IP#312 Mike Aquilina – How the Choir Converted the World on Inside the Pages

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5Another phenomenal book from the prolific Mike Aquilina!  Filled with historical perspective and faith-filled insight, “How the Choir Converted the Word: Through Hymns, With Hymns, and In Hymns” isn’t just for the church choir!  Our conversation covers the spectrum and encourages all of us to remember we are called not a perfect song to the Lord, but a joyful song!  And isn’t that what our faith fills our hearts with?  As always, Mike’s enthusiasm for the subject is contagious and encourages us to spread the “Good News” with a hymn in our heart! Highly recommended.

You can find the book here

“This is the perfect gift for your parish music director—and the whole choir—and everyone who should be singing in the congregation. When we sing, we pray, and we evangelize too. That’s one way the early Christians changed the world.”
Scott Hahn, Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and best-selling author of The Creed

“Aquilina has all the qualities that a good guide should possess: he knows the terrain (taking the reader through Scripture, antiquity, and the Church Fathers), he has a discerning eye (spotting the place of music in the Church), and is an engaging wit (the reader feels like he has been brought to stand outside the Jerusalem Temple, or in Ephrem’s choir, or beside Ambrose in the great cathedral at Milan). This book considers an important but overlooked element of theologia prima, namely, how the Church performs her theology in what is actually sung doctrine. Easily accessible, fascinating, and inspiring to believers today.”
David Fagerberg, Professor of Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame University and author of On Liturgical Asceticism

RC#10 The Secular Age – The Resilient Church /w Mike Aquilina

RC-V10 The Secular Age – The Resilient Church /w Mike Aquilina from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

Episode 10 – The Secular AgeMike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

The Church was now entering the most dangerous era in her history—a time when some even inside the Church questioned whether the institution would survive. By the mid-nineteenth century, all the forces that had been gathering against the Church in the previous centuries—Protestantism, revolutionary philosophy, nationalism, and industrial regimentation—were combining to attack it. The pope had been deprived of his temporal power and was shut up in the Vatican. All over Europe, anticlerical governments were taking away the Church’s property and putting severe restrictions on priests. Yet the Church would come out of the fire refined and stronger. As Christ had promised, the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

For the audio podcast:

resilient-church-1-1-1Pick up a copy of Mike’s book.

Also visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

RC#7 Reformation Inside and Out – The Resilient Church /w Mike Aquilina

RC-V7 Reformation Inside and Out – The Resilient Church /w Mike Aquilina from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

Episode 7 – Reformation Inside and OutMike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

The Lutherans and the Anglicans tried to retain some semblance of traditional Christian doctrine and worship. But if—as Luther claimed—the individual interpretation of Scripture was to be the only standard for Christianity, then the result was predictable. Other sects arose, and soon Protestants were split into dozens of sects and subsects, each one based on a particular interpretation of Scripture—often just a few verses in Scripture.

For the audio podcast:

resilient-church-1-1-1Pick up a copy of Mike’s book.

Also visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

IP#228 Mary Eberstadt – How the West Really Lost God on Inside the Pages

“How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization” is a phenomenal book on this subject.web-4  Mary Eberstadt delivers a compelling theory about the decline of the Christian religion in the Western world. By the analysis of data on the family,  from pre-Revolutionary France to contemporary culture in the West, she demonstrates how the natural family is the prime nurturing force for Christianity in society.  When that family structure dissolves, so does the Christian religion in a culture and the rise of secularization is fostered.  While presenting the problem, she also offers hope for the future.   Another fascinating and provocative read by Mary Eberstadt!

How-the-WestYou can find the book here

“An absolutely brilliant and strikingly fresh portrait of the ‘double-helix’ of faith and family, coupled with a potentially game-changing analysis of the why and how of secularization, all written with the sparkle and empathy that characterize the work of one of America’s premier social analysts.” —George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
“Mary Eberstadt’s account of the synergistic relationship between the fracturing of the family and declining religiosity is both chilling and utterly convincing. No theorist of secularization has come close to Eberstadt in sociological insight or explanatory power.”

— Mary Ann Glendon, author of The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt

“A brilliant contribution to the really big question about the future of the West, and a pleasure to read.”—Rodney Stark, author of The Rise of Christianity

IP#302 Mike Aquilina – The World of Ben Hur on Inside the Pages

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5Thank you Mike Aquilina for complying an incredible book which explores “The World of Ben Hur”!  One of the most popular Christian novels of all-time, “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” was penned by Lew Wallace and has served as the basis for plays, television productions, and several film adaptations for over 100 years. The 1959 production starring Charlton Heston still holds up as one of the finest cinematic masterpieces of all time!  Mike not only covers the background of the book, the compelling conversion of its author, and it’s place in our cultural experience, but he also offers us the historical facts of the era and the Christian experience.  As always, Mike’s writing is compelling, thoughtful and inspiring.  A fantastic addition to the Mike Aquilina library of books!

