December 20, 2013

The Catholic Teen Bible

When Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) kindly sent me review copies of their recently published editions of the newly revised New American Bible (NAB), I picked up The Catholic Teen Bible, intending to leaf through quickly until I had more time to study each of the books. However, the pages opened to one of the many colorful inserts, generously supplied throughout the edition, and I was hooked.

Here’s what I read:

Who is Jesus?
Son of God. Savior. Messiah. Lord. Master

These are all ways to describe Jesus. But what do they mean? And why does Jesus matter?

Obviously, important questions, right? When you have important questions, it’s vital that you go to the right place to get your answers. When we’re talking about Jesus, the place to start isn’t in movies, television specials, or novels.

The place to start is in the gospels. That’s right. If you’re really serious about wanting to know more about Jesus, don’t waste your time anywhere else. Read a gospel – or two! – from beginning to end. Reflect, think, and pray.

That example gives you a glimpse of the honest, down-to-earth tone and practical, teen-friendly wisdom from the author and high school teacher of religion, Amy Welborn. For another example, I'll again use the OSV format with teen appeal:

What is prayer?

Prayer is talking to God, but it’s more than that. It’s even more than listening to God.

Prayer is being tuned in to God and responding to his presence in your life.

That can mean talking, listening, or just being. It can mean singing, drawing, or writing. It can happen alone or with others. It can be joyful, grateful, hopeful, and even angry.

The spiritual insights in these inserts will help Christians from any denomination, but you’ll find “Catholic specific” information too. A good example comes with a turn of the page as the above insert goes on to explain something people in general often wonder:

Why pray to saints?

Catholics believe that death is just the beginning – it’s the beginning of new life with God. So that means that the people who have died and gone to heaven are still around – they are part of the Church, or the Communion of Saints.

So Catholic prayer to saints is absolutely no different than asking your next-door neighbor to pray for you. When we pray to saints, we don’t worship them. The word “prayer,” in its origins, just means “ask.” If you actually read the prayers to saints that Catholics pray, you will see that’s what they’re all about – asking these holy men and women to pray for us, just as we ask our friends on earth to pray for us as well.

In the next few weeks, Lord willing, we’ll discuss the other review copies OSV sent, but giving them a quick peek now, I see that a clearer font and nice quality white paper has been used for the other editions, whereas The Catholic Teen Bible has pages similar to newsprint. However, the price for this book is much less than for the others, so I suspect OSV wanted to provide a very affordable Bible for teens who will be grown up before we know it. With this Bible, they’ll be growing spiritually too.

©2013, Mary Sayler

The Catholic Teen Bible, paperback

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