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St. Bernard of Clairvaux and the Historians

To commemorate the feast day of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church, enjoy this excerpt from Dr. Adriaan Bredero’s masterful study, Bernard of Clairvaux: Between Cult and History.  Bredero’s personal story is fascinating: he began his career-long study of St. Bernard of Clairvaux as a college student, while hiding from the Nazis in 1944 Amsterdam.  Here, Bredero re-evaluates many of the primary and secondary sources about St. Bernard, allowing a carefully considered historical portrait of the saint to emerge. Importantly, Bredero’s erudition raises enduring questions about the use of scholarly sources in history and hagiography.

bernard-of-clairvaux-between-cult-and-historyBernard and the Historians

Through the centuries many historians have paid attention to St. Bernard, all with their own motives and from their own perspectives. As a result, this medieval abbot inevitably was characterized incidentally and evaluated by some in an almost inimitable way. More than once we find an emotional appreciation or disapproval of his actions. Thus developed—even outside of the hagiographic tradition—a number of historically questionable portraits of his person, which persisted for a shorter or longer period. Alexander Lenoire in 1814 provided a remarkable example of this phenomenon. This lodge member argued that Bernard’s unblemished life and compassion resulted from his intimate knowledge of the deepest secrets of freemasonry, which enabled him to draft the Rule of the Templars.

Obviously not all more or less cursory portraits of Bernard were as flattering as that of Lenoire. At times we find extremely negative judgments, based on just a few isolated passages from Bernard’s writings or from the vita prima. To these a commentary or interpretation would be added, with no attention to the context within which these passages were written or, rather, dictated.

It has been established that the frequent presupposition that Bernard was anti-intellectual is based on a remark with an ironic undertone made by Bernard around 1125 in a letter to Henry Murdach about Henry’s armchair learning. The fact that the addressee was completely addicted to his learning, and that this remark of Bernard’s was clearly relativized by William of Saint-Thierry in the A-redaction of the vita prima, is totally ignored. In redaction B this relativizing remark was eliminated. This suggests that this hagiographer intended to confirm this anti-intellectual image of Bernard; the more so, since none of the versions of this vita, which incorporated some passages from redaction A, pay any attention to William’s comments. They seem to be utterly unaware of its existence.

[...]

A passage at the beginning of his treatise De consideratione, where Bernard deals with the meaning and the usefulness of “considering,” shows how ill-conceived it is to accuse him of anti-intellectualism. This is what he has to say:

First of all, “considering” purifies the source from which it springs, i.e., the spirit. It also regulates our emotions, gives direction to our actions, corrects deviations, builds our character, bestows honor and order to our lives; to put it in one word: it provides knowledge of divine and human things. It clarifies what is confused, unifies what is disjointed, collects what is dispersed, grasps what is hidden, searches for truth, and discovers what is treacherous and disguised. It foresees and organizes what must be done, checks what has been done, so that nothing remains in the spirit that has not been improved of needs no further improvement. In times of prosperity it foresees misfortune, and it hardly feels the latter when it has arrived. This last ability is called strength, the first one prudence.

There are other dubious portrayals of Bernard by historians, based on biased or incorrect interpretations of particular passages from his writings. Two of these have become rather widespread. The first of these, to which we already referred in the Introduction, concerns Bernard’s observations in his Apology with regard to the luxuriance of the abbey church that was being constructed in Cluny.

Read more by getting Bernard of Clairvaux: Between Cult and History today!

Catholic Scholarship On Sale Now!

Although Jesuit priest and scholar Cornelius à Lapide died in 1637, his impressive erudition and passion for Scripture are still greatly admired today. The 8-volume Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide is just one of the commentaries featured on the Verbum Monthly Sale during the month of August.

