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Don’t Miss Free Gifts with These Resources!

This Friday is your final day to earn free gifts when you pre-order select resources on Verbum.com. You’ll get your gifts in addition to your usual pre-order discount, so there’s never been a better time to place your pre-orders.

To take advantage of this great deal, check it out at Verbum.com/Pre-Publication!

Want to know more about the qualifying resources? Read a bit about each one below:

MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY

 The Man Who Was Thursday

G.K. Chesterton’s masterpiece novel, The Man Who Was Thursday, is equal parts metaphysical thriller and Christian allegory. This annotated digital edition is the perfect complement to your Verbum versions of all G.K. Chesterton’s celebrated works.

homiletics

Homiletics and Preaching Collection (8 vols.)

This collection offers wisdom from leading Catholic preachers on crafting homilies that build God’s kingdom. Homiletics professors, experienced pastors, and other experts weigh in with practical advice, resources, and inspiration to rekindle the preacher’s passion for sharing God’s Word.

MEDIAEVAL

The Fathers of the Church: Mediaeval Continuation (15 vols.)

This collection highlights the intellectually dynamic writings of a period often neglected in scholarship. It features significant Christian writers from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, offering insights into the development of Scholasticism, various heresies and ecclesiastical issues, and more. If you’re interested in patristic or mediaeval thought, this collection is essential.

Pre-order these resources and earn your free gifts at Verbum.com/Pre-Publication!

Steve Ray’s Summer Picks: Focus on Early Church Fathers

early-church-fathers-special-catholic-editionSteve Ray has chosen Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition as one of his Summer Picks. Simply put, the world of the Early Church Fathers was a fascinating and tumultuous time.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the earliest Christians, for the believers who followed Jesus in the first centuries after his death and resurrection?  As the words of Christ were written down and commented upon, as communities of believers began to gather, as quarrels broke out and were resolved, many great writers and thinkers emerged to guide the burgeoning People of God.

The first few centuries of Christianity were especially blessed with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church fathers, who faithfully interpreted and translated God’s word for the Church. Verbum’s Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition provides fascinating glimpses into the issues that faced and sometimes rocked the growing church, and began to form the deposit of faith that we still celebrate today.

Take advantage of  the beginnings of the Church with the  Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition.

P1080742_Louvre_les_quatre_docteurs_de_l'église_rwk (1)

The Four Doctors of the Church by Pier Francesco Sacchi (1516). St Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose

 

 

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!

Take 24% off the CUA Studies in Early Christianity!

For just a little while, you can pre-order the Catholic University of America Studies in Early Christianity collection for 24% off!

The collection delves into the history of language, literature, social context, and patristic thought to bring you a rich overview of the ancient Church and its development over time.

These seven volumes give you brilliant original translations of key ancient texts, as well as dozens of critical essays on important historical documents like the Book of Steps, Liber Graduum,and more.

Discover the context and influence of Syriac texts in Christian thought. Examine how Christianity was spread by writers, readers, and translators in the second through seventh centuries. Analyze how the early Church Fathers dealt with ethical dilemmas, and apply their methods to twenty-first-century problems.

What makes this collection special is its brilliant historical scholarship. If you’re serious about exploring Church history, this collection is one you won’t want to pass up.

Deepen your understanding of history, language, patristics, and more. Pre-order the Catholic University of America Studies in Early Christianity collection for 24% off!

Last Chance! Take 30% off the Fathers of the Church Series

This is your last chance to lock in the very best price on the biggest, most important patristic resource we’ve ever offered: The Fathers of the Church Series.

All discounts totaled, you’ll get over 65% off the total print price of this landmark series when you pre-order it right now—but hurry! This huge discount will only last for two more days: it ships this Friday!

With the tools and functionality that Verbum provides, this collection is hands-down the most powerful patristic study tool available anywhere. 

