Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Bible-Believing Christians Need the Catholic Church

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God's purpose in giving us the Bible was not to aid our knowledge of history or natural science.  Scripture's chief concern is leading us toward a supernatural order.
But if we are to be in close union with Christ, the Bible is simply not enough.   

Always Inspired (cover)

In Always Inspired: Why Bible-Believing Christians Need the Catholic Church, Benedictine Abbot Basil Christopher Butler shows us that the Bible can never be the sole criterion of Faith, nor can it serve as a sufficient foundation for the full Christian life to which Jesus calls us.


Butler reminds us that Jesus did not reveal himself to us by means of written documents.  It was His divine person-Jesus Himself-who was the final word of God's revelation.

It was Christ who established His Church, endowed it with authority, and implemented the Sacraments as the continuation of His living presence among men.

It is only through the Catholic Church that we can experience the fullness of the Christian Faith.

Many Christians ask, "Why must I listen to the Church when the Bible is infallible and inerrant?"  

Butler argues that "inerrancy" is a negative idea. It tells us what we will NOT find in the Bible.

"Inspiration," on the other hand, is a positive doctrine that was endowed upon the Catholic Church by God Himself.  Inspiration led to the very creation of Scripture and it has guided the Church throughout the ages - even to this very day.

In just 120 pages, this beautiful little book will renew your understanding of the Catholic Church and the supernatural role it plays every day in our lives and the world. 

Always Inspired (cover)

by Abbot Basil Christopher Butler
120 pgs pbk $14.95


Fine Catholic Books 

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29 - Today is the feast of St. Mother Orsola

M. Orsola (Giulia) Ledóchowska
M. Orsola (Giulia) Ledóchowska Religious (1865-1939)

"If only I knew how to love, to burn and consume oneself in love" - so the 24 year old Giulia Ledóchowska wrote before taking religious vows, novice in the Ursuline convent of Krakow. On the day of the religious profession she took the name 'Maria Ursula of Jesus', and the words stated above became the guide lines of her entire life. In her mothers' family (of Swiss nationality and of the dynasty of the Salis), as well as in her fathers' (an old Polish family) there were many politicians, military men, ecclesiastics and consecrated people, who were involved in the history of Europe and of the Church. She was raised in a family of numerous brothers and sisters where affectionate and disciplined love was dominant. The first three children, including M. Ursula, chose the consecrated life: Maria Teresa (beatified in 1975) founded the future 'Society of S. Peter Claver' and the younger brother Vladimiro became the general Preposito of the Jesuits.

M. Ursula lived in the convent at Krakow for 21 years. Her love for the Lord, her educational talent and sensibility towards the needs of youngsters in the changing social, political and moral conditions of those times put her at the centre of attention. When women earned the right to study in Universities, she succeeded in organising the first boarding-house in Poland for female students where they not only found a safe place to live and study, but also received a solid religious preparation. This passion, together with the blessing of Pope Pio X, gave her the strength to move into the heart of Russia which was hostile towards the Church. When, in civilian dress, she left with another Sister for Petersburg (where religious life was prohibited) she did not know that she was headed towards an unknown destination and that the Holy Spirit would lead her upon roads she had not foreseen.

In Petersburg the Mother with the steadily growing community of nuns (soon established as an autonomous structure of the Ursulines) lived secretly, and even though under constant surveillance by the secret police, they brought forward an intense educational and religious project which was also directed towards the encouragement of relationships between Polish and Russians.

When war broke out starts in 1914, M. Ursula had to leave Russia. She headed for Stockholm and during her Scandinavian travels (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) her activity concentrated not only on education, but also on the life of the local Church, on giving aid to the war victims and on ecumenical work. The house where she lived with her nuns became a point of reference for people of different political and religious orientation. Her strong love for her country was the same as her tolerance towards 'diversity' and towards others. Once asked to speak of her political orientation, she promptly answered 'My policy is love'.

In 1920 M. Ursula, her sisters and a vast number of orphan children of immigrants returned to Poland. The Apostolic Headquarters transforms its autonomous convent of the 'Ursulines of the Sacred Agonising Heart of Jesus' The spirituality of the congregation is concentrated on the contemplation of the salvific love of Christ and participation in His mission by means of educational projects and service to others, particularly to the suffering, the lonely and the abandoned who were searching for the meaning of life. M. Ursula educated her sisters to love God above everything else and to find God in every human being and in all Creation. She gave a particularly credible testimony to the personal bond with Christ and to being an efficient instrument of both Evangelical and educational influence by means of her smile and serenity of soul. Her humility and capacity to live the ordinary everyday routine as a privileged road towards holiness made her a clear example of this life style.

