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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

Blessed Be My Troubles

fifth sunday of lent

Throughout Lent, we’re sharing excerpts from Lenten Grace, an inspiring journey through the season’s Gospel readings. Check back every Sunday through Easter for a new reading. Also, you can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections at 20% off.  Get it now.

Lectio

John 12:20–33

Meditatio

“I am troubled now.”

How easily the promises of life turn to suffering! At some point life has betrayed all of us. In our youth we may have pictured life as a gradual succession of triumphs: health, education, employment, love, marriage, children, security, peace, etc. But then, almost imperceptibly, things change. Trouble comes. All the former contentment pales because we are troubled now.

This is what happens when a group of Greek pilgrims approaches asking to speak with Jesus. We know nothing about them other than that they desire this audience. In the now when we come upon them in the Gospel, they are seeking the satisfaction of meeting Jesus. John does not tell us if they ever got to speak directly with Jesus. They first approach Philip, who in turn approaches Andrew, and then the two of them approach Jesus. Did the Greeks accompany them, or did they have to stay behind to wait? We do not know, but the word from Jesus is about suffering. He says that suffering is near at hand for himself and that anyone wishing to follow him must be willing to die to all else.

Although he is speaking of fulfilling perfectly the plan for which he was sent, Jesus speaks of it as troubling. As a man he trembles at the prospect of the suffering to come. “Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?” Rather, “Father, glorify your name.”

In the second reading, the author of Hebrews indicates that Jesus had to suffer his way to readiness with “prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears” (Heb 5:7). He learned from his suffering and was perfected by it, and only then was he able to become “the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Heb 5:7–9).

The Greeks, who represent all of us, will have to learn the value of suffering. It is not that the Father glories in our suffering, but he glories in our readiness, our understanding, our desire to fulfill his holy will. And we remind ourselves that God’s will is holy because it is his plan of eternal blessedness for us.

Oratio

Lord, may I learn from all the troubles of life, both those that are seemingly insurmountable and those that are only passing irritations, to prepare my heart for blessing. As my brother, you also had to learn the art of suffering. I unite with you as my Savior in suffering, knowing that our Father in heaven will honor those he finds in your company. Blessed be the troubles that lead me to the kingdom. Amen.

Contemplatio

Blessed be my troubles!

***

Download Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections to guide you throughout this lenten season. You can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections for 20% off. Get it now.

Today is the last day of our 20% off sale

Today the sale ends for getting 20% off any Verbum 7 library, whether for upgrades or first-time purchases.

Let’s face it, biblical literacy is alarmingly low. Verbum offers us the ability to explore and discover Scripture in a way that had never been possible in the Church before. When St. Augustine was asked to become bishop, he took a month to memorize the entirety of Scripture. With Verbum you can have the power of Augustine’s mind (and then some) at your fingertips. Raise the flag of the New Evangelization and get serious about growing in the light of the Bible.

Do yourself a favor and see what Verbum can do to transform your relationship with the Bible. We have Resource Experts who are here to help if you want to ask more questions. Just call them at 877-542-7664. And if for whatever reason you are not satisfied, you can always take advantage of our 30-day money-back guarantee.

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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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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.

 

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