Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review: Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Brant Pitre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite book by Catholic theologian Brant Pitre. In this latest hermeneutical work, Pitre explores the historical, cultural and biblical roots of the idea of Jesus defining Himself as the Bridegroom of the Church and, by extension, since we all participate in Christ's Mystical Body, of all the Faithful.

Every Catholic priest must familiarize himself with this important, significant catechesis and teach it from the pulpit.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: The Name of God is Mercy

The Name of God is Mercy The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading yet another book by Pope Francis. I especially found it rewarding to learn a bit more about what influenced the Pope's views on the virtue of mercy. Following a format used in publishing some of his previous books, a Vatican journalist submitted a list of questions to Pope Francis and he answered them at his leisure. So, (thankfully) no off-the-cuff comments from the Pontiff in this missive. Anyone familiar with the Pope's views on mercy, especially as they relate to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, will find his personal answers heartwarming and full of practical advice.

Unfortunately, this book was released before the publication of Pope Francis' latest apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, so there is no discussion of any of the controversies contained in that text.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning why the Pope (and the Catholic Church) believes that God's mercy is such a necessity for people (believers and non-believers alike) navigating our secular modern world.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Taking Down the Body From the Cross - Meditation

Taking Down Christ's Body from the Cross is the sixth prayer meditation in the Devotion to Mary's Sorrows.

Michelangelo's Pieta, image from Wikipedia
Whenever I think of Michelangelo's or anyone else's rendition of the Pieta, Mary cradling Jesus' lifeless body is always juxtaposed in my mind with Mary cradling the infant Jesus. This brings great comfort, in one sense, since it completes Jesus' ministry on Earth, which began with his incarnation, with the mystery of the marriage of divinity and humanity, which then led to His birth.

Besides a mother's loss, what did Mary feel when she held the body of Our Savior? Did she recall the angel's encounter thirty-three years before? Did she think of her quiet assent, her humble and faith-based ave, her assent to God's request? Did she consider all those times when the Holy Family had to flee from dangerous threats to her son? Did she wonder why the Innocents had to be murdered, when ultimately, Jesus still met his death in such an ugly, humiliating way? Did she recall that bitter-sweet event so long ago, at the presentation of Our Lord in the temple, when Simeon praised the baby Jesus and then warned our Blessed Mother that her heart would be pierced by sorrow?

As she holds his corpse, the weight of his flesh straining her arms, did she wonder how Jesus could be the Savior of the world when he couldn't, or wouldn't, save himself?

Was her faith in God tested, after seeing her Son brutally tortured for two days?

No, probably not. Mary had faith in God. And she was the most tested of God's earthly creatures, and for that she deserved to be crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

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