Monday, November 30, 2015

More Hardback Classics from Baronius Press

I have made no secret of my love for Baronius Press.  In my mind, they are the only Catholic publisher that continues to make high quality, premium Catholic Bibles and other classics of the faith. These are the types of books that will not only last a lifetime, but the kind of books that feel great to read from and to hold in your hand.   The attention to quality is always a priority with Baronius Press.

So, this past summer, I was able to review their hardback classic edition of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I decided to purchase it, since I had never owned any of their "hardback classic" books as well as the fact that I had lost a nice edition of True Devotion during the flood of August 2014.  It remains a beautiful edition, which I refer to often.  At the time, I concluded my review by encouraging you consider these hardback classics, since: "They sell-out quickly, so if there is something you like, I'd advise that you get it.  Some of them will be printed again, but which ones and how many is uncertain."  Fortunately, Baronius has reprinted some of their best editions in the hardback classic series, including the works of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Sienna, as well as a few others.  Baronius gladly sent me two review copies to consider, The Rule of Saint Benedict and The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila.  

I will not spend any time discussing the content of these venerable works, since they are truly classics in the Catholic tradition.  My focus is on the quality of the actual book, which, once again, is very impressive.  Sometimes I wonder if my enthusiasm towards the books done by Baronius Press is due to the lack of quality in most other books coming from a majority of Catholic publishers or is it just that Baronius does a splendid job.  I think it is a little bit of both. 

 To start with, the covers are bound in bonded leather.  As the Baronius website points out, "the hardcover editions use the same (bonded) leather covered over 1/8" (1/12" for smaller titles) thick, stiff boards, to create strong and durable books that will last for generations."  In addition, all their hardback books, and Bibles, are sewn, which is always a must for me when I am deciding on purchasing any book that I plan to use often or give as a gift.  The quality of the cover and binding allows for a wonderful reading experience.  It just feels great to hold and the sewn binding allows you to open it flat without any issues.  When I am holding a Baronius book I have this feeling that this is how books were produced fifty or a hundred years ago.  I have a number of first edition books by Msgr. Knox, with a few of them being close to 80 years old.  They are sewn and are still in great condition.  (They even have that nice old smell to them.)  I can imagine that these Baronius editions will have the same look and feel a hundred years into the future.  (Perhaps even that same smell too!)

When you finally open up the book, you will find a page layout that is clear, easy on the eyes, and inviting to be read.  The paper is thick, not thin like their bibles.  The print is dark and well spaced.  They are not facsimiles of older editions, but rather each volume as been newly re-typset, which makes a world of difference. What all this means is that every page your read from is aesthetically beautiful and contains virtually no issues relating to ghosting or bleed through.  Although I wouldn't dream of doing it, one could probably safely write notes in these books with no worry of it being seen through on the next page.  I typically have time to read either early in morning or late at night, after my kids have gone to bed.  Never has there been a time when I couldn't read either of these books at any point in the day.  They read great at the beginning of the day, even now when the sun isn't up yet, or at the end of the day when I am sitting in my comfy chair next to a dimly lit lamp.  

The typical Baronius extras are also present in these volumes.  Each comes with a soft satin ribbon which is always better than using a paper bookmark.  When you are reading a volume as nicely crafted as these, it would be noticeable if there weren't a ribbon marker present.  Along with the ribbon you will also find head and tail bands.  (Headbands originated in Victorian England as a way of covering the unsightly spine sewing at the head and tail of the book block.)  Last, but not least, are one of my favorite features of the many books I own from Baronius: Endpapers!  Yeah, maybe you are wondering why I like them so much?  I can't really say, to be honest.  All I know is that when you regularly use books that do have them, you begin to notice which of your nicer books that don't have them.  Again, some of my more vintage books contain them, and I just feel like they add a bit of class to the volume.  Baronius explains: "The endpapers are made of thick heavy-weight paper, decoratively printed with traditional Catholic symbols, marble motives or other designs in wide array of colours according to the colour of the cover, complementing the overall design of the book."  When I had my Knox Bible rebound back in 2013, the one thing I realized after the fact was that those lovely Knox endpapers were going to be lost.  I still miss those endpapers!  I have even toyed with the idea of re-ordering another Knox hardcover from Baronius.  (That might be a bit too much, and I am not sure my wife would go for it.)  

