Inspirational Psalms

Tears may flow in the night,

but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5


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From the Publisher
Written by Virgil Tipton   

December 2014

I don’t remember the name of the book, but an image from it seared itself into my memory sometime in my childhood. The book was a children’s Bible, and the illustration documents the moment when an angel boots Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. In the picture, a fifteen-foottall angel aims a flaming sword toward the exit. The couple, strategically screened by leaves, cowers in terror. The expression on the face of the angel reveals a clear message: Alternate suggestions are not welcome. That picture scared me. A lot. What kind of creatures are these angels that they exhibit such righteous anger? On the other hand, angels also say comforting things like, “Be not afraid,” and they bring tidings of great joy, as the Gospel of Luke—and Linus—tell us (see A Charlie Brown Christmas...really). We humans are fascinated by angels. Our cultures— high, low, and pop—all wrestle with what they are. This month’s Liguorian is all about angels: their history, their significance, their presence in art, and more. Fr. Mark Haydu, the author of two beautiful books published by Liguori Publications, writes about the artistic representations of angels, including influences from Roman and Greek traditions. Peter Huff tours the history of human understanding of angels. And there’s
more. December is, of course, a wonderful time to discuss angels. After all, it’s a time of the year when they had a star turn on the world stage. Christmas is also a time to be grateful. At Liguori Publications and Liguorian, we’re grateful every day for the opportunity to share the Good News with you, our readers. We wish all of you a blessed and peaceful Christmas season.


 
To Light and Guard: Angels in the Bible
Written by Dianne Bergand, CSA   

December 2014

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, rule and guide.
Amen.

Who didn’t recite this prayer as a child? Or what
Catholic-schooled student wasn’t told to make
room on her or his desk seat for his or her guardian angel? Pictures of guardian angels looking after
children who stand innocently in the face of danger abound. But, what does all this mean to our faith? And where does the idea of guardian angels come from?
 

Guardian Angels Angels appear throughout the Bible, including right away, in the Garden of Eden. This angel acted as a guardian, but not as a protector of human beings. Quite the opposite—it was charged with guarding the Garden against Adam and Eve, who had just been expelled from it (Genesis 3:24). Though this angel is identified as a cherub, it isn’t the winged infant of popular art. Cherubs or cherubim (the plural form in Hebrew) were human-headed, winged, bull statues stationed as sentries at the entrances of Mesopotamian temples. Their fearsome appearance itself acted as a deterrent, thus safeguarding the sanctity of the sanctuary. A second biblical story about a guarding angel is found in the Book of Tobit. The angel Raphael acts as a guarding companion of the young Tobiah and his wife Sarah (Tobit 5:4). When Tobiah returns from his journey, the angel reveals his true identity: “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord” (Tobit 12:15). The Book of Enoch, a Jewish collection of stories about angels written around 300 bc, refers to these seven angels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Remiel. Today they are known as archangels.


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Restoring Christian Unity
Written by Edward Mulholland, PhD   

1114_C1.jpgNovember 2014

Fifty years ago, on November 21, 1964, the Second Vatican Council issued a decree that began with the words highlighted on the next page. Unitatis Redintegratio (“the restoration of unity” or the Decree on Ecumenism) was not the first document issued by the Church calling for unity among Christians, but it marked a change of tone and, since its publication, many Church efforts claim it as their inspiration. With a half-century of hindsight, it is useful to recall the lessons of the decree, to take a summary look at past and current efforts stemming from it, and ask ourselves what we can do to live out its lessons. As the first sentence bears out, the document deals with the unity among Christians. It does not speak of the relationship between Catholics and Jews or other non-Christian religions (which was addressed in Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [Nostra Aetate].) As the word “restoration” implies, the document focuses on those communities which were in full communion with the Catholic Church but broke away. The “unity” discussed is indeed a project for the future, but it was at some point also historical fact. On the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 1959, St. John XXIII shocked a group of cardinals by announcing both a Synod for the Diocese of Rome and an Ecumenical Council for the Universal Church.

