Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Catholic Book of Scripture Passages

I just wanted to quickly mention a little book that I have found to be very helpful. It is called The Catholic Book of Scripture Passages: A Prayer Guide for Every Occasion. This small, yet 176 page prayer book, contains a selection of Scripture passages that can be used throughout the liturgical year, as well as in particular life circumstances.
As the book's description says: "Scripture speaks to our hearts-and to our every need. This book's small size makes it easy to carry with you for Adoration, Mass, or any other time you would like to spend a few minutes praying with the Scriptures. Chapter headings help readers quickly locate just the right Bible passage for any of life's moments."
I was using it last night for night prayer, since I wanted to pray focusing on Scripture passages related to Holy Week and everything I wanted was right there in front of me. This book contains a section specifically for Holy Week with readings from Isaiah, Zechariah, and various New Testament authors. (There are also sections for the other main liturgical seasons of the year.) In addition, this small book has a section relating various Scripture passages to the seven Sacraments and the saints.
So, it is worth checking out. I can see myself, like the description says, using it in Adoration. It is fairly cheap being only $10.00 at most online stores. The translation used is the NRSV and the publisher is The Word Among Us Press.

Catholic Family Connections Bible NAB

From Saint Mary's Press, who publishes the Catholic Youth Bible, comes the Catholic Family Connections Bible. Utilizing the current NAB translation, this Bible: "Helps families connect to each other through family faith conversations, helps families connect to Faith through practices of prayer and devotion, and helps families connect to the community through participating in Christian service together." I received an email this morning from Amazon.com stating that this Bible was now available, however, the Saint Mary's Press website says that it will be released in June. In either case, there seems to be a push from Catholic Bible publishers to produce more attractive "family" editions of the Bible, perhaps as opposed to those large heirloom Bibles that too few people actually use.

The Catholic Family Connections Bible will come with the following features:

* Over 700 lively articles help you Pray It! Study It! Live It!??
* Catholic Connection articles provide a presentation of key Catholic doctrine
* 28 articles address the seven principles of Catholic social teaching
* 75 inspirational illustrations
* Helpful index to life and faith issues
* Easy-to-use glossary of Scripture-related terms
* Sunday Lectionary readings for all three cycles
* "Catholic Connections" index
* "Sacraments Connections" index

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Palm Sunday

Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem. As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples.He said, “Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.Untie it and bring it here.And if anyone should ask you,‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer,‘The Master has need of it.’” So those who had been sent went off and found everything just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying this colt?”They answered,“The Master has need of it.” So they brought it to Jesus,threw their cloaks over the colt, and helped Jesus to mount. As he rode along,the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. They proclaimed:“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”He said in reply,“I tell you, if they keep silent,the stones will cry out!”
-Luke 19:28-40
How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of "his father David". Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means "Save!" or "Give salvation!"), the "King of glory" enters his City "riding on an ass". Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God's poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, "Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord", is taken up by the Church in the Sanctus of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord's Passover.
-CCC 559
Almighty and Everlasting God, You have given the human race Jesus Christ our Savior as a model of humility. He fulfilled Your Will by becoming Man and giving His life on the Cross. Help us to bear witness to You by following His example of suffering and make us worthy to share in His Resurrection.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saint Benedict Press Gift Bibles Ship March 25th

Saint Benedict Press will be shipping their First Communion and Confirmation Gift Bibles on March 25th. These hardbound gift Bibles come in both the NAB and Douay-Rheims translations. What, no RSV? ;)

The NAB and Douay-Rheims First Communion editions include:

"Pages of colorful images, child-friendly stories on the lives of young Saints, daily Catholic prayers, including how to pray the Rosary, and explanations of the Seven Sacraments. This elegant edition also contains an explanation of the Mass and the complete Calendar of Sunday and Weekday Readings. The treasures discovered in this keepsake box will multiply the Graces received in the Sacrament of Holy Communion."

