Verbum Catechism Collection Giveaway

When I discovered the Church (as a new ager and Buddhist), many things drew me to her. The Church Fathers, the saints and great spiritual writers. The Rosary and the Mass. The teachings. The answers that made sense, the deep questions that the Church expected inquirers (and members) to ask, and that we are expected to go on to seek answers, true answers, not merely to express doubt and toss off a skeptical doubt disguised as a question (from a doubter disguised as a seeker). What I would have given to have had then what I have now and have been using since 2014 in my studies. (Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Verbum. I just like it. A lot.)

I’m talking about Verbum Catholic Study Software and Libraries, which I highly recommend and part of which I also happen to be giving away as part of my Triple Anniversary Celebration. I’m giving away a nine volume collection containing what you’ll need to study the teachings of the Church and the Scriptures in a deeper way. (See the other giveaways and enter to win.)

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Why the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary?

The famous (or infamous) Mysteries of Light, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. Love them? Hate them? Never heard of them? They’re at the center of many heated arguments, both on the web and other places. In this brief post we’ll look at the arguments I’ve personally heard most often for not praying them, and then the argument I find most convincing for praying them. Near the end of this post, the video of an episode of EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, with guest Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, discussing his book, 10 Wonders of the Rosary. At the very end of the post are some links.

Continue reading “Why the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary?”

The NT shows Mary as the Ark of the Covenant

This is the last of the Something About Mary Every Day In May (2019) series.

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 Catholics and non-Catholics alike 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.

Continue reading “The NT shows Mary as the Ark of the Covenant”

No, Jesus is NOT an Ascended Master

Mosaïque d’une des chapelles de la Basilique Notre-Dame du Rosaire (niveau inférieur) : l’Ascension. I think this says, The Ascension Mosaic in the Rosary Chapel in the Basilica of Notre Dame. From Wikimedia, public domain.

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. 

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Yes, she is the Mother of God, a post wherein I may rant

Something About Mary Every Day In May series. Happy Mother’s Day!

(Lightly edited on July 25, 2020, to bring some things up-to-date.) 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, and the teachings about her Son are intimately bound up with the teachings about His Mother. 

Continue reading “Yes, she is the Mother of God, a post wherein I may rant”

The teachings about Mary were there from the beginning

Something About Mary Every Day In May
A post in the Something About Mary Every Day In May series.

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.
Continue reading “The teachings about Mary were there from the beginning”

A Course in Spiritual Theology

Spiritual Theology Course by Dr Brant PitreOf 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.)

TheThreeAgesoftheInteriorLifeOne 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.)


Video Introduction to Spiritual Theology Course

SouloftheApostolateCWPSources 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, PrinteBook
  • 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, PDFOnline, 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)

Notes
verbum_mobile*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.

study-bible-nt-brownAnother 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.

First Lumen Fidei, Encyclical by Pope Francis

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. ;)

Pope Benedict XVI begins new weekly series of catechesis for the Year of Faith

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, a true gift to the Church from The FatherUpdated 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.

Vote, Resources to Help You Form and Vote Your Catholic Conscience

The election grows nearer but I still hear some Catholics say that they have not yet decided who to vote for. So I put together a short page of resources to help you vote your Catholic conscience. Sadly, many have not yet formed their consciences, and many Catholics do not even know what that means. The Vote page will help you begin. First, start learning your faith (this is the Year of Faith, after all)! Then live it. Everywhere. Yes, in the voting booth, too. If we don’t do everything as Catholic Christians, then our faith is so much wind, as in, hot air.

Resources to Help You Form and Vote Your Catholic Conscience so you can LIVE your faith.

Catholic Every Moment and While I’m Voting Too

[Brief list of voting guides at the end of this post and on the new Vote page.] People have told me here at the blog, in emails, on forums, in conversations, that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics, has nothing to do with choosing a candidate, has nothing to do with any part of life except one hour on Sunday. Most of these people are not Catholic or they would realize many of us don’t go to Mass just that one hour on Sunday; many of us go during the week, too, and some go every day of their lives and always have. Even so, being Catholic is not just about what we do at Mass, no matter how many times a week we attend.

And voting as a Catholic is not merely a matter of prayer and reflection, but prayer and reflection on the teachings of the Church, listening to the priests and bishops giving guidance concerning the teachings of the Church, and doing our best to live as faithful Catholics abiding by the teachings of the Church. Yes, we have to follow our consciences. But first —FIRST–we have to FORM our consciences! And how do we form our consciences? By listening to our priests and bishops, the Chief Bishop, and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the marvelous teaching documents written by the Popes (including but not limited to the last two Popes, the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI).

There is absolutely no excuse for any Catholic old enough to vote not to know his or her faith. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (here or here or here) and/or study the Catechism and the documents written by the Popes and the documents of Vatican II, and much more, all on the web and all for free. The bishops of the USCCB have been trying to teach people for some time now and the “faithful” blithely ignore them and say they can follow their own consciences. Without forming them!

Yes, some bishops are less than stellar examples. So don’t follow their examples! But do as they say, the same way Jesus told the disciples to do what the Pharisees said do. But He told them not to do as the Pharisees did! And besides, a good many bishops are wonderful shepherds and I pray for them every day. They do not have an easy job. Shepherding Catholics is like herding cats. Everybody wants to be his own Pope! Well, there’s only one Pope and he’s in Rome!

