Friday, September 23, 2005

Swimming With Scapulars

Swimming with Scapulars: True Confessions of a Young Catholic by Matthew Lickona (2005, Loyola Press) is an intensely personal account of the struggles of the author to apply his faith, which he deeply believes in, to the circumstances of growing up up in the modern world.

I found the account surprisingly compelling; I don't think it's because the author and I share the same alma mater. It's more that he's willing to let us get inside some of his deepest doubts, fears, frustrations, where we find a sympathy for our common imperfections and a sense of humanity that gives the book a flavor entirely other than a book on theology or even a conversion story.

The story is all the more endearing and compelling because of the experiences of the author's life that connect him with troubles and realities and even sensibilities of the modern world; his appreciation for fine foods, wine and alternative rock; his limited interaction with an abusive priest, his struggles to not judge others without abandoning his convictions.

Part of the beauty of the book for me was a reminder that applying our Catholic faith to our lives doesn't turn us all into religious clones. The faith and the teachings of the Church are far more subtle and supple than that.

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