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April Deals: $100 off Starter, 50% off Aquinas, and Free Books!

April is here and with it comes great deals on resources to help you study Scripture and Tradition. Here’s this month’s roundup of savings you won’t want to miss.

Reflect on the resurrection with Easter deals

We’ve pulled together dozens of resources to guide your reflection throughout Eastertide. Contemplate the significance of the resurrection of Christ with works from  the Classics of Western Spirituality Bundle (126 vols.). The complete collection is 25% off for a limited time. And, don’t miss The Works of Thomas Aquinas (18 vols.) at more than 50% off!

Those are just two of the deals we’re featuring this Easter season. Don’t wait—they’re only available for a limited time. View all Easter deals now.

Get Verbum 7 Starter for under $200

Also for a limited time, grab Verbum 7 Starter for $100 off! That means right now you have rare opportunity to own a complete set of study tools and a library that’s perfect for deepening your understanding of Scripture.

Starter comes with the Catechism and a library of more than 110 titles, including the works by the early church fathers and Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. Plus, it includes powerful tools like Bible Word Study and the Passage Guide.

This deal expires on April 30, so don’t wait! Get $100 off Verbum 7 Starter while you still can.

April’s biggest deals

April’s monthly sale includes dozens of resources from the church fathers and other masters of Western spirituality. Don’t miss the top 5 biggest discounts from this month’s sale:

  1. 60% off The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin Catherine of Siena: Explore the legacy of the great Dominican mystic with this collection of her treatises.
  2. 50% off The Major Works of Anselm of Canterbury (4 vols.): Study the works that established Anselm as the father of scholastic theology.
  3. 50% off The History of St. Catherine of Siena and Her Companions: This introduction to St. Catherine includes a translation of one of her lesser known yet still powerful works.
  4. 40% off The Medieval Preaching and Spirituality Collection (34 vols.): This riveting collection of sermons features some of the richest spiritual writing of any time.
  5. 25% off Fathers of the Church: Fathers of the Post-Nicene Era (14 vols.): Essential works by Gregory the Great, Andrew of Caesarea, John of Damascus, and other post-Nicene fathers come together in this expansive collection.

New in Verbum Now

With Verbum Now, you’ll have the latest tools for studying Scripture and Tradition, but also receive exclusive perks like free preview resources and special deals only available to Now members.

This month, Now members get month-long, full access to T&T Clark Studies in Early Christianity and 40% off the Jewish Origins Collection (13 vols.).

Plus, Verbum Now members can pick a free book from a list of over 1,000 titles. If you’re a Now member, use coupon code NOWFREEBOOKAPR2018 at checkout to claim your book for free.

Not a member? Start your membership today to receive these and many other benefits.

Free Book of the Month

Throughout April, anyone can get the the Clementine Vulgate for free. Commissioned by Pope Damasus I, Jerome’s Vulgate rapidly became the standard version of the Bible in the West and remained so for centuries.

Plus, add the Lexham Reverse Interlinear Vulgate: New Testament for just $1.99, and the Lexham Reverse Interlinear Vulgate: Old Testament for just $2.99.

Get all three now.

He Has Been Raised; He Is Not Here

Easter Vigil

Throughout Lent, we’ve shared excerpts from Lenten Grace, an inspiring journey through the season’s Gospel readings. Please enjoy today’s Easter Vigil reading. Also, you can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections at 20% off.  Get it now.

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.

Lectio

Mark 16:1–7

Meditatio

“Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.

He has been raised; he is not here.”

The sun was just inching its way over the horizon when the women sought to anoint you, Lord. Their love for you pushed aside any apprehension they must have felt at seeing the stone rolled away. Your messenger, the young man in white, told them the Good News: “The Crucified has been raised!” They saw the empty space where your body lay on Good Friday evening. They believed and were immediately commissioned: “go and tell” the apostles that Jesus is alive and “you will see him, as he told you.”

Lord, I often take this Good News for granted. Your paschal mystery encompasses your saving passion, death and resurrection. Sometimes I fall into a sort of spiritual denial by resenting opportunities to share in the first two parts of your paschal mystery. My sufferings and the little “deaths” of daily living pull a thick curtain over the window of my soul. When your grace reminds me of the resurrection, it pulls aside that curtain and floods my soul with the light of resurrection hope and joy. Of all the days of the year, today is a day to “rejoice and be glad.” Your resurrection erases all fear. It’s the bedrock of my faith. As Saint Paul says, without the resurrection, our faith would be in vain (see 1 Cor 15:17). Two millennia of martyrs and saints, a true “cloud of witnesses,” have gone before us and invite me to join them. Like the holy women, I too am entrusted with the message “to go and tell” the consoling news that death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life.

