Signs of Life

I finally received one of many books that I have been looking forward to: Signs of Life-40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots, by Scott Hahn (his latest work).

In this book, Hahn discusses many of the practices unique to Catholicism and Orthodoxy (as well as a few of the liturgically-minded Protestants), and shows their biblical basis, as well as how some of the early Christians saw these practices.  On these points, I think it is important to note that Catholics do not believe or practice things because they are in the Bible.  The Church came before the Bible, not the other way around.  Yes, the Church did have the Old Testament scriptures (this is something that Protestant critics love to bring up on that point), however we are referring to the fact that the early Church was living the New Testament, and the Church was in existence long before the scriptures were brought together as a whole.  So, we must realize that when Catholics reference the biblical basis for our beliefs, it is not that we believe that a group of early Catholics looked to the Bible then said “there, this is what we believe”.  Instead, what they believed and lived ended up in the Bible.

Hahn divides these 40 practices into 9 sections: Life Begins, Life Times, A Day in the Life, Life Lessons, Stages of Life, Spice of Life, Abundant Life, Love of My Life, and Life Goes On.  To give you an idea of what he discusses, here are some of the 40 practices discussed: Holy Water, the Sign of the Cross, Guardian Angels, Lent and Easter, Advent and Christmas, Posture, Morning Offering, Examination of Conscience, Retreat, Spiritual Reading, Confirmation, Priesthood, Incense, Candles, Relics, Indulgences, Intercession of the Saints, Pilgrimage, Scapulars and Medals, and Prayers for the Dead.  This book clearly covers many topics important to Catholicism, and I am excited to start reading it.

From the flaps:

Signs of Life is beloved author Scott Hahn’s exciting guide to the biblical doctrines and historical traditions that underlie Catholic beliefs and practices.  Devoting single chapters to each topic, the author takes the reader on a journey that illuminates the roots and significance of all things Catholic, including: the Sign of the Cross; the Mass; the Sacraments; praying with the saints; guardian angels; sacred images and relics; the celebration of Easter, Christmas, and other holidays; daily prayers; and much more.

In the appealing conversational tone that has won him millions of devoted readers, Hahn presents the basic tenets of Church teachings, clears up the common misconceptions about specific rituals and traditions, and responds thoughtfully to the objections raised about them.  Each chapter concludes with loving, good-natured, inspiring advice on applying the Church’s wisdom to everyday life.

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~ by onecatholic on January 20, 2010.

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