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Verbum’s $5 Million Giveaway

Verbum’s $5 million dollar grant to Catholic high schools is well under way and we’ve had amazing success in connecting to great Catholic schools. Today, we want to turn the spotlight onto two of our grant recipients: Benet Academy and Hackett Catholic Preparatory High School.

Founded in 1887 and staffed by the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey, Benet Academy has a long history of academic and spiritual excellence. Freshman theology teacher Kevin Clemens advocated for Benet to apply for the Verbum grant and is looking forward to spearheading the use of our curriculum in the fall. Students will begin to use the Lumen curriculum on iPads, and Mr. Clemens is looking forward to being able to introduce students to the riches of the faith in new and exciting ways:

The ability to move seamlessly within Verbum from the Scriptures to the Catechism to the writings of the popes and Church Fathers has greatly improved my ability to develop dynamic lessons. My hope for using Verbum more widely in the classroom is that my students not just study about Jesus Christ, but rather encounter Him in the living word as we receive it from the Church.

It doesn’t hurt that Benet alumnus, Fr. Robert Barron, is featured throughout the Lumen curriculum in his popular Word on Fire videos. This partnership between Verbum and Benet Academy fits right in to the solidly Catholic ethos of the school.

Another notable grant recipient is Hackett Catholic Prep in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Deacon Kurt Lucas leads the Theology department at Hackett and has been an enthusiastic advocate of the Lumen program. Deacon Kurt has been a faithful Verbum user since 2006 and is very excited that Verbum has launched a high school program. He hopes to expand use of the curriculum to the higher grade levels ASAP. We look forward to working with Hackett Prep and all our Verbum grant schools.

It’s not too late for your school to take advantage of our grant program! Visit www.verbum.com/education/5million and contact us today to get your share of $5 million dollars in curriculum software.

Leverage Verbum’s Visual Filters

Verbum has dozens of powerful tools, but sometimes the little things you don’t even know to look for can be incredibly helpful. This week, we want to draw your attention to Verbum’s Visual Filters with this excerpt from our Verbum 360 Training, which is currently free with any Verbum 6 Library as part of the Easter Sale.

Get the end of this chapter and training on all your favorite tools with the complete Verbum 360 Training—free!

 

Learn more about the Bible!

The Bible is the inspired word of God, and this month, Verbum features one of the most up-to-date and scholarly study Bibles available: The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd edition. Along with essays and notes by world-renowned scholars on the writing, history, and interpretation of Scripture, Verbum’s amazing functionality links you in with commentaries and resources of your choice on each page. You can save even more when you make your purchase part of a new library!

Fr. Daniel Harrington notes that the Catholic mass has included more Scripture since Vatican II:

Since Vatican II the Bible has become prominent not only in Catholic liturgy and education but also in popular piety. The revised prayers for the sacraments and other liturgical actions use biblical language almost entirely. Charismatic groups and base communities have found biblical reflection and prayer to be the source of great spiritual energy. Even traditional Catholic observances like the Rosary are (and always have been) thoroughly biblical. The language of Catholic prayer in almost every instance derives from the Bible.

…Catholic theology since the Council gives far more attention to biblical sources and is likely to express itself more in biblical than in philosophical language. Official church documents on theological matters or current problems almost always begin from Scripture and try to ground their arguments in biblical texts. The Catholic Church today is far more biblical than it was in the mid-1950s (18-9, emphasis added).

Take advantage of the special features of Verbum that enhance your study with the Catholic Study Bible, on sale through the end of the month as part of our Easter Sale.

catholic-study-bible-2nd-ed


New to Verbum? Learn more about our powerful Catholic study tools.

 

Wednesday of Holy Week: Gospel and Reflection

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew is one many of us have heard before. The story of Judas handing over Jesus to the authorities for thrity pieces of silver is a familiar one, and yet there are always different aspects that can strike us as we read it, details that lead us to reflect in new ways:

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.

