IP#79 Fr. Dwight Longenecker – More Christianity on Inside the Pages

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is Catholic priest and writer who has experienced an interesting journey of faith. Born into a Evanglical Christian family in Pennsylvania, graduate from fundamentalist Bob Jones University in Florida, and he would later become an Anglican priest serving as  a curate, a chaplain at Cambridge, and a country parson.  Then, in 1995, he and his wife and family were received into the Roman Catholic Church.  He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

Fr. Longenecker has expanded and revised his book “More Christianity:   where he invites the readers to move from “Mere Christianity” to “More Christianity” in the Roman Catholic faith.  Filled with every major aspect of our Catholic faith, Fr. Longenecker book serves, not only as resource to help Evangelicals to understand the Catholic faith, but also is excellent for Catholics who wish to deepen their own knowledge of the faith we profess.

Visit Fr. Longenecker’s blog “Standing on My Head” to learn more about this and other books, as well as so much more

IP#78 Abby Johnson – unPlanned on Inside the Pages

An ordinary woman who has experienced extraordinary grace and wow, look what God has done!  Abby Johnson, author of “unPlanned: the dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader’s eye-opening journey across the life line”, a courageous woman who has brought forward not just the Planned Parenthood story (at times nightmarish in their behavior), but more importantly, her story…the journey of conversion, forgiveness, and witness.  She didn’t go looking for the spotlight, but she didn’t say “no” when it fell on her and now she is standing up for life and exposing the reality of Planned Parenthood and the beautiful options for life that are truly available.  She can truly say, with all integrity, that she knows both sides of the battle, and she is choosing life!  Be sure to get the “Catholic Edition” by Ignatius Press.  Visit Abby’s website here.

 

You can pick up the book here

St. Robert Bellarmine, doctor of the Church…”an outstanding figure of a troubled age”

VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2011 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning’s general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 7,500 people, to St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), an outstanding figure of a troubled age in which “a serious political and religious crisis provoked a split between
entire nations and the Holy See”.
St. Robert Bellarmine, following an excellent cultural and humanistic education, entered the Society of Jesus in 1560. He studied in Rome, Padua and Leuven and was later made cardinal and archbishop of Capua, Italy. He held high office in the service of the Pope as a member of several congregations and head of Holy See diplomatic missions to Venice and England. During his final years he wrote a number of books on spirituality in which he condensed the fruits of his annual spiritual exercises. He was beatified and canonised by Pope Pius XI, who also declared him a Doctor of the Church.

“His ‘Controversial Works’ or ‘Disputationes’ are still a valid point of reference for Catholic ecclesiology”, said the Holy Father. “They emphasise the institutional aspect of the Church, in response to the errors then circulating on that topic. Yet Bellarmine also threw light on invisible aspects of the Church as Mystical Body, which he explained using the analogy of the body and soul, in order to describe the relationship between the interior richness of the Church and her visible exterior features.

“In this monumental work, which seeks to categorise the various theological controversies of the age, he avoids polemical and aggressive tones towards the ideas of the Reformation but, using the arguments of reason and of Church Tradition, clearly and effectively illustrates Catholic doctrine.

“Nonetheless”, the Pope added, “his true heritage lies in the way in which he conceived his work. His burden of office did not, in fact, prevent him from striving daily after sanctity through faithfulness to the requirements of his condition as religious, priest and bishop. … His preaching and catechesis reveal that same stamp of essentiality which he learned from his Jesuit education, being entirely focused on concentrating the power of the soul on the Lord Jesus, intensely known, loved and imitated”.

In another of his books, “De gemitu columbae” in which the Church is represented as a dove, Robert Bellarmine “forcefully calls clergy and faithful to a personal and concrete reform of their lives, in accordance with the teachings of Scripture and the saints. … With great clarity and the example of his own life, he clearly teaches that there can be no true reform of the Church unless this is first preceded by personal reform and conversion of heart on our part”.

“If you are wise, then understand that you were created for the glory of God and for your eternal salvation”, said the Pope quoting from one of the saint’s works. “Favourable or adverse circumstances, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honour and offence, life and death, the wise must neither seek these things, nor seek to avoid them per se. They are good and desirable only if they contribute to the glory of God and to your eternal happiness, they are bad and to be avoided if they hinder this”.

The Pope concluded: “These words have not gone out of fashion, but should be meditated upon at length in order to guide our journey on this earth. They remind us that the goal of our life is the Lord. … They remind us of the importance of trusting in God, of living a life faithful to the Gospel, and of accepting all the circumstances and all actions of our lives, illuminating them with faith and prayer”.

Published by VIS – Holy See Press Office

The Chair of St. Peter – the gift of the Papacy – Discerning Hearts

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter is not so much a feast celebrating a “chair”, but more a feast celebrating what the chair symbolizes…the gift of the Papacy. I remember seeing it for the first time…not only the stunning piece used to preserve it  by Bernini…but the whole altar piece setting at St. Peter’s…breathtaking.  Almost every time I now see the presider’s chair at my local parish or the chair at our cathedral, I think of this chair, but also of the great unity it gives us with the entire Catholic Church under the leadership of the successor of St. Peter…our Holy Father.  God bless the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  Praise be to God for the gift of the Papacy!

Take a listen to Dr. Matthew Bunson talk to us about the importance of this feast in the podcast above.