A few people have had questions regarding what’s included in this collection compared to our early Church Fathers Collection. Here are the facts:

  • Though there is a little overlap between this collection and the Early Church Fathers collection, a vast majority of these texts are brand new to Verbum. 
  • Even with the resources that do overlap (such as some of Augustine’s works), the Fathers of the Church Series provides a totally new translation produced by top-tier scholars. Across the board, the Fathers of the Church Series are easier to read and digest.
  • There are maybe 20 or so works in this collection that are available in the public domain. The rest can only be purchased from publishers, and in this collection there are some titles that are exclusive to this collection, which means you can’t find them anywhere else.
  • This series is divided into five main collections which you can choose to purchase individually (see below).

Brilliant scholarship at an incredible price

What makes this collection so valuable isn’t just the sheer immensity of text (at less $.04 per page, the absolute best value anywhere): it’s the brilliant scholarship and translation that this series is renowned for in the English-speaking world. The English translations of both Greek and Latin texts are clear and easy to read, and the scholarship behind them is unsurpassed both in scope and in scale.

For anyone working in or studying patristics or early church history, this comprehensive exposition of the development of Christianity from its early years to post-Nicene maturity is invaluable.

And for those looking to study a particular patristic era, the Fathers of The Church series is broken into five different collections available for purchase on Pre-Pub:

  1. Fathers of the Ante-Nicene Era (23 vols.)
  2. Greek Fathers of the Nicene Era (35 vols.)
  3. Latin Fathers of the Nicene Era (25 vols.)
  4. St. Augustine (30 vols.)
  5. Fathers of the Post-Nicene Era (14 vols.)

fathers-of-the-church-seriesBut you save the most, by far, when you get the full 127-volume set.

Take advantage of this Pre-Pub opportunity while it lasts. Pre-order the Church Fathers Series today and gain a solid foundation for your study of the early church. 

The Fathers of the Church Series: the most important patristic collection you’ll ever own

The Fathers of the Church Series is now available in Verbum, one of the most exciting additions we’ve ever procured. With nearly 50,000 pages of patristic primary-source material spanning the first through fifth centuries, this collection is unparalleled in the world of patristics.

With the tools and functionality that Verbum provides, this collection within Verbum is hands-down the most powerful patristic study tool available anywhere. 

A few people have had questions regarding what’s included in this collection compared to our early Church Fathers Collection. Here are the facts:

  • Though there is a little overlap between this collection and the Early Church Fathers collection, a vast majority of these texts are brand new to Verbum. 
  • Even with the resources that do overlap (such as some of Augustine’s works), the Fathers of the Church Series provides a totally new translation produced by top-tier scholars. In many cases the text in the Fathers of the Church Series are easier to read and digest.
  • There are maybe 20 or so works in this collection that are available in the public domain. The rest can only be purchased from publishers, and in this collection there are some titles that are exclusive to this collection, which means you can’t find them anywhere else
  • This series is divided into five main collections which you can choose to purchase individually (see below). 

Brilliant scholarship at an incredible price

What makes this collection so valuable isn’t just the sheer immensity of text (at less $.04 per page, the absolute best value anywhere): it’s the brilliant scholarship and translation that this series is renowned for in the English-speaking world. The English translations of both Greek and Latin texts are clear and easy to read, and the scholarship behind them is unsurpassed both in scope and in scale.

For anyone working in or studying patristics or early church history, this comprehensive exposition of the development of Christianity from its early years to post-Nicene maturity is invaluable.

And for those looking to study a particular patristic era, the Fathers of The Church series is broken into five different collections available for purchase on Pre-Pub:

  1. Fathers of the Ante-Nicene Era (23 vols.)
  2. Greek Fathers of the Nicene Era (35 vols.)
  3. Latin Fathers of the Nicene Era (25 vols.)
  4. St. Augustine (30 vols.)
  5. Fathers of the Post-Nicene Era (14 vols.)

fathers-of-the-church-seriesBut you save the most, by far, when you get the full 127-volume set. In addition to 20% off for purchasing the full set, you’ll get an additional 30% off while it’s on Pre-Pub. In fact, all discounts totaled, you’ll get over 65% off the total print price of this landmark series when you pre-order it right now.

Take advantage of this Pre-Pub opportunity while it lasts. Pre-order the Church Fathers Series today and gain a solid foundation for your study of the early church. 

Pascal And Passion: Using Verbum’s Search Tool

Today I was reading through Pascal’s Pensées and came across this point in his argument:

280: The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.

Leading up to this thought, Pascal had quoted one M. de Roannez saying, “Reasons come to me afterwards, but at first a thing pleases or shocks me without my knowing the reason…” And also: “It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by reason.”

Besides this all seeming a little ironic coming from one of history’s greatest mathematicians and philosophers, I wonder whether or not the tradition of the Church would agree with Pascal’s assertion here. Is it true that reason plays so little a role in our love of God? And what exactly does Pascal mean when he says, “the knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him”? Does he mean to say that one can love God without knowing Him, or simply that knowledge and love are two distinct things (which seems too obvious.)

Let’s take a look in our Verbum library and see what we can find.

The first thing I want to do is pull up a search. Now, to begin I’d like to find instances of when the words “love of God” and “knowledge of God” are used anywhere in our library. I might start by opening two instances of the search panel and typing in “love of God” in one and “knowledge of God” in the other, but when I do this I find that I get thousands of results in each window:

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 2.14.14 PM (2)

There’s way too much info here to sift through (although I do see a few interesting hits in the Summa I might want to check back on later.) Let’s narrow this down by opening up a new search window and searching for “love of God” and “knowledge of God” on the same line:

 Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 11.39.26 AM (2)

OK —782 results is a lot better than the 7000+ we were looking at before. But we can do better. If I type in “NEAR” between these two phrases, we’ll find every time in our library that the phrase “love of God” is close to “knowledge of God”:

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 2.20.39 PM (2)

30 results? Much better. If we sort our results by “Ranked” we can see the most relevant results first and simply move down the list. This first result here is from A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (you can click on this link to open it up in your Verbum desktop). It reads: “True and solid knowledge of God is not just theoretical but practical. True knowledge of God leads to love of God, which manifests itself in a constant effort to carry out the divine will expressed in the commandments. Christ must serve him as Model in this respect.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 2.23.43 PM (2)

I think this is a good response to Pascal’s quote earlier, but let’s see if we can find any more primary sources in the Tradition.

In The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, we read St. John’s 94th Maxim:

“The perfect love of God cannot subsist without the knowledge of God and of self.”

Here John lays out the idea that in order to have a perfect love of God, we must have knowledge so that our love can persist and flourish. St. John also ads that we need a knowledge of our selves—but that may be beside the point right now. Let’s look further.

The last two results are from Saint Thomas’ Summa. Let’s take a look at the first result from P1, q.82, article 3:

“…Wherefore the love of God is better than the knowledge of God; but, on the contrary, the knowledge of corporeal things is better than the love thereof.”

The second result comes from Part II-II, q.27, article 4:

“Since to love God is something greater than to know Him, especially in this state of life, it follows that love of God presupposes knowledge of God. And because this knowledge does not rest in creatures, but, through them, tends to something else, love begins there, and thence goes on to other things by a circular movement so to speak; for knowledge begins from creatures, tends to God, and love begins with God as the last end, and passes on to creatures.”

And just above, Aquinas states:

“Knowledge of God, through being mediate, is said to be enigmatic, and falls away in heaven, as sated in 1 Cor. 13:12. But charity does not fall away as stated in the same passage…”

So it appears here that Aquinas ranks the love of God above the knowledge of God, both in terms of greatness and priority. Notice that Aquinas’s statement does not contradict St. John’s: St. John states that the love of God cannot subsist without the knowledge of God, but not that the love of God cannot begin without knowledge.

Finally, let’s go back to the search results pulled up with the phrase “love of God” only. If we scroll down a little in results listed in the Summa, there’s one heading that stuck out to me. It’s Pt I-II, q.27, article 2: “Whether Knowledge is a Cause of Love?”

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 2.32.02 PM (2)

Aquinas states clearly that, “Augustine proves (De Trin, x. 1,2) that none can love what he does not know. Clicking on the link to De Trin we see Augustine writes:

“No studious person, then… loves things he does not know, even while he is urgent with the most vehement desire to know what he does not know.”

