Thursday, December 20, 2012

Magnificat Year of Faith Companion - review

I have long been a fan of Magnificat's books. Their simple companions to praying the rosary or to the liturgical seasons of Lent or Advent have served as guides to helping me focus on prayer and meditation. Their more complex books such as The Beauty of the Word or the series praying with the gospels help me to steadily meditate on larger works over the year. In short, I have come to rely on them.

When Pope Benedict XVI's proclaimed this liturgical year as The Year of Faith, Magnificat produced a Year of Faith Companion with short readings focusing on faith. This pocket-sized book is packed with reflections for every day of the year from over 30 contributors, ranging from laypeople to religious and clergy.  The readings are also wide-ranging, falling into one of eight categories: Biblical faith profiles, scriptural reflections, catechism excerpts, devotions, essays, meditations from saints and spiritual masters, prayers, and poetry. All in all, there is a wealth of material at your fingertips in this small book.

My one problem is that faith is such a broad topic it can be difficult to get a grip on it. It is one thing to have so many contributors spread among so many formats if there is a clear focus, such as reading a gospel line-by-line through the year. When it is applied to something as relatively formless as faith, then things can get a bit chaotic. As a result, reading daily left me feeling unfocused and a bit adrift.

Luckily, I don't have to read this using the calendar dates at the top of each page. I simply chose one of the categories I mentioned above, such as Biblical faith profiles, and then began reading one a day. Leafing through the book each day to find the next one also led to other items that caught my eye, such as a devotion about Christ's Seven Last Words, and so it has become an interesting voyage of discovery to find my own particular focus.

My point in saying all this is that, although I do not think this book works perfectly as Magnificat designed it, there are many ways one can benefit from this booklet which will help the reader discover new joys in their faith and a deeper connection to God.

I wrote this review of Magnificat Year of Faith Companion for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

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