359px-Cornelius_a_Lapide_(1597-1637)The following excerpt is from Cornelius à Lapide’s  discussion of the Gospel of Matthew.  The author is obviously steeped in scripture and also conversant with the writings of the Church fathers, but he chooses a moment from Matthew that every believer will recognize. As Lapide mentions, the moment of conversion, of answering the call of Christ, is one that spans the centuries.

Lastly, St. Matthew is pre-eminent amongst the Evangelists in the following respects:[…] Because St. Matthew, who was perfectly conversant with business affairs, for he was over the tribute, was converted to Christ, not by seeing His miracles, not by hearing His preaching, says St. Chrysostom, but by a single word, “Follow Me,” obeying this with the utmost promptitude, he was straightway changed into another man, even into an Apostle, so that he left all things, and followed Christ.

616px-Caravaggio's_The_Calling_of_St_Matthew

The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio

I may add, that after this he never left Christ, but was a beholder and a witness of His miracles, an imitator of His life, a companion of His journeys and labors a partaker of His cares and griefs, and thus was conversant with Him during the whole period of His earthly ministry. Matthew means in Hebrew, given, as Origen and Isidore say—or a gift, as Pagninus thinks—from matthan, a gift. Anastasius of Antioch gives a different interpretation, Matthew, he says, means the “command of the Most High.” St. Gregory makes the following remarks about him: “Iron is taken out of the earth. Was not Matthew found in the earth, when he was immersed in worldly business, and served the customs’ board? But when he was taken out of the earth, he possessed the strength of iron. For by his tongue, and by the dispensation of the Gospel committed to him, the Lord, as by a most sharp sword, transfixed the hearts of unbelievers.” Clement of Alexandria says of this Evangelist, that he was not wont to eat flesh, but to live on seeds, berries, and herbs. […] The last thing I will mention is, that St. Matthew made himself known to St. Bridget, when she was praying at his tomb in the city of Malphi, and said to her, “When I was writing my Gospel, so intense was the heat of the Divine flame which abode with me, that even if I had wished to keep silence, I could not, because of that burning heat.”

Discover the riches of Lapide’s vast scholarship with a monthly special from Verbum until the end of August!

The Assumption of Mary and Pauline Theology

This post is by guest Brandon Ruphohn, Marketing Copywriter at Logos.

catholic-mariology-collectionIt’s the Feast of the Assumption! On this special day, we’re excited to announce our newest collection: the Catholic Mariology Collection (13 vols.), containing some of our most recently-shipped volumes on Mary and the subject of Mariology within a Catholic context.

But why is the Assumption of Mary important for Catholics?

The Marian doctrines don’t appear in the Nicene or Apostles’ Creeds, so our faith is not quite as dependent upon them as, for example, Jesus’ resurrection or the apostolicity of the Church. However, Marian doctrines are by no means optional or frivolous: they help us understand Christ and our relationship with him.

Mary plays a unique role in our understanding of Christ. Being his mother, she must have known him intimately, personally, and spiritually. As a loving and dedicated Jewish woman, Mary raised Jesus in obedience to God and to the Torah (Luke 2:21-24, 39-41), and was rewarded with a holy and devout son. Luke recounts that she “kept all these things in her heart” (2:51). Mary was what Christians today aspire to be: to be among those who truly know Jesus intimately, personally, spiritually.

Paul, on the other hand, knew Jesus as a flash of light (Acts 9:3, Galatians 1:12). After his dramatic conversion experience, in which he was knocked off his horse and temporarily blinded, Paul probably spent several years in the desert of Arabia (Galatians 1:17-18), where he wrestled the implications of his encounter with the living person of Jesus. He had to re-evaluate Jewish theology, the Torah, and the Prophets, all of which he had loved so dearly and so legalistically. His experience with Jesus—though brief—was enough for him to dedicate the rest of his life in love of Christ.

