US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Faith at the Edge

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Edited by Angelo Matera (Ave Maria Press, 2008)

If the essayists in a new book are living Faith at the Edge, as the book is named, the majority of young adult Catholics I know are falling off the cliff.

The book shows that Christianity is about more than morality and getting to heaven, writes Angelo Matera in the introduction. The collection of essays from Godspy, an online magazine, reveal young Catholics' "paradoxical desire to live according to the firm doctrines of their church while at the same time freely expressing the truth of their experiences and the judgment of their consciences."

The first half of the book, however, would lead the reader to believe that young adults are obsessed with rules about sex-whether they are having it or not. In "Like a Natural Woman," Elizabeth Wirth explains how she decided on Natural Family Planning before her wedding. Two "Catholics with homosexual desires," as they call themselves, write that they resist sinful behavior by remaining chaste.

Still, other essays bring unique insights into being young and Catholic. Marion Maendel says she hasn't burnt out at her Catholic Worker home despite losing her idealism in "The Harsh and Dreadful Love of the Poor." Jessica Griffin's faith comforts her from life's uncertainties, she writes in "First Friday in Lent."

This book highlights an exceptional group of young Catholics. Those living in Catholic Worker homes or remaining chaste before and after marriage are in the minority. For young Catholics living "on the edge," these essays provide encouragement and companionship on a difficult path.

If young adults whose experiences and consciences have led them to disagree with the church-those falling off the cliff-can get past the moralistic nature of some essays, they may find honest discussions, reasonable arguments, and inspiration. Together the essays show that no matter where we are, we can always strive to live holier, more Christ-like lives.