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The Urging of Christ's Love: The Saints and The Social Teaching of the Catholic Paperback – October 18, 2013
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About the Author
Omar F. A. Gutierrez works for the Archdiocese of Omaha as the Manager of the Office of Missions & Justice and as the Special Assistant to Archbishop George J. Lucas. He has worked for the Church since 2001 and has written on the social teaching of the Catholic Church for several years. His articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, the Catholic World Report, The Catholic Answer, CatholicVote.com and he has a regular column in The Catholic Voice, the paper for the Archdiocese of Omaha. His series on the social teaching with Kris McGregor of DiscerningHearts.com has received international attention for its clarity, accessibility and orthodoxy. Most importantly, Omar has been happily married to his wife, Miriam, with whom he has several beautiful children.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have read many books about saints and my litmus test is this: do I desire to become more holy after reading it? Are the saints approachable enough that I see that our universal call to holiness is possible? I felt like reading the book really got me thinking about ways our family thinks about and reaches out to the poor, but more importantly ways we DON'T do it, ways we excuse ourselves. I was inspired creatively about ways to be closer to Jesus through my actions.
Each chapter focuses on a canonized saint or one recognized as "Blessed" by the Church, includes a prayer that the saint intercede on our behalf, and concludes with sections of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church which correspond to the actions of the saint. I especially liked the corresponding teaching with the Compendium. I actually thought of us using the book as a Lenten resource for our home school religion class where we could focus on one or two saints per week. I especially appreciated that Gutierrez included saints that are lesser known: St. Germaine Cousin, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, and St. Joan Delanoue. I also liked that the author invoked Christ the King in each chapter, as this protects us from making all our striving out to be our own, from our own political, economic perspectives. As Gutierrez writes, "I include a praise of Christ the King because as Catholics we transcend political partisanship and party loyalty. Or at least we ought to."
I think social justice gets a bad rap, from where I sit. My husband works for the Church and he constantly battles certain Catholics who think that no money should ever go to to Catholic Charities, CRS or CCHD, that he and all who desire to work for social justice are corrupt and godless, and that the bishops are clueless. While there is always some truth in some of the criticism, it feels to me like those one might label "conservative" simply write all of these organizations and people off and throw away the baby with the bath water. Gutierrez makes a good effort to speak to those who might be considered "liberal" and I am sure there are many of those folks, but at points in the book his conservative politics show. I would have liked to have read a more balanced critique of social justice in the United States Catholic Church. However, given the dearth of conservative commentary on Catholic Social Teaching his contribution is appreciated. We are all called to be on the same team, but this seems rarely the case, and I worry about people who imagine themselves to be good Catholics, but believe the term "social justice" is code for crazy nuns and people who are secretly pro-abortion. This allows social justice to be immediately dismissed, at best, or despised at worst. And since we are commanded by Christ, himself, to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, (Matthew 25:31-46) it's a dangerous command to ignore. As the old saying goes, "If the devil can't get you going one way, he'll get you going the other..."
The Urging of Christ's Love is a good antidote for both kinds of extremism and a great read for anyone interested in growing closer to Christ by action in the world.
As a teacher by profession, I almost immediately began seeing this as a textbook. I can easily see this as the centerpiece of a mini-course at a parish, as a guide in an RCIA program, or as a primer on Social Justice for teens. The writing is very crisp and sincere; the author's personal faith is evident, and that makes the book much more appealing than a dry, studious list of facts. You will fall in love with the saints through reading and praying over their life stories, and this will lead you to a finally complete understanding of how the sometimes intimidating concept of Social Justice is merely the manifestation and fleshing out of Christ's love, His message, and His perfectly selfless Heart.
Don't pass up this book; you will find yourself returning to it often when looking for just the right words to explain both justice and Sainthood.
This is a refreshing look into the lives of the saints. I have often taken to reading the lives of the saints to help me tell myself, "It can be done." This is a new approach to the saints. As I moved through the chapters, I wanted more. Each story helps round out a paradigm, shaped by real life, not just a world of ideas. Ideas and ideals are great, but too often, they become an end in themselves. We can think we are doing fine because we think good thoughts or have great ideals. This book opens us up to eleven stories of sacrifice, guts and glory of sanctity lived out in the world of people. It is not a life of grandeur or spectacle but life borne of the love that can only come from Christ.
This view of Social Doctrine being more than morals and ideals, but flesh and blood is a liberating transformation. The stories strengthen and inspire.
It is now in my son's hands. He couldn't wait to begin into this book, too. A great addition to the family library.