The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today written by John Michael Talbot with Mike Aquilina is a scripture-based look at what the Catholic Church has to say to people of the modern era. I found the book to be very informative and, as John Michael Talbot shared his own life experience with the reader, the book became more than just a narrative about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church but a lens focusing on his own personal response to what he learned about his faith and the faith of millions who live in communion with the Catholic Church.
Chapter one focused on the fire of the faith as seen through the background of a fire which destroyed a portion of John Michael’s life’s work. As with most disasters, we can look upon them as mere meaningless calamities or as purging fires which direct us once again toward a closer relationship with God. John Michael Talbot, using teaching moments from the history of the Catholic Church, helps the reader see how God can speak to us through every event―even the most apparently destructive. In the next chapter, he discusses the Spiritual Fathers and his own journey to find one. As the chapters progress, so he introduces more background information about the early church and the men and women who responded to God’s call in their own lives, and the forces and upheavals which shook, purified, and formed the Catholic Church as we know it today. He does a marvelous job backing up his summaries with scripture or quotes from the early Fathers.
For Catholics searching to better understand what makes the Catholic Church so beautiful, right, and just this is a book that will explain much and give the reader the tools to help explain many of the teachings and traditions of the faith, going all the way back to the Apostolic Fathers. For non-Catholics, this is a great resource to better understand why the Catholic Church makes the claims she does and what her teachings are based on.
This was a courageous, informative, and honest book written by a man who has dedicated his adult life, including his exceptional musical skills, to serve the God who loved him first. John Michael Talbot with Mike Aquilina have a done a marvelous job illuminating the Catholic faith. As John Michael says: “The devil’s tricks don’t change much. And God’s arm has not been shortened…. ‘and every day raises monuments to his victory in his own disciples.’”