Hans_Speckaert_-_Conversion_of_St_Paul_on_the_Road_to_Damascus_-_WGA21655

Conversion of St Paul on the Road to Damascus by Hans Speckaert

Regarding the Feast of the Assumption, it would appear that both Mary and Paul have the same hope to share with us. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains the significance of the Assumption:

Mary’s Assumption body and soul into heaven is for us a sign of sure hope, for it shows us, on our pilgrimage through time, the eschatological goal of which the sacrament of the Eucharist enables us even now to have a foretaste. 

(Sacramentum Caritatis 33)

The Assumption by Titian

Pope Benedict also illuminates today’s New Testament reading in his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist. The source and summit of our Catholic lives, the Eucharist provides a foretaste to the sanctified life ahead of us—that which Mary had already achieved through Christ’s merits. Paul refers to this life in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians:“In Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:22–23).

Barely four chapters earlier in the same letter, Paul reveals that it was Christ who taught him the institution of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23). He reminds us that the Eucharist is a serious matter for the church, that “whoever eat the bread or drinks the cup unworthily will have to answer for the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). Here, we are reminded to examine ourselves, for “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” and so, we look forward to his coming again!

For just as Mary’s Assumption raises our eyes towards heaven, so too do we look to heaven to catch of glimpse of Jesus coming back down (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Until then, we proclaim Christ’s crucifixion. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” says Paul (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul resolved to know Christ crucified. To know Christ as Mary did during her 30 years with him—tragically culminating at the foot of the cross—or as Paul did through his conversion experience, is to know Jesus through his Paschal sacrifice.

The Eucharist is where we find a Christ we can know intimately, personally, and spiritually. As St. St. Louis de Montfort (included in the new Catholic Mariology Collection) recommends to us, “When Mass is over, make a short thanksgiving.… Then leave the church, as if you were going down from Calvary.” Both Mary and Paul direct us to Christ upon the Cross as a means of knowing who Christ truly is.

 

Author Interview, Part 2: Dr. Mary Healy and Dr. Peter Williamson

This post is a continuation of the interview with authors Dr. Mary Healy and Dr. Peter Williamson.  Verbum users enjoy special savings on their 7-volume Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture through the month of August!

6. What impact have you seen with your seminary students using this commentary? What effect has it had on homiletics?

MH: Some of the most enthusiastic comments we have received are from seminarians, some of whom had previously only used commentaries designed for scholars that left them rather perplexed or uninspired to preach on particular Scripture passages. Our commentaries have helped them see the richness and spiritual depth of passages they had not paid attention to before.

7. What impact have you seen on lay ministries?

PSW: We’ve especially seen Bible Studies and Bible Study leaders make great use of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Our series website, www.CatholicScriptureCommentary.com, provides additional resources including Questions for Reflection and Discussion. Many Bible studies use these questions, sometimes adding others of their own.

Q. How has the series been received outside of the Catholic arena? What channels of dialogue being opened up from the quality scholarship of the commentaries?

PSW: I have been very encouraged at the response of Protestant and Orthodox Christians to the series. It helps them to see how much common ground we have in common; that in turn builds trust which enables fruitful conversation regarding the points on which we differ. I was delighted to learn that my niece, who attends Moody Bible Institute, found the series in their library and had some of her professors recommend it as a good Catholic commentary.

8. What is next from the series?

PSW: My volume on Revelation will be published in November or December. Then in January or February our volume on the Gospel of John will be published; it is authored by Fr. Francis Martin and Dr. William Wright.

In 2015 we will publish Dr. Mary Healy’s volume on Hebrews and a volume that covers both James (Kelly Anderson) and 1-3 John (Daniel Keating).

After that we’re looking forward to Romans by Scott Hahn, Galatians by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye and myself, Luke by Fr. Pablo Gadenz and Tim Gray, and 1-2 Thessalonians by Nathan Eubank.

Author Interview: Dr. Mary Healy and Dr. Peter Williamson

Verbum interveiwed two authors of Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. See what they have to say about this stellar commentary, on sale this month.

