Sunday, November 22, 2009


Should the Bible be taken literally? Is any of it metaphor?

Well, it depends. Besides the literal sense of Scripture there is also a spiritual sense. This in turn is divided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. Each one brings a different layer of meaning to the text.

The literal sense is the sense that the human author wished to convey to his immediate audience. Once one considers the historical context in which the author lived, exactly who he was writing to, the circumstances in which they lived, and the purpose for his writing, then one is able to derive the literal sense of the text.

The spiritual sense is the meaning that the divine author – God, the Holy Spirit – wishes to convey to mankind in every age. It is the meaning that is found in a passage once that passage is read in the light of Christ and of Christian revelation. The allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses are all spiritual senses of Scripture.

The allegorical sense is the one in which persons, objects and actions depicted in a text are taken as representing other things not present in the text. With the allegorical sense, Moses becomes a type of Christ in his intercessory role for the people. The snake he raised up to heal them becomes an image of Christ crucified.

The moral sense is that element of Scripture that teaches us how to live rightly. As St. Paul says, “These things ... were written down for our instruction” (1 Cor 10:11). Within all of the suffering that the Jewish people had to endure is a moral lesson for us, to strive to do the will of the Lord in all things.

The anagogical sense provides the eternal significance to the realities and events of Scripture. It shows the reader that Scripture has an end in sight. Scripture not only speaks of the author’s day and of our own circumstance, but also of that final culmination of history, when Jesus Christ will make all things new.

Knowing now that there are multiple senses of Scripture, we must also keep in mind that Scripture is made up of many genres or styles of writing, such as history, poetry, parable, song, apocalypse, narrative, prophecy, etc. Once you know the genre of a writing then you know how best to understand it. For example, since the Book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature, we know that it is highly symbolic and thus we don’t think for a second that an actual dragon will appear with seven heads and ten horns when the world comes to an end (cf. Rev 12:3). Instead, we try to figure out what that dragon symbolizes.

Once you consider the multiple senses of a passage and the style in which it was written then you can capture the full breadth of meaning to be found in that passage.

Love Sees with New Eyes


There is a dimension of truth which most of us have tragically lost and need to recover, a dimension that cannot be put into words and sentences, though words and sentences can be used to suggest it.

All premodern societies had this other dimension, even the ones who were very far from having the propositional truth, the Christian content of revelation. This other dimension is a vision, a perspective, a habit of seeing rather than a specific thing seen. If we do not have this habit—this vision—then our theology will not sink much deeper than on a conscious, rational level.

The thing I speak of can be called myth, imagination, analogy, or sacramentalism. All four words are slippery and ambiguous. Rather than trying to define them, let me give an example. Indeed, let me give the crucial example for our purposes here, for our topic is the theology of love and how it applies to our lives. Without this way of thinking, such an application, such a connection between what God is and what we are, is tenuous and strained.

Since God is the Creator and since creation reflects and reveals the Creator, and since God is love, all creation somehow reflects and reveals love. That is a logical argument, but my point here is not to deduce the conclusion but to see it,to understand it, to stand under it. If God is love, all creation must reflect love. Yet we do not habitually look for these reflections. For instance, we no longer understand, except as a quaint historical curiosity, the idea that sexual love is not just biological. We have lost the idea, implicit in almost all the languages of the world except English—which has no masculine and feminine nouns—that human sexuality is the human version of a universal principle. When other languages call the Sun "he" and the moon "she," they are not simply projecting the human reality out onto nature, but seeing something that is really there. One version of this is the famous Chinese yin and yang. Another is the Indian marriage ceremony in which the groom says to his bride, "I am heaven, you are earth." She responds, "I am earth, you are heaven."

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What is God's Answer to Human Suffering?

The Pieta by Michaelangelo

The answer must be someone, not just something. For the problem (suffering) is about someone (God—why does he... why doesn't he ...?) rather than just something. To question God's goodness is not just an intellectual experiment. It is rebellion or tears. It is a little child with tears in its eyes looking up at Daddy and weeping, "Why?" This is not merely the philosophers' "why?" Not only does it add the emotion of tears but also it is asked in the context of relationship. It is a question put to the Father, not a question asked in a vacuum.

The hurt child needs not so much explanations as reassurances. And that is what we get: the reassurance of the Father in the person of Jesus, "he who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9).