Let me just say, in conclusion, that the hardback classic series from Baronius Press are well worth your time and money.  They are all reasonably priced, with none of the ones currently available listing for more than $30.  Actually, I think they are more than affordable considering the time, effort, and quality that goes into each edition.   (I recently purchased a paperback book for more than $30!) These are beautifully crafted editions from our Catholic tradition, which will indeed last a lifetime.  They also make great gifts for the coming Christmas season.  As I mentioned last time, I wouldn't recommend waiting too long to purchase anything Baronius Press produces.  They do not mass produce their books, bibles, or missals, rather they lovingly craft volumes in limited quality in a format that is fitting the author whose words are contained within.  

Again, I would like to thank Baronius Press for providing these two review copies for this post.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

1st Sunday of Advent

"Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways. Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth." -Psalm 25:4-5 (The Message)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My Advent 2015 Devotional: Miracles of Mercy by Ann Naffziger

This past Lent, part of my prayer each day was using Turning Around: Daily Lenten Reflections with The Message published by ACTA.  I appreciated the reflections by Ann Naffziger, which were both short yet thought-provoking, that accompanied the daily lectionary readings in the The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation. Each day, I found the length of the reading and reflection were just enough and fit what I needed, particularly with a growing family and two jobs.  I also appreciated that it was very portable and produced in such a way that I didn't feel bad if it got bent up or written on.

As we enter Advent 2015, as well as the Jubilee Year of Mercy, ACTA has published two new devotionals by Ann Naffziger for Advent and Lent.   Both of these devotionals take you through each day of the liturgical season, with a particular emphasis on Mercy.  What a great way to participate in this great jubilee!   While the Advent devotional Miracles of Mercy has already sold out, you can already pre-order the Lenten edition Doorway to Mercy through the Pastoral Center.   Lent starts early this year, February 10th, so make sure to pick one up before they become sold out as well.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekly Knox: Warfare (Atomic)

"Atomic energy has been manifested to us, so far, only as an instrument of death; and the bomb (like all explosive weapons, but on a scale hitherto unimaginable) is a weapon in the hands of tyranny.  It is suited to the needs of a world in which you no longer count heads to save breaking them, but blow off heads to save the trouble of counting them." - God and the Atom

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,  for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—  so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." -1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (NRSV)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today Only: 1/2 Off USCCB NABRE

List Price: $24.95
Sale Price: $12.47

Follow link:

The Illustrated and Annotated New Testament for Catholics

You can view page samples now.  It will be available in paperback soon from Liturgical Training Publications.

The Illustrated and Annotated New Testament for Catholics contains the complete text of the New Testament from the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), ideal for devotional reading and study. It includes the full NAB introductions and notes to facilitate understanding by providing details about the text and translation, as well as historical and theological context.
The notes included in the side margins are new to this New Testament. Written in an accessible style, they help the reader understand the world of the Bible and connect the text to our lives as Christians in today’s world.

This 608-page book includes hundreds of color illustrations to enhance the reading of the text: great artworks from the past millennium as well as photographs of places mentioned in the biblical text.  The Illustrated and Annotated New Testament for Catholics is a unique and attractive instrument to encourage Bible reading and study among youth and adults alike. It is an effective tool for youth and adult Bible study as well as Confirmation and RCIA programs. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 24)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

24. Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word. For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired, really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology.  By the same word of Scripture the ministry of the word also, that is, pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ the King

"Then I saw in my dream, how one came riding on the clouds of heaven, that was yet a son of man; came to where the Judge sat, crowned with age, and was ushered into his presence.  With that, power was given him, and glory, and sovereignty; obey him all must, men of every race and tribe and tongue; such a reign as his lasts for ever, such power as his the ages cannot diminish." 
-Daniel 7:13-14 (Knox)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

National Bible Week: Saturday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
What is your favorite passage of Scripture?  Why?

Friday, November 20, 2015

National Bible Week: Friday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
Do you practice lectio divina?  If so, explain how you do it?  What parts of the Bible do find most conducive to lectio?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

National Bible Week: Thursday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
What are your favorite Bible study tools?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy 50th Birthday Dei Verbum

Today is the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Dei Verbum by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council.  If you haven't read it before, today is a great day to do it.

This is one of my most favorite lines in the entire document, found in paragraph 2:

"In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation."

National Bible Week: Wednesday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
What is your favorite edition of the Bible edition?  Why?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

National Bible Week: Tuesday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
What is your favorite translation of the Bible? Why?