1. What sparked your desire to produce this series?

Williamson, Peter 9579PSW: Both Mary and I have experienced great grace in our lives through reading and studying Scripture. The benefit we received was due in part to gifted teachers who opened up the word of God to us. We noticed that many Catholics needed the kind of help we ourselves were blessed to receive.

There seemed to be a gap in the Catholic biblical resources available. On the one hand, there were study Bibles and simple introductory books on Scripture. On the other hand, there were academic works that tended not to focus on Christian faith and life, but on scholarly questions. So we set out to write and edit commentaries of theological depth whose aim is to help Catholics deepen their faith, hope, and love.

2. What questions in modern Scripture scholarship are you hoping to answer through this series?

PSW: Actually, we’re not trying to answer scholars’ questions, but the questions of ordinary Catholics and of the clergy and lay leaders who teach and preach to them. Our goal is to gather the best insights of Scripture scholarship and make it accessible. We ensure that our authors write in ordinary language that does not require translation for preaching and teaching.

3. What aims/goals do you wish to obtain through these commentaries?

photo_29MH: We hope Catholics will fall in love with the word of God and learn to read it the way the Church has traditionally read it: as a diverse library and yet a single word that speaks of Christ. We also hope to help overcome the enormous gap that has divided theology from biblical studies in recent years, by interpreting each biblical book in light of the whole canon of Scripture and the tradition of the Church.

4. What benefits have you derived in your own scholarship from the feedback obtained from the series?

MH: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Part of the reason is that each of our volumes goes through an extremely rigorous editorial process in which it is reviewed and edited eight to ten times by different sets of eyes. I have benefited enormously by the insightful and sometimes critical comments of my fellow editors and other reviewers. They have caused me to read the text more carefully and to ensure that there are no gaps in my explanations.

5. How are these commentaries accentuated by the tools and functionality of Verbum?

PSW: Our commentaries include many biblical references to support or illustrate what is being said, as well as footnotes to church documents. They also include cross references to the Catechism and Lectionary of Sundays and Special Seasons. Verbum makes checking out cross references so easy!

 

Get the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture on sale today!

 

Verbum Monthly Sales

Have you heard about our monthly sale? Every month we’ll be featuring special pricing on popular Catholic titles. Keep checking back to make sure you don’t miss a deal, and follow the blog to hear more about the books, read excerpts and more. This month, we’ll be featuring interviews with popular authors. Stay tuned for savings.

Be sure to bookmark this page, so you can easily access your monthly savings!

 

 

The Mystery of the Eucharist

Today’s guest post is by Robert Klesko, Verbum’s Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you …” (Ex. 16:4)

“…and the bread that I give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:52)

These two passages thrust us from Moses forward to Christ, revealing God’s great care for his people. Yet as plain as the words of Scripture are, we continue to ask like the Israelites “What is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and to proclaim “This is a hard teaching” (Jn. 6:61). The Eucharist is “a hard teaching,” and this is why the Catholic faith has written eloquently and often on the theology of the Eucharist. This theology is compiled in Fr. James T. O’Connor’s The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, available on sale this month from Verbum.

The Hidden Manna takes you on a journey through the Church’s development of the doctrine of the Eucharist from apostolic times through Vatican II and the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. The journey, in many respects, mirrors the journey of the people of Israel. Israel, when encountering the manna, asks “what is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and the Church echoes the same question before the great mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. For truly, who can conceive of God raining down bread from heaven, and who can conceive that that same God would take on our human flesh and give us that same flesh as Eucharistic food? The word “mystery” appears again and again in O’Connor’s exposition of the theology of the Eucharist, and rightly so.

When we grapple with a mystery, we are prone to grumble—and this is another way in which the journey to understanding the Eucharistic mystery is like the journey of Israel. O’Connor states:

Israel’s grumbling never ceased.  “Now these things occurred as types to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6). It was then all a type of the Passover of the new Lamb, who has freed us from sin and misery, fed us with a more miraculous Food and Drink, and endured our grumbling.

