I just finished reading Swimming with Scapulars by Matthew Lickona. This was a lively presentation of the Catholic Faith through the eyes of a young family man who was raised by faithful parents. Matthew expresses his hunger for tradition and truth, and even though he doesn’t always find the most brilliant pastors or the most inspiring liturgies, he keeps searching. That search is one many of my own generation as well as my children’s generation are undergoing.

 

The author touches on many facets of the Catholic Faith, from the sacraments, to sacramentals (the scapular), liturgy, NFP, lenten practices (“lent and its discontents”) and many more, always with personal anecdotes and humor. Some of his thoughts about the Faith are presented through his efforts to teach his children, and parents can easily relate to his attempts. Readers can also relate to his struggles to live an authentically Catholic life, because the Faith calls us a life of sacrifice and trust in the Will of God which is counter-cultural.

 

I was particularly interested in his discussion of Catholic literature. Catholic literature is not necessarily literature written by Catholics, for Catholics and about Catholics. It is, rather, a work that “presents a world the Catholic mind can recognize as true.“ And while a work may present a world that is true, the reader should guard against anything that would lead him into sin. He notes that Flannery O’Connor, a Catholic writer, was a “strong” reader who always sought the permission of her bishop before reading a book which was on the Index.

 

Matthew Lickona’s book can easily be ready by all, but one should not be deceived by its accessibility. In addition to humor and personal stories, it is packed with good theology as well as a love for the Church with all its warts and wrinkles.

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