I just finished reading My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ. I thought it was great. A couple of quick thoughts that reflect on my consideration of Catholicism:
First, we Protestants are really missing out by not talking about the saints. I understand that Protestants don't share the same beliefs about praying to saints or their intercessory power. However, I don't understand why we don't talk about them at all. For example, the story of Charles Lwanga and the other Ugandan martyrs should be held up to all Christians as an example of faith and courage. And yet, I had never even heard of the story until reading this book. And the Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux should be a help to all Christians in our walk with Christ. The Protestant reluctance to discuss the saints reminds me of our fear of the Virgin Mary. We're so afraid of the Catholic practices concerning Mary that we decide we just won't talk about her at all. This is our loss.
Secondly, I was struck by the diversity of the Catholic Church. All the different religious orders. Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, Missionaries of Charity, Poor Clares, etc. etc. And the very different personalities of their founders. St. Ignatius was so different from St. Francis. And he was different from Mother Teresa. It struck me that if they had been Protestants, they might have just started their own denomination. What a strength of the Catholic Church that these different groups with different strengths and weaknesses and points of emphasis are still in communion with one another. I think this is a better Christian witness to the world that the hundreds and hundreds of different Protestant denominations.
Anyway, I really like the book. I'm trying to find some other good reading materials on the lives of the saints. Any help would be greatly appreciated.