June, the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

— Matthew 11:29, RSVCE

+JMJ+ June is the month devoted in the Church to the Sacred Heart. I remember hearing the words “Sacred Heart of Jesus” long before I became a Catholic, but I had no idea really what they meant. The devotion to the Sacred Heart used to be a popular practice in the Church.(1) But long before I discovered the Church such things had virtually disappeared. They came to be considered “old fashioned” and were hastily (and foolishly!) discarded. When I looked for a parish that still offered the First Friday devotion, I had to go to a parish a couple of cities away.(2) 

Continue reading “June, the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

“The Bible and the Virgin Mary” Giveaway

'The Madonna' by Giovanni Battista Salvi, called Sassoferrato

+JMJ+ (Note: Form is working now.) A short post tonight as I’m fighting off a cold and all I want to do is drink anotha cuppa and curl up with Miss Lucy Dawg under my trusty warm blanket with dawggies on it. Dawggies in Christmas sweaters and other wintery attire, I should say. (Everything’s better with dawggies, don’t ya know, even colds.) Today is the last Monday in May and my last post about the Blessed Virgin Mary for May, too. So I wanted to do something special. And here it is:

I’m going to give away my DVD set of the St. Paul Center’s The Bible and the Virgin Mary. It’s an open box and I already ripped it to an external drive, so it’s been in the optical drive of my Mac mini once and is in excellent condition, both the DVDs and the box they’re in are like new. Below is a video sample of lesson one to give you an idea of what the series is like. 

Continue reading ““The Bible and the Virgin Mary” Giveaway”

Quarantine, an opportunity for great spiritual growth

Note: I don’t usually post so frequently but this is something that will only last so long, and I want to tell you about it so you’ll have time to take advantage of it.

Yes, this can be and will be a painful time for some of us, many of us. But we can also use the time to grow in our faith, to study, to reflect, and to pray. And to take advantage of wonderful Catholic media groups like Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Scott Hahn’s The Eucharist in Scripture Video Course is streaming for a limited time only at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and their newly opened Quarantined Catholic Hub. Here’s Lesson 1 of The Eucharist in Scripture below.

Continue reading “Quarantine, an opportunity for great spiritual growth”

The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent

Have to share this with you: During Lent this year the St. Paul Center is offering free viewing of their new series, The Bible and the Church Fathers, with the purchase of a workbook, leader guide, DVD set, or kit. Get to know your Church family and learn how they read the Bible. (Links at the end of this post.)

This Lent, get free streaming of The Bible and the Church Fathers! For a limited time, you can get free access to our premiere video study when you buy a workbook, leader guide, DVDs, or kit.”

Continue reading “The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent”

Some news about the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible

I have some guardedly* good news about the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible to share with you. I was watching a Scott Hahn video (see below) the other night, and in the opening minutes he mentioned that the ICSB Old Testament would be finished the next week (the video was dated September 2019 on YouTube), and sent off to the publisher. Publication would depend on the speed of the editorial process, but probably late 2020 or sometime in 2021. Well, I’ve heard various dates given before but this is the first time I’ve heard Dr. Hahn himself give such an update and the first time he’s said “It is finished,” regarding that series that has taken a legendarily long time to complete.

Continue reading “Some news about the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible”

Have a blessed and happy Father’s Day

In honor of Father’s Day, coming up on Sunday, I’m watching and sharing a video by Scott Hahn, Understanding the Our Father, from the Coming Home Network’s conference series, Deep in History, based on his book by the same name. (I’ve had this book in my Verbum library for at least a couple of years and I’ve only just now begun to read it. I don’t know how long it was there before I realized it. Correction: I did start reading this a while back but life intervened and I didn’t finish it. Story of my life.) Video below, links at the end of this post.

Continue reading “Have a blessed and happy Father’s Day”

What is all this stuff? The Bible

A post in the What is all this stuff? series

When I was either in seventh or eighth grade (could have been freshman year in high school) I picked up the Bible I’d gotten at the Methodist church my family attended, and I read it from cover to cover. It was an RSV. I still have it, though the red dye on the edges of the pages got damp in the trunk of my car (accidentally left it there) and bled onto some of the pages. That was careless and I regret that it happened. I treasured that little book. But did I understand what I read all those years ago? Nope. Not most of it. But I was convinced that someday somehow I would find a way to understand it. 

