Book Reviews – April 2019

Reflections on the Sacred Liturgy, Vol. I: Lent & Holy Week By Fr. Thomas Hoisington. Reviewed by Stephanie A. Mann. (skip to review) Off the Hook: God, Love, Dating, and Marriage in a Hookup World By Timothy P. O’Malley. Reviewed b … [Read more...]

Pope Francis and the Purification of Heroic Desire

It is the duty of pastoral homiletics to call the faithful to heroic virtue. Virtue itself, to be sure, is a core fruit of receiving the Gospel, but, at times, we need to hear the call to heroic virtue; that is, we must know that the next … [Read more...]

“Many Shall Come from the East and the West”

A Comparison of the Preaching of Augustine and John Chrysostom

Introduction “Many shall come from the East and the West and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 8:11). The two great preachers of the fourth and fifth centuries — John Chrysostom, Bisho … [Read more...]

Believing and Praying

The Power of Homilies

It’s often been said that by reflecting on what we have received in the tradition of liturgical prayer we can discover what we believe; prayer as a source of doctrine. The reverse is also true. What we believe determines what we pray — or wh … [Read more...]

The Doctors of Ravenna

Peter Chrysologus and Peter Damien

The city of Ravenna boasts two Doctors of the Church named Peter: the fifth-century bishop of Ravenna, Peter Chrysologus, and the eleventh-century cardinal bishop from Ravenna, Peter Damian. The earlier Chrysologus is honored each year in … [Read more...]

The Words Men Need to Hear

A Priest Speaks to College Seminarians

Speak only the words men need to hear, the things that really help them . . . (Ephesians 4:29) Introduction The effects of language—for good or ill—first occurred to me when I was five, during the summer before kindergarten. As my broth … [Read more...]

Maintaining the Liturgy in a Homily Surrounded by Technology

Does technology enhance or diminish a homily? Should we use technology in homiletics? These questions don’t elicit an agreed-upon answer, and often focus on the art of preaching itself. Let’s take a representative example from each side. Dr. … [Read more...]

Lessons from a Patristic Homily

In learning how to craft homilies, it is worth studying past master homilists; from these masters, we can learn masterful techniques. Reading those who wrote in one’s own native tongue is, of course, a necessary thing: Newman would probably … [Read more...]

On the World’s Most Beautiful Sermon

I. A sermon is an essay or a treatise that is spoken. Classical sermons of Newman, or some of the great French preachers, could last for hours. Great Protestant divines were known for long and powerfully delivered sermons. We live in a … [Read more...]

An October Mystagogy

A Proposal

We count people in October. Each year in the parishes of the dioceses of the province of Atlanta, we count the number of people who are attending Mass each weekend. The reason for the choice of this particular month has been lost to … [Read more...]

Bringing the Gospel to the Troops

A Survey of American Military Homiletics

The record of preachers in uniform is a remarkable one, filled with physical bravery and moral courage in the face of internal and external pressures, ameliorated by a deep, and very personal sense of care for the ordinary combatants who … [Read more...]

Early Fall Reading

The Concept of Woman: Volume III: The Search for Communion of Persons, 1500-2015. By Sister Prudence Allen, R.S.M., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016. 546 pages. Reviewed by Joshua M. Evans, Ph.D. Revelation. Catholic Commentary on Sacred … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question: Does a homily mean something other than a sermon? Online dictionaries seem to show them to be interchangeable. I have for years now believed homilies to be based on Scripture, and sermons might cover a range of topics, not … [Read more...]

What Lessons Do Thomas Aquinas’s Sermons Hold For Modern Preachers?

Son: “All the men who were ordained with me seemed to think that the faculty of preaching will come to them as a matter of course.” Father: “Then I pity their congregations.” —Canon Twells, Colloquies on Preaching It is strange to th … [Read more...]

Early Summer Reading

I Burned for Your Peace. Augustine's Confessions Unpacked by Peter Kreeft. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2016). Reviewed by Matthew K. Minerd, Ph.L. Desiring a Better Country: Forays in Political Theology by Douglas Farrow. (Montreal &a … [Read more...]