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Welcome to the Month of the Rosary at Verbum!

For the month of October, we will be exploring the mysteries of the rosary every day on the Verbum blog.

Starting October 6 with the Joyful Mysteries, we will offer a daily reflection on each decade of the rosary. The Sorrowful, Luminous, and Glorious Mysteries will follow, with each member of the Verbum team offering a meditation on their favorite mystery.

Be sure to check out the Pray With Verbum  page, where you can sign up for Verbum blog notifications, join Faithlife and receive a $5 Verbum credit, and take part in the Verbum Prayer request community.

We hope that you will join us!

Feast of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and the Archangels

The devil. Satan. Maybe we don’t like to think about him. Today’s reading from Revelations, however, reminds us of the reality of evil. As St. Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12, KJV). Ultimately, of course, the story of Michael the archangel re-affirms God’s power over all the powers in heaven and earth:

Арханёл_Міхал._Канец_XVІII_ст._Пінск Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Rev. 12:7-9)

The war has been won; God is victorious. Our job as believers is to continue to pray and work for the coming of the kingdom to save our “place in heaven.” As the church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels, it is worth considering these powerful allies and asking for their protection. As St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church, advises us:

Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.

St. Francis de Sales is just one of the writers features in the 10-volume set Classic Wisdom Collection featured on the Verbum Monthly Sales! Take advantage of 27% off through September 30th.

 

 

Verbum Has Partnered with Branches Catholic Ministries in Canada!

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We are excited to be an official Media Sponsor for the Branches Regenerate(d) 2014 conference. If you’re in the Niagara Falls area this weekend, come out for fun, fellowship, and great talks by some of the most engaging speakers like Matthew Leonard, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and Jeff Cavins. Be sure to stop by the Verbum booth to say hello! If you can’t make it, be sure to check out the Branches Catholic group on Faithlife.

 

Celebrate St. Padre Pio’s Feast Day with a Special Offer from Verbum!

Celebrate St. Padre Pio’s feast day September 23rd with a Special offer! Get Padre Pio: A Glimpse into the Miraculous for under $10 when you ender coupon code PIO14 at checkout.

From the publisher’s description:

Referred to as a “surgeon of souls,” Saint Pio of Pietrelcina brought the Good News of Jesus to people near and far, inspiring their individual conversions, but also causing chains of transformations. Crowds flocked to him to have their confessions heard, to be at his Mass, or to simply be in his presence.

Written by Pascal Cataneo—a fellow priest and contemporary of Padre Pio—this collection contains Padre Pio’s encounters with countless people from all walks of life and the personal accounts of their spiritual transformations. From bilocation, to psychic abilities, to health cures, to an untaught multilingualism, to an unexplainable perfume scent, Padre Pio was blessed with many unique gifts that stirred peoples’ consciences, awakened their faith, and changed their lives. Stories and quotes from conversations between Padre Pio and his visitors capture these miraculous episodes.

Whether you are a fan of Padre Pio, enjoy miracle stories, want to encounter the Franciscan tradition, or are interested in supernatural phenomena, you will be intrigued by this book. In this volume, you will find rare glimpses of God working concretely in the lives of ordinary people through the words and presence of Saint Pio.

You will also be offered a window into the biographical elements of Padre Pio’s life, including the aura of mystery surrounding the stigmata on his hands and feet. But this book extends beyond biographical facts into Cataneo’s inclusion of his personal experiences with Padre Pio, offering you a more intimate reading experience. Such a unique perspective reveals the many sides of this Capuchin friar’s personality—his humility, his directness, and his humor. By connecting the ordinary with the supernatural, you are shown that the miraculous is possible in this world . . . and in your life.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Padre Pio: Glimpse into the Miraculous will give you insight into the well-known and influential saint. The biographical information contained in this resource will provide you with great spiritual and devotional content for your digital library. Just enter coupon code PIO14 at checkout and access this resource for under $10!

The Church and Technology, Part II

To better understand the Church’s position on technology, let’s turn to a apostolic letter from Pope John Paul II in 2005:

To those working in communication, especially to believers involved in this important field of society, I extend the invitation which, from the beginning of my ministry as Pastor of the Universal Church, I have wished to express to the entire world “Do not be afraid!”

Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank ‘among the marvelous things’ – inter mirifica  which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom. (On the Rapid Development of Technology, To Those Responsible for Communications)

It’s worth noting that the Church has, not surprisingly, been thinking and discussing technology for many decades! John Paul II begins his apostolic letter, quoted above, with a reference to a decree from Vatican II December 4, 1963 Inter Mirifica, in which Pope Paul VI stated:

“Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.”

So, we can proceed with confidence into the new frontiers of technology.

At Verbum, we are committed to providing the highest quality Catholic resources in the world. Our powerful software and an extensive library, in the words of St. Augustine, informs and delights believers as they learn more about their faith.

