30 Important Books, No. 12: On Being Catholic

If you’ve read any of my blogs for any amount of time, you know I’m Catholic. Really Catholic. So it shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of my important books are Catholic ones.

This one, On Being Catholic, is one that I regularly shove into people’s hands. It’s written by Professor Thomas Howard (he’s an English prof, so his writing style definitely appeals to me), who’s also a convert to Catholicism. The book covers a lot of topics, but what gets me is the awe, the wonder, the power that Howard’s writing infuses in things that can be “ordinary.”

On Being Catholic

When you’ve been in a religion your entire life, you get used to it, right? It’s like anything else. I get up in the morning and I drive to work, and very rarely do I think about the driving itself. I’m thinking about my schedule, or the words to the song I’m singing, or the weather. It’s only if I’m driving in ice or snow or something else that I think about the act of driving.

Mass used to be the same way, but this book blew that open for me. Almost every page of this book has my notes or scribbles in it, so I apologize in advance to whomever I lend it to–they’re going to have to deal with my notations. (Once an English major, always an English major. My best loved books are often quite scribbly.)

You can read the book either for information, or as meditation. Howard talks about the Mass, the sacraments, what male and female mean in Catholic life, prayer, and other topics, including the Bible and how it relates to Catholicism (yes, we do read it….!).

It’s not a book for everyone, but it’s a book I dearly love.