So it was especially fun to listen to Mike Aquilina talk about his newest book that he wrote with his daughter: A History of the Church in 100 Objects. Many people read their way into Church, but most people don't care about theology or history; they want St. Joseph's statue and know how to bury it properly. Most Catholics are not scholars, but they practice the faith. And throughout much of history, the believers were illiterate. Their faith came from stuff rather than philosophy. Our faith is encoded in stuff. Matter matters to us. Our God gets mixed up with humans--He becomes Incarnate. He wrought miracles through the material. Biblical religion dares us to check the facts about the Ark, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, St. Peter's Basilica. Catholicism is a religion of stuff--sacramental.
Aquilina quotes Andrew Greeley from the Catholic Imagination: "Catholics live in an enchanted world: a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are merely hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. The world of the Catholic is haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of Grace."
I thoroughly enjoyed the trade show as well and wished I weren't flying because I would've loved to pick up even more things, not just books. As it is, I ended up mailing a box to myself and I can't wait to dive into all these beautiful new books.
Daily Mass, Adoration and Confession were offered. And the CMN set up pilgrimages. I was so torn because I'd just finished a little home retreat with Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the Little Flower but I have a great attraction to St. Maximilian Kolbe (born on his birthday, married on his Feast Day, and named my firstborn Max). I chose to go to Marytown, the national shrine of this great saint. It's a jewel in the diocese of Illinois. The pictures don't do justice. I had such a good time visiting with Deanna Klingel on the bus to Marytown and Brother Augustine was a wonderful narrator. I notice that monks and nuns everywhere are incredibly happy people!
Here are two wonderful gentlemen I got to meet, Bud McFarlane, one of the founding members of the CMN, and Amar Patel, mathematician/writer, who was inspired to write after he read Bud's books! He was just asking me whether I knew of him, and I did not, and there walked Bud out of a classroom. Amar fan-boyed over Bud. It was great! We got to talking and I lamented the loss of my favorite wooden rosary that I've touched to various relics and Bud was so kind, he gave me a St. Francis/St. Anthony medal that's been touched to different relics, including the True Cross!
This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more. Part 2 HERE.