My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a solid, understandable book that explains the concept and theology of angels and saints. The last half of the book contains the stories of specific saints and angels, along with an excerpt from a writing about them (usually from a Church Father). It would definitely be a good book to give to someone wondering about the topic.
Angels and saints have been a special interest of mine since my conversion in 2000 so I’ve read a lot of books on the subject. Therefore, a lot of the information was not new to me. Even so, almost every section had some tidbit which was a surprise or gave me a new perspective. A few samples of the sort of things that knocked my socks off:
- Humans are the minority in the Church. Oh, right. Angels outnumber us, which makes sense when you realize that each of us has a guardian angel. (I also was blown away by the connection of guardian angels to Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane where he was comforted and assisted by … yep … an angel.)
- Hahn draws on rabbinical teachings to point out: It was Moses’ special intimacy with God that made it possible for him to compose the Torah. He could describe the earliest days of creation not because he was there, but because God was; through prayerful intimacy, Moses had come to see as God saw. Oh snap!
- There was not a bishop alive who could speak the language of the Old Testament, but Jerome was teaching it to Roman widows and teenagers. They pushed him to the point where he lamented that they had surpassed him in their ability to speak Hebrew with no accent.
My favorite part was the introduction where Scott Hahn shares his personal experience, which is both moving and inspiring. I think the book could have done with a few more personal touches throughout and then I might have given it another star.
Hahn’s been writing more of these “Catholic basics” books lately but this is the first I’ve read. If it is any indication, he’s giving the Church a fine resource. He’s certainly giving regular readers a great chance to dig deeper into their faith.