“We never see anything but this manna! We detest this miserable food!” Even the miraculous wearied them, and they grumbled against it. Type that it was, it is sobering to reflect that we can say the same of the Eucharist: we are sick of it; it bores us; it does not satisfy. And we turn to other foods.

O’Connor captures an aspect of Christian life that Pope Francis has often spoken of, joylessness even in the face of such a great gift. Like Israel, many modern Catholics grumble and become disenchanted with the gift of the Eucharist.

Perhaps you have someone in your own life who has fallen away from the faith because the Eucharist, the central act of worship of the Christian people, has become ordinary. When reading of the Church’s understanding of the doctrine of the Eucharist, “ordinary” is a word that is never used. Perhaps all we need to draw the fallen away back to Eucharistic fellowship is to expose them to the beauty, mystery, and truth of the theology of the Eucharist. O’Connor quotes the great author, poet, and Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien on his journey from spiritual darkness to the intense light and truth of the Eucharist:

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, that every man’s heart desires. (Letters, 53-55).

The journey from darkness to light, falsehood to truth, which so permeates all of Tolkien’s writings, is a direct result of his profound love of the Blessed Sacrament. The Hidden Manna draws on the theology and experience of Christendom’s greatest champions and provides pages of deep insight and inspiration.

The Hidden Manna would make an excellent addition to any Verbum library, but perhaps it would be best given as a gift, like the Eucharist itself. Whether you take advantage of this sale to deepen your own understanding of the Eucharist or give it as a gift to a friend in need of being brought back to the table of the Lord, The Hidden Manna is a tremendous asset to the Church. The secret of The Hidden Manna is the paradox that Christ is never really hidden, he is there waiting for us in every tabernacle, at every Mass—there waiting for us to partake of this truly wonderful gift!

Steve Ray’s Summer Picks

Today’s guest post is by Steve Ray, popular speaker and author of St. John’s Gospel, Upon This Rock, Crossing the Tiber, and host of the popular TV series, The Footprints of God.

When Verbum asked me what books I would recommend for summer reading, it was easy to come up with some great titles.

I use Verbum every day, and there are certain books I use over and over again. The books are all interconnected, so while you could sit and read any of the books I picked (they’re all that good!), I use them more like reference works.

Home pageFor example, from the Verbum homepage, I like to start every day by simply clicking on today’s Gospel. Verbum springs into action. It opens an entire screen of windows—like having dozens of books all open to the exact right page. I have the Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide prioritized as a favorite, so it shows up automatically, and I can easily use parallel resources to switch to the Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, and the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. With just these three commentaries, I’ve uncovered spectacular insights about the Gospel (and Verbum has plenty more).

parallel resources

At any point in this process, I can run a Verbum Topic Guide or Passage Guide, and I’m presented with default collections of links to the Catechism, Church Documents, and the writings of the Church Fathers. The last category is often primarily populated by the Early Church Fathers Collection available in most of the Verbum Libraries. However, I’ve found the addition of the CUA Fathers of the Church Series invaluable in my study of any passage. I couldn’t even capture all the results I got just from today’s Gospel reading! Such easy access to our rich Tradition!

passage Guide

anchor yaleFinally, the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary is my go-to source for definitions. See more on why Bible dictionaries are awesome in this video. The Anchor Yale Dictionary has extensive definitions for over 6,000 entries. And it gets pulled right into the Bible Facts frame and opens on a double click of almost any word. With definitions this extensive, even clicking on words I already understand yields new discoveries.

The rest of my recommendations are just great titles that everyone should read or be familiar with.

For a marvelous Catholic Bible Study program that anyone can start in their parish or community, I’ve always recommended Catholic Scripture Study International. It is the best program you will find anywhere!! And it’s even better in Verbum. All the Bible links are connected directly to Scripture and the verse memorization works right in the software.

