New Book: THE ROSARY UNBOUND

RosaryunboundebookcoverA couple years ago I realized that I had written on about half of the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, a favorite devotion. Since Greek and Hebrew were the focus of my studies, discovering deeper meaning in the key biblical passages has been especially rewarding. I then set out to write on the rest of them and put together this book, The Rosary Unbound: Scriptural Portraits of the Mysteries.

From the introduction:

Our hope is that The Rosary Unbound will foster a deeper understanding of the language and symbolism of the biblical texts, leading to a more profound and attentive contemplation of the twenty mysteries. Since they recall events in the life of Christ, this will further unite us to him, as St. Paul confessed:

I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me (Galatians 2:19b-20).

The inspiring illustrations are the work of award-winning artist Sister Mary Grace Thul, O.P. Whether or not you pray the Rosary, something new is unveiled about the life of Christ in each of these 20 brief studies that will enrich your faith.

The Book is now available on Amazon at an introductory price of $8.99.

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The Three Signs that Will Announce Christ’s Return

In his first letter to the Church in Thessaloniki, Paul reminds its members of what they had been taught regarding the return of Christ:

For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief (1 Thess 5:2-4).

Christ’s return will not be like a thief in the night for us or perhaps a future generation of faithful Catholics, but highly anticipated.

nero
Emperor Nero

But the Thessalonians had forgotten this instruction and were in a panic because of increasing persecution (this was during the reign of Emperor Nero). As a result, someone had convinced them that the Day of the Lord was imminent:

We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand (2 Thess 2:1-2).

Since persecution itself was not the sign of the end times, Paul had written a second letter, reminding them of the events that must precede the return of Christ. Continue reading “The Three Signs that Will Announce Christ’s Return”

Did ‘Laudato si’ Paint the Church into a Corner?

Looking back at the 5-year legacy of the encyclical, Fr. Raymond de Souza concluded that the pope imprudently lent the Church’s moral authority to the goals of environmental activism:

The environmental movement — in both its Christian and secular expressions — has heaped praise upon Laudato Si. Indeed, even those elements of the green lobby that prefer population-control methods — including abortion — that Pope Francis vehemently denounces have welcomed Laudato Si. That political collaboration has been encouraged by the Vatican, with prominent invitations to such figures — from Jeffrey Sachs to Bernie Sanders — being regularly issued (link).

Continue reading “Did ‘Laudato si’ Paint the Church into a Corner?”

The Extraordinary Form after the Pandemic and Beyond

A recent report published by the International Federation Una Voce analyzes data from a worldwide survey of dioceses. This was an online poll that reached out to the laity with questions about the churches within their diocese which offered Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF). What is interesting about their methodology is that it was able to take anecdotal evidence and turn it into something that is statistically meaningful. Continue reading “The Extraordinary Form after the Pandemic and Beyond”

Is this an Occasion of Divine Punishment?

Cardinal Bassetti

It’s certainly a fair question; plagues as a means of God’s judgement are well attested in scripture. When asked, however, many of our leaders in the Church have categorically denied that the pandemic is a punishment. How do they know? Apparently, it’s because God no longer punishes. Some examples:

Continue reading “Is this an Occasion of Divine Punishment?”

Why Did Jesus Choose the Title ‘Son of Man’?

“Son of Man” was a common expression in the Old Testament for “man” or “mankind”, rendered either ben-enosh [“son of man”] or ben-adam [“son of Adam”]. It was the phrase with which God addressed the prophet Ezekiel over 90 times:

Continue reading “Why Did Jesus Choose the Title ‘Son of Man’?”

4 Consequences of the Pandemic that Will Impact the Church

Atrophy

In a recent survey, 20% of Catholics ages 18-34 responded that their faith had decreased as a result of the pandemic, for ages 35-54 it was 10% (link). The poll was conducted in August, long before the current “surge” in cases. When it’s all over will Catholics return to Mass on a regular basis? One priest, Father Illo of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, thinks that number will be less than half:

Continue reading “4 Consequences of the Pandemic that Will Impact the Church”

Light in a World of Darkness

Jesus taught His followers that they should be prepared to experience one of two things: oppression or empathy. He explains this to the Pharisee Nicodemus, who came to Jesus under the cover of night to question Him. The reference here to the light is a reference to Jesus Himself:

Continue reading “Light in a World of Darkness”

Should We Pray for the Gift of Prophecy?

It depends on whether St. Paul’s exhortation is still valid:

Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

He was responding to reports that members of the Church in Corinth had elevated the spiritual charism of speaking in tongues at the expense of prophecy. He goes on to explain that speaking in tongues edifies the individual but prophecy is more important because it edifies the body of Christ:

Continue reading “Should We Pray for the Gift of Prophecy?”

The Dialectical Thorn in St. Paul’s Side

The Apostle Paul, Rembrandt

A dialectic is a philosophical method in which a thesis, when conjoined with an antithesis, produces a synthesis; two contradictory concepts can instruct each other and together form a new concept. There appears to be two of these in the fascinating story of St. Paul’s thorn in his side, a God-given ailment meant to humble the apostle.

St. Paul shares with the Corinthian church the story of having been “caught up to the third heaven” fourteen years earlier, where he “heard ineffable things which no one may utter” (2 Cor. 12:1-4). He admits that he deserves to feel proud of this privilege, but was given a painful thorn as a result in order to prevent him from the sin of pride.

Continue reading “The Dialectical Thorn in St. Paul’s Side”