Believing in Jesus: A Popular Overview of the Catholic Faith


Believing in Jesus is designed to help cradle Catholics come to a deeper understanding of the beliefs and practices they have held all their lives and to make Catholic belief more accessible for those new to the church. As Foley writes, "This book will help some scared and scarred people and challenge others."

Now in its sixth edition, the best-selling Believing in Jesus captures the Christian's continuing journey of faith, ever new, ever alive-yet always founded on God's ...

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Believing in Jesus is designed to help cradle Catholics come to a deeper understanding of the beliefs and practices they have held all their lives and to make Catholic belief more accessible for those new to the church. As Foley writes, "This book will help some scared and scarred people and challenge others."

Now in its sixth edition, the best-selling Believing in Jesus captures the Christian's continuing journey of faith, ever new, ever alive-yet always founded on God's steadfast love for us. In a lively style Foley covers the complete spectrum of the Catholic faith, leading the reader from early Old Testament times through a world starting over in Jesus, and looking ahead to the time when Jesus will come again and we will share fully in his life.

This edition is updated to reflect the latest church documents and events and is cross-referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Discussion questions help readers delve more deeply into the mysteries of the faith, and the expanded resources section provides ample opportunities for further exploration. Believing in Jesus is an indispensable guide to the faith we cherish.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author begins by introducing the reader to Jesus and unpacks the story of the faith with Christ always at the center of the discussion. The writing is clear and concise, and the author engages the reader well. The questions at the end of the book are aimed at promoting discussion. There also are recommendations for additional reading at the end of each chapter and in Appendix B at the back of the book. Appendix A provides a guide for program leaders for how to use the material most effectively."—Daniel S. Mulhall, The Catholic Telegraph
Forum Newsletter
The discussion questions incorporated into each chapter cry for this book not just to be read but to be read with others. I would highly recommend this book fro the book shelf of every teacher in a Catholic school or parish religious education program, for every team member of the catechumenate process, for all members of small Christian communities, for every Christian home, for any adult who wants a comprehensive overview of the faith.—Fall/Winter 2002
Buena Vista Resource Page
This edition is current with Church documents and events and includes cross-references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, discussion questions, and an expanded resources section.
Theology Digest
It places the reflection/discussion questions within the text and expands the appendix on print, video, and audio resources.
From The Critics
A handy, simply-written and very convenient guide to some of the essentials of Catholic faith.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867169393
  • Publisher: Franciscan Media
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 525,370
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

LEONARD FOLEY, O.F.M., was editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine and author of Saint of the Day and coauthor of To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans. His Catholic Updates have sold millions of copies.
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Table of Contents

Foreword to the sixth edition vii

Foreword to the third edition ix

Part 1 Getting to Know the Bible 1

Chapter 1 Jesus' Bible: The Old Testament 3

Chapter 2 Jesus in Inspired Human Words: The New Testament 23

Part 2 Jesus' Journey to Death and Life 35

Chapter 3 The Missionary Jesus: "He Went About Doing Good" 37

Chapter 4 Jesus' Teaching Stories: The Parables 47

Chapter 5 Jesus, a Danger to Church and State 53

Chapter 6 The Dying and Rising of Jesus: The Heart of Christian Life 61

Part 3 The World Starts Over 75

Chapter 7 The Rising of Jesus From the Dead 77

Chapter 8 Jesus, the Son of God: This Man 83

Chapter 9 Jesus Is Lord: A Short Course in Saint Paul 93

Chapter 10 The Spirit Given Through Jesus 105

Chapter 11 To Know Jesus Is to Know the Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity 113

Chapter 12 Jesus' Spirit in Us Responds to the Father: Prayer 121

Part 4 The Saving Work of Jesus in the World Today 129

Chapter 13 Jesus Living in His Members: The Church 131

Chapter 14 Trying to Make Jesus Visible: The "Outside" of the Church 141

Chapter 15 Jesus Worships in His Church: Eucharist, the Radiating Center 153

Chapter 16 The One Jesus in All the Sacramental Actions 163

Chapter 17 Jesus Welcomes Strangers Into His Community: Baptism 173

Chapter 18 The Spirit of Jesus Sends Forth Witnesses: Confirmation 183

Chapter 19 Jesus Brings Sinners Back to the Father: Reconciliation 189

Chapter 20 Jesus Heals the Whole Person: Anointing of the Sick 199

Chapter 21 Jesus at the Heart of Married Love: Marriage 205

Chapter 22 Jesus Continues His Priesthood: Orders 217

Part 5 OurGrace-full Response to the Commandments of Jesus 225

Chapter 23 "With All Your Heart": Morality and Conscience 227

Chapter 24 Jesus' Light on the First Three Commandments 239

Chapter 25 Jesus' Light on Commandments Four Through Ten 249

Part 6 Visions of Our Future 275

Chapter 26 Jesus' Mother and Ours: Mary 277

Chapter 27 Jesus Will Come Again! 285

Postscript 295


Appendix A Believing in Jesus and the RCIA 296

Appendix B Recommended Resources 303

Index 318

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Classic overview of the Catholic faith

    This review refers to the sixth edition published in 2009

    This, the sixth edition of Leonard Foley's classic overview of the Catholic faith, like the earlier revisions, updates the material to reflect changes in church documents and expand the list of resources. First published in 1981, Believing in Jesus has long been a popular resource for RCIA programs, and is also considered a classic reference for Catholics born into the faith. The format lends to use by groups, whether as a central text or a supplement. In addition to each chapter's reflection/discussion questions, an appendix contains activities related to specific chapters.

    The five sections in Believing in Jesus cover the old and new testaments; Jesus' life, death, and rising; the Spirit and the church; the beatitudes and commandments; the sacraments; and a vision of our future. Part 3, the World Starts Over begins with the resurrection and includes chapters on St. Paul and prayer. Paul, we are reminded, was intense, a human dynamo, "whether as zealous Pharisee or lover of Christ." Because some of Paul's writings are difficult to understand,
    Foley chose to "let Paul speak for himself" under 13 different subtitles from "Eternally God had a family in mind with Jesus as the center" to "The final purpose in life is the glory of God."

    The chapter on prayer opens with the observation that prayer is not something we do to reach God; it is God's gift to us, what the Spirit does in us. Foley suggests that prayer "does not require a set of directions, any more than two friends need a script." We need but follow Jesus' example in Matthew 6:6, and go to our room and shut the door. "It doesn't matter what we say," writes Foley. "It's probably best when we don't say anything." The chapter continues with a description of vocal and mental prayer and a reflection on prayer as "wasting time" with God. Foley defines this time-wasting as "remaining in God's presence without being concerned about my personal benefit, but simply saying, 'You are God. You are all. I adore you. I love you.'"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2000

    Excellent, simple catechism

    I read this when I first started seeking information about the Church. I, a devout lifelong Protestant, found the book an easy-to-read, but thought-provoking, analysis of Catholic faith. It, combined with Scott Hahn's Rome, Sweet Home, made the necessity of my journey home allt he more obvious.

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