And one day I did. (Links at the end of this post.)

Continue reading “What is all this stuff? The Bible”

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not Biblical, oh, really?

Guido Reni - The Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Updated, June 14, 2019: For Catholics August 15th is a Holy Day of Obligation in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. No, she’s not an Ascended Master. She also did not rise by her own power. And, no, she is NOT a goddess. We look to Tradition to learn about Mary, but we also look to Scripture. If you’d like to know more, and especially about how to explain the Assumption (and Marian teachings in general) to non-Catholic friends and family, I’d like to recommend some easy to read, easy to understand resources for you.

First up, Dr. Robert Stackpole has written an excellent article, The Case for the Assumption of Mary, drawing on the Fathers of the Church, the work of Scott Hahn, and Karl Keating.

“[T]here is, indeed, an allusion to the mystery of the Assumption right in the very place we would most expect to find it if the doctrine were true: namely, in the writings of the Apostle St. John, the one into whose care our Lord placed His Mother at the hour of His death on the Cross, and especially in what may be the last of the New Testament books to be written, a book almost certainly written after Mary’s earthly life was over, the Book of Revelation.” — Dr Robert Stackpole, The Case for the Assumption of Mary

That should be enough to whet your appetite. You’ll have to read the rest at the Divine Mercy site.

Diego Velázquez - Coronation of the Virgin

Next I want to recommend one of the many excellent Bible studies from Scott Hahn and the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, based upon Hahn’s equally excellent book, Hail, Holy Queen.

And last, the book itself, Hail, Holy Queen in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle.

Hail, Holy Queen is also available in Logos/Verbum format or as part of a two-book bundle that includes the Lamb’s Supper, for those using Logos/Verbum applications. (There’s a learning curve but it’s very much worth it.)

Screenshot Hail, Holy Queen, RSV2CE in Verbum
Hail, Holy Queen and the RSV2CE open with some tools in Verbum.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this helpful. God bless you and peace be with you.

Image credits: The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, by Guido Reni, and Coronation of the Virgin, by Diego Velázquez, both from Wikimedia and in the public domain.

Full disclosure: When you make purchases through Amazon affiliate links on this site, I may make small commissions at no cost to you. Or you can use my general Amazon link. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers, Biological and Spiritual

Understanding the Our FatherIn honor of fathers everywhere I’d like to offer something beautiful and profound to you. So I’m going to post something from Scott Hahn’s book, Understanding the Our Father. [1] It’s more beautiful and profound than anything I can write and I really want to share it with you. Happy Father’s Day! May your day be richly blessed, and the rest of your days also! :)

The “Our” of Power

This is why Tradition tells us we must go beyond our earthly experiences and memories of fatherhood when we pray, “Our Father.” For though He is a provider, begetter, and protector, God is more unlike than like any human father, patriarch, or paternal figure. The Catechism puts it this way: “God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area ‘upon him’ would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us” (no. 2779).

How has Jesus, God the Son, revealed the Father to us? As “[o]ur Father who art in heaven” (Mt. 6:9). By adding that prepositional phrase “in heaven,” Jesus emphasizes the difference in God’s fatherhood. The Father to Whom we pray is not an earthly father. He is “above” us; He is the One we profess in the creed as “Father Almighty”—that is, all powerful. Though we are weak, limited, and prone to mistakes, nothing is impossible for God (cf. Lk. 1:37).

God’s power, then, sets His fatherhood apart from any fatherhood we have known or imagined. His “fatherhood and power shed light on one another” (Catechism, no. 270). Unlike earthly fathers, He always has the best intentions for His children, and He always has the ability to carry them out. Jesus wanted us to know this, so that we could always approach our heavenly Father with childlike trust and confidence: “[W]hatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mt. 21:22).