The NAB and Douay-Rheims Confirmation edition includes:

"Stories on the lives of young Saints, explanations of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and well-known prayers written in English and Latin. This elegant edition also contains answers to teens’ top questions about Catholic moral teaching and the complete Calendar of Sunday and Weekday Readings. The treasures discovered in this keepsake box will multiply the Graces received in the Sacrament of Confirmation."

You can find both editions, available for pre-order, on the Saint Benedict Press website.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review: Essential Guide to the Holy Bible

During recent trips to some of the local Catholic bookstores in my neck of the woods, I have noticed that there has been quite a few Catholic "Intros" to the Bible books being published. A number of them have been produced by some fairly well-known Catholic authors, like Scott Hahn and Stephen J. Binz, and are of varying degrees of sophistication. One of these was recently translated and published by USCCB entitled: Essential Guide to the Holy Bible. Written by Msgr. Pietro Principe, this slender (89 pages), yet useful Libreria Editrice Vaticana publication can be purchased for only $6.95 on the USCCB website. (All readers of this blog can receive a 10% discount. All you need to do is give the promotion code “BIBLE” when you place your order.)
For it's size and affordability, this handy little volume is a wonderful introduction for those Catholics who are looking to begin consistently reading the Bible from the heart of the Church. The book is broken up into five sections: 1) The Bible; 2) The Books of the Bible; 3) Some Key Persons in the Bible; 4) How to Read the Bible; 5) The Message of the Bible. Scripture texts are taken from the NAB and Dei Verbum is referenced throughout, with occasional references to the PBC's The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church and the USCCB's Catholic Catechism for Adults.
The first section,"The Bible", discusses issues such as inspiration, the historical-critical method, and the importance of recognizing the overall "story' of the Bible. As Msgr. Principe points out: "The story of humanity and the story of salvation are rooted in two historical events: the will of God that creates the universe, and the redemptive act of Christ that saves humanity. These two events accomplish the wonderful encounter between human reality and divine transcendence (5)."
Parts two and three, which are easily the largest in this book, give brief introductions to each book of the Bible and short biographies on important Biblical people, respectively. The fourth section focuses on how to read the Bible, highlighting the importance of understanding the various "senses of Scripture". The final part concludes the book with some thoughts on the renewal in Bible reading in the Catholic Church, including it's use in the Liturgy and personal prayer.
I should also mention that there are sidebars scattered throughout the book that cover issues like the languages used in the Bible, the historical sources, the canon of the sacred books, related internet sites, the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books of the Bible, and a few others.
If you are looking for a brief introduction to the Holy Bible, from a Catholic perspective, this would be a very nice volume to pick. For anyone who had been reading the Bible for a while, then you probably are familiar with most of the material included in this "essential" guide. Overall, this is a fine addition to the USCCB publishing catalogue.
I will conclude this review, like the Essential Guide to the Holy Bible does, by quoting from Dei Verbum: "In this way, therefore, through the reading and study of the sacred books "the word of God may spread rapidly and be glorified" (2 Thess. 3:1) and the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, may more and more fill the hearts of men. Just as the life of the Church is strengthened through more frequent celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, similar we may hope for a new stimulus for the life of the Spirit from a growing reverence for the word of God, which "lasts forever" (Is. 40:8; see 1 Peter 1:23-25)."

**I would like to thank Mary Elizabeth Sperry, from the USCCB, for sending me a review copy**

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tid Bits

Hey folks, I will be off leading (and attending) a couple of retreats in the next week and a half, so blogging may be a little light. Until then, I have listed below a few things that have come to my attention regarding the wonderful world of Catholic Bibles. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

1) Word of God Everyday: This is a Catholic site where you can sign up to receive a scripture verse sent to your email everyday. I just signed up a few days ago. They also have a Pope Benedict Everyday site as well.

2) I also want to recommend, as I did a few months ago, a Catholic Men's website that contains numerous Bible study audio, many of them by a former professor of mine Dr. Peter Williamson. There are audio files of his current Bible study on the Book of Revelation, as well as many of Paul's letters. It's definitely worth a listen......and it's all free!