Oratio

Lord Jesus, I kneel in awe before your tomb. I do believe in your resurrection and in my resurrection in the life to come! Thank you for your resurrection that roots me in Christian hope. Demolish the tomb of my woundedness, regrets, and bad habits. Let me look beyond myself to see those longing to hear the Good News from my lips, to see Good News in my actions and my conviction. Let me be aware of those next to me longing for your Good News. May my life be a sign of hope for all to see, and a song of thanksgiving for your dying and rising. Amen.

Contemplatio

He has been raised.… He is going before you.

***

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.

I Thirst

Good Friday

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

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.

Lectio

John 18:1–19:42

Meditatio

“I thirst.…”

So much has been written about the Passion in the last 2,000 years. What more can be said? Even more, how can words describe everything that the words “Good Friday” encompass and all that Jesus suffered for us? Perhaps Jesus’ cry, “I thirst,” best captures the human and divine pathos of this day. All of us know what thirst is. Did Jesus only mean that he thirsted for something to drink? Or was he thirsting for much more? What was Jesus really saying with these two poignant words? What resounding significance these words have! They declare that Jesus, the Son of God, had so completely been stripped of everything that he could not even alleviate his own thirst.

Was he expressing the thirst of God the Father for the restoration of our ruptured relationship? Was Jesus thirsting to taste once more the food of the kingdom of heaven, where he would enjoy the presence of not only his Father, but ours as well?

What will my response be? How will I alleviate Jesus’ thirst? Will I understand it simply as a cry for something to drink—a desire that an immediate human need be satiated? Can I hear Jesus cry out these words in the depths of my heart, allow them to reverberate in the hollow of my own abyss, and hear in the echo an invitation? Will this invitation become a point of continual intimacy with myself and Jesus, so that his death is truly the consummation of his life and mine?

The litmus test of my response will not be an abstract internal affair. Rather, it will take flesh in the way I respond to the cry of thirst from those in my life, a cry that is often suffocated. If I can hear the undertones of Jesus’ cry of thirst, I may be able to hear my own and others’ unspoken thirst. Such a thirst can only be satiated by one gift—me.

Oratio

Jesus, I see you naked, bloody, suffering terribly. You cry out in pain and agony. I hear you say, “I thirst.” I feel helpless because I don’t know what you mean. How do you want me to alleviate your thirst? I need help getting in touch with my own thirst—a thirst that I unconsciously fill with so many distractions that leave me unsatisfied. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I know most of all, Lord, that I thirst for love. Could that be what you ultimately thirst for, too? Then help me fall in love with you. Amen.

Contemplatio

“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink” (Jn 7:37).

***

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.

He Began to Wash His Disciples’ Feet

Holy Thursday

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

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.

Lectio

John 13:1–5

Meditatio

“[Jesus] began to wash his disciples’ feet.”

For three years these twelve followers of Jesus had listened to him preach, watched him heal and raise the dead, felt his power as he forgave sins. But now Jesus was doing something unexpected. Evening meals had been times of camaraderie and conversation, discussion and sharing. Tonight, however, Jesus was coming uncomfortably close. The conversation died down as Jesus knelt and tenderly washed and dried their feet. In this act, at this moment, Jesus seemed to say, “Everything that has gone before has been a preparation for this. Knowledge, information, and moral conversion are not enough.” He broke through all their inner barriers with this act of gently washing their feet. And he got their attention!

Imagine washing the feet of family members, friends, employees, employers, or enemies. It is an uncomfortable thought because it is so physical and so intimate. We often treat each other like shoe salesclerks. We’ll help others fit their shoes, but we’ll rub our noses as we do so, sit as far away as we can, and stay with them only as long as necessary. (And please keep your socks on.) Instead, Jesus is calling us to relate to one another as hospice nurses washing a terminally ill patient. What tenderness, gentleness, and acceptance there is on the part of nurse and patient in this act of vulnerability!

As Jesus knelt before his chosen apostles, he said that with this act of physical contact: “I know you. I know all about you, and I love you. I will keep on loving you.” It is difficult to believe that Jesus can know us and love us. It is even more difficult for us to know another and love that person.

Perhaps that is why Jesus continues to sustain this prolonged personal contact in the Eucharist. As the Last Supper, the Eucharistic Celebration is about familial, human, essential things, where we too are touched, held, and washed by Jesus in very intimate ways.

Oratio

Jesus, wash from me the leprosy of self-hate. Wash me again and again until I can love myself because you have loved me, loved me enough to give your life for mine. When I receive you in the Eucharist, it is easy to be distracted or bored. Jesus! Impress on me how close you are at this precious moment. Break through my inner barriers with your intimate personal presence. Amen.

Contemplatio

You know me and you love me.

***

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.

