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What Does Your Family Bible Look Like?

This guest post was written by Kathryn Heltsley.

For many, the term “family Bible” conjures up images of a large, elaborate book with embossing on the cover and gilt-edged pages. But what if everyone in your family had a Bible in their pocket, purse, or backpack—and used it regularly?

The theme of National Bible Week 2015 is “The Bible: A Book for the Family.” Let’s take a look at how Verbum can help facilitate the use of the Bible in your family.

Verbum puts the Bible in your hands through devices that you use every day. Open up the homepage or mobile app, and there are the day’s Mass Readings. You can also customize your own reading plan—perhaps studying the Gospel of Luke during Advent—and share it with your family or your local parish with Faithlife Groups.

Verbum’s software features bring the Bible to life with historical context, maps, images, root words, and more. Your family can read a passage in the Bible, and then explore pictures of where the narrative took place, and learn about the cultural context. You can discuss the significance of professions like fisherman or tax collector in Biblical times, look up the original Greek and Hebrew meanings of words, compare Bible translations side-by-side, or dig deeper into a text with a biblical commentary.

Church teaching is also relevant and accessible with Verbum. Discuss contemporary issues from a Catholic perspective. As your kids study Catholic teaching, find answers to their questions straight from the Catechism or Youcat with just a few clicks. Let the Doctors of the Church join in your discussions with access to their writings. Verbum has even created a high school theology curriculum based on the USCCB Doctrinal Framework. Whatever your level, Verbum provides a myriad of ways for you and your family to engage with and enjoy Scripture.

Although National Bible Week 2015 is drawing to a close, it’s not too late to save on some key Bible study resources—pick them up before November 22!

Celebrate National Bible Week with Verbum!

National Bible Week

This week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is celebrating National Bible Week 2015. In keeping with the Synod of Bishops on the Family and Pope Francis’ historic visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, this year’s theme is “The Bible: A Book for the Family”.

In order to help you, your family, and your parish celebrate National Bible Week, we’ve discounted a bunch of relevant resources:

The USCCB has also put together several free resources for parishes and families, encouraging greater engagement with the Word of God. Take a look at their page for tips on making the Word part of your home life, to learn about the sacred practice of Lectio divina, or access an outline for a Scripture Vigil on the themes of Catholic social teaching.

National Bible Week ends on November 21—don’t miss this valuable opportunity to study Scripture with the greater Catholic community!

New Features in Verbum Now 6.7

If you’re subscribed to Verbum Now, you just got access to a bunch of new features! Take a look at what we’ve added:

Confessional Documents Guide Section

With the new Confessional Documents section in the Passage Guide, you can incorporate some of the most formative documents from Church history into your Scripture study. See how every major creed, confession, and catechism treats the passage you’re studying. Search for Colossians 2:12 in the Passage Guide, open the Confessional Documents section, and find places where this passage is used in the discussion of Christology, Ecclesiology, and other standard theological categories.

Synopsis of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles

As with a harmony of the Gospels, instantly compare parallel texts in Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and other Old Testament passages to see how different authors narrate the same events and discover these authors’ unique emphases and purposes.

Passage Lists Visual Filter

Now you can view your Passage Lists as visual filters within the biblical text. Expose only the verses you want to study—even if they aren’t a part of the same biblical book. Open all the cross references to John 1:1 in your favorite version. Or create your own custom list of verses to compare all the epistolary prescripts in Paul’s letters. And you won’t just get a static list—you get the full functionality of Verbum right within the filtered text.

Proverbs Verse Art Collection

This exclusive media collection features brand new verse art based on some of the most beloved biblical Proverbs. Find them using your Media Browser, Factbook, Passage Guide, and anywhere else media appears in your software.

Additional Old Testament Propositional Outlines

We’ve added Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel to the Old Testament Propositional Outlines.

Preview Resource: The Life of St. Charles Borromeo

Read The Life of St. Charles Borromeo: Cardinal Archbishop of Milan for free until November 30!

If you haven’t yet subscribed to Verbum Now, there’s no better time to start. Get your first month free at!


