IP#22 Mary Eberstadt – The Loser Letters on Inside the Pages

Mary Eberstadt’s “The Loser Letters” is not your typical apologetic book, and that’s it’s beauty.  Intelligent, funny, and so very thoughtful…that’s a great combination.  This book is a pro-religious satire of atheism, told from the point of view of a worldly and troubled twenty-something girl.  Fans of C. S. Lewis will love this modern day Christian approach to the new atheist.  Mary Eberstadt is fantastic…we can definitely look forward to more from her.

Pick up  a copy of “The Loser Letters”
at ignatiuspress.com

IP#21 Gary Jansen – Exercising Your Soul on Inside the Pages

Gary Jansen’s book is a great way to help any and all who are seeking to “Exercise” their soul.  As Fr. James Martin has said, “Jansen offers straightforward advice on how to begin, or deepen, your relationship with the One who loved us into being”.  I couldn’t agree more…let the workout begin!

Gary’s book can be found at Amazon.com

The Mother of the Poor, Mother Teresa, born 100 years ago today!

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu – (pronounced [aɡˈnɛs ˈɡɔndʒe bɔjaˈdʒiu]   uuuhhh, I don’t think that helps?), (Gonxhe meaning “rosebud” in Albanian) was born August 26, 1910.

She was the youngest of the children of a family from Shkodër, Albania, born to Nikollë and Drana Bojaxhiu.   Her father, who was involved in Albanian politics, died in 1919 when she was eight years old.  After her father’s death, her mother raised her as a Roman Catholic. Her father’s origin was possibly from Prizren, Kosovo while her mother’s origin was possibly from a village near Gjakova, Kosovo.

According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, in her early years Agnes was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service, and by age 12 was convinced that she should commit herself to a religious life.  She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She never again saw her mother or sister.  – Wikipedia

And so begins the 100 year celebration of the life of one the 20th centuries greatest saints, Mother Teresa.   We will have more on her teachings and her life over the coming days and months.

Check out the movie I just love on her life, “Mother Teresa” starring the wonderful Olivia Hussy.  Bruce and I had a chance to talk with Olivia…what a blessing.

Bruce, kind of, sort of, had a crush on her since he was a teenage boy (Romeo and Juliet days for Olivia) and I, of course, loved her as Mary in “Jesus of Nazareth”.  We both thought she was fantastic in this film, and a delight to speak with.  Olivia had much to share about Mother Teresa and the making of the film…it’s one of our favorite interviews!

 You can find it on Amazon.com

St. Rose of Lima – 1st canonized saint of the Americas…what true beauty is, true beauty does

St. Rose of Lima, is the 1st person canonized a saint in the Americas and is considered the patron of Latin America and the Philippines.

Her story is really as lovely as her name.  Born Isabel (which in itself means Beauty) in 1586, she was so beautiful that they simply called her Rose.   She felt a special relationship with Jesus in her heart at very young age; and felt a close tie to St. Catherine of Siena.   Undoubtedly a she experienced deep mystical experiences in prayer.  Like many who have those types of graces, she felt called to extraordinary acts of penance not only for herself but  for all mankind.  It is said that she would place a pepper/lye-based oil on her skin in order to marr her complexion so as not to be a source of temptation for others and to eliminate the potential for vanity in herself.  Ok, so that may seem extreme today, but don’t forget it was an act not unlike that of St. Clare, who cut her hair in order to become unmarriageable…St. Rose’s motivation may have shared some of that intention.  She had a great devotion to and relationship with the child Jesus; you will see him with her in many of the paintings depicting her life.  She died in 1617 and was canonized 1671.

The video is a wonderful one; the images tell the story.  For those of you who do not speak Spanish don’t sweat it…remember it was her native language  (her father was Spanish, her mother part Spanish and Inca), and well…well allow yourself to stretch a little, it’s so worth  viewing, if only to get to know St. Rose and her people better.

IP#19 Jeff Cavins – Walking with God : A journey through the bible

He has changed Catholic Scripture Study as we know it…praise God.  Not boring, not dry…not  a dissection of the Sacred Word of God, which leaves Sacred Scripture cold and lifeless; that doesn’t happen when you enter into the Great Adeventure.  Jeff Cavins is a master teacher, storyteller and evangelist.  It’s always great to talk with Jeff.  This time I spoke with him about his new work with Dr. Tim Gray “Walking with God: A journey through the bible”.  All of you that have done any of the “Great Adventure” tracks will love this book…it’s meant to take you deeper.  Any of you that haven’t experienced Jeff’s work, this is a great way to start!  Begin you’re journey today…from the head to the heart, from the heart of the Church to the heart of the Word…

Available through Ascension Press

St. Pius X – to renew all things in Christ

The Pope of the Blessed Sacrament

“Itching Ears Among Us

Saint Pius X exemplified the words of the Apostle to Timothy: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4:2–4). One hundred years after Pope Saint Pius X we have to ask ourselves if there are not still “itching ears” among us.

