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Pope Francis and the Our Father: Why Context is Key

A guest blog post by Fr Devin Roza, LC (devin.roza@upra.org). 

This is the first of three posts discussing and clarifying Pope Francis’s recent comments on the Our Father.  Initially, Dr. Mark Ward at the Logos Blog posted his thoughts regarding the Pope’s comments.  You can read them here.  We welcome your thoughts and perspectives.

Pope Francis recently caused quite a controversy in an interview in which he suggested that some translations of the Our Father are “not good.” He was speaking about the 6th petition of the Our Father, which English translations generally render, “lead us not into temptation.” The Pope said that the Italian version, which reads non ci indurre in tentazione (literally, “do not induce us in temptation”), was “not a good translation”, and expressed his preference for the current French translation, Ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation (literally, “Do not let us enter into temptation”).

After Dr. Mark Ward responded to Pope Francis’s remarks on the Logos blog, the Verbum team reached out to Fr Andrew Dalton and me, asking if we would like to offer a Catholic perspective, as well as respond to Dr. Ward’s comments. We gladly accepted the invitation in a spirit of fraternal dialogue. While we both generally agree with Dr. Ward’s interpretation of the 6th petition of the Our Father as present in the Gospel of Matthew, we also are convinced that Dr. Ward’s position can be further enriched, and at times corrected, by considering the context of the Pope’s remarks, and of the 6th petition of the Our Father in the Scriptures.

In this post, I will discuss the context of Pope Francis’s remarks, and in the next posts, Fr. Andrew Dalton will comment on the meaning of the 6th petition of the Our Father in the Gospel of Matthew.

[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: 

We await the author and perfecter of our faith

The short clip below is a reflection on today’s Gospel that reminds us of the ultimate reason that Jesus came to earth – so that we might have faith.

John 1:6-8, 19-28

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,'”

as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.



Waiting for more? Check out the entire lectionary devotional series.

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Verbum 7 is here! New features and original datasets make the newest version of Verbum easier to use and more powerful than ever. Build a Concordance to examine the text of the Catechism, use the new Media tool to browse the Verbum Treasury of Sacred Art, or connect the Latin of the Vulgate to Greek, Hebrew, and English with Verbum 7’s new interlinears.

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These features and more make Verbum 7 the most advanced tool we’ve ever built for Catholic Bible study. Combined with our redesigned and expanded lineup of libraries, Verbum 7 helps you connect Scripture and Tradition like never before.

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What’s New in Verbum Now 6.12?

NewInVerbumNow

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:

Parallel Passages in the Pauline Letters

Explore the Pauline letters like never before with the Parallel Passages in the Pauline Letters resource. We’ve thematically organized Paul’s letters for quick comparison and in-depth study. Explore the differences in each of the Pauline greeting formulas; find where Paul shares his longing to visit the Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Philemon; or see everywhere Paul talks about the relationship between Adam and Christ. If you’re studying Paul, this is an essential resource to quickly see and compare his perspective on a range of specific topics.

Lexham Discourse Bible

The Lexham Discourse Bible features datasets and visual filters that allow you to quickly identify and search the discourse devices in the Old and New Testaments. Discourse Analysis is the study of how authors use linguistic devices to effectively communicate their message. Drs. Runge and Westbury have painstakingly analyzed the discourse of Old and New Testament and annotated it with 20 devices that are common to all languages. These annotations are searchable, so you can find every occurrence of a specific discourse device like direct address or changed reference. And with the use of our reverse interlinear data, you can use the Discourse visual filters to view these annotations in several different English, Greek, or Hebrew bibles. Explore the biblical texts with these datasets and visual filters to provide you with greater insight into the thought and rhetorical strategy of the biblical authors.

Emphasize Active Lemmas Visual Filter

Understanding words and their meanings is foundational to biblical study—that’s why lexicons and Verbum’s Bible Word Study tool are essential for discovering the enduring truths of biblical texts. With the new Emphasize Active Lemmas Visual Filter enabled, Verbum will automatically highlight the word you’re studying in the Bible Word Study tool, your lexicons, and your English, Greek, or Hebrew Bibles. Work seamlessly between the biblical text, your lexicons, and the Bible Word Study tool—and never lose your place again.

Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the LXX Deuterocanon/ Apocrypha

The Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the LXX Deuterocanon/Apocrypha is a syntactic analysis of the entire Greek text of the LXX Deuterocanon and Apocrypha using The Old Testament in Greek edited by Henry Barclay Swete. The database includes graphs that display the syntactic structure of these texts. With this dataset, you can visualize the syntactical components of a clause or sentence to better understand the relationship of its parts to the whole clause.