What’s New in Verbum Now 6.6

We just updated Verbum Now with a handful of great features! Take a look at what’s new:

Septuagint Manuscript Explorer

Information about Septuagint manuscripts can be frustratingly difficult to find. But with the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer, we’ve gathered together information about existing Septuagint manuscripts, including their contents, date, language, holding institute, and more. With this interactive, you can discover the earliest Septuagint manuscript evidence for the Minor Prophets, view Codex Sinaiticus online, or see how many manuscripts contain the book of Psalms.

Multiview Resources

Add multiple translations of the Bible or even commentaries in the same panel with the Multiview Resources tool. The resources you bring together will share the same location, visual filters, and search results. Study original-language texts side by side with English translations. Search for a specific word and both texts will filter down to your search results. This tool treats multiple resources as one—and the applications to your study are endless.

Corresponding Words Visual Filter

The new Corresponding Words Visual Filter instantly identifies everywhere repetition occurs within any of your resources. Find all the places “love,” “loves,” and “loved” appears within a commentary or the biblical text simply by hovering over the word you want to investigate. Or find all the places a specific lemma, root, or sense occurs within a biblical text. You can even see how the author of Jonah uses the phrase “go down” to highlight both Jonah’s physical and spiritual descent from the presence of the Lord. By identifying repetition, the Corresponding Words Visual Filter helps you draw out key themes and ideas in a passage.

Old Testament Propositional Outlines update

We’ve added Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Isaiah to the Old Testament Propositional Outlines.

Plus this month’s preview resource

Read Solution of the Great Problem for free until September 30, and access a new preview resource on October 1!

If you haven’t yet subscribed to Verbum Now, there’s no better time to start. Get your first month free at!

Our Lady of Lourdes

Photo by Manuel González Olaechea y FrancoOn February 11, 1858, a young peasant girl was gathering firewood near a grotto in the small town of Lourdes, France. Seeing a “dazzling light,” she looked up at a nearbalcove and saw a “small young lady” standing there. Over the following weeks, this lady continued to appear to the young girl. She spoke of the need for prayer, penance, and faith in God. Word of this mysterious lady rapidly spread. Some believed the peasant girl’s reports. Others believed her to have a mental illness.

In the face of such skepticism, the claims of the peasant girl were subjected to intense scrutiny from the Church and the scientific community. The grotto, where miraculous healings were already being reported, was investigated by scientists. Patients claiming supernatural cures were examined by doctors. And the young girl was questioned by friends, family members, and numerous Church authorities.

After much deliberation, the Bishop of Tarbes issued the following declaration on January 18, 1862:

“We have . . . been advised by a commission composed of holy, learned and experienced priests who have questioned the child, studied the facts, examined and weighed everything. We have also sought the opinion of scientists and we are finally convinced that the Appearance is supernatural and divine, and that consequently, She whom Bernadette has seen is the Most Blessed Virgin Herself. Our conviction is based, not merely upon the testimony of Bernadette herself, but more especially upon the events which have taken place and which can only be explained by divine intervention.”[1]

Today, February 11, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This day marks the anniversary of St. Bernadette’s first encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The encounter, along with the events following it, have much to teach us—not only about our Holy Mother, but also about Holy Mother Church. By reading the stories of saints like Bernadette, we see how they harmonize with the Tradition of the Church. We see how they exemplify the love of Christ. And we see how they call us to a deep sense of humility.

This call to humility ought to profoundly challenge us. We are all too often stubborn, narrow-minded, and resistant to the possibility of encountering God in new ways. If young Bernadette were to come to us with news of a Marian apparition, we would be among those who called her crazy. Rather than responding in a spirit of charity, we judge, ridicule, and dismiss those whose experience is different than ours.

The Immaculate ConceptionThis attitude is directly challenged by Pope Francis in his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Speaking of popular piety, he encourages us to approach such expressions of the Faith “with the gaze of the Good Shepherd, who seeks not to judge but to love. Only from the affective connaturality born of love can we appreciate the theological life present in the piety of Christian peoples, especially among the poor.”[2] In this light, we can accept devotion to the Blessed Virgin as a valid expression of a faith-filled life. Heeding Francis’ warning to “not stifle or presume to control this missionary power,”[3] we also fulfill Paul’s charge to the Thessalonians when he tells them: “Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying.”[4]

Yet this charge continues: “but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.”[5] The Church, while celebrating the piety of the poor and lowly, also respects reason. The investigation of the events at Lourdes demonstrates this fact. Not only was young Bernadette thoroughly questioned, Pope Pius X commissioned the Lourdes Medical Bureau to investigate all reported miraculous healings from a medical, rather than ecclesiastical, perspective. Having scrutinized thousands of people since its inception, the bureau has declared 69 cases to be scientifically inexplicable miracles.[6] This rigorous examination of the facts, respecting the lights of both faith and reason, demonstrates to the world that the Church has both a heart and a mind.