When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Mt 26:14-25)

Verbum can deepen your spiritual experience with resources aimed at explaining the readings and applying them to your daily life. Here, for example, is the reading for Wednesday of Holy Week from Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections by the Sisters of St. Paul:

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us that fidelity to one’s vocation is lived one minute at a time. Jesus’ fidelity is a lived out in a continuous stream of ‘now’ moments: announcing the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, forgiving the sinful, all leading up to the appointed hour.

The Passover is beginning. Pilgrims are streaming into Jerusalem, including Jesus and his closest disciples. Jesus knows what is coming. ‘My appointed time draws near.’ Already in chapter 26 of Matthew he has foretold his crucifixion during the Passover (v. 2). He has declared the anointing at Bethany a preparation for his burial (v. 12). He knows, too, that one of his own disciples will betray him—an inside job.

In the face of betrayal, torture, and death, what does Jesus do? He goes on with his vocation of revealing the faithful love of God for his people. At this precise moment it means preparing and celebrating the Passover meal.
Betrayal is devastating. It is hard to say what is worse, to be caught off guard or to see it coming. Either way the sin of betrayal kicks us in the gut when we experience it. The example of Jesus is all the more astounding because, while he acknowledges Judas’ betrayal as it is happening, he does not change his plans to avoid the situation. Neither does he lash out at Judas or retaliate in any way. Jesus, the absolute expression of God’s love, is not sidetracked. Instead, he continues to freely give of himself.

Today we stand on the brink of the Sacred Triduum, and the Church gives us the calm deliberate choices of Jesus to continue his mission. He knows this will lead to Calvary. We also ponder the calculated moves of Judas, which will lead to his duplicitous kiss.

Fidelity (or its opposite) is lived out moment by moment, choice by choice. What is God calling me to in this ‘hour’ of my salvation?

Oratio

My God, I want to be with you completely in these days when we remember your passion and death. When I think of your fidelity to your vocation, your total self-giving in the face of the betrayal and the cowardice of your disciples, I am overwhelmed. Time is a precious gift; help me to spend it wisely as you did in your public ministry. Strengthen me so that in my moments of crisis I may choose faithful love no matter the cost.
Contemplatio

Faithful love is lived out moment by moment.

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Betrayal of Judas by Duccio, 1308-11

 

 

 

Feast of the Annunciation

Deepen your understanding of the Scriptures with Come and See: Catholic Bible Study Collection!

Let’s take an excerpt today’s Gospel reading for the Feast of the Annunciation:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her,

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:26–33).

Come and See: Catholic Bible Study Collection enriches your spiritual experience in multiple ways, with in-depth reflection on Scripture, including commentary on verses and translations of different Bibles, and quotes from papal writings and the saints. All of these resources are brought together and presented in an easily-accessible format. Here’s the commentary for the reading above:

Although Gabriel is God’s servant first, He is also Mary’s servant. He addresses Mary with the unique description kecharitomene, “a “woman perfected in grace.” No one else in all the pages of Scripture receives this kind of a greeting! Saint Jerome translated this as “gratia plena,” and the best English translation is the traditional “full of grace” (Douay-Rheims and RSCVE). Such renditions as “so highly favored” (Jerusalem Bible) or “highly favored daughter” (New American Bible) fail to convey the full depth of meaning.

Nowhere else in the pages of Scripture does an angel (who always speaks infallibly for God) address a human being this way. Angels themselves are full of grace, and Gabriel speaks to Mary as to one like himself. Now, before Christ’s death on the cross there was no way for a human to become emptied of sin. Therefore, the only way Mary could be full of grace is if, like the angel, she always had been. Gabriel reveals that the Virgin Mary was free from sin and full of grace…

Gabriel’s demeanor and the tenor of his words defer to Mary not as someone beneath him, as in the meeting with Zachariah, or even on the same level. He appears before his own queen, the future Queen of Heaven who will reign forever as Queen of the angels and saints…

The new era of salvation begins with the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. Saint Bede compares the first mother of mankind, Eve, with the new mother, Mary. Where Eve once contained in her womb all humanity, which was doomed to sin, now Mary contains in her womb the new Adam, Jesus Christ, who will father a new humanity by his grace (The Synoptics 11,12).