The Catechism teaches that “God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs” (no. 270). We know God as Father because, over a lifetime of prayer, we experience His care for us. We come to see for ourselves that He is mighty, and that He will deny us nothing that is good for us. [2]

From Heir to Paternity

Earthly fatherhood sometimes reflects these characteristics, as do those offices that assume fatherly roles in society: the priesthood, for example, and the government. Yet earthly fathers can perfect their fatherhood only by purifying themselves of earthly motives—such as greed, envy, pride, and the desire to control. They can become true fathers only by conforming themselves to the image of their heavenly Father, and that Image is His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.

In governing, in parenting, or in priesthood, we come to exercise a more perfect fatherly role as we “grow up” in the Family of God: “[W]e are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17). This process is a divine corrective to the world’s distorted notions of patriarchy and hierarchy.

An ancient Christian writer, Dionysius the Areopagite, described hierarchy as something that originates in heaven, where divine light passes through the angels and the saints as if all were transparent.2 God’s gifts, then, are passed from one person to the next, undiluted. Those who are closest to God—and so higher in the hierarchy—serve those who are lower. At each stage, they give as God gives, keeping nothing to themselves.

Notice, here, how spiritual goods differ from material goods. If I have sole ownership of something—say, a sport coat or a tie—someone else can’t own it and use it at the same time. The higher goods, however, are spiritual; and spiritual goods—such as faith, hope, love, liturgy, the merits of the saints—can be shared and owned completely by all. That’s how the hierarchy works with the angels and saints in heaven.

For this sharing to take place “on earth as it is in heaven” requires the perfection of earthly fatherhood, which can take place only if we earnestly pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.” God is the primordial Father, “of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:15, Douay Rheims Version). He is the eternal model by which all human fathers must be measured. [3]

A Father Who Keeps His PromisesNotes

[1] Get a copy of Understanding the Our Father at Amazon (Kindle or print) or for Verbum. Also excellent is Hahn’s A Father Who Keeps His Promises. Get it at Amazon (Kindle or print) or for Verbum. (I’ll add the Verbum links later, their site is down right now. Oy.)
[2] Hahn, S. (2002). Understanding “Our Father”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer, pp. 14–15. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.
[3] Ibid., pp. 15–16.

Nightly Update, Camp NaNoWriMo Day 18

Tonight just stats and a video. I hope your Holy Week has been a blessed one. Thank you for reading. God bless you!

Word count goal for the month: 50K. Nightly: 1,667. Tonight: Under 2K. Total: 44,650. Woohoo!

Dr. Scott Hahn, The Fourth Cup

Romans: The Gospel According to St. Paul: A Nine Lesson Audio Bible Study Course

Just found this to share with you. Romans: The Gospel According to St. Paul: A Nine Lesson Audio Bible Study Course from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, SalvationHistory.com.

20130315-132524.jpg

“An engaging, informative, and thought-provoking nine lecture series by Center President Dr. Scott Hahn, as well as Center Fellows Dr. John Bergsma and Dr. Brant Pitre, they will walk you chapter by chapter through the biblical book that most scholars consider Paul’s greatest theological masterpiece. Along the way, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of the Church’s teachings on justification, faith and works, spiritual fatherhood, the role of Israel in salvation history, baptism, the dignity of the body, the life of charity, and more.”

Read more and download the audio: Romans: The Gospel According to St. Paul.

More free Catholic audio in the Resources pages.

Another version of my conversion story

Update, Feb 3, 2020: Decided to make this post a bit more presentable since it’s been getting views recently. It looks happier now. I’ve learned a thing or two about posting since 2012. (What’s that, Miss Lucy Dawg? Oh, really? Well, yeah, I guess I still do have to learn a thing or two. Smarty.)


I posted a brief version of my conversion story on the About Me page a while back. But during a conversation here on the blog someone (Hi, Lauretta!) asked me what drew me to Catholicism. I don’t know if she knew what she was letting herself in for, but I wrote a few paragraphs by way of reply and thought I’d share that reply in a post of its own (slightly edited because I can’t ever just copy/paste anything without editing it and because it’s a post now and not a reply). Bear in mind that even though this goes into more detail than the About Me page does, I’m still leaving out a lot. I didn’t go into all the various false paths and blind alleys and dead ends I wandered into along the way before I found Him Who is The Way, the Truth and the Life. So without further ado, here’s the story of my conversion, take two. (Hey, wake up, the post is about to begin!)

Continue reading “Another version of my conversion story”