So form your Catholic conscience and THEN follow it! Read Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) and Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). Study them (study guides to  Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae). I’ve been told that the Church has yet to rule on abortion being a sin. Newsflash: The Church has taught that abortion is a grave sin since the time of the early Church, in the Didache (in chapter two, really the second paragraph)! And we know that taking it upon ourselves to take an innocent life is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

So right there, before we go any further, we can see that if a candidate wants to do everything in his power to promote and support abortion and cram it down the throats of the people and refuses to do anything that would limit abortion, which is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always and everywhere a serious and grave sin, then, guess what? A Catholic may not vote for that candidate and say that he is following his Catholic conscience. Because he would be demonstrating that he does not, in fact, have a Catholic conscience!

We can vote for someone who does not share our idea of the intrinsic evil of abortion IF–IF IF IF–we have reason to believe that that person would act in such a way as to limit abortion more than another candidate would. And we do have just this case in our political landscape as I write these words. We must vote in such a way as to limit evil. If you vote for the candidate who has put into positions of authority numerous people formerly connected with the largest abortion provider in this country, then you are not voting to limit evil, you are voting in support of evil. You are voting against a Catholic conscience, which you would demonstrate by your action, by your vote.

This is a grave scandal and for the life of me I cannot understand anyone not understanding this issue or thinking that any issue at all could ever take precedence over LIFE! If you don’t have life, I ask you, then what, pray tell, do you have? Nothing! The economy doesn’t matter if we are happy to ignore the slaughter of millions to get that economy. And the economy certainly doesn’t matter to those who we slaughter! So stop saying that pro-life people are “one issue voters” and then proceeding to say that you are voting on the issue of the economy. Hello! Isn’t that being a “one issue voter”? Isn’t that what you just said we shouldn’t do, reduce our vote to a vote on just one issue? Well, at least, if I “reduce” my vote to “just one issue”, I “reduced” it to the ONE FOUNDATIONAL issue–LIFE ITSELF!

Yes, other matters matter. But Life is the one matter that matters most. Without it, the rest of the issues are empty talk and chatter.

Voting as a Catholic: Live Your Faith, Vote Your Faith!

These links are also on the new Vote page added tonight. I’ll add more as I find them.

To Help You Form Your Catholic Conscience:

The Year of Faith, Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter

Year-of-Faith-PacwaI don't know about you, but I try to be a good Christian, a devout Catholic. I try to practice my faith, to do what I am supposed to do, to love my Lord and my fellow man. I try. Well… Okay, sometimes I try. And sometimes I don't try at all. I just act like I don't even know anything about Christianity and I charge ahead like a water buffalo–wait, do water buffalo charge? Oh, you know what I mean. Don't act like you don't. You go to confession and Mass (if you're a Catholic, and if you're not, then you pray or give testimony and go to your community's worship service or whatever your community calls it or does) and you resolve to do better, to remember yourself and your commitment to the Lord, to change, to allow Him to change you, to rely less on your stubborn self and more on Him. Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter And yet you do the same thing, time after time, the same thing you did last time and the time before that, and the same thing you have been confessing since you went to your first confession, no matter how many years ago that was. And you're still doing the same thing! Oh, maybe you catch yourself now and then, but for the most part you are still losing your temper the way you always have and about the same things and at the same people.

ARGH! What's a (supposed) disciple to do?!

Well, I'll tell you what this wannabe disciple is going to do. The same thing I have been doing. The same thing I will keep doing and having to do. I will pick myself up off the floor again and go to confession and go to adoration and tell the Lord that I am sorry and ask Him to forgive me and ask Him to help me. Again. And, yes, I have already asked Him that, I know I don't have to wait until I go to confession and I don't wait until I go to confession to talk to the Lord. We talk a lot. Well, mostly I talk and He tries to get a word in edgewise and sometimes I shut up and let Him. Sometimes He tells me the most beautiful things. And sometimes I even hear what He says. Yep, sometimes I actually listen.

All of which leads to the heart of my post: the Year of Faith which our Holy Father announced a while back and which began on October 11 2012. Pope Benedict has asked all the faithful to study anew the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, so that we may deepen our knowledge of our faith and of our Church and of our Lord. So that we may deepen our love for Him Who is Love. And how else can our love for God grow if our knowledge of Him does not also grow? And how can our knowledge of Him grow if we do not make an effort to know the Truth He has revealed to us? And how can we know the Truth He has revealed to us if we do not trouble ourselves to listen to His voice in the teachings and liturgy of the Church He Himself gave us?

We are all of us embarking on a journey, setting out into the deep. The Lord will guide us on our way, the Lord Himself Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the only Truth that is worth knowing. May the Lord richly bless you and yours during this Year of Faith and may His peace be upon you forever and ever. Amen.

AND it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And going into one of the ships that was Simon's, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting he taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. — Luke 5:1-11, Douay-Rheims translation.

Learn more: Read more about the Year of Faith at the official website or at the USCCB or at EWTN and many other places too numerous to list. Read Porta Fidei (the Door of Faith) or the transcript of the Homily at the Opening Mass of the Year of Faith, both by Pope Benedict. Other resources include a Catholic Bible study guide by Fr. Mitch Pacwa (Kindle version or paperback) and daily brief readings in the Catechism delivered to your email inbox and also available online. This is truly a wonderful resource and I have enjoyed my mornings with the Catechism very much since this program began on Oct 11. We're not far along yet and you have plenty of time to join in. Please do! You can join in the discussion on the site and learn a lot that way and share what you know, too. You can also find the entire set of sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council online at EWTN.