The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

April 2016

  • The old hymn says, “Time like an ever rolling stream bears all her sons away. They fly, forgotten, as a dream breaks at the op’ning day.” This week, eating lunch with kindergarten students, I asked them what they were going to wear for Halloween. Yes, it’s April, but I wanted a break from that day’s subject, which was cuts and injuries. When you eat with little kids, one of them finds a topic, and the others pile on. So one meal will be all about dogs, or cats. Really. All. Another will be...

  • St. Francis de Sales produced an easily remembered description of the prayer practice, which Christians call meditation. You bring thoughts to mind in order to move your heart to God ( Introduction to the Devout Life II, 5). Essentially, you give your mind some content, on which to chew, so as move your emotions toward God. The content might be sacred Scripture, a piece of religious art, a view in nature or even the events of your day. In meditation, you mull over something, and, doing so,...

  • This is the 33rd entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. In this entry Peter reports the Gentile response to the Gospel and his decision to baptize Gentiles to the Jerusalem Church.

    For previous entries , please now go to the Complete Acts of the Apostle Commentary , where you can...

  • Young Sullivan Ballou had already been elected a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, when he married Sarah Hart Shumway on Oct. 15, 1855. She had borne him two sons before this young Republican, and ardent supporter of Abraham Lincoln, answered the call of his new president. After the attack on Fort Sumter, in April of 1861, President Lincoln needed 75,000 volunteers to preserve the Union.

    Commissioned a major in the Second Rhode Island Infantry, Sullivan Ballou died...

  • We label most everything. Assigning a verbal tag is an essential part of modern life. Turn on cable news, and you’re likely to read: “Breaking News, Terror Alert.” It’s probably not actual breaking at that very moment, but such is the effectiveness of labels. To label something is to make it “at hand,” a part of the world that lies under our control, our comprehension.

    Labels are verbal short-cuts for thought. Once something has been labeled, it’s been reined in by the one who labels...