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Reading Ratzinger With Fr. Harrison

Recently, I began a part-time PhD program in England, where I’m writing my thesis on the work of Joseph Ratzinger and his understanding of the human person. On top of this, different writing opportunities have recently presented themselves to me. Verbum has been an amazing asset that has helped me tremendously, and I want to share some of the ways that Verbum makes my theological research easier and more efficient.

The backbone of Verbum is its scriptural tools. Theological researchers who study systematics are often not as strong in scriptural exegesis. They’re not familiar with word dictionaries, commentaries, etc. Verbum’s Exegetical Guide brings together all those resources automatically. This is a great tool for any theologian because they must delve into specific passages, as theology depends so much on a correct understanding of Scripture. The Exegetical Guide is a great centralized tool that can help the theologian in an area of weakness.

Verbum has grown their digital library beyond just scriptural aids. They have a robust selection of theological works. I’ve been able to depend on Verbum due to the extensive amount of Ratzinger and Pope Benedict resources they have in their library. They have more, too, including Hans Urs Von Balthasar, John Henry Newman, other great authors, and a plethora of magisterial documents. Often, when I’m doing research, I will remember that a specific book or chapter spoke to a specific theme or topic but forget exactly where. Verbum helps with this. Its search function alone has helped not only with recalling passages I once read but helping me find other parts of the work that deal with the same topic. Recently I had been looking at a few works by Ratzinger where he was engaging with the work of Hegel. I was able to search and find the necessary passages.

The bane of every researcher is footnoting. I used just to fix my formatting after I had finished writing. Now,  I cite a passage by simply copying the text from the work and pasting it in my word processing document. Automatically, the footnote is placed at the bottom of the page. You can also choose the footnoting style that is proper to your institution. One small tip: if you’re not citing a direct quote but want to refer, copy and paste some random text from the page, remove the text, but leave the footnote. This is a tremendous time-saver that can save you hours of work.

Finally, one of the best things about Verbum is its cross‐platform accessibility. Often, as researchers, a question or idea pops in our head at the most inopportune time, where we do not have access to our library. This is no longer a concern as I can simply pull up Verbum’s app on my phone and have access to all the resources I would have on my computer. Any notes I add would be synced up between all my platforms. Or, if I’m at a library doing research, I can use the web version of the platform. Thus, research can really be done anywhere or everywhere. I’ve used this feature often when having academic discussions with colleagues when I want to look up something Ratzinger has said on a specific topic.

These are just a few simple ways I’ve found Verbum helps me in my life as a research student. Verbum is not only a robust biblical software system, but it is a tool for theological research as well. What excites me moving forward in my research is that I know I’m only scratching the surface. I know I’m still using the software at only a certain level of its power, and that there is a lot more power available to me. Verbum’s website has a large collection of tutorial pages to help you discover the full depth and breadth of the software. I look forward, as I go deeper into my studies, to using it all the more to make my time and effort in research more streamlined, efficient, and easier.

Fr. Harrison’s recommended books by Joseph Ratzinger are on sale for $5.99 through the end of the month.

New to Verbum? Try it for 30 days, no credit card required.

Fr. Harrison Ayre is a priest of the Diocese of Victoria in British Columbia and a Doctoral Candidate at the Maryvale Institute in the UK. He is the co-host of the popular podcast “Clerically Speaking” and he tweets @FrHarrison.

Run Toward the Fatherland

By Oliver Davies, excerpted from this month’s free Catholic book.

It is natural for travelers to hurry on to their homeland; it is natural too that they should experience anxiety on the roadway and peace when they arrive home. And so we too who are on the road should hasten on, for the whole of our life is like one day’s journey. Our first duty is to love nothing here, but to love the things above, to desire the things above, to relish the things above and to seek our home there, for the fatherland is where our Father is. [Read more…]

The Two Ways Christ Continues His Mission: A Reflection for Mass

Enjoy this reflection on John 14:15–16, part of the Gospel reading from this Sunday’s Mass, taken from The Navarre Bible: Saint John’s Gospel.

John 14:15–16

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.”

[Read more…]

Queen Mother: Royal Allusions in Matthew’s Birth Narrative

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash
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In Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship—currently 50% off on Verbum.com—Edward Sri unfolds common approaches taken to Mary’s role as queen and demonstrates how the “queen mother” theme in the Davidic kingdom sheds light on her presentation as heavenly queen in the New Testament and in the Church.

In this excerpt from chapter three, Sri describes several approaches to interpreting Mary’s role in Matthew 1–2.