The answer is not just a word but the Word; not an idea but a person. Clues are abstract, persons are concrete. Clues are signs; they signify something beyond themselves, something real. Our solution cannot be a mere idea, however true, profound, or useful, because that would be only another sign, another finger, another clue—like fingers pointing to other fingers, like having faith in faith, or hope in hope, or being in love with love. A hall of mirrors.

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Featured Audio

Making Sense Out of Suffering
Making Sense Out of SufferingAudio icon
Introduction (0:00)
1. Importance of the Question (11:01)
2. Logic of the Problem (22:14)
3. Answers from Reason (35:15)
4. Answers from Revelation (44:20)
Questions (50:18)

For a brief online summary see:
God's Answer to Suffering

For many more valuable insights on this topic see Kreeft's popular book:
Making Sense Out of Suffering
External link (opens new window)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2010 Catholic Daily Bible Reading Guide


Cycle C, Year 2

PSALM 133:1 AND JOHN 17:21
How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's
people to live together in harmony!
Psalm 133:1
I pray that they may all be one.
Father! May they be in us,
just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they be one,
so that the world will believe
that you sent me.
John 17:21
We have many parts in the one body, and all
these parts have different functions. In the
same way, though we are many, we are one
body in union with Christ, and we are all joined
to each other as different parts of one body.
Romans 12:4-5

God communicates with us through the
Word of God
drawing us into communion
with Himself and with one another. And the
Word was made Flesh...

2010 Catholic Daily Bible Reading Guide


Saturday, November 14, 2009


Friday, November 13, 2009

FREE: Scott Hahn Online Bible Study Courses

If you’ve been wanting to study the Bible but have been putting it off, put it off no more. Head over to the Saint Paul Center of Biblical Theology and study the Bible online for free with one of the best Catholic teachers and communicators of our day, Dr. Scott Hahn. I’ve been a fan of Dr. Hahn’s books and talks for many years. His work has revolutionized my own understanding of Christianity and he’s done the same thing for countless other people. Below is a list of some of the courses offered at the St. Paul Center right now. (And you can find lots of Scott Hahn audio at EWTN (in their Audio Library, look under Multimedia or Libraries, link to index of all their audio files, you’ll be amazed at what’s there) and at Sonitus Sanctus too.)

Covenant Love: Introducing the Biblical Worldview
Genesis to Jesus: A Journey Through Scripture
The Lamb’s Supper: The Bible and the Mass
‘He Must Reign’: The Kingdom of God in Scripture
Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
Reading the Old Testament in the New: The Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Saint Paul, a series of 6 audio talks (MP3’s) with PDF handouts.



symbols of christ

Thursday, November 12, 2009



Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Posted by Matt Leonard on 11.04.09

Pope B16

At a recent Wednesday audience, Benedict XVI invited us all to “nourish our existence with the Word of God, for example, through more attentive listening to the readings and the Gospel, especially in Sunday Mass. Moreover,” he continued, “it is important to reserve a certain time every day for meditation of the Bible, so that the Word of God is the lamp that illumines our daily path on earth.”

On… [Continue Reading]

Monday, November 9, 2009




Saturday, November 7, 2009



Thursday, November 5, 2009

6th KFC Middleeast Conference

PSALM 46:19

Psalm 46:19

'Be Still and Know that I AM GOD'

Monday, November 2, 2009





Advent announces a time of preparing our hearts to receive our King of Kings. We keep watch, even during the night, lest the Bridegroom comes and we miss Him. Just as the people of Jesus' time missed Him, even as His star led the poor shepherds and Magi from the East to the lowly stable, where animals fed - because they had expectations of an earthly king, coming in full glory.

To watch is to keep strength. The flesh is our toughest enemy. It can override our spirit. The spirit may indeed be willing, but the flesh is weak. We watch our strength by storing up on what nourishes our soul.

To watch is to keep confidence. Confidence is a strong personal conviction that the Lord will come and save us, and will indeed fulfill His promises. To keep confidence is to be sure. To keep confidence is to be still.

To watch is to keep prayer. We pray as we wait. Prayer is connecting to God. It is disposing ourselves to Him for whatever purpose He may have for us. We pray that His will be done, even as we know that He loves us and has our best, deep in His heart.

Our prayer is that we actively watch and eagerly await our Lord's coming.

Choose date of your household


Sunday, November 1, 2009