I just finished reading the remaining essays and through the ideas and information I feel "more Catholic". It makes for a great summer or anytime read. Throughout the first three essays Hansen effectively and beautifully communicates the sacramentality of writing. A novelist, like any artist or craftsman, is capable of providing a glimpse of the Divine. Incapable of encountering the Divine directly, the Divine is know-able and we touch the Divine through the sacraments and sacramentals and by expressing the natural order sacramentally.
His essay on the story of Cain and Abel is piercing in honesty. In it he admits those rarely named raw emotions we all tend to feel in our childhood - jealousy, amazement of new abilities, desirous of praise etc.
His meditation on the "Anima Christi" prayer is beautiful and penetrating. It could be read by the pool and in a chapel. The familiar words are re-introduced.
The aforementioned essay "Eucharist" highlights all the smells and bells nitty gritty of Catholic liturgical life. The writing reminds me as a priest of the importance which should and is placed upon how we speak of the sacred. If we believe what we say and pray then with what great care and soberness should we attend to this august reality.