Monday, November 16, 2015

National Bible Week: Monday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
What is your favorite book of the Bible?  Why?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

National Bible Week: Sunday's Question

For National Bible Week, I will be proposing a question each day for you to consider.  Let's take this week to consider the great gift that is the Holy Scriptures.

Today's Question:
Who is your favorite Bible character?  Why?

Friday, November 13, 2015

USCCB National Bible Week Quiz

Take the quiz Here for a chance to win one of their new NABRE Bibles

Weekly Knox: Humour

"For humour, frown upon it as you will, is nothing less than a fresh window of the soul.  Through that window we see, not indeed a different world, but the familiar world of our experience distorted as if by the magic of some tricksy sprite.  It is a plate-glass window, which turns all our earnest, toiling fellow-mortals into figures of fun." -Essays in Satire

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Recognizing a Fine Bible

Thanks to my friend Paul for pointing me to this great article, on the Cambridge University Press site, about how to recognize a fine Bible.   Follow this link and make sure to bookmark it for future use.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Review: USCCB NABRE

Take a look at the new USCCB NABRE Personal Edition. Also available in gift and paperback editions, this is finally a Catholic Bible that doesn't need to be rebound.  The bonded leather cover flexes nicely to lay flat, the typeface is clean and a decent size, and the two-color inks make for easy navigation, especially with the book introductions and chapter guides at the top of each page.  One of my favorite features of this Personal Edition is the way it (accidentally?) blends gilded pages with printed navigation tabs without cutting thumb tabs into the pages. Lay it flat, and its a beautiful gold-edged volume. Flex it sightly, and you see all the red tabs.

The only thing that keeps this Bible from taking the prize is the unwieldy way it manages the textual notes. Personally, I am not one who objects to the NABRE notes, though I understand those who do. The 2010 NABRE OT is actually my favorite modern Edition in English, and having gone to an academic Protestant seminary, the content of the notes don't strike me as at all problematic. That's just what Biblical studies is, for me, and what led me to Catholicism as an adult. What bothers me isn't the content but the format. For some reason, instead of a single common asterisk, the publisher opted to give each subsequent textual note it's own distinctive footnote marker at the bottom of the page. I suppose the internet is to remove confusion about which text reference tracks to which footnote, but the result is a rather confusing connection of scribbles. I'm never sure if the notation is a call out to a footnote, or just a reference to a parallel text. I would have preferred a plain asterisk throughout, with clear verse references at the bottom of the page. The font size in the footnotes is a little too small to be comfortable.  

The text, of course, is the NABRE, consisting of the 2010 OT and Psalms, with the 1986 NT (currently under revision by the Catholic Biblical Association of America). Devotional fluff are minimal: just a presentation page, and maps at the back. For my use, I'll still default to the Didache NABRE because of the addition of the catechetical notes there, but I sure wish it was bound like this!

In this volume, the USCCB seems intent on providing the very thing we do often mourn the lack of on this blog: a basic Bible text, decently and sturdily bound, with uncluttered design for everyday Catholic use. Basically, a Protestant lap Bible for Catholics. Making its own translation available under its own imprint and in this format, the USCCB is finally doing just that. This is, quite literally, a full Catholic Bible translated and published by the Church for the Church.

Christopher Buckley holds an M.A. in Religion from the Claremont School of Theology. He began as a United Methodist and passed through the Episcopal Church before being confirmed into the Catholic Church as an adult. He lives and works in Seattle with his wife and two children, and blogs occasionally at Connect with him on TwitterGoogle+PinterestFlickr, and LinkedIn, and

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

USCCB Publishing NABRE: Personal Edition

For a long time, the USCCB left the NAB(RE) to be published by other Catholic publishing houses. This changed last year when the USCCB published a pocket Gospels and Acts in the NABRE translation.  Now recently, the USCCB has produced a regular sized NABRE in various covers, including hardcover, paperback, and bonded leather.  I was able to obtain the "personal edition" which comes in the bonded leather cover, and I must say that it is quite a nice edition for the modest price of $19.95.