Update to Narrative Character Maps, vol. 2

We’ve also added the Jesus: Holy Week character map to Update to Narrative Character Maps, vol. 2

New Preview Resources

Gain free access to New Short History of the Catholic Church and The Valerian Persecution: A Study of the Relations between Church and State in the Third Century A. D. during the month of June!

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

 

We’ve Moved . . .

If you were wondering why there’s a new URL at the top of this page, it’s because the Verbum Blog now lives at blog.verbum.com (imagine that!). You can still find our blog at the old URL (scripturestudysoftware.com/blog), but we recommend that you update any bookmarks or feed links you may be using.

Stay tuned for more blog-related surprises . . .

Pope Benedict XVI on Ash Wednesday

In the spirit of Lent, it seems fitting to defer to His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, for our Ash Wednesday reflection. The following homily was originally delivered on March 9, 2011 at the Basilica of St Sabina in Rome.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we begin the liturgical Season of Lent with the evocative rite of the imposition of ashes through which we wish to commit ourselves to converting our hearts to the horizons of Grace. People generally associate this Season with the sadness and dreariness of life. On the contrary, it is a precious gift of God, a strong time full of meaning on the Church’s path, it is the journey that leads to the Passover of the Lord.

The biblical Readings of today’s celebration give us instructions for living this spiritual experience to the full. “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). In the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Joel we heard these words with which God invites the Jewish people to sincere and unostentatious repentance. This is not a superficial and transitory conversion; but a spiritual itinerary that deeply concerns the attitude of the conscience and implies sincere determination to reform.

The Prophet draws inspiration from the plague of locusts that descended on the people, destroying their crops, to ask them for inner repentance and to rend their hearts rather than their clothing (cf. Jl 2:13).

In other words, it is in practice a question of adopting an attitude of authentic conversion to God—of returning to him—recognizing his holiness, his power, his majesty.

And this conversion is possible because God is rich in mercy and great in love. His is a regenerating mercy that creates within us a pure heart, renews in our depths a firm spirit, restoring the joy of salvation (cf. Ps 51:14). God, in fact—as the Prophet says—does not want the the sinner to die but to convert and live (cf. Eze 33:11).

The Prophet Joel orders in the Lord’s name the creation of a favourable penitential environment: the trumpet must be blown to convoke the gathering and reawaken consciences. The Lenten Season proposes to us this liturgical and penitential environment: a journey of 40 days in which to experience God’s merciful love effectively.

Today the appeal: “Return to me with all your heart”, resounds for us. Today it is we who are called to convert our hearts to God, in the constant awareness that we cannot achieve conversion on our own, with our own efforts, because it is God who converts us. Furthermore, he offers us his forgiveness, asking us to return to him, to give us a new heart cleansed of the evil that clogs it, to enable us to share in his joy. Our world needs to be converted by God, it needs his forgiveness, his love, it needs a new heart.

“Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). In the Second Reading St Paul offers us another element on our journey of conversion. The Apostle invites us to remove our gaze from him and to pay attention instead to the One who sent him and to the content of the message he bears: “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We therefore beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (ibid.).

An ambassador repeats what he has heard his Lord say and speaks with the authority and within the limits that he has been given. Anyone who serves in the office of ambassador must not draw attention to himself but must put himself at the service of the message to be transmitted and of the one who has sent it.

This is how St Paul acted in exercising his ministry as a preacher of the word of God and an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He does not shrink from the duty he has received, but carries it out with total dedication, asking us to open ourselves to Grace, to let God convert us. He writes: “Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor 6:1).

“Christ’s call to conversion”, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “continues to resound in the lives of Christians … [it] is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church” which, “clasping sinners to her bosom”, and “ ‘at once holy and always in need of purification … follows constantly the path of penance and renewal”. “This endeavour of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a ‘contrite heart’ (Ps 51:17), drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first” (n. 1428).

St Paul was speaking to the Christians of Corinth but through them he intended to address all people. Indeed, all people have always needed God’s grace which illuminates minds and hearts. And the Apostle immediately insists “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). All can open themselves to God’s action, to his love; with our evangelical witness we Christians must be a living message; indeed in many cases we are the only Gospel that men and women of today still read.

This is our responsibility, following in St Paul’s footsteps, a further reason for living Lent fully: in order to bear a witness of faith lived to a world in difficulty in need of returning to God, in need of conversion.

“Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them” (Mt 6:1). In today’s Gospel Jesus reinterprets the three fundamental pious practices prescribed by Mosaic law. Almsgiving, prayer and fasting characterize the Jew who observes the law. In the course of time these prescriptions were corroded by the rust of external formalism or even transformed into a sign of superiority.

