IP#279 Fr. Michael Gaitley MIC – “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told” on Inside the Pages

Fr.-Michael-Gaitley-2

I LOVE this book!  “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: Now is the Time of Mercy” is outstanding!  Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC is able to once again provide just the right amount of insight, depth, and practical application to an important aspect of our collective spiritual experience!  He brings forward to us the “School of Trust” whose curriculum is the continuing story of our salvation revealed to us over the last 2000 years and lived out and taught to us through the lives of the saints.  Fr. Gaitley’s storytelling is thoroughly engaging.  This a page turner you truly will not want to set aside.  Filled with so many “ah-ha” moments you’ll be saying to yourself over and over again “Oh, I knew that, but I didn’t know I knew that” or “Ok, wow, now I see the connection!”  This is also a book that you’ll want to give to others…follow through with that impulse, they will be glad you did!  HIGHLY recommended!

 

Second-Greatest-Story-Ever-You can find the book here

From the book description:

In The Second Greatest Story Ever Told bestselling author Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, reveals St. John Paul II’s witness for our time. Building on the prophetic voices of Margaret Mary Alacoque, Thérèse of Lisieux, Maximilian Kolbe, and Faustina Kowalska, The Second Greatest Story Ever Told is more than a historical account of the Great Mercy Pope. This book expounds on the profound connection between Divine Mercy and Marian consecration. It serves as an inspiration for all those who desire to bear witness to the mercy of God, focused on Christ and formed by Mary. Now is the time of mercy. Now is the time to make John Paul’s story your own.

Mike Aquilina – Lent, Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and the Early Church

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5There’s nobody I enjoy spending Ash Wednesday with more than Mike Aquilina. Mike offers us rich insights on the practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving from the perspective of the early church.  He also helps us to see how we can concretely live out all three and further enrich our spiritual lives and help those around us to see Christ more fully in us and the Church.  We like Mike!  He’s awesome!

Be sure to visit Mike’s Discerning Hearts page for more from Mike.

IP#312 Dr. Kevin Starr – Contiental Ambitions on Inside the Pages

IP#312 Dr. Kevin Starr – Contiental Ambitions on Inside the Pages from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

For the Audio only:

What a delight to speak with Dr. Kevin Starr about “Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America: the Colonial Experience”!  This volume is a  beautifully massive work of “historical art”; so thorough and engaging, I couldn’t stop turning the pages!  Dr. Starr is a master storyteller.  It’s as though he has you on a high precipice overlooking a grand vista, and with the broad swipe of his arm, he points out all the personalities and movements shaping an ever changing view. And during our conversation, it was an absolute joy to hear the enthusiasm and love he has for history and for this particular subject.  I simply cannot recommend this book more highly!

You can find the book here

“These accounts of a human drama heroic and villainous, saintly and sanguineous, are a feast for the historian and, more importantly, food for our generation starved of the story of its own past. The romantic whose knowledge is airbrushed and the cynic whose knowledge is cobbled together with clichés will jointly be challenged. For everyone, reading this book could be a transforming experience, and a delight as well.”
Fr. George Rutler, Author, He Spoke to Us: Discerning God in People and Events

“To see in one book the history of Catholics in the New World, its glories and its tragedies, is almost like reading a secret history of a lost tribe. Kevin Starr s magisterial narration of European Catholic presence in North America the Norse, the Spanish, the French, the English, plus a few others is a contribution of the first order to our understanding of the whole foundation of this land of the free.”
James V. Schall, S.J. Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

IP#163 Vivian Dudro – Evelyn Waugh’s “Edmund Campion” on Inside the Pages

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro

I love the writing of Evelyn Waugh…his prose are some of the best of our time, if not of all time.  And when that talent is used to pen a biography of the heroic English martyr, Edmund Campion, a tremendous blessing has been given to all who glean it’s pages.  What a story…what a life.  We are joined once again by the wonderful Vivian Dudro to discuss this incredible work, as well as the life and times of this great saint.

edmundcampion-bookYou can find the book here

From the description:

evelyn-waugh
Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh presented his biography of St. Edmund Campion, the Elizabethan poet, scholar, and gentleman who became the haunted, trapped and murdered priest as “a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness.”