The Doctors of the Church: A History

Pier Francesco Sacchi (circa 1485–1528)
Four doctors of the Church represented with attributes of the Four Evangelists: St. Augustine with an eagle, St. Gregory the Great with a bull, St. Hieronymus with an angel, St. Ambrosius with a winged lion.

The Doctors of the Church did not begin to be officially identified as such until relatively late in Church history.  It was the Catholic Church that confers the title upon both western and eastern Christians.  In the post today, I’d like to share with you a little of the history of how the Doctors of the Church came to be.

The Ecumenical Doctors

The eight Doctors of the Church commonly known as the Ecumenical Doctors are the earliest recognized Doctors of the Church.  They are St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Athanasius of Alexandria.  As one can see, this list of eight neatly divides into four Doctors from the Latin West and four Doctors from the East.

The Latin Doctors

The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that:

In the Western church four eminent Fathers of the Church attained this honour in the early Middle Ages: St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome. The “four Doctors” became a commonplace among the Scholastics, and a decree of Boniface VIII (1298) ordering their feasts to be kept as doubles in the whole Church is contained in his sixth book of Decretals (cap. “Gloriosus”, de relique. et vener. sanctorum, in Sexto, III, 22).

This notion of doctor as an authoritative teacher of the faith originated in the “early Middle Ages.” Saints Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome were contemporaries, each living into the early 400s. Gregory the Great was the last of these four to have lived and died in the early 600s.  Thus, it is reasonable to assume that possibly as early as the 700s the liturgy would be reflecting these doctor saints.

The Eastern Doctors

Here again, the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us:

In the Eastern Church three Doctors were pre-eminent: St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, and St. Gregory Nazianzen. The feasts of these three saints were made obligatory throughout the Eastern Empire by Leo VI, the Wise, the deposer of Photius. A common feast was later instituted in their honour on 30 January, called “the feast of the three Hierarchs”. In the Menaea for that day it is related that the three Doctors appeared in a dream to John, Bishop of Euchaitae, and commanded him to institute a festival in their honour, in order to put a stop to the rivalries of their votaries and panegyrists. This was under Alexius Comnenus (1081-1118; see “Acta SS.”, 14 June, under St. Basil, c. xxxviii). But sermons for the feast are attributed in manuscripts to Cosmas Vestitor, who flourished in the tenth century. The three are as common in Eastern art as the four are in Western. Durandus (i, 3) remarks that Doctors should be represented with books in their hands. In the West analogy led to the veneration of four Eastern Doctors, St. Athanasius being very properly added to the three hierarchs.

In the Catholic Church in the Latin West, it was Pope St. Pius V in 1568 proclaimed official feasts in the Roman Calendar for these eight Ecumenical Doctors with their addition to the newly reformed Roman Breivary.

Additional Doctors

Pope St. Pius V officially established the Ecumenical Doctors, but also one new Doctor: the medieval Scholastic theologian extraordinaire, St. Thomas Aquinas.  He thus established the precedent and pattern of popes proclaiming Doctors of the Church for the benefit of the faithful.  Twenty years later, in 1588, Pope Sixtus V, a Franciscian, named the famous medieval Franciscian theologian St. Bonaventure a Doctor of the Church.

Over the next several centuries, the following popes named the following saints to the rank of Doctor (the list was adapted from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

  • St. Anselm was added by Clement XI in 1720.
  • St. Isidore by Innocent XIII in 1722.
  • St. Peter Chrysologus by Benedict XIII in 1729.
  • St. Leo I by Benedict XIV in 1754.
  • St. Peter Damian by Leo XII in 1828.
  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux by Pius VIII in 1830.
  • St. Hilary was added in 1851 by Pius IX along with two more modern saints, St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1871 and St. Francis de Sales in 1877.
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. John Damascene were named in 1883 by Leo XIII, who also named the Venerable Bede  in 1899.

Modern Doctors

The twentieth and early twenty-first century saw the naming of thirteen new doctors:

  • St. Ephrem the Syrian, a Deacon, was named in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV as “Doctor of the Syrians.”
  • St. Peter Canisius was named in 1925, St. John of the Cross was named in 1926, St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Albert the Great were named in 1931, each by Pope Pius XI.
  • St. Anthony of Lisbon and Padua was named in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.
  • St. Lawrence of Brindisi was named in 1959 by Pope John XXIII.
  • St. Teresa of Ávila and St. Catherine of Sienna–the first women named as Doctors of the Church–were named in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux was named by Pope John Paul II in 1997.
  • St. John of Ávila and St. Hildegard of Bingen were named by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
  • St. Gregory of Narek was named by Pope Francis in 2015.

You still have a few days left to check out our Doctor for the month of March: St. Cyril of Jerusalem.  We have several volumes of his for up to 50% off.  Add this Doctor to your Verbum library before these titles go back to full price!