What causes one’s ears to itch? Curiosity. Lack of discernment. A weak background in Catholic doctrine. Faithful Catholics cannot permit themselves to read just anything. To read authors of dubious orthodoxy or authors critical of the Magisterium is like scratching an itch. It becomes worse. Why would one would even want to read such authors when one can choose from among the inexhaustible richness of the writings of the saints of every age?

 Children and the Eucharist

It was Saint Pius X who opened Holy Communion to little children. He invited the Catholic faithful to frequent, even daily Holy Communion. Pius X came to be known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” a title that he now shares with Pope John Paul II, the author of Ecclesia de Eucharistia and of Mane Nobiscum, Domine.” – for more go to Vultus Christi

I see that serious face of the young boy to the right, and I wonder what he is thinking.  His family was so poor.  Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born in 1835, the second of ten children.  His father was the village postman.  Though poor, his parents valued education and made every effort in securing that gift for their children.

Pope Pius was a Marian Pope, whose encyclical Ad Diem Illum expresses his desire through Mary to renew all things in Christ, which he had defined as his motto in his first encyclical. Pius believed that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary to achieve this goal (no wonder he had such a beautiful heart). Pius X was the only Pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience at the parish level, and pastoral concerns permeated his papacy; he favoured the use of the vernacular in catechesis. Frequent communion was a lasting innovation of his papacy. He spoke plainly and with strength, and because of that he was not well like by the elite and the rich.   He often referred to his own humble origins, taking up the causes of poor people. I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor

This is a wonderful prayer by the saint himself:

O Lord Jesus Christ, let Your passion be my strength to sustain, guard, and protect me. Let Your wounds be my food and drink to nourish, fill, and invigorate me. Let the shedding of Your Blood cleanse me of all my sins. Let Your death obtain eternal life for me and Your cross lead me to everlasting glory. Let these constitute for me refreshment and joy, health and uprightness of heart.   Amen.

St. Pius X Statue at St. Peter’s…It’s so high up. I suspect he probably would have preferred more to be on the level of the people.

IP#18 Fr. Alfred McBride – A Priest Forever on Inside the Pages

It’s always a rich joy to spend time with Fr. Alfred McBride.  In ” A Priest Forever:  Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope”, Father McBride brings forward not only his master catechetical skills, but his deep love for the vocation he has lived all these many years.  Though crisis may be rocking the Church with the current priest abuse scandals in other parts of the world, Fr. McBride helps us to see the rays of the Father’s  grace and mercy which are bringing about renewal and hope in the face of the storm.

Fr. McBride’s book is published by
St. Anthony Messenger Press

IP#17 Patrick Coffin – “Sex au Naturel” on Inside the Pages

Patrick Coffin does a fantastic job breaking open “Humane Vitae”, Natural Family Planning, and the beauty of marital love in his book  “Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It’s Good for Your Marriage”.  Listeners of “Catholic Answers Live” know Patrick Coffin is well-learned in many areas of Catholic life, and that he brings to all those discussions the right degree of good humor and joy about the Catholic faith.  He does the same in this book.  Pick up a copy for yourselves, your pastor, and any couple you know preparing for marriage…it’s a good thing.

Patrick’s book can be found at emmausroad.org

Patrick’s website is located at patrickcoffin.net

What does an anti-pope and a confessor have in common? They’re Fathers of the Church. Today, St. Hippolytus and St. Maximus, it’s you’re feast day! – Discerning Hearts

An anti-pope (and a great liturgist…it figures doesn’t it) who is considered a father of the Church and a saint.  God’s great mercy knows no bounds!  How does someone who was a self proclaimed pope (and considered the first anti-pope in Church history) become a saint? The story of St. Hippolytus is a fascinating one.  A greek-speaking priest who who lived in the late 100’s – early 200’s; his writings on the Eucharistic liturgy are some of the most beautiful of all time.  Check him out Mike Aquilina’s great blog The Ways of the Fathers   

And take a listen as we talk about St. Hippolytus with Mike   



St. Maximus the Confessor lived approx. 500 years after Hippolytus.  He is one of last fathers of the Church  and is consider one of the first of her doctors.  A beautiful writer and homelist he said this once:  

The sun of justice, rising into the clean mind, reveals Himself and the reasons of all that He created and will create.

Love defeats those three: self-deception, because she is not proud; Interior envy, because she is not jealous; Exterior envy, because she is generous and serene.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are inside our hearts hidden.

Faith without love does not act in the soul the illumination of the divine knowledge.

When the mind receives the ideas of things, by its nature is transformed according to each and every idea. If it sees the things spiritually, it is transfigured in many ways according to each vision. But if the mind becomes in God, then it becomes totally shapeless and formless, because seeing Him who has one face it comes to have one face and then the whole mind becomes a face of light.- taken from Speech on Love

He too, like St. Hippolytus, suffered a martyrs death.  St. Maximus the Confessor, a remarkable man who Mike Aquilina tells us about. 

Mike Aquilina’s excellent book “the Fathers of the Church” is a great introduction to the First Christian teachers.

It’s important I think to hear the stories of these great thinkers of the Church, who when the time came in a crazy world, had the courage to speak truth and surrender to God’s great love…if they can do it, why can’t we?