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Angels All Around Us: A Geeky Review

I just finished reading Angels All Around Us: A Sightseeing Guide to the Invisible World by Anthony DeStefano and have learned my lesson about judging a book by its cover. While I enjoyed reading the book, I must say that this book is certainly not what it is advertised to be. Yes, the topic of angels was discussed and I was quite impressed by DeStefano’s ability to condense Saint Thomas of Aquinas’s works on angels into a book that was easy to follow. However, this book was more of a bare bones introduction to a lot of fundamental Christian beliefs regarding charity, the existence of pain, the Holy Trinity, demons, souls, and quite a few other topics.

On an introductory level, this book is great for readers out there who have not yet read the works of some of the more contemporary Christian thinkers of our time (like G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis). It is also great for young Christians, or even new Christians, who are not yet ready to tackle the beautiful, but extremely difficult, theological works of St. Augustine and St. Thomas of Aquinas. In this book, DeStefano demonstrates a great talent for breaking down some pretty dense Christian works into pieces that can be easily digested by a wide audience of readers. With that said, I must point out that this book is probably not suitable for Christians with doctorates in theology.

This book was a quick read and pretty easy to follow. I liked how DeStefano broke down all of the subjects covered into concise paragraphs. I would recommend this book as an introduction to angels, grace, spiritual warfare, God, the role of suffering, the soul, Christian beliefs regarding the afterlife, and quite a few other subjects. It is not necessarily a book about angels and the invisible world. However, it is a great introduction to angels and the many elements of the invisible world. It is also a great summary of much of what you would expect to learn within the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

As a Catholic, I would consider it a form of Cliffs Notes that may be very helpful for individuals out there who may not have a lot of time to invest in digging through the Summa Theologica. One thing I really liked about this book was its bibliography. DeStefano includes a pretty extensive list of books and authors that will be a great help to anyone who wants to continue learning once this book is finished. Among the many books included in this bibliography are JPII’s On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, Saint Therese of Lisieux’s The Story of a Soul, and quite a few other well-known and well-loved Christian works.

The opinions and thoughts expressed herein are my own. I was not paid for my review. I was given a free copy of “The Duty of Delight” by Blogging for Books  for review. 

The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day - A Geeky Review

As a Catholic saint-in-training, I often wonder about the lives of the many saints that have walked the earth, proclaiming God’s glory and doing works in His name. As much as I love the Saint Augustines and Saint Pauls of the times past, however, I cannot often relate to them. I cannot, in a way, bring down such people to my level. Though tradition teaches us that many of these people lived ordinary lives, I find it hard to relate to doctors of the Church like Saint Thomas of Aquinas or the most austere hermits like Saint Benedict. Their path to holiness almost seems too perfect for me to ever be able to follow…because I am a product of different times. On top of all of this, we don’t often read about their failures, their doubts, and their struggles. Too often, we see their triumphs over evil without seeing the struggles that led to the triumphs. As a result, we just assume that they did not struggle as we do today.

This is why could not put Dorothy Day’s “The Duty of Delight” down. Though I have had to read the book a few pages at a time and though I’ve literally had to MAKE time to read the book due to my hectic schedule…it was well worth the effort.

Though we now consider Dorothy Day to be well on her way to being recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, Dorothy’s diaries continually remind us that Dorothy was nowhere near as perfect as many saints are perceived to be. Though there is holiness in her works and an profound understanding of God within some of her most internal thoughts, Dorothy does not necessarily fit the stereotypical ideals we tend to perceive as necessary for canonization. We may, for example, read about saints that were quick to forgive the trespasses of their neighbor. However, Dorothy doesn’t necessarily fit this mold. Like many other saints, Dorothy also forgives the sins and faults of others. However, she does forgives while acknowledging that she, too, is a sinner with a past that many women today can relate to. She was not perfect  by any sense, but she certainly demonstrates that a conversion of heart is possible with God’s grace.

Dorothy’s diary is anything but forgiving when it comes to Dorothy’s own shortcomings. It is a raw and personal account that does not attempt to hide any of her imperfections. The reader is often reminded of just how lowly and desperate she considered her own works and how often she had to turn her trust to God to achieve these works because she simply could not accomplish everything on her own. I may not run the Catholic Worker as she did, but I could relate to the difficulties in her path towards holiness. Like Dorothy, I struggle with the day-to-day temptations of doubt, insecurity, and fear. Like many other individuals, I fall into the trap of believing myself too inferior and flawed to ever become a saint.

As I read this book, however, this attitude started to change. I began to see a pattern in “The Duty of Delight,” and began to realize that Dorothy understood an element of her faith that I am still beginning to explore. Even in her most hopeless situations, Dorothy cried out to God for help and placed her complete trust in Him. As hopeless as her situation may have seemed at the time, Dorothy never lost hope and God never failed to deliver. I do not mean to say that Dorothy ever got a break. No, the trials kept coming and she always seemed to have more and more people depending on her regardless of how tired she felt or how little she had left to give. She never stopped fighting to serve God. Yet, with each impediment came her recognition of God’s grace. She came to see God in every struggle and, as a result, never lost hope.

I highly recommend this book to anyone out there who feels that they have a mission to serve God through works of charity. If you are anything like me, you know how easy it is to lose sight of our potential for holiness by focusing on our own imperfections. However, “The Duty of Delight” provides us a detailed and passionate reminder of how God chooses even the lowliest of His children for holiness. We may not live in the same world and time as some of the great saints of the Catholic Church, but we live in Dorothy’s time. She, like us, lived through wars, demonstrations, assassinations, scandals, violence, and a myriad of other events that would cause even the most faithful to lose hope.

The opinions and thoughts expressed herein are my own. I was not paid for my review. I was given a free copy of “The Duty of Delight” by Blogging for Books  for review.