In these three practices Jesus highlights a common temptation. Doing a good deed almost instinctively gives rise to the desire to be esteemed and admired for the good action, in other words to gain a reward. And on the one hand this closes us in on ourselves and on the other, it brings us out of ourselves because we live oriented to what others think of us or admire in us.

In proposing these prescriptions anew the Lord Jesus does not ask for formal respect of a law that is alien to the human being, imposed by a severe legislator as a heavy burden, but invites us to rediscover these three pious practices by living them more deeply, not out of self-love but out of love of God, as a means on the journey of conversion to him. Alms-giving, prayer and fasting: these are the path of the divine pedagogy that accompanies us not only in Lent, towards the encounter with the Risen Lord; a course to take without ostentation, in the certainty that the heavenly Father can read and also see into our heart in secret.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us set out confidently and joyfully on the Lenten journey. Forty days separate us from Easter; this “strong” season of the liturgical year is a favourable time which is granted to us so that we may attend more closely to our conversion, listen more intensely to the word of God and intensify our prayer and penance. We thereby open our hearts to docile acceptance of the divine will for a more generous practice of mortification thanks to which we can go more generously to the aid of our needy neighbour: a spiritual journey that prepares us to relive the Paschal Mystery.

May Mary, our guide on the Lenten journey, lead us to ever deeper knowledge of the dead and Risen Christ, help us in the spiritual combat against sin, and sustain us as we pray with conviction: “Converte nos, Deus salutaris noster”—“Convert us to you, O God, our salvation”. Amen!

This homily—along with 300+ others from Benedict XVI—is available for deeper study in a Verbum Master library.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For the feast of St. Patrick, enjoy this excerpt from The Confession of St. Patrick:

…I was taken captive when a youth, nay, rather, when almost a beardless boy, before I knew what I ought to seek or to avoid. Wherefore, at this day I am greatly ashamed and afraid to expose my unskillfulness because I am unable to explain myself with clearness and brevity of speech, as the Spirit greatly desires, and all the feelings of my mind suggest. But if I had been gifted like others, I would not have been silent, inasmuch as a recompense was due from me. Perhaps there are some who think that in this I put myself forward, although I am ignorant and slow of speech, but it is written, ‘The tongue of stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly’ (Is. 32:4), and how much more ought we to attempt ‘who (says he) are the epistle of Christ (who was set for salvation unto the ends of the earth’ Acts 13:47) written in your hearts, if not eloquently, yet powerfully and enduringly, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God’ (2 Cor 3:3).

See the Verbum monthly sale for savings on two St. Patrick collections through the end of March!

 

 

Deacon Kevin’s Reflections on the Second Sunday of Lent

In the First Reading this Sunday, Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son. Obedient and faithful, Abraham accepted God’s test. Isaac followed his father’s instructions, carrying the wood of his death to the hilltop, and willingly lying upon the wood to be sacrificed. At the last moment, the angel stopped the sacrifice.

God would not permit this sacrifice, for only God is willing to sacrifice His Son. Jesus completes the sacrifice begun by Abraham and Isaac. Only one human sacrifice on the wood is need for the salvation of souls; only one Son would die for the sins of man.

The psalm calls us to faithfulness, and the second reading reminds us that God is on our side, even when we are “greatly afflicted” (Psalm 116:10). In the Second Reading, St. Paul reminds us that Jesus “intercedes for us” at “the right hand of God” (Rom 8:34).

In Mark’s story of the Transfiguration, the clothes Jesus is wearing become as white as light. Jesus speaks with two prominent Old Testament figures the apostles immediately recognize: Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. In this vivid scene on Mount Tabor, the Old Testament meets the New Testament; the law and the prophets are one in Jesus. God Himself affirms the image the apostles see: Jesus is the Son of God.

During Lent, we are called by our prayer and abstinence to become transformed into the image of Christ. At our baptism, we were presented with a white garment demonstrating our participation in Christ’s life. We are called to holiness, so that we may bring that garment unstained into the everlasting life of the Kingdom.

Let us be the voice of the Son of Man in our words and actions. Let us give God praise and glory as we demonstrate our good works in our homes, our places of work, and our communities.

I encourage you to take some time out of your busy life this Lent. Take a brief rest and reflect on the power of God in your life. We can come to know our God better through scripture and prayer during these important forty days.

May our Lenten journey be blessed!

the-transfiguration.jpg!Blog

The Transfiguration by Pietro Perugino, 1498.

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