Enjoy special savings on Come and See: Catholic Bible Study Collection through the end of the month.

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The Annunciation by Hendrick Terbrugghen, 1624

 

Deacon Kevin’s Reflections on the Feast Day of St. Joseph

This guest post is by Verbum Director Kevin Bagley, D Min.

Be sure to see our Verbum Monthly Sale for special savings on resources about St. Joseph!

Of the members of the Holy Family, we know the least about Joseph. His appearance in Scripture is brief, and not a single word in Scripture is attributed to him. He appears in three of the Gospels, and what little else we know has been handed down through tradition and the few writings about him from the early writings of the Church, including The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, The Gospel of James, The Gospel of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and The Ante-Nicean Fathers.

One tradition holds that Joseph lived to be 111 years of age. As a younger man, he had served as a priest in the temple. When we meet Joseph in scripture, he is a tekton (Mt. 13:55; Mk 6:3), translated as mechanic; more specifically, a carpenter. Wood might not have been his only medium, as stone is also prevalent in the area. His wife preceded him in death and together they had six children (Judas, Justus, James, Simon, Assia and Lydia). Joseph took Mary into his home and cared for her and the child Jesus after being selected as her husband.

Mary was the daughter of the aged Joachim and Anna. When Mary was three years old, Joachim and Anna brought her from their home in Bethlehem to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate and devote her to the service of the Lord. Early church tradition holds that Mary made a vow of virginity.

According to the prophecy of Isaiah (Is. 11:1-2), a man should be sought to whom the virgin should be entrusted and espoused. Staffs were to be collected from each of the unmarried men of the house and family of David and kept overnight in the holy of holies of God’s temple. It was believed that the man’s staff, from which a dove appeared, would be the man to care for Mary. The following morning, all the staffs except Joseph’s were brought out of the temple. When no dove appeared from any of the staffs, another attempt was made. The second attempt at finding a spouse for Mary ended as the first. The high priest realized that Joseph’s staff had not been brought forth with the others. Joseph’s staff was retrieved and handed to him. Upon receiving the staff, a dove appeared from the staff and flew toward Heaven. God’s will was clear: Mary would be entrusted and espoused to Joseph. One tradition describes Joseph asking why he was being asked to take Mary into his home, as she was younger than some of his grandsons. But wishing to do the work of the Lord, Joseph received Mary into his care.

Joseph returned to Nazareth to make things ready for his spouse. He then returned to his trade, one that took him away from home for an extended time. He may have been building homes by the shore, or perhaps he was at work on the temple. When Joseph returned home, after several months away, he found that Mary was pregnant. Joseph, deeply troubled by this information, considered sending her away secretly. As he pondered what action to take, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, informing him that it was an act of the Holy Spirit that Mary had conceived. The angel further instructed Joseph to name the child Jesus, because he would save the people from their sins (Mt. 1:18-22).

At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken of the entire world. This meant that Joseph and pregnant Mary had to travel to Bethlehem, his ancestral home (Lk. 2:1-5). As many people had descended upon Bethlehem for the census, there were no suitable accommodations. Joseph, doing the best he could, found a warm stable where Mary could give birth (Lk. 2:7). Just days after the birth, the family was greeted by local shepherds who came to visit the Messiah (Lk. 2:16).

According to Jewish law, Joseph and Mary took Jesus up to the temple in Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord (Lk. 2:22), where they were greeted by Simeon, who had been waiting all his life to see the Messiah.

Joseph had settled the family in a house in Bethlehem when the Magi came to visit (Mt 2:11). After the Magi departed, Joseph was warned in a dream that they must flee to Egypt, as King Herod intended to destroy the child (Mt. 2:13). Joseph did as he was told, remaining in Egypt until the death of King Herod (Mt. 2:14-15). An angel once again spoke to Joseph in a dream, telling him it was safe to return home. Fearing the wrath of Herod’s son Archelaus, Joseph did not return to Bethlehem but rather chose to settle the family in Nazareth (Mt. 3:19-23).