To begin, here are the basic specifications of this Bible:

Exterior features:
● Soft, brown leather cover with gold embossing on the cover and spine
● Beautiful gold-gilded edges and rounded corners
● Convenient ribbon to bookmark your place

Inside features:
● Seven newly designed, full-color maps of biblical places and journeys    
● Two-color print (black and burgundy) for easy reading                
● Side tabs to distinguish the different books of the Bible
● Lightweight, smooth 24-lb paper

Starting with the exterior features, the leather is neither premium nor genuine.  However, as I mentioned above, it is quite soft for being bonded along with being fairly flexible.  It is not as stiff as most bonded leather bible covers that I have felt in the past, most notably the NJB readers edition.  The binding is sewn, which means that it could be a candidate for a rebind.  The gold-gilded edges and rounded corners give a classic look to it.  (One of my regrets on the Knox Bible from Baronius is that the corners are not rounded.)  One burgundy ribbon comes with this Bible.  The burgundy color of the ribbon matches quite well with the burgundy print that is found in the text.  It would have, however, been nice if they had offered this with two ribbons, but that is only a minor issue.

When you open the Bible. you will find that the print is quite readable.  It utilizes a two-color, black and burgundy, print, with the scriptural text and notes in black and the paragraph headings and chapter numbers in burgundy.  It works really well.  It might remind some of you of the HarperOne NABRE that came out a few years back.  I very much enjoyed what Harper did with their NABRE.  What makes the USCCB edition better is that the print is larger and bolder.  You will not have any problem reading from this Bible in pretty much any setting.  The standard NABRE notes and cross-references are found at the bottom of each page.  One final comment about the layout that stands out for me is the generous size of the margins.  They are large enough for personal annotations, even with the side tabs that are present on each page.  While this is not a "wide-margin" bible, it certainly has one of the largest margins of any NABRE or other Catholic bible recently published.

Overall, I find that this NABRE from the USCCB is quite a good deal.  For under $20 you get an NABRE with a beautiful page layout, sewn binding, flexible bonded leather, and a decent selection of maps.  If you know someone who is looking to get a new NABRE for Christmas, this might be an affordable option.  It even has a presentation page for such an occasion!    Now that they have produced a pocket edition and this personal edition, I would really like to see one done in premium leather.  If they were to do one with a similar page layout, it could easily become the nicest NABRE on the market, by far.

I would like to thank USCCB Publishing for sending me a review copy.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 23)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

23. The bride of the incarnate Word, the Church taught by the Holy Spirit, is concerned to move ahead toward a deeper understanding of the Sacred Scriptures so that she may increasingly feed her sons with the divine words. Therefore, she also encourages the study of the holy Fathers of both East and West and of sacred liturgies. Catholic exegetes then and other students of sacred theology, working diligently together and using appropriate means, should devote their energies, under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the divine writings. This should be so done that as many ministers of the divine word as possible will be able effectively to provide the nourishment of the Scriptures for the people of God, to enlighten their minds, strengthen their wills, and set men's hearts on fire with the love of God.  The sacred synod encourages the sons of the Church and Biblical scholars to continue energetically, following the mind of the Church, with the work they have so well begun, with a constant renewal of vigor. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

1 Kings 17:10-16

So he rose up and went to Sarephtha, and he had but reached the city gate when he met a woman gathering fire-wood; whereupon he called out to her, asking her to give him a cup of water to drink.  And as she went to fetch it, he cried after her, And when thou dost bring it, bring me, too, a mouthful of bread.  Why, she told him, as surely as the Lord thou servest is a living God, I have no food except a handful of flour at the bottom of a jar, and a drop of oil left in a cruet. Even now I am gathering a stick or two, to serve my son and me for our last meal. Have no fear, Elias said; go home on this errand of thine; only use the flour to make me a little girdle-cake first, and bring it me here; cook what is left for thyself and thy son.  This message the Lord God of Israel has for thee: There shall be no lack of flour in the jar, nor shall the oil waste in the cruet, till the Lord sends rain on this parched earth.  At that, she went and did Elias’ bidding, and there was a meal for him and for her and for all her household; and from that day onwards  there was still flour in the jar, still oil left in the cruet, as the Lord’s message through Elias had promised her.

The Message:
So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?”  She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die." Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’” And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Knox: Classic Quote on Translation

"The translator, let me suggest in passing, must never be frightened of the word 'paraphrase'; it is a bogey of the half-educated.  As I have already tried to point out, it is almost impossible to translate a sentence without paraphrasing; it is a paraphrase when you translate 'Comment vous portez-vous?' by 'How are you?'  But often enough it will be a single word that calls for paraphrase.  When St. Paul describes people as "wise according to the flesh', the translator is under an obligation to paraphrase.  In English speech, you might be called fat according to the flesh, or thin according to the flesh, but not wise or foolish.  The flesh here means natural, human standards of judging, and the translator has got to say so.  'Wise according to the flesh' is Hebrew in English dress; it is not English."  
--Englishing the Bible 8-9

