Author and Franciscan University professor Dr. Regis Martin's new book was written with committed Catholics in mind. Designed for the reader who wants to go deeper into the beauty and meaning of the Catholic faith, Witness to Wonder (Emmaus Road, 2017) delves into theology and poetry that energize Catholics in the appreciation and practice of the Faith.

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This book is not a practical guide to the sacraments, but a celebration of the sacramental view that is central to Catholic life.

It is through the channel of sacrament that one may discover the deepest point of entry into the Mystery. (1)

Dr. Martin generously peppers his essays with quotes from T.S. Eliot, Hans Urs von Balthasar, G.K. Chesterton, Teilhard de Chardin and other poets, authors and philosophers as he underscores the beauty and importance of sacrament in the Catholic faith.

The natural setting for sacrament, for the enactment of the sign pointing us along the way of salvation, is charged with an implicit sense of wonder, of surprise and delight. (9)

My favorite section was chapter XI, which speaks of the aim of worship and the liturgical year.

[The Catholic Mass] is, simply put, God's greatest, most powerful act of self-giving love the world has ever seen. And not just seen, as if liturgy were a spectator sport, but ratified and received in the minds and hearts--and bodies!--of those who believe. And not mere mortals, either, who happen to fill the worship space on any given day. But also the angels . . . (63)

Dr. Martin's description of the liturgical year is both beautiful and poetic, and includes a long passage from St. John Paul II's Tertio Millennio Adventiente that discusses time, the solar year, the liturgical year, and eternity. The chapter emphasizes the ways in which the Church interweaves its feasts and celebrations throughout the terrestrial year; this could be a topic for a book all by itself!

Witness to Wonder is not a light read, but it is definitely a worthwhile one. Plan to spend time pondering these essays celebrating the eternal beauty in our day-to-day faith.

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Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS