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The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church in Verbum Today

Happy feast of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church!  This “new” feast isn’t actually new.  The basic elements of what Holy Father Francis has promoted to a Memorial has existed in the Roman Missal and Lectionary in various places–and those elements exist in Verbum right now.

The “Catholic Daily Readings” resource doesn’t currently reflect the new memorial yet because this is a text that we get directly from the USCCB and we can’t alter that text.  When they publish an updated edition, you can be sure that we’ll get it into Verbum as soon as we can.

The Saints Index

While we weren’t able to make the Catholic Daily Readings reflect the new memorial, we were able to update the Saints index in Verbum to reflect this new feast.  This is a dataset that we created and maintain.  See below in the screenshot:

Faithlife’s content team was able to make this change to the Saints Index in time for the Memorial Feast today.  There are also other elements of the liturgy that you can access in Verbum.

Roman Missal and Lectionary

Both the Lectionary and Roman Missal each contain the basic elements.  See below in the Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition:

This new Memorial Feast has, essentially, been promoted from a Votive Mass.  As you can see in the right side of the above screenshot, under Votive Masses to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady, Mother of the Church has already been a part of the Church’s liturgy–and is available to you now in Verbum.

One can also access the Lectionary readings for the day, but it is isn’t all available in one place in the text.  If one opens the Lectionary, or Catholic Daily Readings, to the Commons for the Blessed Virgin Mary you find the following:

The above highlighted texts are the recommended and optional readings for the First Reading.  The Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Reading aren’t contained entirely in the above Common in Verbum.  The prescribed Psalm (Psalm 87:1-2, 3; 5, 6-7) isn’t one of the options here.  The Gospel Reading, John 19: 25-34 is found in part as one of the Gospel option for the day.

For further information on the new Memorial Feast to The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, you can check out the directives from the USCCB here.

Enjoy and happy Feast!

–Craig

Lead Us Not into Temptation, Part 1: Using Active-Will Language to Speak of Divine Allowance

A guest post by Fr. Andrew Dalton, LC (andrew.dalton@upra.org). 

This is the second of three guest posts in response to both Dr. Mark Ward’s post on the Logos Blog that responded to Pope Francis’s comments on the “lead us not into temptation” petition in the Our Father.  Fr. Devin Roza, LC provided some helpful context in a post yesterday.  Over the weekend, we will post Part 2.

Pope Francis’ recent comments regarding “lead us not into temptation” have catalyzed a flurry of commentary just in time for Christmas. Dr. Mark Ward’s brilliant article has become one of the most precious presents under my tree. His respectful critique has made me grapple with God’s Word in new ways, and I now stand in deeper awe of it.

In his response to Dr. Ward, Fr. Devin Roza goes beyond the call of duty to contextualize the words of the Holy Father. His treatment is so thorough that it is hard to imagine room for residual doubt—the pope was not bringing a sledgehammer down upon sacred traditions, nor was he tearing Scripture to shreds. He was shining Christ’s light upon the “peripheries of existence.”

As Fr. Roza shows, to interpret papal parlance, context is key. The same principle holds when reading the inspired words of Matthew.

I am slightly concerned that the latest explanations of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer have isolated it from its context. To my mind, most recent commentary gives too little attention to the unity of the Our Father, especially its two “halves” (consisting of three “thou-petitions” and four “we-petitions”), which are best conceived as units. Jesus did not teach us to pray seven disconnected petitions.

[Read more…]

Pope Francis & “Lead Us Not Into Temptation:” A Response

Last Friday on the Logos Blog, Faithlife’s own resident “Logos Pro” Dr. Mark Ward posted a piece in response to Pope Francis’s comments made on the “lead us not into temptation” petition in the Our Father.  The Pope’s comments were made on Italian TV and caused quite a stir in the Catholic media.  Dr. Ward also asked a native Italian speaker to render a translation of the Holy Father’s comments into English from the original Italian, available here in English and in the original Italian.  Dr. Ward is not a Catholic and I was pleased to see my colleagues here at Faithlife take an interest in Pope Francis’s remarks.  Dr. Ward’s remarks are fair and even-handed, even though he didn’t agree with the fundamental sentiments of the Holy Father’s remarks (I would also note that many a Catholic didn’t agree with the Holy Father’s comments either!).

While the Verbum team does not have our own, full time “Verbum Pro” like the Logos team does, we do have many supportive scholars of Scripture and theology.  I reached out to Fr. Devin Roza, LC and Fr. Andrew Dalton, LC. Fr Devin Roza has a licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and is the author of Fulfilled in Christ. Fr Andrew Dalton has a licentiate in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Both currently are theology professors at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. They graciously agreed to respond both to Dr. Ward’s post, in a spirit of fraternal dialogue, and to offer a Catholic perspective on Pope Francis’s comments.

  • Fr. Roza will be commenting directly on the Holy Father’s remarks, providing some additional context, and engaging some of Dr. Ward’s comments as well.
  • Fr. Dalton will focus more on the “lead us not into temptation” petition within the Our Father.

We will be posting Fr. Roza’s and Fr. Dalton’s comments next week here on the Verbum Blog.  When their posts go live we will update this post with their links below.

Please let us know what you think of this post, as we’re thinking of doing more like this.  We ultimately want this blog to be of value to you, so let us know what you think!

Post #1: Pope Francis and the Our Father: Why Context is Key by Fr. Devin Roza, LC.

Post #2, Part I:

Post #2, Part II: 

Pope Francis is Here!

Pope Francis is now on American soil and your friends at Verbum are following him very closely. This morning, on the lawn of the White House, Pope Francis spoke of his deep concern for marriage and family life:

“I want to celebrate and support the institution of marriage and the family at this critical moment in the history of our civilization.”

The Pope knows that we are facing a cultural and spiritual struggle to understand, appreciate, and celebrate God’s design for marriage and the family. His choice to visit our shores during the 2015 World Meeting of Families testifies to this fact and we should be reassured by his presence with us.

We find ourselves now in a culture and situation which calls on us to become better educated in our faith, so that we can respond to the times in charity, wisdom, and faithfulness. We at Verbum are taking the education of all Catholics, clergy and laity, very seriously.

As you already know, our director Deacon Kevin Bagley is at the World Meeting of Families and we were delighted to host Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, at our booth yesterday. The Nuncio was very impressed by the software and its ability to quickly navigate the various resources to present the width and breadth of the Catholic faith.

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If you happen to be at the World Meeting of Families, plaese stop by to see Deacon Kevin and the Verbum crew at Booth #1423 for exclusive discounts and prizes.

Interested in expanding your knowledge of Catholic teaching on marriage and family? Be sure to pick up the World Meeting of Families Bundle, which is $80 off until September 30th.

Pope Francis is coming…

And Verbum has a booth at the World Meeting of Families! Please stop by our booth (# 1423) for special offers on English and Spanish products!

Not attending the World Meeting of Families? Don’t worry—we have special online deals for you, too!

Take advantage of these offers before they expire on September 30th!

 

 

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.

The Church and Technology, Part I

Pope Francis made headlines last month when he spoke to thousands of altar servers in Rome.

Interestingly, the headline from the Catholic Herald UK  read “Young People Shouldn’t Waste Their Time on Cell Phones,” as if the Pope just wanted to scold the young altar servers about talking on cell phones and surfing the internet.

A cursory reading of Francis’ remarks to the teens, however, reveals that the Pope simply made a distinction between the ways one can use one’s time. While acknowledging that time is a gift from God that shouldn’t be wasted, he referred to “products of technology” that “should simplify and improve the quality of life,” but may distract people from what’s truly important.

Catholics live in the world, and as Catholics, we believe that the world is good.

But what do we think about technology?

In a prepared statement before the Catholic Communication Collaboration Technology Conference in August in Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose-Gomez proclaimed that the “digital ‘landscape’ is new mission territory for the church.”

The Pope’s social media expert, Monsignor Paul Tighe, also spoke at the conference, re-affirming the necessity for the Church to be involved in technological developments. He stated that the digital world is “reality,” adding that Catholics “need to be part of the digital world,” or “we’re going to be absent from the experience and from the lives of many people.”

 

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, http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/statements/lourdes_comm_report.html.

[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, http://en.lourdes-france.org/deepen/cures-and-miracles/miraculous-cures-in-lourdes

[7] St. Louis de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virigin, § 64, http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/truedevo.htm

[8] Ibid., § 50

 

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

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