BEING ON FIRE — The Top Ten Essentials of Catholic Faith by Richard G. Malloy (Orbis Books 2014, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $29.99. Reviewed by PAT LYTHE.
Richard Malloy, SJ, teaches in mission and ministry at the University of Scranton and in this book presents an upbeat positive perspective on what it means to be Roman Catholic.
He begins the book by profiling two different student’s approaches to the faith — one is grounded and knows for what she stands; the other is conflicted and confused about what the faith is all about.
He wrote this book for both, but more particularly for those searching for meaning in the
Catholic Church. He challenges the scepticism and disenchantment of modern society, which affects our relationship with God.
He uses a mixture of anecdotes taken from his experience, plus references from all kinds of
Church documents, in an exploration of what he lists as the ten essentials; for example, God’s love is unconditional, Jesus is real, community is essential, creation is good, sacraments sing our stories and mission is crucial.
Each chapter takes one of his topics and explores it in an encouraging optimistic manner. He uses statistics, stories from contemporary events, quotes from popes, and jokes, to get his
message across. It is, however, relentlessly American — all the anecdotes, jokes, figures
taken from the United States culture, especially politics and sport.
I did heartily get sick of the corny jokes he used to make his points — his targeted audience is youth and young adults, who will probably enjoy his humour. However, he portrays his ten aspects of the Catholic faith with a sense of joy, hope and enthusiasm, being on fire himself. A good book for Fit For Mission practitioners.
Pat Lythe works in the Pastoral Office and is the coordinator of the Pastoral Services team in Auckland diocese.