The Moment of Christian Witness with Dr. Rodney Howsare Ph.D. – pt. 1
With Dr. Rodney Howsare Ph.D., we begin with a conversation about Hans Urs von Balthasar and his analysis of the thought of Karl Rahner S.J. and those who followed after him. We then discuss the meaning of what Balthasar calls “the Decisive Moment.”
Balthasar: Beauty, Goodness, Truth is a series of conversations with noted theological scholars about the life and teachings of Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar who is considered to be one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century.
Hans Urs von Balthasar puts his finger on the precise origin of all those elements in modern Christianity which see the real Jesus Christ as unknowable, the Gospels as merely the confused reflections of later Christians, and Christian tradition as a perpetuation of the mythology.
What a delight to talk once again with Michael O’Brien. His prolific novels have become modern-day classics in Catholic literature. In this episode, we discuss the transcendent nature of beauty and prayer as experienced in The Art of Michael D. O’Brien, published by Ignatius Press. During our conversation, he also reflects on the exceptional challenges we now face throughout the world. We absolutely love his work and could not recommend it more highly.
In this book, Michael O’Brien presents many of his stunning works of art. His vibrancy, originality, and variety are on display in more than 120 full-page, full-color reproductions of his paintings and Byzantine-style icons. Also included are some of his drawings and other works in black and white. O’Brien’s pieces are introduced by Dr. Clemens Cavallin of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who analyses the artist’s influences, principles, and unique style. In O’Brien’s preface, he explains his development as a visual artist and his philosophy of sacred art.
“Freed from stylistic and formal fads, Michael O’Brien’s images arrest viewers in the here and now before propelling them into the depths of spirituality. His story recalls that of Fra Angelico—living Truth while painting Truth.”
—Elizabeth Lev, Art Historian and Author, How Catholic Art Saved the Faith
“O’Brien’s time spent as a writer of Byzantine icons has influenced all his work: these pieces are indeed ‘windows to heaven’.”
—Sally Read, Poet and Author, Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story
“Those of us who know Michael O’Brien’s fiction will delight in this volume of his art. His work is quintessentially personal, in the sense that it incarnates the extraordinary vision of this marvelous man.”
—Joseph Pearce, Author, Literature: What Every Catholic Should Know
“The Song at the Scaffold” by Gertrude von le Forte’s is one of the finest novellas ever written! Vivian Dudro, writer and editor at Ignatius Press engages in a wonderful conversation about the work of German author Gertrude von le Forte who was a writer of novels, poems, and essays. A convert to Catholicism in 1926, most of von le Forte’s work came after her conversion. In 1952 she won the Gottfried-Keller Prize, an esteemed Swiss literary award.
Set during the French Revolution, this classic novella is based on the true story of the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, who offered their lives for the preservation of the Church in France. The Song at the Scaffold was the original inspiration for the opera Dialogues of the Carmelites written by Francis Poulenc, which premiered in 1957. The opera was based on a libretto with this same title written by Georges Bernanos.
As Vivian points out in our discussion, von le Forte’s work is as relevant today as it was in the last century. In the course of our conversation, we discuss the influence of the Carmelite tradition and it’s influence on Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and Bl. John Paul II, as well the role of redemptive suffering in the life of the Christian.
A novella in it’s truest sense, this book contains as much meaning as any tome made up 10x the pages. A NOT TO BE MISSED READ.
The wisdom that comes from experience is a gift that is meant to be shared, especially in times of challenge and heightened anxiety. In “The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments: A Catholic Journey of Recovery,” Scott Weeman shares his recovery journey and offers a hand up to many today who find themselves in a time of darkness and struggle, especially during the circumstances arising from the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Catholic in Recovery is a nonprofit organization founded by Scott Weeman that seeks to serve those suffering from addictions and unhealthy attachments (including alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, sex and relationship addiction, compulsive overeating and food addictions, gambling addiction, codependency and the impact on family, and general fear, control, and anxiety). To learn visit: www.catholicinrecovery.com
In The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments, Weeman candidly tackles the struggle he and other addicts have with getting to know intimately the unnamed Higher Power of recovery. He shares stories of his compulsion to find a personal relationship with God and how his tentative steps back to the Catholic Church opened new doors of healing and brought him surprising joy as he came to know Christ in the sacraments.
Catholics in recovery and those moving toward it, as well as the people who love them will recognize Weeman’s story and his spiritual struggle to personally encounter God. He tells us how: Baptism helps you admit powerlessness over an unmanageable problem, face your desperate need for God, and choose to believe in and submit to God’s mercy. Reconciliation affirms and strengthens the hard work of examining your life, admitting wrongs, and making amends. The Eucharist provides ongoing sustenance and draws you to the healing power of Christ. The graces of Confirmation strengthen each person to keep moving forward and to share the good news of recovery and new life in Christ. Weeman’s words are boldly challenging and brimming with compassion and through them you will discover inspiration, hope, sage advice, and refreshingly practical help.
Robert Cardinal Sarah calls The Day Is Now Far Spent his most important book. He analyzes the spiritual, moral, and political collapse of the Western world and concludes that “the decadence of our time has all the faces of mortal peril.”