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Review: 2 Little Offices of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I have mentioned before on this blog that one of my favorite devotions is The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  There are a number of things that have attracted me to this liturgy of the Church over the years.  First, the history of this office goes back many centuries, some say even back to the 8th century.  Even though the Little Office has certainly changed over the years, I love the fact that there is this connection to the medieval Church.  Secondly, it is an office in honor of Our Lady.  Devotional to the Blessed Virgin has been an important part of my spiritual life since I started to take my faith seriously.  With my wife and I praying a family rosary every Sunday night, I have found that this office is a great aid during the rest of the week.  Those who have a strong devotion to Our Lady will find the Little Office to be quite powerful.  Third, I love praying the Psalms, in particular the gradual Psalms (or Psalms of Ascent).  The daytime Psalms for the Little Office are centered around those Psalms, which I always find a great comfort when I read them in the middle of the day.  Fourth, this office is simple and compact.  It fits easily in my bag for work or even into my pocket if necessary.  Because there isn't much in the way of variation each day, unlike the older full Breviary or even more so in the newer Liturgy of the Hours, many, including myself, enjoy the comfort of hearing the same prayers and Psalms each day.  I have prayed both of the full and shorter breviaries in the past, but I find myself attracted to the Little Office.  Perhaps that has to do with my state in life, married with two (soon to be three) children, as well as two teaching jobs.  Finally, I love having the Latin and the English side by side.  It is great to be able to pray in both languages.

Baronius Press, back in 2007, were the first to re-publish the Little Office.  Since then, it has gone through four different printings.  As usual, the quality of the edition is top-notch, with a blue leather "flexible" (with boards) cover and a sewn binding.  Two ribbons are added to make flipping through this small office quite easy.  It looks and feels great, and it will certainly last a lifetime.  Baronius recently sent me a review copy (4th printing), which thankfully will replace my older copy.  My original edition was used lovingly and often to the point that I had it outside while it was raining, which ended up marking up the gold gilding.  Yet, it remains quite readable and sturdy, with no issues with the binding or the leather cover.  (Although you can see some finger-print marks at the bottom of each page.)  This newer edition comes with a 2011 nihil obstat/imprimatur and is in conformity with Pope Emeritus Benedict's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.   There is a short introduction along with an over 50 page appendix with articles explaining the Little Office.  The appendix also includes the older liturgical calendar, various Marian prayers, and a short article on indulgences related to this prayer.  There are also commemorations of St. Joseph and the Saints, which can be added to Lauds and Vespers for additional variety on these feast days and solemnities. Content is the same between the four editions, although the earlier editions had some typos that have been fixed in subsequent editions.  The Baronius Little Office has the English and Latin on the same page, which makes it easy to pray using both languages.  In addition, this Little Office contains the complete Gregorian Chant for praying all the hours.  

Angelus Press recently published their own edition of the Little Office.  Like the Baronius edition, it comes in a very compact 4" x 5" size.  Unlike Baronius, it is a soft paperback cover, with glued binding.  Both editions are completely re-typeset, which means they are not facsimiles.  This edition, instead of having both the English and Latin on the same page, places the English and Latin on facing pages.  This may be more beneficial to those who need a larger print or prefer that type of format.  The great advantage to getting this edition is that it includes the Matins, Lauds, and Vespers for the Office of the Dead.  I prayed this a couple days back for All Souls and appreciated the different antiphons, Psalms, and collects which are absent in the Baronius edition, since it only has the Little Office.  Each office has the various seasonal antiphon options before and after their respective Psalm or the Benedictus/Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis, thus there is no need for ribbons or flipping through to a different section of the book.  (The Baronius has the different seasonal antiphons in collected together after the "ordinary time" office.)  I noticed that while the translation of the antiphons are similar between the two editions, the Psalms are slightly different.  They both come from a translation of the Vulgate, but there are some minor differences.   (Perhaps one was done from the New Latin Psalter?)

I really like both of these editions.  I have used the Baronius one for at least four years, so I am much more familiar with it.  The Angelus Press version, I think, would be a good option for those who are not sure if they want to commit to this devotion, but are more interested in trying it out.  I would also say that if you have bad vision, the Angelus Press one would be much easier to read.  One of its other great strengths is that it contains the Office for the Dead.  On the other hand, if you want a much fuller edition of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and you plan on using it daily, the Baronius edition is probably the one you want to go with.  It has the look and feel of a book that will be your constant prayer companion for years to come.  It also has more information about the Little Office, itself, along with the added section of Gregorian Chant.  I will continue to use the Baronius Press Little Office on a daily basis, supplemented by the Angelus Press one on days I wish to pray the Office of the Dead.  Both editions are affordable, with the Angelus Press one listed for $19.95 and the one from Baronius Press for $29.95.