I used Verbum to write all my books, including Crossing the Tiber, Upon This Rock, and St. John’s Gospel. They take on a whole new dimension within the Verbum software.

See my complete list of recommendations here.

 

 

Addendum (by Alex Renn):

Steve asked me to address a question from a user on his blog: “What does your entire screen look like after you click on the daily reading?” Here’s the basic answer plus some additional considerations:

Steve’s layout will look something like this:

steve ray screenshot

1) The Lectionary layout does not actually change as far as panels are concerned. Setting priorities will change what appears in each panel. This post, though old, is a great tutorial on setting priorities. You will be able to customize the order of the Bibles that appear in the top middle pane, and the commentary that populates the bottom middle. This is where he mentioned the Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide appearing in his post above.

2) It looks like some of the screenshot panels were pulled out of context to reveal more information (that may be why they look different from what you’re seeing.)

3) The topic guide was accessed by right clicking the Gospel in the Lectionary, making sure “Bible” is selected on the right, and Clicking “Passage Guide” on the left. Scroll down to see the Church Fathers section (pictured above).

open passage guide

4) Lastly, the dictionary was also prioritized as shown in number 1, so that double-clicking will open the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary if possible. If you double click a word that isn’t an entry, it will open a different dictionary instead.

Hope that helps!

A New Heart

The feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated this year on June 27th, but here is a reflection on the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris. Learn more about the devotion to the Sacred Heart from its founder, St. Mary Margaret Alacoque, and some of its first commentators, in our Sacred Heart Collection. 

I had the chance to visit Paris two years ago with my family.  I had been a student in France years before, and had always loved the Sacred Heart Basilica.

When I go this time, it’s the week before Palm Sunday. Wandering around the immense church, I light huge candles, and buy books from the bookstore. There are three windows to Joan of Arc in an alcove: “She listens to her voices,” the inscription says.

The stained glass windows still strike me, as they had when I was a student in Paris years ago. Although the Basilica is newer, as churches in France go, the stained glass is in the older, medieval style. Colored pieces of glass make up a larger image, like a collage. The color scheme is different than many other churches I have seen. The windows in the cathedral in Rouen, for example, are made up of blue tones, cool and mysterious. In Sacre Coeur, however, the background pieces are predominantly red. The sun shining through the windows suffuses the Basilica with warmth. Like blood.

BasiliqueduSacre-Coeur2

Then I see two glassed-in rooms for the sacrament of reconciliation. Fascinated, I watch a man who appears to be an African walk in, sit down on the chair, and start talking to a priest in white vestments. The man is gesticulating wildly. I don’t know if the glass cubicles are ad hoc, an extra sacramental opportunity for Holy Week, but this format elevates face-to-face reconciliation to a new level. Anyone walking by can observe the confessional. It seems unbelievably exposed. But something seizes me; I wait in line and advance to the peculiarly public reconciliation opportunity.

Confession is a French experience, with emphasis on precision, exactitude, and logic. I start making my confession in French and the priest holds up his hand for me to stop. He asks me questions, to locate me on his Gallic mind map:

“What country are you from? What do you do? Why are you here? Are you a student?”

I tell him I was a student in France years ago.

“What do you study?”

I tell him I’m a teacher.

Instead of reeling off a list of deeds and misdeeds, I just tell the priest one thing, an incredibly wounding and painful experience that has left me limping along. I tell him I am tired, discouraged, and impatient with my young son. I tell him that I don’t like the person I see myself turning into.

He considers this, thoughtfully templing his fingers, and says, “You must pray to God that he will give you a new heart.”

“Make an act of contrition,” he continues; then pauses, looking at me: “In your own language.”

Of course: so it would be correct. And in the imperative, “You must.” How many times had I heard that? All aspects of life in France, from buying a metro ticket to choosing a career, are governed by the imperative tense: “It is necessary.”