A cultural identity crisis, he writes, is at the root of the problems facing Western societies. “The West no longer knows who it is, because it no longer knows and does not want to know who made it, who established it, as it was and as it is. Many countries today ignore their own history. This self-suffocation naturally leads to a decadence that opens the path to new, barbaric civilizations.”
While making clear the gravity of the present situation, the cardinal demonstrates that it is possible to avoid the hell of a world without God, a world without hope. He calls for a renewal of devotion to Christ through prayer and the practice of virtue.
I really love this book! This is a must-have entry point for anyone wanting to learn more about an incredible 20th-century American woman who’s life continues to speak to us today! In “Dorothy Day: An Introduction to Her Life and Thought” by Terrence Wright we are shown what conversion looks like and what fruit can be nurtured by a life steeped in mercy, prayer, and care for those in need. Servant of God Dorothy Day, please pray for us!
In this introduction to the life and thought of Dorothy Day, one of the most important lay Catholics of the twentieth century, Terrence Wright presents her radical response to God’s mercy. After a period of darkness and sin, which included an abortion and a suicide attempt, Day had a profound awakening to God’s unlimited love and mercy through the birth of her daughter.
After her conversion, Day answered the calling to bring God’s mercy to others. With Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933. Dedicated to both the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy, they established Houses of Hospitality, Catholic Worker Farms, and the Catholic Worker newspaper.
Drawing heavily from Day’s own writings, this book reveals her love for Scripture, the sacraments, and the magisterial teaching of the Church. The author explores her philosophy and spirituality, including her devotion to Saints Francis, Benedict, and Thérèse. He also shows how her understanding of the Mystical Body of Christ led to some of her more controversial positions such as pacifism.
Since her death in 1980, Day continues to serve as a model of Christian love and commitment. She recognized Christ in the less fortunate and understood that to be a servant of these least among us is to be a servant of God.
It was truly a blessing to share this conversation with Laura Fanucci about the book she co-authored with her husband Franco entitled “Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage.” This is an important work and the best I have ever seen on the subject. Filled with tender, relatable situations and practical advice, “Grieving Together” is not only for couples who have experienced the loss of miscarriage, but also for those who love and minister to them.
You might feel, in the days and weeks after a miscarriage, like the Lord is anything but close.
Laura and Franco Fanucci understand. After struggling with infertility, they miscarried their third child in the first trimester. Later, their twin daughters were born prematurely and lived only a few days. Laura and Franco are here to tell you that, while your miscarriage is a deeply personal loss, you are not alone.
Grieving Together is written by a couple specifically for couples, understanding that both spouses have experienced a loss and grieve differently. Drawing from Catholic tradition and teaching, Laura and Franco gently guide you through:
The physical and emotional experiences of miscarriage – including help in making the hardest decisions
How couples respond to grief – and how to support each other
Turning to family, friends, and the Church – finding help and support from loved ones and your Church community
The future after miscarriage – where to go from here as a couple
Grieving Together is the book the Fanuccis had wished for after their miscarriage. Practical resources include Scripture, prayers, and official Catholic rites. It also speaks to the unique concerns of fathers, and includes many real-life stories from couples in many different circumstances.
Vivian Dudro joins us once again to discuss Sigrid Undset, her life and her times, and some other works of this important author.
To say that Sigrid Undset is compelling would be an understatement. A Catholic convert, Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist, her works invoke the poignancy of the fall and the hope that is found in the act of redemptive suffering. “Ida Elisabeth” is a tremendous work. Great literature helps us practice the virtues. We may never encounter the situations the characters do, but watching how they navigate through the emotions and morals of the moments, help us to exercise our own virtues and responses to the underlying sin that propels the characters forward…and helps us to avoid recognize in some way the traps laid before us.
“Undset is a realist in the truest sense of the word. She sees the real world in which people face the bitter consequences of selfish choices and in which suffering is unavoidable and yet potentially redemptive. In her acclaimed historical fiction, Undset shows us that the acceptance of suffering is the beginning of wisdom and also, paradoxically, the path to peace and lasting joy.”
– Joseph Pearce, Author, The Quest for Shakespeare
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”, is 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. Abby didn’t go looking for the spotlight, but she didn’t say “no” when it fell on her either. 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.
“What I have told people for years,
what I’ve believed and taught and defended, is a lie.
What if I’d known the truth,
and what if I’d told all those women?”
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story. Abby was director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, but not long after assisting in an actual abortion procedure for the first time, she crossed the line to join the Coalition for Life. What happened in that clinic to cause this Planned Parenthood leader and Employee of the Year to take such drastic action? And how did Planned Parenthood react to her abrupt departure?
Abby reveals her full story in Unplanned: a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation. Now in an updated edition, Abby’s unique vantage point from both sides of the abortion clinic property line shines light and compassion into the personal and political controversy that surrounds this issue. For anyone who cares about the life-versus-rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies, Unplanned is a must-read.
What a delight to talk with Ashley Hales about her book “Finding Holy in the Subrubs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much.” This book is about bringing things out into the light. We discuss the “idols” of the suburbs and the challenges of being truly present to our neighbors.
What does it look like to live a full Christian life in the suburbs? Suburbs reflect our good, God-given desire for a place to call home. And suburbs also reflect our own brokenness. This book is an invitation to look deeply into your soul as a suburbanite and discover what it means to live holy there.