Looking forward to our April Doctors: St. Anselm of Canterbury, St. Isidore of Seville, and St. Catherine of Siena.

Reflect on the mystery of Holy Saturday with this free book

Free Book of the Month.

Light in Darkness: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Catholic Doctrine of Christ’s Descent into Hell–Free

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Have you wondered how people who have not had the chance to hear the gospel can be saved?  Dive into this much-debated topic in Ralph Martin’s book Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization. It’s yours for $1.99 this month.

These deals are only good through March 31—get them both now!

This Cup Is the New Covenant in My Blood

Palm Sunday

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

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.

Lectio

Luke 22:14–23:56

Meditatio

“This is my body.… This cup is the new covenant in my blood.…”

An interesting contemplative exercise would be to jot down in two separate columns the words said by Jesus and those said by everyone else in this Gospel passage.

The disciples and religious and civil leaders say things such as: “Who is the greatest?” “Lord, I am ready to go to death for you!” “Look, here are two swords. Shall we use them?” “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” “This man perverted our nation.” “Crucify him!” (cf. Lk 22:24–23:21).

Jesus says, “This is my body.… This is my blood, which will be shed for you.” “The leader is the one who serves. I am among you as the one who serves.” “You, Peter, will deny me.” “Pray not to enter into temptation.” “Judas, do you betray me with a kiss?” “If I tell you who I am you will not believe me.” “Father, forgive them” (cf. Lk 22:23–23:34).

The words of the disciples and leaders are characterized by self-protection. They are the words of people seeking to plan and control their lives from within their own framework or perspective. They are words of violence toward others. Their words reveal their desire to forfeit their identity for the safety of the rush of the mob. Jesus’ words, on the other hand, show that he has made himself vulnerable, that he will hand himself over for the sake of others. Jesus wasn’t trapped in his own fear of death, but knew himself to exist within a reality more spacious than his own fearful neediness, something ultimately good in which his life was held, beloved, even were he to die on the cross.

In a word, perhaps that was just it. The attitude of the disciples and leaders in the face of threat was one of non-acceptance and fear. Jesus’ attitude was one of acceptance despite his fear.

Oratio

Jesus, when my plans, security, or future are threatened by the cross, I want to protect myself, like the disciples. I want to be first, successful, important, beautiful, happy. I think that if I plan things just right, everything will lead to success. I hold on to everything so tightly, and in grabbing things I crush them. It was only after your crucifixion and resurrection, when you forgave the apostles, that they realized that something greater was planned for their good, that the cross was not a threat and couldn’t ultimately destroy them. They were beloved and safe. They discovered that they could trust you. And so can I. And so will I.

Contemplatio

I am beloved and safe.

***

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.

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.

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Whoever Lives the Truth Comes to the Light

fourth sunday

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 a 20% off.  Get it now.

Already own Lenten Grace? Open today’s reading in Verbum.

Lectio

John 3:14–21

Meditatio

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …”

The liturgy proclaims that God sent his Son to redeem us. How hard it is to wrap our minds around this fact! The Creator of the universe loves human beings so much that his Son entered into and endured our human condition, gave his life for us, and will continue to be one of us for all eternity! Mind-boggling. If we start to think about this, the question comes spontaneously: Why?

The age-old answer is still valid. We humans hadn’t gotten it right. We hadn’t taken the natural law implanted in us seriously enough, or at least we were too weak to follow it well. We continued to hurt ourselves and others. Our attitude toward God was skewed. God was someone to fear when nature’s forces were unleashed, or to try to manipulate when we wanted to have our way. God was not someone to love. Yet God had created human beings so that he might enjoy our company, love us, and be loved in return.

Only God could “break through our deafness,” as Saint Augustine would say, and get our attention. Only he could restore the right relationship between him and us. His choice of how to do this was astounding. He became one of us and died for us. “No one has greater love than this” (Jn 15:13). If we let this sink in, the sensational in contemporary life becomes trivial—headlines, films, novels.… Can anything be more sensational than the love of God for the human race?

How can we better appreciate this love? How better know the mind and heart of such a God? Again, there are age-old answers: reading or hearing the Word; praying; trying to live uprightly. As today’s Scripture passage says, “whoever lives the truth comes to the light.” It’s the challenge of a lifetime, and now is the best time to start. “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

Oratio

Jesus, help me to understand the love that motivated the Father to send you into the world. It is the same love that compelled you to live and die for me. Show me the relative unimportance of so many other things in my life. Give me a new perspective. Help me to see that coming to know you and the Father is the challenge of a lifetime—a challenge I need to accept here and now, in this Lenten season. Enable me to live the truth, come to your light, and respond wholeheartedly to your love for me.

Contemplatio

[W]hoever lives the truth comes to the light.

***

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 at a 20% off. Get it now.

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