Growing up as a young Methodist I heard very little about the Blessed Virgin Mary. After discovering the Catholic Church I began to hear about her a lot. But I didn’t know what to make of all the things I was hearing, and I made the not uncommon mistake of thinking that I didn’t need to pay much attention to all of that because all that mattered was the truly important stuff. This is an understandable mistake for a newcomer to Catholicism to make, but over the years I’ve heard plenty of Catholics mistake the Marian doctrines of the Church for lower level unnecessary (even optional) doctrines, too. I’ve heard people say, “as long as we agree on the essential things we’re all okay,” but that’s just it: we do not agree on the essentials. We don’t even agree on what the essentials are. (Links at the end of this post.)Continue reading
We interrupt our reguarly scheduled programming to bring you this important announcement: There are no ascended masters. There is the Ascended Lord, the One Christ Jesus Who ascended into Heaven. He was begotten not made, True God and True Man, One in being with the Father, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered, died and was buried. For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven, and no one—and I mean NO ONE—goes to the Father except through Him.Continue reading
Today is Mother’s Day and it’s also May, the month of Mary, so I’m studying the Church’s teachings about Mary because I am forever being accosted by people (even some Catholics) who do not understand what the Church teaches about the Blessed Mother. They don’t even know what the Church teaches, much less what it means. But to get Mary wrong is to get Jesus wrong. A flawed Mariology leads to a flawed Christology because the teachings about Mary are intimately bound up with the teachings about her Son.Continue reading
I waited as long as I could. I had an unreasonable hope that Verbum would release an edition of Brant Pitre’s new book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary, quick, fast, and in a hurry. But they hand-tag their books and that takes time, and I don’t even know if they have any plans to do this one, so I’ll just have to get a Verbum edition later if one becomes available. Because I gave in and bought the ebook. (Downloadable books, ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee! Well, not at last because I found thee years ago, and now I have that Etta James song stuck in my head.) ;)
Back to the book. Looking at the table of contents, we’ve got:
- New Eve,
- Queen Mother,
- Perpetual Virgin,
- Birth of the Messiah (and I don’t mean that Fr. Raymond Brown* book),
- the New Rachel, and
- At the Foot of the Cross.
Of all the things I’d hoped to do during Lent, I’ve managed only to prove to myself that I am even weaker than I already knew. But, lucky for you, I have also spent some time listening to an audio course in Spiritual Theology taught by Dr. Brant Pitre. It’s available in DVD, CD or MP3 formats. (I bought the MP3 set so I could download it immediately and have been listening to it on my iPhone in GoodReader.)
One of the earliest purchases I made after becoming attracted to the Catholic Church in the ’90s was Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s marvelous two-volume work, The Three Ages of the Interior Life. This was the first Christian work of its kind I had ever seen and I’m so glad I got it then in a clothbound edition. I have read and re-read Volume One, and have read Volume Two through at least once.
Why do I mention Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s book? Because Dr. Pitre uses it in his course! How exciting! For me, it is. (Stop looking at me like that. I know I’m a nerd. And you do, too, if you’ve even glanced at this site before. So there.) And that’s not all. Dr. Pitre uses several others that either I had in print or Kindle format, in my Verbum library or found online in PDF or other downloadable eBook formats for free. And, before you ask, of course I’ll give you links. Kind of me, yes? (Okay, my aforementioned weakness has engendered not quite enough humility in me. Yet.)
Sources used in the course include those in the list below. I’ve listed Kindle and print formats; eBook refers to various formats available mostly through the Internet Archive for free. On the course page there’s a link to a PDF outline of the course (scroll down). I strongly recommend that you download the outline even if only as a guide for your own study. What an amazing amount of teaching and work Dr. Pitre has put together for us! Btw, this is not a complete list. But if you get the free PDFs, Fr. Dubay’s Fire Within, and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s books listed (PDFs or Kindle), then I reckon you’ll be fine. I also reckon you already have a good and well-worn Catholic Bible and, of course, a much dog-eared copy of the Catechism. (You do, don’t you?)
- Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM, Fire Within, Kindle, Paper
- Fr. Adolphe Tanqueray, The Spiritual Life, Hardcover, eBook
- Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, Spiritual Theology, Kindle, Print, eBook
- Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Kindle, Print Set (TAN Books & Publishers), eBook
- Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life, Kindle, Print (now published as The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life)
- St. John of the Cross, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition (in one volume), Kindle, Print
- St. Teresa of Avila, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition, Vol 2, Kindle, Print
- St. Thérèse of Lisieux, OCD, Story of a Soul, ICS edition, Kindle, Print
- St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Kindle, Print Translated by John K Ryan, Print TAN edition, eBook
- St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, Kindle, Print, eBook
- St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Online
- St. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey to God (or Journey of the Mind into God), Kindle, Print, PDF
- St. Thomas Aquinas, OP, Summa Theologica (or Theologia), Kindle, PDF, Online, Print (Seriously? Wow. Go for it! All my copies are digital.)
- Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, OCSO, The Soul of the Apostolate, Kindle, Print
- The Holy Bible. I highly recommend the RSV-CE or RSV-SCE*
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church (online free, Kindle or paperback under $10)
*The RSV is available in two different Catholic editions, the RSV-CE (Catholic Edition) and the RSV-SCE (Second Catholic Edition). I use both because I like the SCE but the CE is available in interlinear format in my Verbum software. Can I read the interlinear Biblical Hebrew or Greek? Heck, no. But I like to explore and learn so I do use it. A little. I hope to learn to use it more as time goes on.
Another form of the RSV for Catholics is the Ignatius Study Bible RSV-SCE, but is only complete through the New Testament as of this writing. You can buy the NT in separate booklets or the whole NT in paperback, hardback or leatherbound. (Several books of the Old Testament are available now in booklet format, but I don’t know when the entire OT study edition will be available.) This is such a great study help because it’s the work of Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.
Lumen Fidei the first encyclical by Pope Francis (completing the one begun by his predecessor), is available online now. On my phone I see it as a readable webpage sans the absurd parchment background that kept me away from the Vatican site for many years. Also available are options to print and to download a PDF file. Finally! Welcome to the 20th century, Vatican webmaster! Yes, I know the rest of us have been in the 21st century for quite some years. ;)
Updated Nov 1 2012 to add link to Audiences. Pope Benedict XVI announced a new series of weekly catechesis during the Wednesday audiences for the Year of Faith. Below I’ve posted the first paragraph of the announcement. Read the rest of the story at the National Catholic Register or at Rome Reports. Link to weekly General Audiences, texts in full. Short video below.
From Pope Benedict XVI’s Weekly Audience, St Peter’s Square, October 17 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today I will introduce the new cycle of catechesis, which will be developed throughout the Year of Faith that has just started and interrupt – for this period – the cycle dedicated to the school of prayer. With the Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei I chose this special year, so that the Church would renew its enthusiasm to believe in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, revive the joy of walking on the path that He has shown us, and witnesses in a concrete way the transforming power of the faith.
Read the rest of the story at the National Catholic Register or at Rome Reports.