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This review is from: Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots (Hardcover)
For many, sacraments and sacramentals seem little more than superstitious baggage of the middle ages easily discarded by the modern enlightened Christian. Dr. Hahn lets us know what rich blessings we forgo with such an attitude. In place of misunderstanding that leads to indifference (or even hostility) toward these disciplines, Dr. Hahn provides biblical and historical/traditional roots to the disciplines and in the process gives us a renewed sense of devotion to their practice. Practiced in their proper context, these devotional disciplines can lead to a closer communion with Jesus.
In the introduction to this work Dr. Hahn provides a brief definition of sacraments and sacramentals in order that the reader understands the difference and the significance of both. The work is then divided into phases of life that remind us of these disciplines: birth, life progresses in time, each day in the life of the Christian, disciplines through the entirety of life, significant stages in life, enjoyment of life, the abundant life, devotions to the saints we love, and the end of life. Each phase provides brief descriptions of one or more devotional practices describing their biblical and historical roots in the Church. On my own spiritual journey, I was amazed at the number of these practices already forming in the first and second century. Dr. Hahn has found the same continuity with the Apostles and with scripture.
To his credit, Dr. Hahn does not shrink from such difficult topics as indulgences. And, he does not describe the practices in such a generic manner as to lose the context of the Church as their proper home. The discerning reader wishing special depth on a particular topic will want to look elsewhere for that detail. What Dr. Hahn has provided here is not depth but breadth of understanding that gives us the big picture view we need in order to see these devotions as not just tacked on niceties but as living and essential elements in the Church. If you are looking for the greater depth, the author's journal of theological studies under the title of _Letter & Spirit_ is very highly recommended.
If you want to renew the passion in your devotion to Christ, this is a good place to find some tools to help you renew that passion. Very well done.