Friday, February 23, 2018

Four Old Classics in New Editions

As NLM readers will have figured out by now, one of my pasttimes is to find good out-of-print Catholic books and republish them. I also enjoy doing better editions of books that are in print but are either overpriced or aesthetically unappealing.

Today I am happy to announce the appearance of four more titles. All are available at Amazon; the titles below are hyperlinks.

The True Vine and Its Branches by Rev. Edward Leen, S.J., published in 1938, is a study of Jesus Christ as the new Adam, and the way in which all things human are re-established in Him. By the gift of incorporation into His Body and by the gift of His grace, each Christian lives and moves and IS in Him. This is the central mystery of our existence as “sons in the Son,” the deepest source of our identity, our direction in life, our consolation, our ability to suffer, our promise of victory. Fr. Leen writes:
To be stamped with the image of a divine Christ is a title to glory far more exalted than the glory due to us were we to bear the image of a purely human head, even though a sinless one. When God pardoned, He pardoned magnificently. So far was He from being grudging in His concessions to submissive humanity. He loaded it with favors. He gave with a divine generosity. He did not content Himself with restoring what had been forfeited. He added superabundantly to His first gifts. God’s incredible magnanimity brought it about that man, instead of losing all by the Fall, can profit exceedingly by it, if only he is willing to utilize all that has been won for him and placed at his disposal by the great Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

God in Me: Sanctifying Grace or the Mystery of God's Life in Us by Rev. Matthew Swizdor. When I first paged through an old copy of this book a few years ago, I had to ask myself: Why did books like this suddenly vanish from the world? It is so lucid, so convincing, so doctrinally orthodox, and indeed so stirring that it would have been a perfect text for a serious catechism class. And then, as always, I remembered with a sigh: the Second Vatican Council — that's what happened, and all its sorry aftermath, sweeping away everything good like a gigantic tidal wave. But thanks to the ease of print-on-demand, this potent little treatise on grace is available again to the post-postconciliar world. From the Preface:
Nothing is so important to the soul as sanctifying grace; yet nothing is more difficult than the task of imparting to people, especially to children, an effective knowledge of the meaning and importance of this divine gift. In undertaking to supply a practical exemplification of the way in which the meaning and reality of such grace can be brought home even to children, Father Matthew has undertaken a most useful piece of work. Father Matthew’s skill as a catechist is born of his native ability and the loving devotion he has given to many years of experience in instructing children in the truths of their religion. The time and care he has lavished on this little book are immediately evident, and reflect his own love of God, his affection for the children he serves, and his devotion to the great work of the catechist. What characterizes this book is the profuse but clear and apt use of many of the illustrations found in Holy Scripture to explain the significance and effectiveness of sanctifying grace, and the ingenious comparisons he has worked out to imprint these things indelibly on the mind. This book is a real treasure that will never be forgotten by those who read it.

God: His Knowability, Essence, and Attributes by Fr. Joseph Pohle. From a highly-praised series of Thomistic textbooks. Fr. Pohle's work is characterized by its readable style, copious citations of sources, organizational clarity, and engagement with modern questions. A brief description of the content:
Here below man can know God only by analogy; hence we are constrained to apply to Him the three scientific questions: An sit, Quid sit, and Qualis sit, that is to say: Does He exist? What is His essence? and What are His qualities or attributes?  Consequently in theology, as in philosophy, the existence, essence, and attributes of God must form the three chief heads of investigation. The theological treatment differs from the philosophical in that it considers the subject in the light of supernatural Revelation, which builds upon and at the same time confirms, supplements, and deepens the conclusions of unaided human reason. Since the theological question regarding the existence of God resolves itself into the query: Can we know God?—the treatise De Deo Uno naturally falls into three parts: (1) The knowability of God; (2) His essence; and (3) The divine properties or attributes.

The Author of Nature and the Supernatural: Creation, Anthropology, and Angelology by Fr. Joseph Pohle. Another volume in the same series of neoscholastic manuals. A fine treatment of its subject, which is God as creator and sanctifier of the entire universe and, in a special way, of the intellectual creatures, namely, angels and men. A brief description:
God’s first and primal work is the Creation of the universe. Creation constitutes the fundamental and essential postulate of all being and operation in the natural order as well as of all supernatural institutions, such as the Incarnation, Grace, the Sacraments, etc. Hence, the dogmatic treatise De Deo Creante et Elevante, which forms the subject matter of this volume, views God as the Author of Nature and the Supernatural. A true idea of Creation is indispensable to deepen and perfect the conception of God gained from the treatises De Deo Uno and De Deo Trino. Further, the consideration of the creation of men and angels and of their natures—anthropology and angelology—is the most important counterpart to the consideration of God as Creator.
The following two images contain a complete "catalogue" of the books I've printed or reprinted.


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