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Last Chance to Get St. Augustine’s City of God for Free!

St. Augustine’s The City of God is a true Christian classic. It is perhaps one of the most profound treatises on Christianity and government. In The City of God, St. Augustine envisions Christianity as a spiritual force, which should preoccupy itself with the heavenly city—the New Jerusalem—rather than on earthly municipal and state affairs.

If The City of God is not in your library, it should be. And since the first seven books are free this month, now’s the perfect time to add this philosophical and political masterpiece to your Verbum library and enjoy the benefits of reading the text with integrated Verbum functionality. [Read more…]

Snag Individual Church Father Volumes for $9.99 Each

The Church Fathers—great leaders of the first 400 years of the Church—were our first theologians and pastors. And far from being dry or boring, their writings are a vibrant wellspring of wisdom, knowledge, and truth.

These giants of the early Christian faith remain some of the most authoritative men in all of Church history. Their writings may be centuries old, but their truths are timeless and applicable. [Read more…]

Get City of God for Free, Plus 2 More Volumes for under $5

This month, you can get Saint Augustine: The City of God, Books I–VII  for free plus two more volumes from the Fathers of the Church Series (127 vols.) for less than $5! Throughout June, we’re sharing excerpts from Saint Augustine: The City of God to give you a preview of the thoughtful and thought-provoking literary treatise you can expect from this month’s free book.

Today’s excerpt comes from The City of God by St. Augustine: [Read more…]

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.

St. Augustine’s City of God on the sacrifice of the Mass

Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos copywriter.

Verbum makes it easy to compare texts and perform theological and ecclesiological studies across the history of the Church. Since today is the Feast of St. Augustine, let’s take a journey through the history of our faith by way of his writings. In this journey, I’m curious to see how the “sacrifice of praise” from our Mass is echoed throughout Augustinian ideas. Let’s stick with his City of God or we could easily be here all day.

Book XVII of the City of God presents Augustine’s take on Jewish history as a prefiguration of Christianity. Augustine analyzes two orders of Old Testament priesthood (Melchisedech vs. Aaron) and draws the conclusion that Melchisedech’s priesthood was a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ in his own sacrifice (by extension, also the sacrifice of the Mass). He goes further, exploring the priesthood of all believers, and how this priesthood offers up a sacrifice of praise:

Therefore, this short and simple and soul-saving expression of faith, ‘Put me, I beseech thee, to somewhat of thy priestly office, that I may eat a morsel of bread,’ is itself the ‘piece of silver,’ [read: praise] because it is brief and is the word of the Lord Himself dwelling in the believer’s heart. Earlier in the text He had said that He had given the house of Aaron food from the Old Testament victims: ‘I gave to thy father’s house for food of all the fiery sacrifices of the children of Israel’—that is, of the Jewish sacrifices. Accordingly, at this point, He said: ‘That I may eat a morsel of bread,’ for this is the sacrifice of Christians in the New Testament.

In the previous paragraphs, Augustine mentions that the order of Aaron has dissolved away and the order of Melchisedech has been perfected and translated into Christ’s priesthood, culminating in the consecration of himself as the Eucharist. In fact, his whole argument is to the fulfillment of the prophecy in 1 Kings 2:27-36 of the ending of the priesthood of Aaron while yet retaining a priesthood of an eternal order.

The Prophet’s concluding clause, ‘that I may eat a morsel of bread,’ (1 Kings 2:27-36) succinctly depicts the very species of the sacrifice in question, the same of which the Priest Himself said: ‘The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.’ (John 6:51) It is this sacrifice and no other. Let the reader understand, then, the sacrifice according to the order of Melchisedech, not any sacrifice according to the order of Aaron.

Let’s be clear: the “morsel of bread” is indeed a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, but the sentiment, “Put me, I beseech thee, to … thy priestly office, that I may eat…” is the foreshadowing of our sacrifice of praise, our desire to commune with God and to join with him in his Paschal sacrifice. Did Augustine come up with this idea on his own? I wouldn’t think so. Origen echoed this sentiment barely a few centuries before Augustine.

Hear what Peter says about the faithful: You are ‘an elect race, royal, priestly, a holy nation, a chosen people.’ Therefore, you have a priesthood because you are ‘a priestly nation,’ and for this reason ‘you ought to offer an offering of praise to God,’ an offering of prayers, an offering of mercy, an offering of purity, an offering of justice, an offering of holiness. (Homilies on Leviticus 1-16, Hom. 9.1.3)

And well over a thousand years later, Vatican II brings it full-circle:

[The people] should be instructed by God’s word and be nourished at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all. (Sancrosanctum Concilium 48, emphasis mine)

This is why, in the Mass, sometimes referred to as the “sacrifice of praise,” the priest prays in the Eucharistic prayers, “Remember, Lord, your servants, N. and N., and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them…”

For a short time, you can get a library of St. Augustine’s writings on sale with coupon code AUGUSTINE14. This offer ends September 1, so don’t miss out!

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