3 out of 4 stars
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Anthony M.J. Maranise is a man of many talents. He is a teacher, a writer, an Oblate of the Order of Saint Benedict, and a chaplain. Above all, he is a scholar of life and a devout believer. He has survived cancer. Even now, he is pursuing his Ed.D. in interdisciplinary leadership and working to get a Certificate in Sports Culture and Leadership.
In his book, Indelibly Inscribed: Collected Musings on ChristianPhilosophy, Maranise puts forward his reflections and thoughts in eleven essays. The essays are headlined as 'The Beauty of Broken Mirrors', 'Holy Week & Easter/ Time of Pandemic', 'Remember (Part I)', 'Remember (Part II), 'Supernatural CPR', 'Consecreting Competition', 'Sport as Ecclesial Analogy', 'Sustaining Providence with Promises', 'Sacramentality and Sports', 'Tattoos and Transmission of Faith', and 'Providence in the Plains.'
Even the introduction that preludes the essays is fraught with deep thoughts and meanings. The recurrent theme in these essays is having faith in God. I loved the way a mere line from the song, 'Need to Breath', propelled the author to write the essay 'The Beauty of Broken Mirrors.' He explains to us that mirrors show only our external image. We should be aware that we are created in God's image and are perfect in our own ways. In the essay, 'Holy Week & Easter/ Time of Pandemic', the author tackles a contemporary issue. Social distancing has become the norm due to the COVID 19. Consequently, festivals are not being celebrated the way they have been for times unknown. Just two years ago, it would have been unimaginable to spend holidays like Easter and Christmas on our own. However, now we have no choice. In his essay, Maranise depicts how Jesus himself was socially distant during the Easter Triduum. This gives us hope and inspiration. The author underlines the importance of remembrance. He showcases the advantages of surrendering one's painful memories as well.
The title, 'Supernatural CPR', truly intrigued me. In this essay, the author talks about how Jesus saved our lives by giving up his own. Jesus gave us His own Spirit.
A number of essays in the book, Indelibly Inscribed: Collected Musings on Christian Philosophy, talks about a special bond between sports and the Catholic Church. The author depicts how sports can be a way of worship. He shows how the church can incorporate sports in its folds and use it as a way to make people believe in God. I truly like the way Maranise showcases how sports can be used as an analogy for worship.
The author explains that God intervenes in our lives; however, it is up to us to sustain the divine intervention. We have to work towards our own goals. Only then, God's help will affect us. We have to keep our promises and strengthen our relationships. Maranise also talks about the legitimacy of tattoos. Many old-school Catholics do not condone tattoos. However, Maranise uses the Bible itself to show that tattoos are not against God's will. In the last essay, 'Providence in the Plains', Maranise relates a wonderful personal experience that he had while on a journey to Omaha. It truly strengthens our belief in providence.
Indelibly Inscribed: Collected Musings on Christian Philosophy is a well-researched book. True to his scholarly affiliations, Maranise uses a multitude of quotes from various books to underline his points. He even brings references from the Bible. The meticulous way in which the quotes are cited adds credibility to the book. This is one of the biggest pros of this treatise. Also, I like the way the author talks about recent events in his essays. This made the book more relatable.
I have to mention that the author has made it to so that all the proceeds from the sale of this book will directly benefit non-profit academic and other charitable institutions. This is truly admirable. I commend the author for this.
I believe it would have been better if Maranise explained the various terms like "liturgy", "Eucharistic", "catechism", etc. This would have made it easier for people who are not Catholics or Christians. This is one aspect that I believe can improve.
Keeping in mind the pros and cons, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Apart from the con that was already mentioned above, I did find a few errors. However, they were not that noticeable. They can be easily fixed with a round of editing and proofreading. I recommend this book to believers of Christianity, especially Catholics. However, I think a believer from any other religion would love to read the author's observations as well as they are quite relevant in today's world. Theologians would like it as well. I believe only atheists should be a tad skeptical before giving this book a try.
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