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Broaden Your Verbum Library with These Recent Additions

Sr. Mary Margaret Funk writes on practicing early monasticism, the International Theological Commission provides five decades of theological reflection, and select works from the great Henri de Lubac publish soon—and here’s what else is new and upcoming in Verbum.

You also can guide the future of Verbum resources by placing a bid for Pre-Pub products, such as the Liturgical Press Wisdom Commentary Series (16 vols).

New to Verbum

From books on the Church Fathers to recent staples in Catholic teaching, welcome these new collections to your Verbum library:

Save on Henri de Lubac works

Select Works of Henri de Lubac (5 vols.) is available for pre-order, which means you can save if you get it before it ships on January 25.

De Lubac was well known for his role in shaping the Second Vatican Council, as well as his books Paradoxes of Faith and The Splendor of the Church.

Read excerpts from each work, as well as this quote from More Paradoxes:

The Church is at once visible and invisible, a mysterious reality and a society made up of people. Born and founded. A living organism and an edifice that has been constructed. It is useless to seek to eliminate one of these two aspects in favor of the other; it is impossible to reduce the complexity of the reality and dismiss the paradox. The whole endeavor to conceive of the Church according to any human model whatever is pointless. In her origins as in her present reality, she is always other, unique.

Your voice matters: What do you want us to add next?

These two titles are in Pre-Publication, meaning they’re gathering interest to see if people want them added to Verbum. Let us know which resources you’re interested in by placing a Pre-Pub order. The more people are interested, the sooner the resource ships.

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Which resources are you most excited to add to your library? Let us know in the comments.

The Full but Neglected Backpack

A Christian can be compared to a man on a journey.

As soon as the traveler crested the hill, he knew he was in dire straits. He was lost and desperately weary from hours of trudging down dusty paths, and his tongue was swollen with thirst. The leather pack his mother had given him grew heavier by the mile. He was nowhere near his destination.

To make matters worse, an ominous scoundrel was lurking on the side of the path. Their eyes met and the villain lurched forward. In terror the traveler shrieked, dropped his pack to the ground, and clenched his fists. The villain, undeterred by the traveler’s shriek of fear and lame attempt at self-defense, charged with his dagger raised high. With one thrust of the rusty knife, the defenseless traveler lay bleeding on the ground.

Hunters in the brush nearby heard the shriek of fear and came dashing down the hillside. The thief had barely enough time to rummage through the pockets of the fallen man before escaping down the ravine.

The hunters arrived too late—the man was dead. They searched through his pack to see if they could discover his identity. They stopped in utter amazement, looking first at the weary traveler than back to the contents of the backpack. His mother had provided him a map and compass, food and water, and most importantly, a gleaming sword of exquisite design. The pilgrim’s mother had provided everything necessary for the pilgrim’s journey.

Why, pray tell, had he not used the provisions? Surely he knew what he carried.

The parable explained

St. Peter addresses Christians in the world as “aliens and strangers” (1 Pet 2:11), and St. Paul tells us we are citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20). We are sojourners in a land fraught with danger. The word parish comes from the Greek word for sojourner or stranger. We are strangers traveling through a strange land, and our holy Mother Church has provided us, by the grace of God, with all that is needed for the journey. Our backpack is full of provisions: miraculous bread, the water of life, clean garments, impenetrable armor, a map, compass, and instructions. Holy Mother Church has provided the pilgrims traveling to the Celestial City a gleaming sword, the word of God. No need to fall prey to a poorly wielded and rusty knife when we have a jeweled sword worthy of a king.

Catholics too frequently leave the Good Book on the shelf as a gilded decoration. What did Jesus do when the villain and god of this world accosted Him in the wilderness, as he so often accosts? Did Jesus drop His backpack and run? No. Jesus knew its contents and quickly drew His sword, the Scriptures, and with great precision pierced the lies.

Too many rush out to join the latest fad or the newest apparition. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But should we leave what we know is God’s inspired word unread on the shelf to run off in search of that which is uncertain? Are Catholics afraid of misinterpreting the Bible but not afraid of believing every seemingly supernatural or even secular voice? We face enemies from every quarter: Satan and his minions (1 Pet 5:8), sin (Gen 4:7), the world and its materialism (1 Jn 2:15–17), our own self-love (Mk 8:35) and a host of others (Mt 13:3–9). We are even waylaid by enemies outwardly appearing to be Christians but are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt 7:15).

