A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Robert Barron
A Journey to the Heart of the Faith
A Journey to the Heart of the Faith is a very informative and educative piece of writing on spiritual including religious matters. It focuses on the growth of Christianity, ancient Christian practices, the journey to Gods’ heart, how to become a follower of Christ and best practices that draw people near God or becoming his discipleship. The book that was written by a renowned author called Fr. Robert Barron is of great importance to Christians. This is evident since it describes whom God is, his mission, character, the significance of mass, partaking of Eucharist and prayer among Catholics and other Christians (Barron, 2011). The book remains one of the widely read articles among Christians and other readers globally. Those who have read the book state that it is instrumental in building faith in Christ through the teachings and examples given. They also affirm that it gives credible insights about the fantastic journey of prominent people in the Bible and places that help in making Catholic solid and beautiful.
Introductory part analysis
The introductory part of the book creates awareness of the major theme of the book, its imperativeness, religious impact among Christians and the key forces that brings or drives people to Christ. The main teaching is about Christ and the church with the aim of building a solid ground for Christianity. With respect to the impact of religion among Christians, the book holds that religion is part of human development (Barron, 2011). It helps in shaping human character and development of chore values that drives life. The point is a Christian must have requisite values and moral strength to progress in life.
Another imperative point in the introductory part is the great principle of Catholicism where father Robert affirms that Catholicism is the incarnation that is referred to as the enfleshment of God. Fr. Barron states that incarnation is what defines Catholics faith and makes it stand out among the many religious groups. Barron (2011) also focuses on the ideologies that inform Catholic faith group and how Christ disciples Peter and Paul helped in the progress of the church and inculcation of strong religious beliefs. According to Barron, Incarnation helps in revealing the truth concerning God that has remained elusive to many people and the truth about human beings. He digs in on what incarnation means, the differences between Catholics and other Christian churches that share in the truth of incarnation.
Chapter one: The Amazed and Afraid
In chapter one of the book, Robert focuses on the Amazed and Afraid by depicting the revelation of God become a man. He talks about the true nature of Christians and the values they should uphold. He affirms that true followers of Christ must be bold, courageous and be ready to accept God’s calling anytime (Barron, 2011). The message he passes is that God does not work with those who are undecided and afraid in the society. He draws attention on how most disciples accepted to follow Jesus. The notable examples given include Peter and Paul, who left fishing and persecution respectively to follow Christ.
The main point in the chapter is that Christians should not be afraid as Jesus demonstrated. Jesus was not concerned with what people’s perception and thought about his teachings including the way the teachings were interpreted. His mission was to convey the message of salvation and he did that with a dedicated passion devoid of fear. He also wanted people to know about God and his power by detailing the actions of Jesus while on earth. He states that Jesus still seeks for that identity from his followers who are Christians. He poses to readers, who is Jesus according to you? What do you believe in his identity including personal being? And how would you unravel the principle of discipleship in consideration of how Peter and Paul reacted to the Christ call (Barron, 2011).
Chapter two: Happy are we: The teaching of Jesus
The chapter provides a credible message on how to attain true happiness as Christians. The emphasis is that true happiness corresponds to Jesus’s teaching that anyone who seeks for happiness must put it at the center of his plans. Robert affirms in the chapter that the love for God is the center and source of happiness in humanity, and therefore, Christians should embrace the love of God and make it supreme. The move holds the capacity of enabling individuals to achieve greatness in the world and execute marvelous duties as Jesus’s disciples did (Barron, 2011). The message according to Farther Barron that Christians should not try to substitute the love for God with any other thing such as wealth, pleasure, honor including power as this may lead to destruction. He gave an example of Thomas Aquinas, who tried this but failed terribly. Similarly, he describes the parable of the prodigal son that depicts a greater height of love for Christ through humanity. He beseeches Catholicism and other Christians to practice and embrace love for one another.
Chapter three: The ineffable Mystery of God
In this chapter, Fr Barron describes Thomas Aquinas’s view of God and his five arguments for God’s existence. Thomas Aquinas in his critical nature described the difference between everything else and God in two terms. That is “existence” and “essence”. He holds that the love of God is inadequate for human survival and that the love of other pleasures should be considered greatly. Barron, (2011) equally holds a critical opinion on why God allows bad things or evil to occur. The teaching that God permits certain things to happen in order to bring about good disturbs Aquinas more. He holds that the true nature of God should not allow him to permit evil to happen if his love is for sure. Aquinas and the Deists also believe that God does not order the universe from a closer distance but from far. Fr, Barron cushions believers about conceptualizing the notion being propagated by Aquinas that God’s existence is just like a mirror where we see ourselves. He says that we always see a mirror of trinity that may not be true. The question posed is that how is human consciousness similar to trinity.
Chapter 6: The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church
The key message in chapter 6 of the book appertains to the mystical union of Christ and the Church. Fr. Barron details how the union between Christ and the church is achievable and what Christians should do to realize the noble goal. The message is that the connection between Christ and the church is done through religious practices and action-oriented initiatives that God requires us to do through love (Barron, 2011). Barron indicates that the major thing that draws us away from achieving the mystical union between Christ and the church include culture. The chapter also enlightens about what the church is called to do including its mission and that of the followers.
The chapter also helps the Catholicism to understand the institution and the position of the holiness leader of the church. Information about the role of Vatican in the process of nurturing Christians and assimilation of Gods power to that of the church is provided. The Vatican holds that Christians should be tolerant and understand that the church contains a diverse group of people. The holiness does not deny that the church is holy, but it is also made up of sinful people.
Chapter 7: Mystery of Church’s Sacrament and Worship
Chapter 7 focuses on the mystery that surrounds the practice of sacrament in the church and worship. The teaching is to eliminate the notion and perception that some people have had that sacrament is not part of worship in the church. Some individuals also questions and doubts its relationship to God including its role in Christianity. This is evident given that people think differently about the mass that is conducted in the church.
In this chapter, Fr. Barron affirms the importance of mass in a Christian life. He indicates that mass is an integral affirmation of Christianity and belief in Christ. It is a sure way of expressing Gods love for humanity and a show of unity with Christ.
He defines worship and explains that people should not let secularism take over their best part (Barron, 2011). Secularism should not influence their assumptions and perception about the importance of mass.
The chapter also talks about the importance of Eucharist and sermon noting that they form the real presence of Christ. They act as the connection channels that Christian have to access God and be able to ask him for intervention.
Indeed, the book by Robert Barron is relevant for the Catholic faithful’s and other Christians including the non-Christians. The relevance is attributable to the noble teachings that it has in relation to the understanding of the God and his mission in human life. The book creates awareness on what one can do to follow Jesus as Peter and Paul did, how Christianity is connected to God and the need to accept Gods calling. It also enables Catholics to understand the idea of faith, their relationship with other Christians of different faith including the importance of mass and Eucharist in their Christian journey.
Barron, R. (2011). Catholicism: A journey to the heart of the faith. New York: Image Books.
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