October 2003By Thomas Ellis

Mystics and Miracles: True Stories of Lives Touched by God.  By Bert Ghezzi. Loyola University Press. 187 pages. $19.95.

There’s something unique in the way Ghezzi presents the miracle workers in this engaging book. What one finds are not unsullied characters whose holiness is beyond our grasp. We find, instead, flawed human beings who’ve nonetheless accomplished what each of us is capable of doing. This greatness isn’t the result of planning and ambition, but rather of fulfilling one simple aspiration — to love and serve God.

Ghezzi achieves what many mammoth-sized works dedicated to only one saint often fail to bring about — a real familiarity with the saints and a desire to emulate them. While other works offer epic, life-spanning stories, Mystics and Miracles deals with the holiness from which miracles spring.

Ignatius Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke.  Commentary by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Ignatius. 100 pages. $9.95.

Using the Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition, Hahn and Mitch put together a Catholic study Bible that isn’t ashamed of being Catholic. Another immediate plus is that Luke’s constant allusions to the Old Testament are explicated for those of us whose Old Testament knowledge is less than it ought to be. Thus we can see Christ as fulfilling all that the Old Testament pointed toward.

Hahn and Mitch are ready, as well, to tackle difficulties in the text, such as Luke’s presentation of rulers concurrent to Jesus’ birth that doesn’t seem to match most historical records of His own day. This consideration, and others like it, rather than casting doubt on the narrative, helps us sift through some common objections to the authenticity of the Bible.

Of more mundane concern, this study of Luke’s Gospel is easy to use, convenient to tote around, and under 10 bucks! Its study questions are intelligent, and its suggested applications are “fluff-free.”

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