The penance chafed at me. At the time, I didn’t think much of the heart as a concept or reality. It seemed to me that hearts were untrustworthy. My heart was dead, and better off that way, I thought. I would have said that’s the last thing I needed, that I needed something better, some real help.

But part of reconciliation is letting go of what I think I need and accepting that in order for the Holy Spirit to work, I need to perform the penance asked of me by the priest who has heard my confession. It was a few quiet moments in the pew saying my prayer before I left the church, but from the vantage point of two years, I can see that my heart has been healed and restored in ways that I never expected.

Now, I see that the Holy Spirit flows under the stones of Montmartre like the blood that flows silently, steadily throughout my body, back and forth, and through the church, drawing me and other believers all over the world together, flushing us out of our corners and our eddies of isolation. It is active outside of time, like the heart of Joan of Arc that they say still beats at the bottom of the Seine River in Rouens. It flows through time, to where Ignatius and Peter Xavier are praying for guidance about their new religious order on the hillside where the Basilica now stands. The Spirit is the blood of the church, sustaining it, transforming and healing our wounds, bringing us back to the source. Most of all, the Spirit circulates to perform the work of God, who says:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 (Isaiah 55:11)

 

Enrich and Deepen Your Faith with Scott Hahn’s 2-Volume Set!

This guest post was written by James Battle, Catholic Marketing Specialist here at Verbum

As a Catholic convert, two Verbum books have especially encouraged and accelerated my faith. I own hard copies of both of them:  one I read cover-to-cover, but the other was far denser, and I never finished it. Buying a book I do not finish is not unusual for me. I know, like many other bibliophiles, that there are many books bought in the heat of the moment, and sit on the shelf unfinished, waiting for the proper mood or motivation. What is unusual, though, is that both books were written by the same author: Scott Hahn.

The Lamb’s Supper  is a book I picked up early in my conversion process, shortly after I began attending Mass. I was consistently struck by the way the liturgy is packed full of scriptural references and symbolism from the book of Revelations. It was truly eye-opening! The Lamb’s Supper very quickly made the initially confusing Mass sensible, especially since I was an outsider who had a particular fascination with St. John’s prophetic and strange symbolism. It was easy to read, and served as a guidebook that tied scripture to the liturgy. I enjoyed Dr. Hahn’s writing so much that I eventually picked up Hail, Holy Queen—although I was warned that it was not bedside table reading.

That advice turned out to be quite accurate. Hail, Holy Queen was not merely peppered with scriptural references—there were often many in each paragraph—but also, there were many references to Catholic tradition: the Church Fathers, Vatican II documents, papal encyclicals, and the Catechism. These were all much newer to me at the time, and so the book sat.

After picking up the 2-volume Scott Hahn collection in Verbum, however, The Lamb’s Supper turned from a scriptural guide into a base camp for scaling the mountain of Catholic tradition regarding marriage, the Communion of Saints, apostolic succession, and much more.

It was Hail, Holy Queen that I found most profoundly transformative, however. Since all of the footnotes and references to Church documents and tradition are just a click away in Verbum, I ditched my hard copy and read the digital version. Using my Verbum library, I followed Dr. Hahn’s line of thought much more easily than with the printed book, because I could read up on source material instantly and was able to fully understand what the author was communicating. In short: I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That is, until I was able to dive in with just a few clicks.

Even if you have favorite books in paper form—get the Verbum edition! You will love reading your favorite passages in a new light with the source material right at hand. If you have books in print that you’ve never finished—get the Verbum edition! Regardless of what motivated you to purchase the book in the first place, Verbum will make all the information contained with the text easier to access and understand. Also, you can always join the Verbum group on Faithlife, and find like-minded friends who will be glad to read along and explore the Faith with you.

This 2-volume set from Scott Hahn is discounted through the end of July. Take advantage of the opportunity to enrich and deepen your faith today!

 

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