It has felt to me that there are a lot of good to very good Catholic books out there, but they are all introductory level. Don’t get me wrong. This is great for the Church as a whole, but because they are all introductory level, the message starts to sound repetitive and we don’t grow as Catholics. We need more medium-level to higher-level books to read. I’m not arrogant enough to say that I am completely ready and equipped for the medium-level books, let alone the higher-level ones, but I believe it is important to push ourselves in the pursuit of spiritual knowledge. One publisher is helping to bring us these next level books and that is Emmaus Road, in conjunction with the St. Paul Center. Today, I am going to tell you about one of their latest books called The Lord of History, which is part of their Biblical Catechesis Series.
The book begins by telling us about the importance of history to man both on a personal level and on a civilization level. Msgr. Kevane then goes on to tell us about Herodotus, the Father of History, and his importance in the way history was recorded and organized. He then moves on to the study of wisdom by referencing Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The next chapter focuses on Hebrew and Christian history, walking us through Creation, foretelling of Christ, Jesus first coming, the time of the Apostles, and the Catholic Church. This leads us to the time of the Church Fathers with the likes of St. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and St. Augustine. Gears are then shifted to talk about modern history, modern philosophy, and secular humanism, which gives way to postmodern thinking. The rest of the book talks about how modernism and post-modernism have shifted the culture in a negative direction and how Catholics have both been fighting the battle for and against this school of thought.
For a book that is only 125 pages long, it is a very dense but thoughtful read. Not only are we given a lesson in history, philosophy, and the Catholic Church, we are given valuable commentary that is truthful, despite how painful it may be to read at times. Catholics can and do make mistakes, especially when they allow culture and society to influence the Church, rather than the proper order of the Church influencing culture and society. However, that is not the main message of this book. The main message is that the whole of human history lies in God’s Creation of man, and the coming and second coming of Christ. Ignoring any of those truths will lead us into darkness and despair.
Overall, I felt the book read like a textbook, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as this feels like a book that was written for a classroom setting or derived from a classroom setting. There are copious amounts of footnotes in this book, taking up one-third of the book. These references further illustrate the point Msgr. Kevane is trying to make and also serve as jumping off points for further reading and studying. I admit that I feel like I missed some points in my initial reading, but since the book isn’t that long, I can and plan to go back through and read this again taking more notes the second go around.
Overall, I am impressed with the books that Emmaus Road is producing and I will continue to pursue other ones. Be sure to check out their other offerings, like Genesis to Jesus, which is a Bible Study program designed for the parish or individual.
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Copyright 2019 Stuart Dunn
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