9781622823178You can find the book here

From the book description:

As you strip away centuries of accumulated tradition and look at Jesus of Nazareth with fresh eyes, you’ll also share with Ben-Hur the exciting, confusing, and life-changing experience of meeting Jesus for the first time. Armed with new wisdom and keen insights into the fascinating history of the Roman Empire, you’ll never watch Ben-Hur the same way again.

“Mike Aquilina has done a masterful job placing us in the life and times of Judah Ben-Hur and Jesus Christ. This is a must-read for any fan of Ben-Hur.”
Scott Hahn

IP#302 Mike Aquilina – The World of Ben Hur on Inside the Pages from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

RC#1 – History, with Arms Upraised – The Resilient Church w/ Mike Aquilina

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5Episode 1 – History, with Arms Upraised


The Resilient Church with Mike Aquilina, offers a fascinating look at the trials and triumphs of the Catholic Church over the past two thousand years. Fast-paced sketches of critical periods in church history give readers perspective on the challenges faced by the church today. Mike Aquilina does not shrink from the realities of the past, including badly behaved leaders and those who betrayed the Lord. Yet he also leaves us all with well-founded hope for the future: God remains faithful in every circumstance and fulfills his promise to remain with his church always.

 

Resilient-Church-1-1Pick up a copy of Mike’s book.

Also visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

DC32 St. Gregory of Narek – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom w/ Dr. Matthew Bunson


Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Gregory of Narek

Matthew-BunsonBorn: 951 Rshtunik, Vaspurakan, Bagratid Armenia
Died 1003 Narekavank, Vaspurakan, Armenia
Feast 13 October (Holy Translators day); 27 February (Roman Catholic Church)

For more on St. Gregory of Narek and his teachings visit this excellent website:

“Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart”

From the Vatican Insider:

Pope Francis has approved the decision of the Congregation for Saints. The Armenian saint was born in 950 AD in present-day Turkey

ANDREA TORNIELLI
vatican city

An Armenian saint has been declared a Doctor of the Church. In last Saturday’s audience with the cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation, agreeing for the title of Doctor of the Universal Church to be conferred upon Gregory of Narek.St.-Gregory-of-Narek-1

 St. Gregory, a priest and monk, was born circa 950 AD in Andzevatsik (formerly Armenia, present-day Turkey) to a family of writers. He died circa 1005 in Narek (formerly Armenia, present-day Turkey). His father, Khosrov, was an archbishop. Having lost his mother at a young age, Gregory was brought up by his cousin, Anania of Narek, founder of the local school and village. The saint lived most of his life in the monasteries of Narek (in what was once called Great Armenia), where he taught at the monastic school. He is considered one of Armenian literature’s greatest poets.

 The cult of St. Gregory of Narek will be marked on 27 February in the Roman Martyrology. He will be defined as “monk, doctor of the Armenians, distinguished for his writings and mystic science”.

 The papal decision comes just weeks before Francis is due to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian massacre on 12 April in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Medz Yeghern as the Armenian massacre is called, took place in 1915.

For more from Dr. Matthew Bunson check out his Discerning Hearts page

Dr. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is one of the United States’ leading authorities on the papacy and the Church.

His books include: The Encyclopedia of Catholic History; The Encyclopedia of Saints; Papal Wisdom; All Shall Be Well; Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire; and The Angelic Doctor: The Life and World of St. Thomas Aquinas; The Pope Encyclopedia; We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, the first Catholic biography of the Holy Father in the English language; the Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History; Pope Francis. His also the editor of OSV’s “The Catholic Answer” magazine.

IP#275 Dr. Austen Ivereigh – The Great Reformer on Inside the Pages

Austen-Ivereigh-246x300“The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope” by Austen Ivereigh is a must read!

Shared from a unique vantage point, the insights Dr. Ivereigh provides are incredibly important for our times. He has an engaging writing style that offers vivid historical clarity to the issues and challenges which surround the pontificate of Pope Francis.  In this book he beautifully places into context Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s upbringing, the events taking place in Latin America, his formation in Jesuit spirituality, and the Church’s life on the world stage.   When we can appreciate the Holy Father as operating from the role he is most comfortable with, that of a master spiritual director and one who seeks to “discern” God’s will in the classic sense, then many of the “reforms” and the actions surrounding their implementation, make sense.  A fascinating conversation and an outstanding book.  Don’t miss!