I would like to thank both Baronius Press and Angelus Press for each providing a review copy of their edition of the Little Office.  Please make sure to support both publishers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Crawley Bible

A very helpful note from reader Dan, who spotted this edition on eBay.  Thank you!

Dear Timothy,

Sorry to bother you but I hope you can help with this....I remember reading a few months ago that a user named "Daniel Cantelmo" was looking for a rare Crawley Bible. This is his post from June 10,  2015:

"Thank you, Timothy. I am looking for a 1953 Catholic Family Edition of the Bible, Imprintur: August 15, 1953 - with one caveat. Included in the edition I am looking for is the Sapential Books, which the copyright page states was printed on June 8, 1956. I don't know if the red Bible in this blog is one of those. They key is that "Sirach" starts on page 789. There are many versions of the 1953 August 15 bible on Amazon and Ebay, and have bought several, but doesn't have the 1956 copyright also. On the copyright page up at the top, you can see "copyright 1953, 1956" in stead of just "copyright 1953." 

My grandmother gave me a copy of the 1953, 1956 version 25 years ago. However, after many hours of reading, the binding has broken and the pages have ripped. Does anyone know where I can find this? Or what is it even called if I were to look for one online? There are so many 1953 Catholic Family editions, but none specify that is has the 1956 Sapential books. I would appreciate any help, and could scan and upload the copyright page so anyone could see what I'm talking about. It would mean the world to me! Kind regards, Dan"

I think I found this exact on one eBay today but I was wondering if you have any way of contacting this user so that he can maybe purchase it if is the exact one he is looking for.  This one matches everything he specified:

1. Crawley Family Edition Bible
2. 1953, 1956 copyrights
3. Sapiential Books are in the Confraternity Edition
4. Imprimatur of the Sapiential Books: June 8, 1956
5. Sirach starts on page 789

The only thing I am not sure about is if the binding is the same. This one is brownish leather, not red like some of the other Crawley Bibles.

Here is the link to the Ebay auction which was listed on Tuesday November 3, 2015:

The Title is: "CATHOLIC HOLY BIBLE Family Edition 1956 Vintage Illustrated John Crawley

The sellers name is: "treasure-n-pleasures"

Again, if you have any way of contacting this person to let him know, I think he would be very happy (if he hasn't found it since June). 

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Souls

"And now, recalling his men from the pursuit, he made his way to the city of Adollam; the week had gone round, and here, duly cleansed from defilement, they kept the sabbath.  Next day, with Judas at their head, they went back to recover the bodies of the slain, for burial among their own folk in their fathers’ graves;  and what found they? Each of the fallen was wearing, under his shirt, some token carried away from the false gods of Jamnia. Here was defiance of the Jewish law, and none doubted it was the cause of their undoing;  none but praised the Lord for his just retribution, that had brought hidden things to light;  and so they fell to prayer, pleading that the sin might go unremembered. Judas himself, their gallant commander, gave public warning to his men, of fault they should evermore keep clear, with the fate of these transgressors under their eyes.  Then he would have contribution made; a sum of twelve thousand silver pieces he levied, and sent it to Jerusalem, to have sacrifice made there for the guilt of their dead companions. Was not this well done and piously? Here was a man kept the resurrection ever in mind;  he had done fondly and foolishly indeed, to pray for the dead, if these might rise no more, that once were fallen!  And these had made a godly end; could he doubt, a rich recompense awaited them?  A holy and wholesome thought it is to pray for the dead, for their guilt’s undoing."   -2 Maccabees 12:38-46 (Knox)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: All Saints Day

Matthew 5:1-12

Jesus, when he saw how great was their number, went up on to the mountain-side; there he sat down, and his disciples came about him. And he began speaking to them; this was the teaching he gave. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land.  Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.  Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the clean of heart; they shall see God.  Blessed are the peace-makers; they shall be counted the children of God.  Blessed are those who suffer persecution in the cause of right; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are you, when men revile you, and persecute you, and speak all manner of evil against you falsely, because of me.  Be glad and light-hearted, for a rich reward awaits you in heaven.

The Message:
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.