Typically when we think of living a sacramental life, we immediately think of the seven sacraments. While that is not wrong, we often miss a much larger sacramental experience that encompasses everything we do.
This is what Regis Martin, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, sets out to correct in his latest book, Witness to Wonder: The World of Catholic Sacrament. Martin expertly lays out a much broader definition of sacrament that sees in all of God’s creation a “sign” that points to God’s truth, beauty and goodness.
The genius of Martin’s book is that he infuses it with beautiful poetry and explains the Catholic sacramental life using rich words, full of meaning. Far from a dry theological treatise, Martin lifts up the reader to greater heights with enchanting verse.
The description of the book from the publisher further explains the purpose of Martin’s book.
Regis Martin addresses the educated and orthodox Catholic who, while convinced of the abstract importance of the sacraments, may yet be wholly unaware of the sheer grandeur and sweep of the Church’s sacramental vision. For such people, the book aims at nothing less than to try and enrapture them for a world where wonder and delight are the staples of Catholic sacramental life.
Author Mike Aquilina provides his own endorsement of the book, which perfectly summarizes my own initial thoughts.
“Read this book and see your Church and your world—perhaps for the first time—through the eyes of a poet. Regis Martin is the one voice that can startle us out of our ‘endemic ennui’ and into astonishment at the beauty of it all. This is the Catholic Thing our culture’s been missing for at least a generation.” —Mike Aquilina
In the end, Martin’s book aims at broadening one’s sense of wonder at the world around them, while reminding them of the beauty inherent in the Church’s liturgy. It is a book that combines an appreciation of creation, while also recognizing the primacy of the Church’s sacraments in the life of grace. It is a great book for those who were baptized at the Easter Vigil this past year, as well as the lifelong Catholic who has slipped into the mindset of “going through the motions” at Mass and in life.
It is a great book, one that was expertly written by Martin, who is a master both with theology and the English language.