US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Five scripture scholars pick their golden oldies

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Maybe you've heard them since childhood and know them by heart, but what do some of those Old Testament stories really mean?

A son betrays his father. A wealthy man has an adulterous affair. Sound like the plot lines from the daytime soap operas? Actually, these are themes from some Old Testament stories. But however intriguing the plot lines may be, readers of the Old Testament may struggle to make sense of the tales. "The Old Testament does baffle people," says Old Testament scholar Robert Schoenstene.

Getting to know Paul

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Will Saint Paul’s letters to the Romans play in Peoria? In an interview, Father Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J. offers clues to understanding the evangelizer whose writings predate the gospels.

What was it that Saint Paul preached that attracted so many to embrace the early Christian faith? Sitting in a pew in the third millennium, it can be hard to grasp what meaning Paul loaded into such terms as flesh and spirit and the world. But, says Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer, there’s power to be had in Paul’s letters of faith, proclaimed years before the Gospels were compiled.

How to get a better read on your faith

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Sometime in the late 12th century a Monk named Guigo, the second prior of the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse in France, wrote to his friend Gervase about some thoughts he had concerning exercises "proper to a cloistered monk." Those thoughts, in fact, constitute a tightly argued, pamphlet-sized treatise on how to read scripture as a form of prayer.

How to get the most out of reading the Bible

By Father Daniel J. Harrington| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

How did your love for the Bible develop?
I became interested in scripture as a boy. I stutter sometimes, and when I heard that Moses stuttered-that he was "slow of speech and slow of tongue"-I looked it up in the Book of Exodus and found the story of God's call to Moses to speak on behalf of God. In this way I found God in the Bible, and that experience has always been with me.

How to handle grief

By Jack Miller| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Jack Miller, author of Healing Our Losses: A Journal for Working Through Your Grief (1993), doesn't tell peple how to grieve-only that they must grieve. "Grief is on a continuum," he says. "You have to move from one end of it to the other, and you can't miss any step along the way."

Why get to know the historical Jesus?

By John P. Meier| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

When it comes to figuring out what the Jesus of Christian faith has to do with the anthropological Jesus studied by historians, Catholics are lucky: They have lots of options. "For a Catholic," John P. Meier has written, "the full reality of Jesus Christ is mediated through many channels. . . . My faith in Christ does not rise or fall with my attempt to state what I can or cannot know about Jesus of Nazareth by means of modern historical research."

Is there life after death?

By Paula D'Arcy| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

In 1975 the unthinkable happened: Paula D'Arcy lost her husband, Roy, and 21-month-old daughter, Sarah, after a drunk driver hit their car. Pregnant at the time, Paula survived-only to be plunged into excruciating grief over her loss.

As painful as it was, D'Arcy now recognizes that grieving was the best thing that has ever happened to her. Learning to let go and recognizing that all of life is fragile led to a radical spiritual transformation that enabled her to see her Catholic faith in a new light.

Our sisters' keeper

By Kevin Clarke| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A recent United Nations report offers a sobering assessment on the condition of women.


Why the Bible sometimes doesn't help

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Many Catholics couples struggling with infertility naturally turn to the scriptures for solace. Maybe they shouldn't.

Although the Old and New Testaments are full of examples of "barren women"-Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Elizabeth, to name a few-it's unlikely that many contemporary infertile couples will find comfort in their stories.

A woman's place is in the Bible

By Gina Hens-Piazza| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Far from being just a story about "the patriarchs," the Old Testament is full of surprising stories about courageous women who keep salvation history on course.