Let’s stop on the path and take inventory! Where are we going? What has our Mother provided to sustain us on our journey? Have we exerted the time and energy to learn good swordsmanship? Do we know our enemies? Have we joined a good Catholic Bible Study or sought help and resources to study it on our own? Have we appropriated the tremendous defenses that have been so freely given? Unhappily, too many Catholics are dropping to the left and right (no pun intended) simply because they have neglected the magnificent gifts of God.

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Read more from Steve Ray with this two-volume set, or pick up respected works by Church Fathers and modern-day thinkers in the Verbum New Year sale.

Painting of the Week: Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes

This grim piece from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is called Giuditta e Oloferne, or “Judith Beheading Holofernes.” It depicts Judith, a young widow, decapitating Holofernes after pretending to ally herself with the enemy.

The deuterocanonical book of Judith describes Judith seducing Holofernes (the leader of the enemy troops), getting him drunk, then taking her sword and beheading him. [Read more…]

Painting of the Week: Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of St. Peter

This piece from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is called Crocifissione di san Pietro, or “The Crucifixion of Saint Peter.” It depicts the martyrdom of St. Peter described in the Acts of Peter.

According to tradition, when condemned to death, Peter requested to be crucified upside down. He did not believe he was worthy to be killed in the same manner as Jesus.

What looks like a dark background is actually a cliff of rock, alluding to the meaning of Peter’s name: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matt 16:18).

But now it is time for thee, Peter, to deliver up thy body unto them that take it. Receive it then, ye unto whom it belongeth. I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with the head downward and not otherwise: and the reason wherefore,
I will tell unto them that hear.  — Acts of Peter

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Year: 1601

Location: Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. (The piece hangs on one side of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Annibale Carracci. Carvaggio’s Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus hangs on the other.)

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Read more about this piece and browse other sacred art in the Verbum app.

On the Importance of Tertullian for Early Christian Thought

The importance of Tertullian in the development of early Christian thought and his significance for our understanding of early Christianity cannot be overestimated. Though he was certainly not the first Christian to write Latin, he is the first Christian Latin author from whom we have a major literary corpus. [Read more…]

Discover January’s Saint of the Month: St. Thomas Aquinas

Each month in 2019, Verbum will be highlighting one saint’s life, work, theology, and impact on the Church. This month’s saint, Thomas Aquinas, is one of the most influential philosophers and theologians of all time.

Lived: 1225–March 7, 1274
Feast Day: January 28
Patronage: Academics, apologists, philosophers, and theologians [Read more…]

Epiphany Reflection from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Today the question of the Church has to a large extent become the question of how the Church can be changed and ameliorated.

Yet even someone who wishes to improve upon a mechanical device, and all the more someone who wants to heal an organism, must first investigate how the apparatus is designed or how the organism is inwardly structured. If doing so is not to prove blind and thereby destructive, it must be preceded by inquiry about being. Today as always, the will to take action in regard to the Church must find the patience first to ask about her nature, her origin, her destination; today as always, ecclesial ethos can develop properly only when it allows itself to be illuminated and led by the logos of faith.

— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) on Epiphany Sunday, 1991 from Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today

Painting of the Week: The Calling of Saint Matthew

This piece from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is called Vocazione di san Matteo, or “The Calling of Saint Matthew.” It depicts the moment described in Mark 2:13–14 when Jesus inspires Matthew to follow him.

There is some debate about which man in the painting is Matthew, but most believe it to the bearded one at the table. [Read more…]

Get Lexicon of Saint Thomas Aquinas for Free

Start the new year with new reading.

First, grab a free book, A Lexicon of Saint Thomas Aquinas. It’s a one-of-a-kind volume wherein Dr. Roy J. Deferrari analyzes every word in St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica and other works.

You can also add two more books for under $12: [Read more…]

What We Read This Month: Highlights from the Verbum Team

Every month two members of the Verbum team share what they read and watched in Verbum and around the web.

Donald Antenen, Verbum Marketing Manager:

This month I used Verbum for research while writing Catholic New Year’s resolutions. That meant a lot of time in the Catechism and related Church documents. I also enjoyed Advent reading from the Daughters of Saint Paul devotional Advent Grace and Pope Benedict XVI’s The Blessing of Christmas.

Pope Benedict is rightly understood as a brilliant theologian and intellectual, but the tenderness and beauty of his writing are often overlooked. They ought not to be. [Read more…]

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