The congregation developed quickly. The communities of the Ursuline nuns in Poland and on the eastern frontiers of the country which were poor, multinational and multi-confessional were established. In 1928 the Generalate was established in Rome along with a boarding-house for girls who were economically less well-off, in order to give them the possibility to come into contact with the spiritual and religious richness of the heart of the Church and of European civilisation. The Sisters began to work in the poor suburbs of Rome. In 1930 the nuns accompanied girls in search of work and established themselves in France. Wherever possible M.Ursula founded educational and instructional work centres. She sent the nuns to Catechise and to work in the poor parts of town. She wrote books and articles for children and youngsters.

She initiated and sustained ecclesiastical organisations for children (Eucharistic Movement), for youngsters and for women. She actively participated in the life of the Church and State thus receiving great acknowledgement and decorations from both the State and the Church. When her laborious and not easy life came to an end in Rome on May 29, 1939, people said of her: "She died a saint".

John Paul II beatified M. Ursula on June 20, 1983 in Poznan and canonized her on May 18, 2003 at Rome.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Gospel Reading - May 27, 2012 with Reflection


1ST READING - Acts 2:1-11


Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R: Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, you are great indeed! 24 How manifold are your works, O Lord! The earth is full of your creatures. (R) 31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord be glad in his works! 34Pleasing to him be my theme; I will be glad in the Lord. (R)29 If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (R)

2nd READING - 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
John 20:19-23 (or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”


For one last time, let us greet one another: “A Happy and Blessed Easter!” Today marks the end of our seven-week prolonged celebration of the joyous feast of the Lord Jesus’ rising from the dead.

Jesus, since His resurrection, had been appearing to the disciples with the greeting: “Peace be with you.” He wanted to assure them that though living now on a different level and with His earthly ministry coming to an end, He will continue to be with them in a more perfect manner. Conquering death, the Risen Lord has overcome the barriers of space and time. He appears and reappears at will — wherever, whenever.

During the Last Supper, Jesus also revealed that He will be present in the lives of His disciples and in the lives of all who believe in Him, through the ministry of another Paraclete (meaning: “Consoler”) whom He will send from the Father in His name. This Heavenly Consoler, in fact, has accompanied Jesus and had been in Jesus throughout His public life. On the Cross, Jesus breathed out and released this Spirit. Now, He sends this Heavenly Consoler to each of the remaining disciples.

Who is this Holy Spirit? He is the Third Person of the Godhead. He is not simply a dove, or a personification of the elements of fire, wind, water, etc. These are symbols we have used to illustrate His power and operations among us. But He is a Divine Person, like the Father and the Son. While the First Person of the Trinity is Father, and while the Second Person of the Trinity is Son, the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity is “Paraclete- Consoler-Comforter-Advocate.” He is therefore a Heavenly Friend.

Sending and sharing the Holy Spirit, the Heavenly Friend, to us, Jesus shows us that He is a genuine friend. He does not keep good things — even a good friend — for Himself alone. Like the Father who says, “Son, all that I have is yours” (cf Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15), Jesus does the same thing. Pentecost then is a guarantee, a seal, of Jesus’ eternal friendship with us. He will never leave us orphans. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: Pray deeply and ask Jesus to let you experience the presence and consolation of the Holy Spirit as a Heavenly Friend. Resolve to talk and be in touch with the Holy Spirit daily, as you do with your best of human friends.

Holy Spirit, come and be my best friend. Lead me closer to the Father and the Son.

St. Augustine of Canterbury, bishop, pray for us.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Discover and Perfect the Talents God Gave You

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Do you know what your ten talents are?

Do you know what God wants you to do with your life?

We all know the parable of the talents: A master distributed money among his servants in different amounts. The talents were buried in the ground by one and were greatly multiplied by the others.

Parable of the Talents

This is not a simple tale of a master and his servants. It tells the story of our relationship to God and our responsibility to multiply the "talents" he has given us.
But how can we multiply our talents if we're not even sure what our talents are?

