My review of Magnificat’s new book appears below:

A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Magnificat’s daily devotional Praying with Saint Paul. It’s a great little resource, and it first came to my attention when Archbishop Burke of St. Louis recommended it in his pastoral letter launching the Year of St. Paul. The book is a response to Pope Benedict’s call for “special publications of Pauline texts” to mark the year. Each day’s entry features a short passage from a Pauline epistle, a brief catechesis, and a concluding prayer. The catecheses are theologically rich and very practical — pastoral is the word that best describes them. Today’s entry, for instance, explains how to live the theological virtues, especially love and hope. According to the book’s forward, it is “not an academic study guide,” but a handbook to help readers engage in the ancient practice of lectio divina, or “sacred reading.” By the end of one year, readers “will have reflected systematically on some of the most significant passages from the corpus of Saint Paul, from the Letter to the Romans to the Letter to Philemon.” Highly recommended.

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Blogging apologist Carl Olson of Ignatius Scoop interviews traveling apologist Steve Ray about the Pauline Year:

The editor of Ignatius Insight talks to author, apologist, and world traveler Steve Ray about the Year of Saint Paul, including why Pope Benedict XVI chose this year to focus on the Apostle to the Gentiles, the life and thought of Saint Paul, and why he remains so important today. 41 minutes.

At 41 minutes, this one just might force me to spend extra minutes on the treadmill.

Outgoing St. Louis archbishop Raymond Burke recommends a book I came across yesterday during a visit to Sacred Heart Radio’s studio at the Holy Spirit Center in Cincinnati — Norwood to be precise. (I am a regular guest on SHR’s Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick.)

For your own observance of the Year of Saint Paul, I commend the book, Praying with Saint Paul: Daily Reflections on the Letters of the Apostle Paul, edited by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., and published by Magnificat (86 Main Street, Suite 303, Yonkers, NY 10701; Tel. 914-502-1846; E-mail: Paul.Snatchko@magnificat.com).

A distinct reflection on the writings of Saint Paul is proposed for each day of the year by a wide variety of spiritual writers.

The book is available at a slight discount on Amazon.com.

The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has assembled a Pauline year web page.  You’ll note that it is mostly derivative of efforts already made by other dioceses and organizations.  Perhaps the office will add ideas of its own in the coming weeks.

Our Sunday Visitor has produced a full color, high quality poster for the Pauline year that is jam-packed with useful information and suggestions. Sections include a brief biography, ideas for celebrating the year in our home, St. Paul’s feast days, and a summary of the plenary indulgence the Holy Father has made available. You can have copies printed by your local FedEx/Kinko’s for around $2 to hang in your parish vestibule or community center. Print one on your home computer for the fridge.

Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham has assembled a Year of St. Paul reading list. It begins with the Letter to the Romans. (The list is reproduced in the back of Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s new Bible study, which began as a project of the diocese.)

1. Romans 1

2. Romans 2:1-3:8

3. Romans 3:9-31

4. Romans 4

5. Romans 5

6. Romans 6

7. Romans 7

8. Romans 8:1-17

9. Romans 8:18-39

10. Romans 9:1-29

You can find Bishop Baker’s pastoral letter on the Pauline year here.

Elizabeth Lev’s occasional column for Zenit News Service is a must read for anyone who appreciates philosophy’s “three transcendentals” — truth, goodness, and beauty. Lev teaches Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University’s Rome campus, and she weaves the history and art of Rome into her dispatches. This week she takes notice of the rich surroundings at last Sunday’s Mass for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica, as Pope Benedict and Patriarch Batholomew drew on the “shared tradition” of sacred images during their homilies.

Over their heads soared Michelangelo’s dome, with the words of Christ to Peter shimmering in the sunlight: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build by Church” (Matthew 16:18).

From one of the piers supporting the massive dome, the statue of St. Andrew by Francis Duquesnoy faced the two men. Brother to Peter and the first to be called, St. Andrew died in Greece after having spent his last years spreading the Gospel through the Eastern Empire.

One could imagine his joy as he saw the spiritual leader of millions from the lands where he suffered and died reunited with the successor of his brother. Following the Liturgy of the Word, Bartholomew I took a seat near the tribune of St. Andrew.

Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I both drew upon the shared tradition of images in the two Churches during the Mass.

Bartholomew I’s homily gave us a glimpse of Eastern art. Speaking of the icons that are part of the celebrations for this feast day, he described an image of Sts. Peter and Paul exchanging a fraternal embrace.

The patriarch commented that the icon reflects the traditional story recounting the martyrdom of the two saints. When sentenced to their deaths, he reflected, Sts. Peter and Paul exchanged the kiss of peace one last time as St. Paul said: “’Peace be with you, foundation of the Church and pastor of the sheep and lambs of our Lord.’

“Peter then said to Paul: ‘Go in peace, preacher of good morals, mediator, leader and solace of righteous people.’”

The patriarch then addressed Benedict XVI saying, “It is indeed this kiss that we have come to exchange with you, Your Holiness, emphasizing the ardent desire and love in Christ, things which are closely related to each other.”