Also here is the text from the Holy Father’s reflections on this feast from 2006  from Vatican.va

“On this rock I will build my Church’

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, the Latin-rite liturgy celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors.

“Cathedra” literally means the established seat of the Bishop, placed in the mother church of a diocese which for this reason is known as a “cathedral”; it is the symbol of the Bishop’s authority and in particular, of his “magisterium”, that is, the evangelical teaching which, as a successor of the Apostles, he is called to safeguard and to transmit to the Christian Community.

When a Bishop takes possession of the particular Church that has been entrusted to him, wearing his mitre and holding the pastoral staff, he sits on the cathedra. From this seat, as teacher and pastor, he will guide the journey of the faithful in faith, hope and charity.

So what was the “Chair” of St Peter? Chosen by Christ as the “rock” on which to build the Church (cf. Mt 16: 18), he began his ministry in Jerusalem, after the Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost. The Church’s first “seat” was the Upper Room, and it is likely that a special place was reserved for Simon Peter in that room where Mary, Mother of Jesus, also prayed with the disciples. Therefore, we have the journey from Jerusalem, the newly born Church, to Antioch, the first centre of the Church formed from pagans and also still united with the Church that came from the Jews. Then Peter went to Rome, the centre of the Empire, the symbol of the “Orbis” – the “Urbs”, which expresses “Orbis”, the earth, where he ended his race at the service of the Gospel with martyrdom.

…This is testified by the most ancient Fathers of the Church, such as, for example, St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, but who came from Asia Minor, who in his treatise Adversus Haereses, describes the Church of Rome as the “greatest and most ancient, known by all… founded and established in Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul”; and he added:  “The universal Church, that is, the faithful everywhere, must be in agreement with this Church because of her outstanding superiority” (III, 3, 2-3)….

Tertullian, a little later, said for his part:  “How blessed is the Church of Rome, on which the Apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood!” (De Praescriptione Hereticorum, 36).
Consequently, the Chair of the Bishop of Rome represents not only his service to the Roman community but also his mission as guide of the entire People of God.

Celebrating the “Chair” of Peter, therefore, as we are doing today, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation.

Among the numerous testimonies of the Fathers, I would like to quote St Jerome’s. It is an extract from one of his letters, addressed to the Bishop of Rome. It is especially interesting precisely because it makes an explicit reference to the “Chair” of Peter, presenting it as a safe harbour of truth and peace.

This is what Jerome wrote:  “I decided to consult the Chair of Peter, where that faith is found exalted by the lips of an Apostle; I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there, where once I received the garment of Christ. I follow no leader save Christ, so I enter into communion with your beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter, for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built” (cf. Le lettere I, 15, 1-2).

Dear brothers and sisters, in the apse of St Peter’s Basilica, as you know, is the monument to the Chair of the Apostle, a mature work of Bernini. It is in the form of a great bronze throne supported by the statues of four Doctors of the Church: two from the West, St Augustine and St Ambrose, and two from the East:  St John Chrysostom and St Athanasius.

I invite you to pause before this evocative work which today can be admired, decorated with myriads of candles, and to say a special prayer for the ministry that God has entrusted to me. Raise your eyes to the alabaster glass window located directly above the Chair and call upon the Holy Spirit, so that with his enlightenment and power, he will always sustain my daily service to the entire Church. For this, as for your devoted attention, I thank you from my heart. –Vatican.va

IP#74 Nonie Darwish – Now They Call Me Infidel on Inside the Pages

“Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror” by Nonie Darwish is one of the most compelling I have ever read. I have read many books about Islam and the Middle East, but not until Nonie Darwish was I able to put the truly human component to that study.  And what I learned was truly eye-opening.  Nonie discusses growing up in the Egypt and the Gaza, as well as Sharia Law, polygamy practices, envy and “the evil eye”, the treatment of women, and what we should watch out for in the future.  Fantastic and courageous book (and life).

Pick up the book here

IP#73 Amy Bonaccorso – How to Get to “I Do” on Inside the Pages

“How to Get to “I Do” A Dating Guide for Catholic Women” by Amy Bonaccoro is the book Catholic single women are looking for (as well as their Catholic parents…I know, I am one of them). Filled with practical helps, as well as realistic understandings and approaches to navigating the cultural waters of today’s relationship scene, Amy does  a great job.  Be not afraid ladies…but do be discerning!  More can found at her website. at http://amybonaccorso.com/

You can find the book here

IP#72 Dr. Brant Pitre – Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist on Inside the Pages part 2

Part 2…What a fantastic book, what a fantastic (and fun) interview with Dr. Brant Pitre, discussing “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist”. This book has what it takes to become a classic, similiar in importance as Dr. Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper”!

The description from the book says it best….Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus’ purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, “This is my body… This is my blood”?
To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys—the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence—have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus’ presence in “the breaking of the bread.”

Find this book here


and be sure to check out Dr. Brant Pitre’s excellent website!

IP#71 Dr. Brant Pitre – Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist on Inside the Pages part 1

What a fantastic book, what a fantastic (and fun) interview with Dr. Brant Pitre, discussing “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist”. This book has what it takes to become a classic, similiar in importance as Dr. Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper”!

The description from the book says it best….Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus’ purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, “This is my body… This is my blood”?
To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys—the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence—have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus’ presence in “the breaking of the bread.”

Find this book here

and be sure to check out Dr. Brant Pitre’s excellent website!

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