In Unearthing your Ten Talents, psychologist Kevin Vost helps you to understand and perfect your highest human talents.

Unearthing Your Ten Talents (cover)

Dr. Vost says there are ten talents we ALL have - and these ten talents yield the keys to spiritual growth through understanding our own human natures - body and soul.

Guided especially by St. Thomas Aquinas - one of the Church's greatest teachers - as well as by Fathers of the Church and the example of many saints, you'll quickly...

* Develop your ability to reason, perceive, and understand.
* Unwrap and strengthen your gift of knowledge.
* Grow in fortitude, endurance, and perseverance.
* Act prudently with justice and integrity.

The Lord has sown in all of us the seeds of greatness, but it is also up to us to see that they bear fruit. You now have a guide to help you not only recognize your talents, but to make them grow.

Allow Kevin Vost to unearth your talents, expose them to light of day, and prepare you to enter the fray, battling to conquer your lower natures while the best within you rides in triumph.

Unearthing Your Ten Talents (cover)

by Kevin Vost, Psy. D.
272 pgs pbk $19.95

For a limited time, save 20% when you order Unearthing Your Ten Talentsalong with Finding God's Will for You .
(Details below.)

In Finding God's Will for You, St. Francis de Sales will teach you:

* How to accept God's will even when it seems terrifying.
* The ways God may be calling you now.
* How to avoid common dangers when making changes in your life.
* Four signs that your heart and soul conform to God's will.
* Three ways you can recognize that a thought or sentiment comes directly from God.

Finding God's Will for You (cover)

by St. Francis de Sales
160 pgs pbk $14.95

Save 20%
when you order the set!

Click here to order BOTH books and
nter code HLTalent20 at checkout.

Set of both books.  

(*Shipping not included. Not eligible for any other discount.
Offer ends 5/30/12.


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today's Gospel - May 20, 2011 Sunday with Reflection

1ST READING - Acts 1:1-11
P S A L M  - Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
R: God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. 
1 [2] All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, 2 [3] for the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth. (R) 5 [6] God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. 6 [7] Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. (R) 7 [8] For the king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. 8 [9] God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne. (R)

2ND READING - Ephesians 4:1-13 (or Ephesians 1:17-23)

Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.
Mark 16:15-20
15 Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18 They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. 20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.



How ironic of Jesus to assure us of His continuing presence (“Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” – Matthew 28:20) right at the moment of His departure. But perhaps He is implying that His Ascension into heaven isn’t really a leave-taking in the first place. Rather, our Lord is now entering into a new dimension of presence. No longer physical, but nonetheless real and valid.

In fact, now that we no longer have the literal, physical presence of Jesus with us, He is nevertheless present in us through various other ways: in our liturgical gatherings, in His Word, and in the Holy Eucharist.
We can also say, to some extent, that He is present in the human person, in each and every one of us. And thank God, even in today’s world, we are not without shining exemplars of God’s loving presence in the saints. Through them (even if not necessarily the official, canonized ones), the light of Christ’s earthly life shines in our midst.

Saints need not be exceptional, hard-to-find people in this world. They’re just actually there, going about their ordinary everyday affairs. They’re not bathed in celestial light or perfumed with sanctity. They have no visions and perform no miracles. They are men and women who simply love God and their neighbor, and they prove it in a thousand different ways in their work, in their prayer, and acts of self-sacrificing charity.

And so, since Jesus is no longer physically present with us now, it’s up to the “plain saints” (including us hopefully) to continue His work here on earth. Not just to continue it, in fact, but even to “surpass” it (see John 14:12)! If Jesus were to remain here on earth still, He would be in a sense “limited” by the dimensions of time and space. We now can “exceed” Him in our own little way as we carry out the unfinished business He had begun. We are now the extensions of our Lord Jesus, His proxies, if you will.Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: In what ways are you carrying out Jesus’ unfinished business?
Lord Jesus, You have left us with the mission to fulfill Your plan for our lives. Help us to do them with zeal and with love.

St. Bernardine of Siena, priest, pray for us.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A book to strengthen your marriage -- Endorsed by the Pope

"May the Lord grant this book
the success it deserves!"

That's what
Pope John Paul IIwrote in a private letter to author Alice von Hildebrand after he received from her a copy of this remarkable book
--- the book that we guarantee will make your marriage 100% better, or we'll refund your money, no questions asked.

