The Word Among Us

Advent 2005 Issue


The year was 521 b.c. The Temple, once an impressive piece of architecture and the dwelling place of Yahweh, had been burned to the ground and was now a shell of its former self. The Israelites, once the envy of their Samaritan and Edomite neighbors, were dispirited and depressed. They had lost their confidence in God. Their national symbol was a half-built, unusable place of worship. It was at this time that God reached out to them through the prophet Haggai with words of comfort, challenge, and encouragement. More »

John and the other apostles had the privilege of living with Jesus for three whole years. It must have been both exciting and enriching to spend every day with him. Don't you wish you could have been there as well? Wouldn't it have been marvelous to see Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead? While we will not have that privilege, we shouldn't think that the apostles saw the glory of the Lord and we cannot. More »

Advent is a season both for contemplating and for imitating the sharp-eyed men and women of Scripture. Not those whose eyesight would have tested 20/20, but all those ancestors in faith who kept their eyes open, looking for the coming of the Lord. Some, like the Old Testament prophets, scanned the horizon for signs of the Messiah who would reveal God's glory. Others had the spiritual vision to recognize and receive that Messiah when he came as a vulnerable infant in a manger. More »

Special Feature

Sickness in a family member is often a catalyst to seeking extra prayer. Such was the case in the summer of 2001 when a member of my family began to experience severe depression. I called Deacon Al O'Brien, director of the prison ministry for the Beaumont Diocese in Texas, and asked if he knew of a prisoner who could pray for Michael. Since I became director of the Partners in Evangelism prison ministry in 1998, I have found Deacon Al's experience and wisdom invaluable. I call him my "mentor." More »

Over the centuries, many Christian writers and students of Scripture have described the Bible as a library—a collection of inspired books of various types, including history, poetry, prayers, and personal letters. St. Basil, a fourth-century Church Father, used another striking image to describe the Bible. He called it a pharmacy. More »

Everybody loves St. Anthony of Padua, yet few of us know all that much about his life. We know that he is the patron saint to call on when we need help finding our lost keys. But why does virtually every statue of St. Anthony show him holding the Christ child in his arms? We might have expected him to be depicted holding a lost set of car keys! Nor would it be surprising to see him holding a Bible, for he was one of the most famous Scripture teachers of his day. More »