 

But it is written with a novelist’s eye for the telling incident and with all the elegance and feeling of a master of English prose. From the years ofsuccess as an Oxford scholar, to entry into the newly founded Society of Jesus and a professorship in Prague, Campion’s life was an inexorable progress towards the doomed mission to England. There followed pursuit, betrayal, a spirited defense of loyalty to the Queen, and a horrifying martyr’s death at Tyburn.edmund-campion-220x300

IP#305 Dr. Peter Kreeft – I Burned for Your Peace on Inside the Pages

Peter Kreeft
These are indeed good days for book lovers because we are so blessed to have yet another Christian spiritual classic broken open for us by Dr. Peter Kreeft!  In “I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine’s Confessions Unpacked“, Dr. Kreeft gives us a  guided tour through one of the finest works in all Western literature.  In our conversation we discuss how St. Augustine, in many ways, is the everyman and why is life is so important for us today. Written in a personal dialogue with God, the saint’s “Confessions” is more than an autobiography or a book of theology, it is, in the end, a living prayer.   It is one man’s compelling witness that is, as  Dr. Kreeft will say, astonishingly contemporary.  St. Augustine looks at himself so honestly, we can’t help but see ourselves in the reflection.  “I Burned for Your Peace” is the must have book to accompany you on this spiritual journey, especially if your heart is a restless one.  So plan your pilgrimage now!  Get the Frank Sheed translation of the “Confessions” as mentioned by Dr. Kreeft in our conversation and grab this book today

I_Burned_for_Your_Peace.inddYou can find the book here

“Two teachers we all know and trust enter into a dialogue to bring forth a Confessions for our day.”
— Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Editor, The Confessions of St. Augustine

“Kreeft is always brilliant, and in this book he is even more astonishing than ever. If I were allowed only one book on the Confessions, this would be it.”
Joseph Pearce, Author, Catholic Literary Giants

“Kreeft illustrates the truth of Augustine’s comment that God is more intimate to us than we are even to ourselves. Only when we realize that we are loved into being by the Triune God, will we experience the profound peace that sustains the pilgrimage to eternal life.”
Fr. Matthew Lamb, Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University

Inside The Pages – I Burned for Your Peace – Dr. Peter Kreeft from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

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.

IP#299 Dr. Rodney Stark – Bearing False Witness on Inside the Pages

Dr. Rodney StarkOnce again, Dr. Rodney Stark, the author of the best-selling “The Rise of Christianity” brings clarity to history with his book “Bearing False Witness:  Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History“!  A professor of social science and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, Dr. Stark is a master of research and source analysis.  With his eagle’s eye, he assess the landscape of history and systematically debunks anti-Catholic “myths” one after another.  Whether he is untying the knot of the “Spanish Inquisition” or placing in proper perspective the motivation and actions of the Church in the various Crusades, he never fails to place before his readers an engaging presentation of the “truth”.  He remains one of our all-time favorite guests and authors…take a listen!

Bearing False WitnessYou can find the book here

Rodney Stark gives the last acceptable prejudice a sound thrashing and clears up a lot of confused history along the way. Give this fine book to anyone you know who’s been subjected to ‘social studies.’” —George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

“Growing up Catholic in the United States is to hear a constant stream of stuff that, one’s experience shows, is just not true. Still I have always trusted that some unbiased non-Catholic scholar would one day look at the evidence (even its simple logic) again. Little did I imagine that this expected dispassionate historian would be so deeply informed, lucid, thorough, and blunt. Rodney Stark has done justice to neglected historical truth, and I am deeply grateful for his steady toughmindedness. His aim was to honor the truth, so now it remains for historians to look again, face his challenges, and come refreshed to their own verdicts.” —Michael Novak, winner of the Templeton Prize (1994), author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

“A majestically argued, gorgeously written, and essential book by one of the truly indispensable minds of our time. Bearing False Witness is one more gift to history from Rodney Stark. It should in turn be given to and read by students and professors everywhere, whatever their beliefs.” —Mary Eberstadt, author of How the West Really Lost God and It’s Dangerous to Believe

DC4 St. Cyril of Jerusalem – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of  St. Cyril of JerusalemMatthew-Bunson

Born: 313 AD, Caesarea Maritima, Israel
Died: March 18, 386 AD, Jerusalem, Israel

For more on St. Cyril and his teachings

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

Taken as a whole, Cyril’s homilies form a systematic catechesis on the Christian’s rebirth through Baptism.

He tells the catechumen: “You have been caught in the nets of the Church (cf. Mt 13: 47). Be taken alive, therefore; do not escape for it is Jesus who is fishing for you, not in order to kill you but to resurrect you after death. Indeed, you must die and rise again (cf. Rom 6: 11, 14)…. Die to your sins and live to righteousness from this very day” (Procatechesis, 5).

From the doctrinal viewpoint, Cyril commented on the Jerusalem Creed with recourse to the typology of St.-Cyril-of-Jerusalem-1the Scriptures in a “symphonic” relationship between the two Testaments, arriving at Christ, the centre of the universe.

The typology was to be described decisively by Augustine of Hippo: “In the Old Testament there is a veiling of the New, and in the New Testament there is a revealing of the Old” (De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8).

As for the moral catechesis, it is anchored in deep unity to the doctrinal catechesis: the dogma progressively descends in souls who are thus urged to transform their pagan behaviour on the basis of new life in Christ, a gift of Baptism.