By Love Refined (book cover)

"To read By Love Refinedis to be awakened to what
it truly means to love."
New Oxford Review
"Packed with practical wisdom."
Elisabeth Elliot
"Should be in the hands of every young (and not so young) bride and her husband."
Fr. John A. Hardon
"A garden of wisdom."
BC Observer

From By Love Refined, you'll learn how to grow in love as you encounter — and resolve — the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages.
You'll recover your sense of the beauty and importance of high ideals in marriage while learning practical tips to help you live up to those ideals daily.
In hundreds of ways, this helpful book will show you how to start weaving love again into the tapestry of your marriage, as you grow more deeply in the joys of love.
Plus, you'll learn how to deal with those irksome problems that afflict most married couples, and nurture the virtues that rekindle enduring love:
• Annoying habits
How to bear your spouse's (and overcome your own!)
• Religious conflicts
There's a gentle way to help your spouse accept your faith
• Boredom
Learn how love can give life to even your dullest activities
• Found
A technique to make the roughest times smoother
• 24/7
How to keep work from growing more important than your marriage
• The battle of the sexes
It need not affect your marriage anymore
• Intimacy
Spiritual preparation can enhance it (Learn how!)
• Staleness
You can keep habit from harming your marriage
• Reverence
It could be making your marriage much happier
• Conflicts
There's a way to settle the worst of them in a loving manner

• You want your marriage to be better
• This book comes with
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• And with our no-questions-asked,
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So there's no need for me
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Go ahead and try it.
How can you go wrong?

"Encouraging and readable, with vision and great wisdom."
"Weaves wisdom into ordinary married events. Will help give couples hope, trust, and sanctity."
The Wanderer
"Eminently readable. An ideal gift for non-Catholics as well as for Catholic friends."
Nazareth Journal
By Love Refined (book cover)

By Love Refined
by Alice von Hildebrand
216 pgs pbk $14.95 
"Charming, intelligent, gracious advice firmly rooted in the faith."
"Will help couples transform obstacles in marriage into stepping stones of love."
Religious Life
"Valuable for its practical insights, seasoned advice: a treasure for any home library or as a gift."
Inner Horizons

For a limited time, save 20% when you orderBy Love Refined along with Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love.
(Details below.)

Marriage (book cover)

Written by Dietrich von Hildebrand, Marriage will give you what you need to make your marriage a source of profound happiness and lasting peace:
You’ll come to understand the superiority of marriage
to “living together” and other temporary unions. 
You’ll come to see how the sacramental marriage of Christians is the fulfillment and perfection of marriage, giving husband and wife what every spouse secretly longs for.
You’ll discover the healing role love can play in the best
— and bleakest — of marriages.
Especially today, this beautiful book — which reveals
the sublime vocation of Christian marriage — is a must for anyone who is eager to live worthily this great mystery of love.

Marriage will show you:
  • The one right motive for marrying — and the many
    wrong ones (some often accepted by Christians)
  • The difference between the meaning of marriage and
    its purpose (and the dangers of confusing the two)
  • The five ways in which married love differs from other loves
  • Six counterfeit loves: what sometimes passes for love isn’t
  • The key role of will in sustaining love
  • Your unhappy marriage: it may be a clear “call” from God
  • How difficulties and suffering can deepen your marriage
    — and make you and your spouse better persons
  • How marriage reveals God’s love and presence
  • How Christianity intensifies married love
  • The meaning of marriage as a sacrament: its promises,
    its demands, and how it is a source of strength and grace.

"Dietrich von Hildebrand
is the 20th century
Doctor of the Church."

Pope Pius XII

Marriage (book cover)
The Mystery of Faithful Love 

by Dietrich von Hildebrand
Foreword by John Cardinal O’Connor
$12.95 list 116 pgs ppbk


Save 20%
when you order the set!

Click here to order BOTH books and
nter code HLLove20 at checkout.
Set of both books.
(*Shipping not included. Not eligible for any other discount.
Offer ends 5/20/12.

Order online now or call
Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108

We always welcome contributions to our non-profit apostolate. If you would prefer not to use the PayPal button below, you can add a contribution directly to your shopping cart at our on-line store.

Click to donate through paypal or donate directly through our website: www. 

Sophia Institute Press
is the publishing division of

The publishing division of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and of Holy Spirit College.