The Church and Technology, Part I

Pope Francis made headlines last month when he spoke to thousands of altar servers in Rome.

Interestingly, the headline from the Catholic Herald UK  read “Young People Shouldn’t Waste Their Time on Cell Phones,” as if the Pope just wanted to scold the young altar servers about talking on cell phones and surfing the internet.

A cursory reading of Francis’ remarks to the teens, however, reveals that the Pope simply made a distinction between the ways one can use one’s time. While acknowledging that time is a gift from God that shouldn’t be wasted, he referred to “products of technology” that “should simplify and improve the quality of life,” but may distract people from what’s truly important.

Catholics live in the world, and as Catholics, we believe that the world is good.

But what do we think about technology?

In a prepared statement before the Catholic Communication Collaboration Technology Conference in August in Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose-Gomez proclaimed that the “digital ‘landscape’ is new mission territory for the church.”

The Pope’s social media expert, Monsignor Paul Tighe, also spoke at the conference, re-affirming the necessity for the Church to be involved in technological developments. He stated that the digital world is “reality,” adding that Catholics “need to be part of the digital world,” or “we’re going to be absent from the experience and from the lives of many people.”

 

Communion and Liberation: An Encounter with Christ

This post is by guest blogger Kathryn Heltsley, a member of Verbum’s Product Creation Team.

Across the United States, small groups of people are meeting weekly in parish halls, Sunday school rooms, and private homes. We sing a few songs—anything from traditional hymns to The Beatles—say a prayer, and then break out a text written by founder Don Luigi Giussani, or the current leader, Father Julián Carrón, and discuss how it relates to our lives. We challenge each other not to let the reading remain abstract, but to examine how it is relevant to our circumstances, the drama we live day-to-day.  We take vacations together in the summer, engage in retreats and cultural events throughout the year like the New York Encounter, a cultural event in downtown Manhattan open to the public. We share meals, we share our lives.

wipf-and-stock-catholic-studiesWe don’t do this because we’re best friends. We’re called together by something stronger than preference. We’re called together by the Mystery, an encounter with Christ. And what we’re living is a movement called Communion and Liberation. Read about the founder of this popular lay movement, Fr. Giussani, in the Wipf and Stock collection from Verbum.

Communion and Liberation (CL) is a lay movement within the Catholic Church. Originating in Italy in the 1950s, CL grew out of the charism of Don Luigi Giussani (1922–2005), a Catholic priest and high school teacher in Milan. In 1954, Giussani noticed how disconnected his students were from their faith. “Religion” to them was something abstract—an outside addition to their lives—rather than a way to live. In order to educate them toward an awareness of a concrete relationship with the person of Christ, Giussani began a method of catechesis with them that eventually became known as School of Community.

Today, CL is present in over 80 countries. It is mostly made up of lay people, but there are also groups of religious and consecrated laity—notably Memores Domini and the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis were all favorable to CL. In fact, Benedict XVI’s papal household was made up of members of Memores Domini, and he attended weekly School of Community with them.

Schools of Community range from thousands of people in a conference room in Milan, to two or three in a living room in Bellingham, to women suffering from HIV at a medical center in Uganda. Groups of high school students, university students, retirees, adult workers, and families all find a common thread in the charism of Luigi Giussani.

When curious people ask, “Hey, what’s this CL thing? Do you have a mission statement?” The general response is, “Come and see.” We’re not trying to be cagey, it’s just that CL isn’t something you explain, it’s something that you live. It is based in amazement at the fact that Christ is present, here and now. That at some point, he entered history, became a person who awakened us to our own humanity. The method of CL is, in part, developig the way we respond to that reality. Around the globe, the Schools of Community are singing together, praying, and reading the same text—often books written by Giussani, or reflections such as the annual Fraternity Exercises given by Carrón. The goal of these readings, prayers, and companionship, are to educate us toward Christian maturity. Communionand Liberation doesn’t solve our problems; it helps us live them!

 

Celebrate the Feast of St. John Chrysostom with a Verbum Special Offer!

This guest post is by Robert Klesko, Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager at Verbum.

“The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue” (Is. 50:4)

JohnchrysostomSt. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople from 398-404 AD, was given the title Χρυσόστομος or “golden-mouthed,” in recognition of his gift of preaching. It is said of the relics of St. John Chrysostom that all but his tongue have shown the corruption of the grave. We continue to have much reverence and respect for this holy saint, and Verbum gives us the opportunity to experience his eloquent preaching through his writings in the Fathers of the Church series from Catholic University of America Press.

