My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Review: Angels and Saints: Who They Are and Why They Matter

Angels and Saints: Who They Are and Why They Matter Angels and Saints: Who They Are and Why They Matter by Elizabeth Klein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short (160 pg.) book that is part of an expanding series to provide clarification to the rich traditions found within the Catholic Church. Here we get an overview of what the Church teaches about Angels and Saints is a way that should be interesting to both Catholics and those interested in understanding more about Catholicism.  

The book itself is divided into [the expected] two (2) parts to cover Angels and Saints separately with each very short chapter designed to address a common question (in that respect, this is very much like an FAQ).  Each question provides a basic and easy to follow answer with a few relevant sources, but it really serves as a starting point for anybody who wants a more detailed understanding beyond the casual.  

 you already have a solid understanding of these concepts, there isn’t much here for you … unless you need help simplifying the answers for somebody else just beginning their spiritual journey (so this would be great within the context of teaching the faith).

The chapters and sections in this work are:


Part I - Angels

Chapter 1 - What Does the Bible Say about Angels?

Chapter 2 - What Does the Church Teach about Angels?

Chapter 3 - What is a Guardian Angel, and Do I Have One?

Chapter 4 - Do the Angels Participate in the Liturgy?

Chapter 5 - Do the Angles Have Ranks?

Chapter 6 - How Can I Be More Devoted to the Angels?

Chapter 7 - Who Are the Fallen Angels, and Should I Fear Them?

Part II - Saints

Chapter 8 - What Is a Saint, and Am I Becoming One? 

Chapter 9 - What Is the Communion of Saints?

Chapter 10 - What Is Canonization, and Why Does the Church Canonize Certain People?

Chapter 11 - Why Would I Ever Pray to a Saint If I Can Just Pray to God?

Chapter 12 - What Are Relics, and Why Do Catholics Venerate Them?

Chapter 13 - Why Does It Mean to Take a Saint’s Name at Confirmation or to Be Named after a Saint?

Chapter 14 - Why Do Saints Have Feast Days, Why Do They Mean, and How Can I Celebrate Them?


Some of the other points that really got my attention are:

First, the Catechism (§329) speaks about the word “angel” as indicating a job title, not a nature. In other words, “angel” describes what a celestial spirit does, not what it is.

But perhaps the place where it is most obvious that we are joining in the praise of the angels at Mass is when we sing the Sanctus. The word sanctus is Latin for “holy” and refers to the part of the Mass when we sing the song of the seraphim heard by Isaiah.

This understanding of holiness as a doxological category (a category pertaining to glory) explains all of our different articulations of holiness. An object—like a golden chalice used at Mass—is holy because it participates in worship of God insofar as it can as an inanimate thing, and it has been blessed for this purpose. 

He accomplishes this union in the Incarnation, in the Church, and in the Eucharist (we use the phrase “the Body of Christ” to refer to all three of these mysteries).

The word “relic” comes from the Latin word reliqua, and it means something that is left behind. In other words, relics are the remains of the saints (this includes things left behind by Christ himself, such as the relics of the true Cross). Primarily, the word “relic” refers to the body or part of the body of a saint (what is known today as a “first-class relic”), but it can also refer to other remains, such as a saint’s clothing or items that he or she has used (a “second-class relic”). We even recognize what are called “third-class relics”—objects that have been put into contact with a first-class relic.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#AngelsAndSaints #EngagingCatholcism #NetGalley 

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.