Thursday 7 October 2021

Sycamore The Catholic Faith Explained - Father Stephen Wang - CTS

The Catholic Faith Explained
Fr. Stephen Wang
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784696160
eISBN 9781784696764
CTS Booklet DO944

Over the last few years I have read over 200 books from the Catholic Truth Society. And this is one of the best and most comprehensive. This is an amazing book. Well designed and put together. This is an excellent volume for personal reading and study, for a group or group study. Or even for use with Catechism and or RCIA (Right Christian Initiation of Adults). The short description of the book states:

“In SYCAMORE you will find answers to the most common questions about life and faith, whether you want to deepen the faith you already have or are exploring the faith for the first time. Written in a conversational style with beautiful colour images.”

Father Wang has another volume called, The Christian Faith: A Mini-Catechism for Catholics, which was an excellent little read. This book feels like that one on steroids or like its older big brother. The chapters and sections in the book are:

How To Use This Book
The Search For Happiness
     1a The Impossibility Of Sitting Still
     1b What Is Happiness?
     1c How To Press The Pause Button
The Existence Of God
     2a Why Bother Thinking About Religion?
     2b Five Reasons Not To Believe In God
     2c Arguments For The Existence Of God
A God Who Speaks
     3a The Hiddenness Of God
     3b When God Broke The Silence
     3c Discovering The Face Of God
Who Is Jesus?
     4a He Came To Bring Life To The World
     4b The Saving Death Of Jesus
     4c The Meaning Of The Resurrection
The Holy Spirit And The Church
     5a How The Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life
     5b No One Gets Into Heaven Alone
     5c Why We Need Signs, Symbols And Sacraments
The Bible
     6a What Is The Bible?
     6b Can We Trust The Bible?
     6c How The Bible Can Change Your Life
     7a What Is Faith?
     7b Are Christians Just Stupid Or Are There Good Reasons To Believe?
     7c How To Take A Step Of Faith
     8a What Is Prayer?
     8b Does Prayer Make A Difference?
     8c How To Pray
Finding True Freedom
     9a Is There Such A Thing As Right And Wrong?
     9b Where Can We Find Moral Guidance?
     9c How Do You Discover Your True Identity?
The Meaning Of Love
     10a What Is Love?
     10b How To Love Your Neighbour
     10c The Love Of God
The Heart Of Christianity
     11a The Christian Creed
     11b The Light Of Christ
     11c The Holy Trinity
Creation, Fall, Redemption
     12a The Goodness Of Creation
     12b Suffering And Sin
     12c The Gift Of Salvation
The Community Of Church
     13a Why Do We Need The Church?
     13b The Special Place Of The Catholic Church
     13c Being Catholic Today
The Sacraments Of Baptism And Confirmation
     14a The Power Of The Sacraments And The Liturgy
     14b How Baptism Can Change Your Life
     14c Confirmation And The Gift Of The Holy Spirit
The Holy Eucharist
     15a The Meaning Of The Mass
     15b The Real Presence Of Jesus In The Eucharist
     15c The Holy Sacrifice Of The Mass
Forgiveness, Confession, Healing And Mission
     16a Forgiveness And The Sacrament Of Confession
     16b Healing And The Sacrament Of The Sick
     16c Christian Mission And The Call To Share Our Faith
Single Life, Marriage, Ordination, Consecration
     17a The Meaning Of Vocation
     17b Marriage And Family Life
     17c Ordination And Consecrated Life
The Social Teaching Of The Catholic Church
     18a The Dignity Of The Human Person And The Right To Life
     18b Christian Teaching About Family And Society
     18c Speaking The Truth And Following Conscience
The Adventure Of Prayer
     19a The Amazing Adventure Of Prayer
     19b Four Basic Ways Of Praying
     19c Prayers And Devotions To Help You Through The Day
The Hope Of Heaven
     20a Death, Judgement, And Our Longing For Eternal Life
     20b Holiness, The Saints, And Our Hope For Heaven
     20c What Catholics Believe About The Blessed Virgin Mary
Going Deeper
Online Videos And Websites

At the end of each chapter is a suggested list of readings from the YOUCAT and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you take the time and read these it will slow down your progress but it will be worth every minute. This book is stunning. The design and layout perfect. A wide array of full colour pictures, questions at the end of each section. And an excellent list of resources in the ‘Going Deeper’ section. I have looked at both the physical book and the eBook editions. This book is easy to read and engage with. 

In the introduction Father Wang states:

“Many people are seeking to explore the Christian faith, or deepen the faith that they already have.

Sycamore looks at the central beliefs and practices of Catholic Christianity, and the most common questions that people raise. It’s written in a conversational style, with stories and anecdotes to bring the ideas alive.

At the heart of each chapter there is a clear presentation of what exactly Christians believe and why this faith is especially important today.”

There is also a link to the Sycamore site. The site has articles, guides and links to so many resources to help you go further with this material. I cannot state how impressed I am with this book. This is a volume that should be in every Catholic home, church, and school library. The 20 short chapters each with three sections cove a wide range of topics. It does a great job of explaining in a simple way the central beliefs and practices of Catholic Christianity. It covers the sacraments, social and moral teachings of the church, Mary and the saints. And of course the four last things. 

I have read several books from Father Stephen Wang and over 200 from the Catholic Truth Society and this is by far one of the best! Father Want is currently the rector of the Venerable English College in Rome. He is a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Westminster. He has served in schools, universities, and parishes. He has been a professor of theology and philosophy. And his years of work and experience have helped to shape this book. He shares from personal experience. 

Another great read from father Stephen Wang and the Catholic Truth Society. I challenge you to pick this up and give it a read. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 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

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