The last image we have of Joseph in scripture is when the family traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Journeying in caravans, the men walked in one group and the women and children walked in another. At the age of twelve, Jesus was old enough to travel with the men, and yet still young enough to be with the children. Both parents thought Jesus was with the other, until they met in the evening for rest—to find Jesus missing. Frantic with anxiety, they quickly returned to Jerusalem and spent three days searching for their son. They found him on the third day, sitting in the midst of the teachers in the temple. They returned home to Nazareth to raise their son (Lk. 41-52).

As a young boy, the only human father Jesus knew was Joseph. Joseph was father, provider, teacher, mentor, and role model for his son. Pressed into service as an old man, Joseph cared for his wife and son, endured the hardship of fleeing persecution from the government with his infant child, provided a home for his family, and taught his son a noble trade.

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The Importance of Forgiveness

To help us reflect on the theme of forgiveness from this week’s Mass readings, we feature Tuesday’s Gospel reading from Matthew followed by a short meditation.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Mt 18:21-35).

Here is a reading about forgiveness from  Minute Meditations for Lent, by Sr. Kathryn Hermes, FSP:

minute-meditations-for-lentForgiving another person means that we ourselves must be ready to change. The words may be easy to say: “I forgive you.”

The phrase seems to be an almost condescending wave of a magic wand…bestowing a fairy-godmother state of bliss on a relationship. But people can’t relate to fairy godmothers.

They can relate to struggling people like themselves. Being ready to forgive, therefore, means realizing that behind the other person’s offensive or socially problematic behavior is a cry asking to be   heard, a pain from the past not dealt with, or a statement about the present not articulated. Forgiveness means I need to hear what is not being said, opening myself up to that truth. I need to allow the other person into my heart. It means acknowledging my own selfishness, anger, bitterness, negative attitudes and ways of thinking, and turning to Jesus to ask forgiveness.

Prayer: Lord, help me to forgive wholeheartedly.

 

 

Verbum at the Religious Education Congress!

March 13-15, Anaheim Convention Center

The Religious Education Congress is the largest annual gathering of its kind in the world. The four-day event is held at the Anaheim Convention Center and is sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Religious Education. Started in 1968 as an “institute” for religious education (CCD) teachers, the Religious Education Congress has grown to include people of all vocations and different faiths.

Verbum will have a strong presence at the Congress this year with two booths: one for English and the other for Spanish.

Come see us in booths 767 and 769! We’ll be featuring our new Spanish Products, Esencial and Esencial Bilingüe, and our $5 million high school curriculum giveaway.

Our own Juan Pablo Saju will be making two Spanish presentations:

1) Conocer a Jesús para ser eficaces en el liderazgo parroquial (4-57)
Saturday, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

2) La misión instrumento esencial del líder parroquial (8-56)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.-2:30.

We’re giving away an iPad, as well, so stop by and introduce yourself. We look forward to meeting you!

 

Spanish Libraries Are Here!

Verbum’s Spanish libraries are now available! We’ve created dozens of Spanish-language resources and bundled them into two brand-new libraries. With steep bundling discounts, these libraries are the most affordable way to get the best Catholic resources in Spanish!

Spanish Libraries share image

There are two libraries to choose from:

Verbum Esencial

Print value: $1,228.19

Your price: $144.95

Verbum Esencial includes over 100 Spanish-language resources. With Bibles, commentaries, Church documents, and more, this library is perfect for the Spanish speaker seeking to study the Faith.

Verbum Esencial Bilingüe

Print value: $4,351.88

Your price: $399.95

Verbum Esencial Bilingüe includes over 300 resources in both English and Spanish. With an expanded selection of Bibles, commentaries, and other multilingual resources, this library is ideal for those studying or shepherding in both Spanish and English.

For more information on Spanish resources from Verbum, be sure to subscribe to our Spanish-language email lists!

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!

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