The “mystagogical” catechesis, lastly, marked the summit of the instruction that Cyril imparted, no longer to catechumens but to the newly baptized or neophytes during Easter week. He led them to discover the mysteries still hidden in the baptismal rites of the Easter Vigil.

Enlightened by the light of a deeper faith by virtue of Baptism, the neophytes were at last able to understand these mysteries better, having celebrated their rites.

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.

DC6 St. Gregory of Nazianzus – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

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

Born: 329 AD
Died: January 1, 390 AD
For more on St. Gregory of Nazianzus and his teachings

It was because of these orations that Gregory acquired the nickname: “The Theologian”.

This is what he is called in the Orthodox Church: the “Theologian”. And this is because to his way of thinking theology was not merely human reflection or even less, only a fruit of complicated speculation, but rather sprang from a life of prayer and holiness, from a persevering dialogue with God. And in this very way he causes the reality of God, the mystery of the Trinity, to appear to our reason.

In the silence of contemplation, interspersed with wonder at the marvels of the mystery revealed, his soul was St.-Gregory-of-Nazengrossed in beauty and divine glory.

While Gregory was taking part in the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, he was elected Bishop of Constantinople and presided over the Council; but he was challenged straightaway by strong opposition, to the point that the situation became untenable. These hostilities must have been unbearable to such a sensitive soul.

What Gregory had previously lamented with heartfelt words was repeated: “We have divided Christ, we who so loved God and Christ! We have lied to one another because of the Truth, we have harboured sentiments of hatred because of Love, we are separated from one another” (Orationes 6: 3; SC 405: 128).

Thus, in a tense atmosphere, the time came for him to resign.

In the packed cathedral, Gregory delivered a farewell discourse of great effectiveness and dignity (cf. Orationes 42; SC 384: 48-114). He ended his heartrending speech with these words: “Farewell, great city, beloved by Christ…. My children, I beg you, jealously guard the deposit [of faith] that has been entrusted to you (cf. I Tm 6: 20), remember my suffering (cf. Col 4: 18). May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (cf. Orationes 42: 27; SC 384: 112-114).

Gregory returned to Nazianzus and for about two years devoted himself to the pastoral care of this Christian community. He then withdrew definitively to solitude in nearby Arianzo, his birthplace, and dedicated himself to studies and the ascetic life.

It was in this period that he wrote the majority of his poetic works and especially his autobiography: the De Vita Sua, a reinterpretation in verse of his own human and spiritual journey, an exemplary journey of a suffering Christian, of a man of profound interiority in a world full of conflicts.

He is a man who makes us aware of God’s primacy, hence, also speaks to us, to this world of ours: without God, man loses his grandeur; without God, there is no true humanism.

Consequently, let us too listen to this voice and seek to know God’s Face.

In one of his poems he wrote, addressing himself to God: “May you be benevolent, You, the hereafter of all things” (Carmina [dogmatica] 1: 1, 29; PG 37: 508).

And in 390, God welcomed into his arms this faithful servant who had defended him in his writings with keen intelligence and had praised him in his poetry with such great love.

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.

DC11 St. Jerome – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

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

Matthew-Bunson

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

Jerome was born into a Christian family in about 347 A.D. in Stridon. He was given a good education and was even sent to Rome to fine-tune his studies. As a young man he was attracted by the worldly life (cf. Ep 22, 7), but his desire for and interest in the Christian religion prevailed.
He received Baptism in about 366 and opted for the ascetic life. He went to Aquileia and joined a group of fervent Christians that had formed around Bishop Valerian and which he described as almost “a choir of blesseds” (Chron. ad ann. 374). He then left for the East and lived as a hermit in the Desert of Chalcis, south of Aleppo (Ep 14, 10), devoting himself assiduously to study. He perfected his knowledge of Greek, began learning Hebrew (cf. Ep 125, 12), and transcribed codices and Patristic writings (cf. Ep 5, 2). Meditation, solitude and contact with the Word of God helped his Christian sensibility to mature. He bitterly regretted the indiscretions of his youth (cf. Ep. 22, 7) and was keenly aware of the contrast between the pagan mentality and the Christian life: a contrast made famous by the dramatic and lively “vision” – of which he has left us an account – in which it seemed to him that he was being scourged before God because he was “Ciceronian rather than Christian” (cf. Ep. 22, 30).

In 382 he moved to Rome: here, acquainted with his fame as an ascetic and his ability as a scholar, Pope Damasus engaged him as secretary and counsellor; the Pope encouraged him, for pastoral and cultural reasons, to embark on a new Latin translation of the Biblical texts. Several members of the Roman aristocracy, especially noblewomen such as Paula, Marcella, Asella, Lea and others, desirous of committing themselves to the way of Christian perfection and of deepening their knowledge of the Word of God, chose him as their spiritual guide and teacher in the methodical approach to the sacred texts. These noblewomen also learned Greek and Hebrew.

