blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker a few years back when I was in Rome. I had stopped in a fairly large bookstore just outside the Vatican and picked up a small booklet entitled The God Man: Finding the Real Jesus written by Fr. Longenecker. It was a short book, but one that was both very clear and elegant in its style and convincing in its argumentation. I am very happy to report that you can now acquire this small booklet, which is now part of a much larger collection that has just recently been published entitled Catholicism Pure and Simple.
This volume is a simple explanation of the faith, but full of fantastic insights. For example, in the section discussing the rise of the prophetic movement in ancient Israel, Fr. Longenecker writes:
"In the second part of the Old Testament the Jewish
writers begin to speak the language of love. The
prophets were holy men who taught the Jewish people
about God in a vivid and powerful way. In many different
ways the Jewish prophets tell us that God loves
his people. They say God is like a passionate lover who seeks
and pursues the beloved everywhere. He is a faithful
husband who loves his wife no matter what she does.
The ancient Jewish writers tell us that God is a good
and gentle shepherd. He is a wise and gracious king,
a patient Father, and a long-suffering servant. The
prophets say that he is a faithful God: although we
might turn away from him, he will never turn away
Beautiful huh? A number of people who have already reviewed this book point out that it would be a helpful companion for those in R.C.I.A. classes. While I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, I am planning on giving it to family members for Christmas as way of (re-)evangelizing family members. We are in the "Year of Faith", a time to rekindle not only our own faith life, but also those around us who may have left the Church. I think Catholicism Pure and Simple is an excellent tool in doing this!