 


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End of Life Decisions: What is Our Moral Responsibility?
Written by Fr. Thomas Nairn, OFM, PhD   

October 2014

The experience of serious illness and dying is often ambiguous, even for Catholics. We know that Christians are called to face the reality of death and dying with the hope and confidence that our faith brings. We hear in the preface of the funeral liturgy that “life is changed, not ended.” Yet our natural feeling toward death often remains as one of loss, separation, and fear. Ambiguity can also surround our experience of medicine and health care. We accept cures that are commonplace today that were unheard of as little as a generation ago, but we also know the story of medicine as one of outcomes that are poorer than promised, of partial cures that create further difficulties, and of continuing decline. The same technology that changed the face of medicine has also made decisions at this stage of life more complicated. What is our moral responsibility as Christians?


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Dorothy Day and the Little Way
Written by Robert Ellsberg   

September 2014

On June 15, 1955, a siren sounded, signaling a nuclear-attack drill. The entire population of New York City obediently sought shelter in basements and subway stations, or, in the case of schoolchildren, under their desks. According to the authorities, this first in a series of civil-defense drills was a “complete success.” Well, almost. It was marred by a middle-age, whitehaired woman and twenty-six others who refused to play this war game. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and her companions instead sat in City Hall Park, where they were arrested and later sentenced to jail. The judge who imposed bail likened the protesters to “murderers” who had contributed to the “utter destruction of these three million theoretically killed in our city.”


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September 2014-Our Faith Calls Us To Action
Written by Fr. Allan Weinert, CSsR   

0914_C1.jpgAn Alternative Rite of Passage

September 2014
 
A Diocese in Kenya Works to Rid Society of the Mutilation of Girls
 
Although female circumcision is now illegal, the practice is still popular among certain tribes.
 
Jane Kiura loves her village of Kajuki, located in the Meru Diocese in central Kenya, but she wants to completely get rid of a brutal practice in Kenyan culture so her teenage daughters and other girls don’t have to suffer mutilation like she did. When Jane was a young woman, she went through a ritual called female circumcision, a rite of passage intended to teach young women their adult responsibilities as wives. The ritual signaled a readiness for marriage and motherhood. In traditional Kenyan culture, an uncircumcised girl was thought to lack the wisdom to raise a family. Regardless of her age, she was looked upon as a child who could not be expected to know how to look after a husband, let alone a household.

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July-August 2014-Our Lord and Women
Written by Pía Septién   

July-August 2014 LiguorianJuly-August 2014

Bringing His Teachings to Life Today

By giving of their time, talents, and treasures, women today play a major role in enacting the teachings of Jesus Christ.

At the core of the New Testament we find the kerygma: the proclamation of what Jesus Christ did. The confession that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah who died, was buried, rose again on the third day, and is seated at the right hand of the Father is not a theory or a philosophy. It is a truth that we, as Christians, hold close to our hearts. Therefore, we can say the kerygma continues to transform people and their environment. 

Jesus, as the Christ, is the cornerstone of this transformative event. Without a doubt, his words and deeds shaped a new culture, where the dignity of humans as sons and daughters of God is the foundation. Our Western civilization—with its ethical value system where women and men are an integral part of society—sprang from this certainty.


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Throwback Thursday-Race Relations: A Major Test for Modern Christians
Written by James J. Gallagher   

021966_Liguorian_Cover.jpg Published February 1966

The question of the rights and privileges of our colored fellow citizens is not just the removal of certain abuses. It is a far deeper question: that of setting at liberty those positive spiritual qualities that the Negro people are called—in God’s divine providence—to contribute to the good of all our citizenship.

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Let's go back in time...
Written by Editor   

More than 100 years in publication yields a lot of content! Join us for Throwback Thursdays to trek back in time and see how Liguorian has always been in line with what's relevant.