The-Great-Reformer-198x300You can find the book here

“Ivereigh has written the best available chronicle of the formative events in the life and thinking of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and demonstrates how his call for a ‘Church in permanent mission’ extends and deepens the ‘New Evangelization’ proclaimed by St. John Paul II.”—George Weigel, author of Evangelical Catholicism

“Well written, full of information; this is the best biography of Pope Francis to date.”—Thomas Reese, Senior Analyst, National Catholic Reporter and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church

“Probing, comprehensive, eminently readable and absorbing . . . In a growing list of books on the first Latin American pope, Ivereigh’s is uniquely well informed and persuasive.”—Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

DC1 St. Athanasius of Alexandria – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and work of  St. Athanasius of AlexandriaMatthew-Bunson

Born: 296 AD, Alexandria, Egypt
Died: May 2, 373 AD, Alexandria, Egypt

For more on St. Athanasius of Alexandria and his teachings

Athanasius 

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI  General Audience 2007:
Athanasius was undoubtedly one of the most important and revered early Church Fathers. But this great Saint was above all the impassioned theologian of the Incarnation of the Logos, the Word of God who – as the Prologue of the fourth Gospel says – “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1: 14).

For this very reason Athanasius was also the most important and tenacious adversary of the Arian heresy, which at that time threatened faith in Christ, reduced to a creature “halfway” between God and man, according to a recurring tendency in history which we also see manifested today in various forms.

St.-AthanasiusIn all likelihood Athanasius was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in about the year 300 A.D. He received a good education before becoming a deacon and secretary to the Bishop of Alexandria, the great Egyptian metropolis. As a close collaborator of his Bishop, the young cleric took part with him in the Council of Nicaea, the first Ecumenical Council, convoked by the Emperor Constantine in May 325 A.D. to ensure Church unity. The Nicene Fathers were thus able to address various issues and primarily the serious problem that had arisen a few years earlier from the preaching of the Alexandrian priest, Arius.

With his theory, Arius threatened authentic faith in Christ, declaring that the Logos was not a true God but a created God, a creature “halfway” between God and man who hence remained for ever inaccessible to us. The Bishops gathered in Nicaea responded by developing and establishing the “Symbol of faith” [“Creed”] which, completed later at the First Council of Constantinople, has endured in the traditions of various Christian denominations and in the liturgy as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

In this fundamental text – which expresses the faith of the undivided Church and which we also recite today, every Sunday, in the Eucharistic celebration – the Greek term homooúsiosis featured, in Latin consubstantialis: it means that the Son, the Logos, is “of the same substance” as the Father, he is God of God, he is his substance. Thus, the full divinity of the Son, which was denied by the Arians, was brought into the limelight.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is one of the United States’ leading authorities on the papacy and the Church.

His books include: The Encyclopedia of Catholic History; The Encyclopedia of Saints; Papal Wisdom; All Shall Be Well; Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire; and The Angelic Doctor: The Life and World of St. Thomas Aquinas; The Pope Encyclopedia; We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, the first Catholic biography of the Holy Father in the English language; the Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History; Pope Francis.  His also the editor of OSV’s “The Catholic Answer” magazine.

DC3 St. Ephrem of Syria – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and work of  St. Ephrem of SyriaMatthew-Bunson

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI  General Audience 2007:

The figure of Ephrem is still absolutely timely for the life of the various Christian Churches. We discover him in the first place as a theologian who reflects poetically, on the basis of Holy Scripture, on the mystery of man’s redemption brought about by Christ, the Word of God incarnate. His is a theological reflection St.-Ephremexpressed in images and symbols taken from nature, daily life and the Bible. Ephrem gives his poetry and liturgical hymns a didactic and catechetical character: they are theological hymns yet at the same time suitable for recitation or liturgical song. On the occasion of liturgical feasts, Ephrem made use of these hymns to spread Church doctrine. Time has proven them to be an extremely effective catechetical instrument for the Christian community.

Ephrem’s reflection on the theme of God the Creator is important: nothing in creation is isolated and the world, next to Sacred Scripture, is a Bible of God. By using his freedom wrongly, man upsets the cosmic order. The role of women was important to Ephrem. The way he spoke of them was always inspired with sensitivity and respect: the dwelling place of Jesus in Mary’s womb greatly increased women’s dignity. Ephrem held that just as there is no Redemption without Jesus, there is no Incarnation without Mary. The divine and human dimensions of the mystery of our redemption can already be found in Ephrem’s texts; poetically and with fundamentally scriptural images, he anticipated the theological background and in some way the very language of the great Christological definitions of the fifth-century Councils.

Ephrem, honoured by Christian tradition with the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit”, remained a deacon of the Church throughout his life. It was a crucial and emblematic decision: he was a deacon, a servant, in his liturgical ministry, and more radically, in his love for Christ, whose praises he sang in an unparalleled way, and also in his love for his brethren, whom he introduced with rare skill to the knowledge of divine Revelation.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is one of the United States’ leading authorities on the papacy and the Church.

His books include: The Encyclopedia of Catholic History; The Encyclopedia of Saints; Papal Wisdom; All Shall Be Well; Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire; and The Angelic Doctor: The Life and World of St. Thomas Aquinas; The Pope Encyclopedia; We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, the first Catholic biography of the Holy Father in the English language; the Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History; Pope Francis.  His also the editor of OSV’s “The Catholic Answer” magazine.