This is all well and good for our ability to trust the Church, and more importantly, our ability to love those around us (particularly the poor). But what of our own relationship with Mary? Do we believe that Our Lady of Lourdes has anything to offer to us? In answer to this question, the Church directs us to St. Louis de Montfort. Writing in the seventeenth century, he laments:

Is it not astonishing and pitiful to see the ignorance and short-sightedness of men with regard to your holy Mother? I am not speaking so much of idolaters and pagans who do not know you and consequently have no knowledge of her. I am not even speaking of heretics and schismatics who have left you and your holy Church and therefore are not interested in your holy Mother. I am speaking of Catholics, and even of educated Catholics, who profess to teach the faith to others but do not know you or your Mother except speculatively, in a dry, cold and sterile way.[7]

Coronation of the VirginThese words, coming from his Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, ought to resonate with us. Our rational and reductionist view of Christ and his Kingdom too easily precludes devotion to Mary and other forms of popular piety. We refuse to pray the rosary, simply because we have the Eucharist. We do not implore Mary or the saints for assistance, because our hearts have only room enough for Jesus. We completely miss the fact that Christ’s Kingdom is inherently relational, and that we are called to love everyone simply because Christ loves everyone. All of us on Earth and in heaven are inseparably woven together as members of one human family. And, as St. Louis de Montfort notes, the bond between us, Mary, and Jesus is perhaps the strongest of them all:

She is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him. He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.[8]

Today, as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, let us turn to Mary with humble hearts. Let us recognize our own poverty of Spirit. And let us discover anew the God who is love.

[1] Bertrand Laurence, Bishop of Tarbes, Report of the Episcopal Commission, January 18, 1862,

[3] Evangelii Gaudium, § 124

[4] 1 Thess. 5:19–20, RSVCE

[5] 1 Thess. 5:20–22

[6] Lourdes Medical Bureau, “Miraculous Cures in Lourdes,” June 20, 2013,

[7] St. Louis de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virigin, § 64,

[8] Ibid., § 50


This post was written by Brody Stewart, the Promotions Coordinator at Verbum.

Get $100 off Edward Schillebeeckx!

For a limited time, get a steep discount on the collected works of Edward Schillebeeckx. If you pre-order this collection, you’ll save 33%—that’s $100 off!

SchillebeeckxEdward Schillebeeckx was among the twentiethcentury’s most influential Catholic theologians. Born in Belgium in 1914, and ordained to the priesthood in 1941, he studied—and later taught—theology and philosophy. As a member of the Dominican order, his intellectual and academic approach to the study of theology garnered him much acclaim with the Dutch bishops prior to the Second Vatican Council. As a result, Schillebeeckx became one of the most active theologians in the discussion of a wide range of issues, including the nature of the Church, the priesthood, and engagement with contemporary culture. His insights and perspective were crucial in the development of such pioneering constitutions as Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium.
Despite Schillebeeckx’s important role surrounding the Second Vatican Council (or perhaps because of it), some of his works have stirred up controversy. How are we to engage with works such as Jesus, an Experiment in Christology? How, precisely, did his thinking influence the Church?
With Verbum’s suite of tools, you can read and understand Schillebeeckx’s entire works in one convenient location. Furthermore, each of these works is fully searchable and cross-referenced to every other resource in your library. With Verbum, you can see the connections between Schillebeeckx’s thoughts and their corresponding ideas in the Vatican II Documents. On top of all this, the collection includes Schillebeeckx: A Guide for the Perplexed, which guides readers through his more difficult points, and weaves them into the Church’s Tradition.
This unparalleled, fourteen-volume collection includes the entire body of Schillebeeckx’s work, as well as a collection of newly translated essays, contemporary academic discussions of Schillebeeckx’s writings, and a useful reader’s guide written by Stephan van Erp, a distinguished Schillebeeckx scholar.
Pre-order this resource today and get 33% off!

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