow the advice given above. I have read this through from cover to cover twice. The first time in one sitting because I could not put the book down. And the second over a few sittings on consecutive days. I love lists and this book is full of them, the first list we encounter is:

Five Essentials Of Catholic Life
   1. Daily prayer
   2. Sunday Mass
   3. Regular Confession
   4. Keep the Commandments
   5. Love Your neighbour

With a paragraph or two expanding upon the subject of each point. The final list other than those of resources is called ‘Five ‘Signs’ Of A Vocation To The Priesthood Or Consecrated Life’. Most of the lists in the book are a series of 5 points. The book includes a wonderful ‘examination of conscience’. Overall it is an amazing little resource. 

Now I am an eBook guy, I read 20 eBooks for every physical book I read. But this is one of those exceptions, I want a copy of this in my prayer table for quick reference, and to be able to flip around as the author suggests in the beginning.

This is an excellent resource for young people. And also great for those of us a little older that want a great tool in our spiritual toolbox. I give this book a very solid 5/5 stars! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Steven Wang:
The Long Road To Freedom: The Story Of Wang Mingdao
The Christian Faith: A Mini-Catechism for Catholics
Aquinas & Sartre: On Freedom, Personal Identity, and the Possibility of Happiness
Meeting Christ in the Eucharist
The New Evangelisation
What is the Catholic Church?
Being a Parent Today
A Way Of Life For Young Catholics
How to Discover your Vocation
Sycamore The Catholic Faith Explained

Available in French:
Comment découvrir sa vocation

Related CTS Book:
Finding Life's Purpose: Inspiration for Young People - Pope Benedict XVI
Don't Be Afraid To Be Saints - Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II

Related Articles:
Daily Study Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI

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