One approach to interpreting Mary in Matthew 1–2 in light of the queen-mother figure underscores how Matthew associates Mary and Jesus with the queen-mother-and-royal-son prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. In 1:23, Matthew portrays Mary as the parthenos whom Isaiah prophesied would give birth to the Immanuel child in Isaiah 7:14 (LXX). Thus, “according to the fulfillment of the prophecy, Mary became queen-mother of the Messiah.” In the Isaian oracle, the queen mother of Immanuel brings forth a child who would ensure the perseverance of the Davidic dynasty. Here in Matthew 1, Mary does the same, bringing forth the Davidic heir who would secure the true Davidic kingdom forever. As Serra explains,

Just as she [the queen mother in Isaiah 7:14] gave birth to a son who guaranteed the continuation of the House of David, so Mary gives birth to a son who will reign forever on the throne of David, in the house of Jacob, in the ‘Israel of God’ (cf. Mt. 28:20; 16:18; Gal. 6:16; 2 Sam. 7:16). One notes the royalty of the two women.

Another approach shows the significance of Matthew frequently placing the newborn King alongside His mother. In fact, some have pointed out how Matthew constantly mentioning the child and His mother together—five times in chapter two alone—could draw attention to Mary’s association with her royal Son in a way that recalls the Old Testament queen-mother tradition. Matthew’s recurring phrase “the child and his mother” has “a Davidic resonance” that might bring to mind the way the Book of Kings repeatedly introduces each new Davidic king alongside the queen mother (as discussed in chapter two). As Branick argues:

Matthew has the powerful figure of the Old Testament gebirah or queen-mother in mind as he repeatedly mentions Mary in this story of the birth and infancy of ‘the newborn king of the Jews’ (2:2). Just as the queen-mother was constantly mentioned in the summaries of the Judean and Israelite kings, so Matthew here repeatedly mentions Mary as Jesus’ Mother (1:18; 2:11, 13, 14, 20, 21; 12:46, 47; 13:55).

One more approach to viewing Mary in terms of the queen-mother tradition in Matthew 1–2 examines her position alongside her royal Son when the magi pay Him homage (Mt. 2:11). As mentioned above, this scene involves a number of Davidic kingdom themes: Jesus is called the “king of the Jews” (2:2). The star guiding the magi recalls the star in Balaam’s oracle about the royal scepter rising out of Israel (Num. 24:17). The narrative centers on the city of Bethlehem, where David was born (1 Sam 17:12) and out of which the future Davidic King would come (Micah 5:2). And the magi bringing gifts and paying the child Jesus homage recall the royal Psalm 72:10–11 (cf. Is. 60:6).

[…]

Matthew clearly places his infancy narrative in the context of the hopes surrounding the Davidic kingdom. Interpreting Mary with those Davidic traditions in mind, we can see that, as mother of the newborn Davidic heir, she could be understood as a queen mother.1

For more biblical theological works on Mary, get this month’s free book and other discounted resources.

Editor’s note: This excerpt was slightly adapted for readability. 

Last Chance for Free Book, Savings on Catholic Works

The month is ending and with it your chance to get a free book on the Gospel of Luke, plus other Catholic resources.

Head to Verbum’s monthly sale page to see what’s marked down this month only. [Read more…]

Get April’s Free Book—and More Savings on Respected Works

This Lenten season, go deeper in your understanding of Jesus’ life with The Navarre Bible: Saint Luke’s Gospel—April’s free book. [Read more…]

Ending Soon: Feud of the Fathers Sale

Your chance to save on Church Fathers like St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Irenaeus, and more ends on March 31.

Thanks to your votes, St. Augustine was named the winner of Verbum’s Feud of the Fathers. Now through Sunday, you can save 40% on this 14-volume collection filled with many of St. Augustine’s most respected works. [Read more…]

Verbum’s Feud of the Fathers Is Hotter Than the Council of Nicaea

We’re already to the final round in Verbum’s Feud of the Fathers!

We’ve seen some upsets, like St. Gregory of Nyssa defeating St. Gregory Nazianzen or St. Athanasius rising above Origen. We’ve seen some powerhouses cruise through the first two rounds, like St. Augustine and St. Jerome. [Read more…]

Which Fathers Go to Round 3? You Decide.

Round 1 is a wrap, and eight Church Fathers are still standing in Round 2. Who will remain when the dust settles?

This year’s bracket lists western Church Doctors and Fathers on the left side and eastern Church Doctors and Fathers on the right. While we love them all, there can only be one winner in this contest. [Read more…]

Snag Your Free Book, Plus Save on Books about the Holy Family

Do you know the Church’s long-standing teaching on the body, sexuality, and family?

Get wisdom from February’s free book and other discounted titles. [Read more…]

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