Does this contradict what Aquinas has previously said about the primacy of love over knowledge? No. In fact, Augustine here is just stating the obvious: You can’t be disposed towards something—one way or the other—if you don’t know of its existence (or any of its attributes.) Augustine (and subsequently Aquinas) isn’t claiming that reason is what allows us to experience God, only that in order to love Him we must know Him at some level.

In the final analysis, what we find is that Pascal’s thoughts aren’t incompatible with Tradition. Though Pascal’s words seem, at first blush, to encourage a kind of sensory or emotionalist approach to God, we see that his carefully worded argument is making a much more nuanced claim: That the desire for the knowledge of God is just that: a passion. God has revealed Himself to us, but we must have ears to listen and hearts to believe if we are to know and love Him.

The Road to Emmaus

Today’s reading comes from the Gospel of Luke:

 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at a table with them, he took the bread and blessed. And broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. (Luke 24:13–35)

The scene is difficult to imagine: The disciples are walking with a man—a stranger—with whom they were just discussing the amazing events that had transpired around Jesus. They had probably told this man (assuming he was a foreigner) of Jesus’ miracles, ministry, and tragic death. They shared with him how they had expected Jesus to deliver Israel, and how they had recently heard the strange news that his body was not in the tomb in which he was buried. The apostles must have been exhausted, excited, and bewildered all at the same time. It would have been a strange sight to behold.

christ-on-the-road-to-emmaus-fragment-1311.jpg!HalfHD

As the apostles drew near to the town they were heading toward, they invited the stranger to stop and stay with them for the night. The man accepted, and when they had stopped for dinner he broke bread and gave it to the apostles. We read in the Gospel of Luke that “their eyes were opened” (Luke 24:31) (c.f. Gen. 3:7), and they realized in that moment that it was Jesus Christ who sat before them. As soon as they recognized who it was, Jesus then “vanished out of their sight,” at which point the apostles began to share with each other how their hearts “burned” while he was talking to them.

This wondrous account provokes many questions. First, why didn’t the disciples recognize Jesus? Did he look different? And how is it that he vanished immediately after breaking bread with them? Jesus had somehow changed, and it wasn’t until the apostles partook of the bread that they were able to understand who he truly was.  What was the nature of Christ’s resurrected body that it could do these amazing things?

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great doctor of the Church, allots four question sections in his Summa Theologica to the necessity, quality, display, and causality of Christ’s resurrection. Aquinas stresses the fact that Christ’s resurrected body is a true body (Pt III. Q. 54, a. 1) and a glorified body (Pt. III. Q. 54, a.3). He cites scripture proving that Christ, by his own power, had been raised up from the dead. (Pt III. Q. 56, a. 1)

Regarding the reading today, and perhaps most interestingly of all, Aquinas also addresses the question of whether Christ should have appeared to the disciples “in another shape”—that is, whether or not it was good that Jesus should appear to the disciples as someone they couldn’t recognize. Aquinas states that “Divine things are revealed to men in various ways, according as they are variously disposed. For, those who have minds well disposed, perceive Divine things rightly, whereas those not so disposed perceive them with a certain confusion of doubt or error (1 Cor 2:14).” Aquinas thus concludes that Jesus appeared actually in his own shape, but that the faith of those he appeared to varied in degree. St. Gregory the Great said something similar: “He showed Himself to them in body such as He was in their minds: for, because He was as yet a stranger to faith in their hearts, he made pretense of going on farther” (Hom. xxiii in Evang.).

Perhaps the most amazing facet of this reading is that only after the apostles partook of the bread were their eyes opened to the reality of the man before them. As Augustine says, “until the Sacrament of the bread; that when they had shared in the unity of His body, the enemy’s hindrance may be understood to have been taken away . . .” (De Conses. Evang. iii). Today’s Gospel reading is a reminder not only that Christ has indeed risen again in glory, but that through the Sacrament of the Eucharist our eyes are opened to the reality of Christ himself.

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