Published March 1, 2004
Long read for his incisive commentary on the Catholic scene around the world, George Weigel here offers his most personal work yet in a book that is at once a profound statement of belief and a remarkable tour of the global church. Written for young Catholics, not-so-young Catholics, and indeed curious souls of any religious persuasion or none, these letters convey the power of a faith that is at once personal and universal, timely and eternal.
For Weigel, Catholicism is about acquiring a “habit of being,” a spiritual sensibility that allows us to experience the world as the dramatic arena of God’s action. As much as Catholicism is invested in ideas, faith is often affirmed in tangibles — distinctly informed by seeing and hearing, touching and tasting. With this wonderful paradox in mind, Weigel embarks on an extraordinary journey to the building blocks of Catholic faith, taking us to landmarks as diverse as Chartres Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, South Carolina; from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to G.K. Chesterton’s favorite pub; from the grave of a modern martyr in Warsaw to the Sistine Chapel.
Weigel also examines the intangible, though no less concrete, foundations of the faith, such as grace, prayer, sin and forgiveness, suffering, and — most importantly — love. This invitation to what Flannery O’Connor called the “habit of being” is further brought to life by the figures whose stories embody the mysteries of a life in Christ — Michelangelo and Fra Angelico, Cardinal John Henry Newman and Father Jerzy Popieluszko, Edith Stein and Mother Teresa, and many more.
Letters to a Young Catholic will inspire not only the generation of Catholics whose World Youth Day celebrations have launched an era of renewal for the Church, but also the faithful, the doubtful, and the searchers of every age.