So faith, hope, love remain, these three but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)
This short verse from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians is profound, widely recited, and difficult. These words, and the entire passage that precedes them, challenge us to love others and grow in the virtues of faith, hope, and love. Anyone who actively tries to put these virtues into practice can attest to how difficult this task is. Furthermore, it can be difficult to figure out how we can practically live these out in the modern world. Catholic Hipster: The Next Level, by Tommy Tighe (Ave Maria Press 2019) is here to help.
In this delightful follow-up to The Catholic Hipster Handbook, Tommy Tighe and his fellow contributors reflect on the different ways that we can all pursue holiness through the framework of living with faith, hope, and love. Catholic Hipster: The Next Level brings in a host of “forgotten” saints and prayers and wraps them together with reflections to inspire us and help us change our own lives.
There are many aspects of this book which I enjoyed. While some of the featured saints seem to be fairly well-known (for example, St. Joseph and St. John Paul II), I was glad to see that many of the mentioned saints are not as widely discussed. The many different contributors to this volume convey a variety of voices and writing styles, several of the reflections are thought-provoking and beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the section about the Song of Songs, as well as the chapter on Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker. The “Living the Faith” sections were excellent, too, and presented many great (though not necessarily comfortable) ideas for living out the virtues.
However, as much as I enjoyed parts of this book, there were a few ways in which the book did not live up to my expectations. All of the chapters were written in a very approachable, practical manner, but they were not consistent in their quality. Some hit a rich depth and others only skimmed the surface of a topic. Some chapters were small but substantial, and others were extremely short and not fully developed. A few different contributors cover the same saints; it would have been nice to see an even greater array of saints discussed. This volume has many strengths, but parts of it left me wanting more depth from the book’s wonderful contributors.
Catholic Hipster: The Next Level does not exceed my expectations, but it is a very worthy follow-up to The Catholic Hipster Handbook. From tattoos to bees to Flannery O’Connor, there is a plethora of ways to learn and grow from this book. Catholic Hipster: The Next Level releases Friday, November 8, 2019.
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Copyright 2019 AnneMarie Miller