In honor of St. John Chryfathers-of-the-church-greek-fathers-of-the-nicene-era (1)sostom’s feast day, Verbum is offering the Fathers of the Church: Greek Fathers of the Nicene Era for $100 off with coupon code CHRYSOSTOM9. This series will give Verbum users access to 9 volumes of St. John
Chrysostom’s works, as well works of Greek fathers, St. Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzus, Cyril of Alexandria, and many more. Among the writings from John Chrysostom, you will find his Commentary on St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, one of the earliest commentaries on John’s Gospel. There are many pearls of wisdom which one can pause and reflect on, but considering the state of the world at present, I found one passage to be particularly encouraging:

For this house is a spiritual surgery, that whatever wounds we may have received without, here we may heal, not that we may gather fresh ones to take with us hence. Yet if we do not give heed to the Spirit speaking to us, we shall not only fail to clear ourselves of our former hurts, but shall get others in addition.

The image of the Church as a “spiritual surgery,” binding up and healing the wounds of her members, is an image to take to heart in the midst of the brokenness of the present world. John’s emphasis on the need of synergy, or cooperation, with the grace of the Holy Spirit for true healing is an important reminder and call to active participation in the life of the Church. This participation not only heals our own brokenness, but also gives us the grace to deflect additional injury to our interior life. St. John Chrysostom’s words are an important reminder and a deep theological reflection on the healing witness of the Church and the comfort which only comes from active engagement with the Holy Spirit.

This is just one excerpt from St. John Chrysotom in Fathers of the Church: Greek Fathers of the Nicene Era , and  you can receive $100 off your purchase with coupon code CHRYSOSTOM9! This would make a great addition to any Verbum library! The ancient wisdom of the Church has and always will be exalted, take this opportunity to carry forward the wisdom of the past into our present world.

Interview with Dr. Peter Kreeft, Part 1

Verbum interviewed Dr. Peter Kreeft, Catholic convert, author, professor, and apologist. We are pleased to offer 27 volumes of Kreeft’s work,  the Peter Kreeft Bundle, including 3 separate collections, featured on Verbum’s Monthly Sale through the end of September.

Q. What role do you see philosophy playing in the work of the New Evangelization?

A. The role of professional philosophy has steadily decreased in Western culture for the last half a century at least. I think philosophy will have little or no role to play in “the New Evangelization” because professional philosophy has become a victim of its own technological sophistication and it has abandoned even the attempt to communicate to ordinary people as distinct from scholars. What we could call amateur philosophy, however, will have a crucial role, because it is universal and necessary and distinctively human. “Amateur” literally means “lover.” Real philosophy, then, is an “amateur” affair because that is what philosophy is and means, according to its inventors: “the love of wisdom”; not the cultivation of cleverness.

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Philosophy asks fundamental questions like “Why?” and “What?” If we do not ask why we are doing evangelization, and why it must be new, and what the New Evangelization essentially is, we will be muddle-headed in our actions as well as our thought.

Q.  You have written extensively on the philosophy and theology of St Thomas Aquinas in A Shorter Summa and A Summa of the Summa. In your experience as a teacher, how would you suggest getting young people excited about the Angelic Doctor?

A. Getting anyone excited about Aquinas is mainly a matter of exposure. His clarity and commonsense and intelligence all sell themselves and don’t need salesmen. There is no need to package him for youth, or for moderns, or for any other subclass of human beings. You don’t even need to translate him into modern language. Once you understand the meanings of a few basic technical philosophical terms like “form” and “matter” and “efficient cause” and “final cause,” you see that Aquinas is very simple and clear.

Q. Among the works which are part of this Verbum collection, are there one or two that you really enjoyed writing? Was there one which was particularly difficult to write?

A. I enjoyed writing all my books; none were just duties. But I especially enjoy writing dialogues. An article in Aquinas’ Summa is really a dialogue, though in condensed form, a dramatic conflict between two ideas, Yes or No, with one winning and refuting the other. Of all the dialogues I’ve written, I suppose A Refutation of Moral Relativism is the most important culturally now and for the New Evangelization. As recent popes have told us, Western culture is dying because of this cancer (moral relativism) above all others. That’s the abstract and general way of putting it; the more concrete and personal way of putting the same point is Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s point in his great 1978 Harvard commencement address, “We have forgotten God.”

Steve Ray’s Summer Picks: Focus on Early Church Fathers

early-church-fathers-special-catholic-editionSteve Ray has chosen Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition as one of his Summer Picks. Simply put, the world of the Early Church Fathers was a fascinating and tumultuous time.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the earliest Christians, for the believers who followed Jesus in the first centuries after his death and resurrection?  As the words of Christ were written down and commented upon, as communities of believers began to gather, as quarrels broke out and were resolved, many great writers and thinkers emerged to guide the burgeoning People of God.

The first few centuries of Christianity were especially blessed with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church fathers, who faithfully interpreted and translated God’s word for the Church. Verbum’s Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition provides fascinating glimpses into the issues that faced and sometimes rocked the growing church, and began to form the deposit of faith that we still celebrate today.

Take advantage of  the beginnings of the Church with the  Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition.

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The Four Doctors of the Church by Pier Francesco Sacchi (1516). St Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose

 

 

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