3) I received an email from Saint Mary's Press, known mostly for their Catholic Youth Bible, announcing the upcoming release of the Catholic Family Connections Bible. Due to be published in June, it will come in multiple cover editions.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition

Paulist Press will be publishing The Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition in April. Coming in both hardcover and paperback editions, this is "an ideal Bible for anyone who desires to reflect on the individual stories and chapters of just one, or even all, of the biblical books, while being led to prayer though meditation on that biblical passage." The translation used is the NRSV-Catholic Edition. Paulist Press is currently taking pre-orders, if you are interested. Shipping date is said to be on April 26th.

One thing that excites me about this edition is that it uses the fairly rare, at least in Catholic Bible circles, single-column page format. I think I can count the number of single-column Catholic Bibles on one hand, most notably the NJB and Little Rock's The Four Gospels.

Of course, I am interested to see how useful this Bible will actually be in promoting Lectio Divina. I also wonder what else is included in this Bible? Concordance? Maps? Perhaps if this becomes popular they will consider publishing it in italian duo-tone or premium ultrasoft editions. More info on this once its released or whenever I get some additional information.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament Delayed?

According to Vladimir, posting on the Catholic Answers Forum, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament publication date has been pushed back to June. Although I can't find any confirmation of this on the Ignatius site, Amazon.com does confirm this. Although this is only a few months delay, when combined with the reality that it has taken 10 years to get only the New Testament completed is a bit disappointing. Perhaps my rather light-hearted suggestion that the complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) wouldn't be published until 2020 isn't so far off. Hmm.... Any thoughts?

Monday, March 8, 2010

St. John Lateran

Fellow blogger Kevin Sam, New Epistles, passed along a link to a fine tour of St. John Lateran in Rome, which is the Pope's cathedral and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist in 318 AD, the Church celebrates it founding on November 9th each year. It was the Pope's official residence until the fifteenth century.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First Look: NOAB Fourth Edition

The fourth edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible: NRSV w/ Apocrypha arrived at my home yesterday. While the page format is slightly different, the overall size is almost identical to the Augmented Third Edition. The actual typesetting reminds me alot of the recent NRSV Catholic Gift Bible, as well as the New Life with God Bible NRSV, from HarperCollins. There are no paragraph headings within the NRSV text and the commentary notes are organized well in the standard NOAB single column fashion. All cross-references, like in previous editions, are located within the verse commentary. Overall, I think the look is an upgrade to previous editions.

The standard hardcover edition, which I purchased, contains a concordance, which is missing in the college edition. The maps are generally the same, however, there is an additional update to the maps concerning the Setting of the Exodus, Roman Empire, and Setting of Early Christian Missions.

One of the immediate areas where the NOAB has been updated is in the individual book introductions. Although I haven't had a chance to read them in detail, each intro is clearly marked and broken down into parts focusing on issues like Authorship, Date, and Place of Composition, Literary Form, Interpretation, Style, Structure, and additional issues pertaining to the book being read. This makes finding particular introductory information a lot easier than in prior editions. One helpful inclusion, for example, I found in the introduction to Ephesians, where the NOAB included a chart documenting the parallels between Ephesians and Colossians. Nice touch!

Throughout the text, there are 40 additional in-text maps, charts, and diagrams, many of which were included in the Augmented 3rd edition. The appendix contains a set of essays covering the Canons of the Bible, various forms of Interpretation from ancient to modern, Cultural Context essays, and a set of tables that includes a historical timeline, table or rulers, weights and measures, calendar, and parallel texts. There is also a glossary of biblical scholarship terms and a complete index to the study materials.

Overall, it seems like it is a very nice update to the Augmented 3rd edition. I have checked up on some commentary notes that had me scratching my head in the previous edition, and for the most part I think they have been improved and clarified. Of course, I have only had this 4th edition in my hands for hardly twenty-four hours, so take that for what its worth. Again, one must keep in mind that this is an ecumenical study Bible that has Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish contributions. If you are looking for a devotional or life application study Bible, don't buy this one. However, if you like your study Bible with plenteous notes on literary forms, historical context, and other modern Biblical scholarship terms, purchase the NOAB 4th edition. It will eventually come in genuine leather too!