After the death of Pope Damasus, Jerome left Rome in 385 and went on pilgrimage, first to the Holy Land, a silent witness of Christ’s earthly life, and then to Egypt, the favourite country of numerous monks (cf. Contra Rufinum, 3, 22; Ep. 108, 6-14). In 386 he stopped in Bethlehem, where male and female monasteries were built through the generosity of the noblewoman, Paula, as well as a hospice for pilgrims bound for the Holy Land, “remembering Mary and Joseph who had found no room there” (Ep. 108, 14). st-jeromeHe stayed in Bethlehem until he died, continuing to do a prodigious amount of work: he commented on the Word of God; he defended the faith, vigorously opposing various heresies; he urged the monks on to perfection; he taught classical and Christian culture to young students; he welcomed with a pastor’s heart pilgrims who were visiting the Holy Land. He died in his cell close to the Grotto of the Nativity on 30 September 419-420.

Jerome’s literary studies and vast erudition enabled him to revise and translate many biblical texts: an invaluable undertaking for the Latin Church and for Western culture. On the basis of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and thanks to the comparison with previous versions, he revised the four Gospels in Latin, then the Psalter and a large part of the Old Testament. Taking into account the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Septuagint, the classical Greek version of the Old Testament that dates back to pre-Christian times, as well as the earlier Latin versions, Jerome was able, with the assistance later of other collaborators, to produce a better translation: this constitutes the so-called “Vulgate”, the “official” text of the Latin Church which was recognized as such by the Council of Trent and which, after the recent revision, continues to be the “official” Latin text of the Church. It is interesting to point out the criteria which the great biblicist abided by in his work as a translator. He himself reveals them when he says that he respects even the order of the words of the Sacred Scriptures, for in them, he says, “the order of the words is also a mystery” (Ep. 57, 5), that is, a revelation. Furthermore, he reaffirms the need to refer to the original texts: “Should an argument on the New Testament arise between Latins because of interpretations of the manuscripts that fail to agree, let us turn to the original, that is, to the Greek text in which the New Testament was written. “Likewise, with regard to the Old Testament, if there are divergences between the Greek and Latin texts we should have recourse to the original Hebrew text; thus, we shall be able to find in the streams all that flows from the source” (Ep. 106, 2). Jerome also commented on many biblical texts. For him the commentaries had to offer multiple opinions “so that the shrewd reader, after reading the different explanations and hearing many opinions – to be accepted or rejected – may judge which is the most reliable, and, like an expert moneychanger, may reject the false coin” (Contra Rufinum 1, 16).

Jerome refuted with energy and liveliness the heretics who contested the tradition and faith of the Church. He also demonstrated the importance and validity of Christian literature, which had by then become a real culture that deserved to be compared with classical literature: he did so by composing his De Viris Illustribus, a work in which Jerome presents the biographies of more than a hundred Christian authors. Further, he wrote biographies of monks, comparing among other things their spiritual itineraries as well as monastic ideal. In addition, he translated various works by Greek authors. Lastly, in the important Epistulae, a masterpiece of Latin literature, Jerome emerges with the profile of a man of culture, an ascetic and a guide of souls.

What can we learn from St Jerome? It seems to me, this above all; to love the Word of God in Sacred Scripture. St Jerome said: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”. It is therefore important that every Christian live in contact and in personal dialogue with the Word of God given to us in Sacred Scripture. This dialogue with Scripture must always have two dimensions: on the one hand, it must be a truly personal dialogue because God speaks with each one of us through Sacred Scripture and it has a message for each one. We must not read Sacred Scripture as a word of the past but as the Word of God that is also addressed to us, and we must try to understand what it is that the Lord wants to tell us. However, to avoid falling into individualism, we must bear in mind that the Word of God has been given to us precisely in order to build communion and to join forces in the truth on our journey towards God. Thus, although it is always a personal Word, it is also a Word that builds community, that builds the Church. We must therefore read it in communion with the living Church. The privileged place for reading and listening to the Word of God is the liturgy, in which, celebrating the Word and making Christ’s Body present in the Sacrament, we actualize the Word in our lives and make it present among us. We must never forget that the Word of God transcends time. Human opinions come and go. What is very modern today will be very antiquated tomorrow. On the other hand, the Word of God is the Word of eternal life, it bears within it eternity and is valid for ever. By carrying the Word of God within us, we therefore carry within us eternity, eternal life.

I thus conclude with a word St Jerome once addressed to St Paulinus of Nola. In it the great exegete expressed this very reality, that is, in the Word of God we receive eternity, eternal life. St Jerome said: “Seek to learn on earth those truths which will remain ever valid in Heaven” (Ep. 53, 10).

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.