Restless Heart: Episode 4 (“Is there life before marriage?”)



This past week, I gave at talk to the Goretti Group entitled “Is there life before marriage?” In today’s episode, Nessa and talk about some of the issues I raised in that talk. Do some people derive their self-worth from their Facebook “Relationship Status”? What are some common misunderstandings concerning marriage? We then look at the subject friendships, the first area which I suggest deserves careful investment during your single years.

Episode 4: Is there life before marriage? (Download)

If you would like to listen to my original talk I gave to the Goretti Group, it is available here. The Bible passage I quote at the end of the episode is this section from Sirach:

Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant.
When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him.
For one sort is a friend when it suits him, but he will not be with you in time of distress.

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself.

– Sirach 6:6-17

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Mere Christianity – Book II (Summary)


Book 2You can look at my more detailed notes, but this is an overview of the content of Book II of “Mere Christianity”…

Chapter 1 – “Rival Conceptions of God”


Truth in other religions

If you are Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth…[However,] as in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum…but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others


…these people think that long before you got anywhere near the divine point of view the distinction [between good and evil] would have disappeared altogether…

Pantheists usually believe that God, so to speak, animates the universe as you animate your body: that the universe almost is God, so that if it did not exist He would not exist either, and anything you find in the universe is a part of God…

If you do not take the distinction between good an bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God



…[these people believe in] a God who takes sides, who loves love and hates hatred, who wants us to behave in one way and not in another…

…God invented and made the universe – like a man making a picture or composing a tune. A painter is not a picture, and he does not die if his picture is destroyed

…if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will…a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on putting them right again

Evil and God

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line…I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies


1. Why does Jack say that when he became a Christian he adopted the more “liberal” view?

2. Is it possible to affirm the truth of other religions while still holding to the absolute truth claims of Christianity?

3. Can you think of any religion completely devoid of ALL truth?

4. Into what two central conceptions of God does Jack say people hold? Do you think we could divide it up in a different way?

5. In what way do these conceptions of God and our attitudes towards the Moral Law and the Universe relate to each other?

6. Why does the very question of asking about evil in the world presuppose the existence of God?

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Restless Heart: Episode 3 (“Confession”)



In the past few episodes we have indirectly at two of the Sacraments, the Eucharist and Matrimony. In today’s episode we’ll be looking directly at the Sacrament of Confession, what it is, where it comes from and a few pieces of advice to bear in mind when you go.

Episode 3: Confession (Download)

A brief defense of the Catholic practice of Confession is available here. If you would like to read the prayers said by the priest in the Byzantine form of Confession, they are available here. The event we talk about at the end of the show took place a couple of days ago and you can listen to the audio here.

Please subscribe to this podcast using iTunes and Google Play and if you have any feedback or would like to pose a question for an upcoming episode, you can send us a message from the website or tweet us at @davidandnessa.

Goretti Talk: Is there life before marriage?



Last night I gave a talk for The Goretti Group. This was a variation on a talk I gave at the Southern Kansas Young Adult Conference.

Is there life before marriage? (Download)

I’ve written a couple of articles for the Goretti Group in the past which you might like to read: Dear Miss Lawrence and “I waited until my wedding night to lose my virginity and I wish I hadn’t”.

Restless Heart: Episode 2 (“Non-Catholic Dating”)



Welcome to Episode 2! In today’s show we tackle the tricky and sensitive subject of non-Catholic dating, the situation where a Catholic is considering dating someone who is not in full communion with the Catholic

Episode 2: Non-Catholic Dating (Download)

For those of you who would like to dig deeper into this topic, you can find a two-part series I wrote earlier on the subject.

If you have iTunes installed, you can click here to launch iTunes and subscribe. Alternatively, you should be able to find us in the podcast section of the iTunes Store and Google Play. If you need to setup your podcast feed manually, our feed may be found here.

If you have any feedback or would like to pose a question for an upcoming episode, you can always tweet us at @davidandnessa.

Catholic Encouragement for reading Scripture



I have finally returned to a manuscript I wrote last year for a book on leading Bible Study. Each chapter begins with a quotation from a Saint or Church document which praises God’s Word or exhorts the faithful to the reading of Scripture. Today’s post will function as a notepad for all the quotations I’ve found…

Is there a quotation you love which I have omitted? Please share it in the Comments!

2nd Century

St. Irenaeus of Lyons

For we learned the plan of our salvation from no others than from those through whom the gospel came to us.  They first preached it abroad, and then later by the will of God handed it down to us in Writings, to be the foundation and pillar of our faith
– St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3.1.1 (2nd Century)

3rd Century

Origen of Alexandria

One must therefore portray the meaning of the sacred writings in a threefold way upon one’s own soul, so that the simple person may be edified by what we may call the flesh of the scripture, …the obvious interpretation; while the one who has made some progress may be edified by its soul, as it were; and the one who is perfect… may be edified by the spiritual law, which has “a shadow of the good things to come” (cf. Rom. 7:14). For just as the human being consists of body, soul and spirit, so in the same way does the scripture, which has been prepared by God to be given for humanity’s salvation.
– Origen of Alexandria, On First Principles 4.11 (3rd Century)

4th Century

St. Jerome

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ
– St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah (4th Century)

When we pray, we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us
– St. Jerome (4th Century)

“Do you pray? You speak to the Bridegroom. Do you read? He speaks to you”
– St. Jerome, Letter XXII to Eustochium, 25 (4th Century)

“Read assiduously and learn as much as you can. Let sleep find you holding your Bible, and when your head nods let it be resting on the sacred Page”
– St. Jerome (4th Century)

St. Athanasius

“Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us.”
– Saint Athanasius, Father and Doctor of the Church  (4th Century)

“These books are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them”
-Saint Athanasius, Father and Doctor of the Church, Letter 39.6 (4th Century)

St. Epiphanius of Salamis

“Reading the Scriptures is a great safeguard against sin”
– St. Epiphanius (4th Century)

St. Ambrose of Milan

 “…we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”
– St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Duties of Ministers I, 20,88: PL l6,50 (4th Century)

“Let the Word of God come; let it enter the Church; let it become a consuming fire, burning the hay and stubble, and consuming whatever is worldly”
– St. Ambrose of Milan (4th Century)

St. John Chrysostom

“The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts”
– St. John Chrysostom (4th Century)

“It is not possible, I say not possible, ever to exhaust the mind of the Scriptures. It is a well which has no bottom”
– St. John Chrysostom (4th Century)

St. Augustine

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself”
– St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church (4th Century)

“He will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures”
– St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church, De Doctr. Christ. 2,42,63 (4th Century)

“The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old is unveiled in the New”
– St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church (4th Century)

St. Ephraim the Syrian

“When you begin to read or listen to the Holy Scriptures, pray to God thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, open the ears and eyes of my heart so that I may hear Thy words and understand them, and may fulfill Thy will”
– St. Ephraim the Syrian (4th Century)

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Restless Heart: Episode 1 (“Worshipping with St. Justin”)



We won’t normally be posting more than one episode a week, but here is the first full episode of the Restless Heart podcast. In today’s show we talk about an important figure in the Early Church known as St. Justin Martyr and look at what he had to say about Mass in 2nd Century Rome.

Episode 1: Worshipping with St. Justin (Download)

If this subject interests you, you might be interested in watching a longer presentation I have given on the subject of worship in the Early Church.

If you have iTunes installed, you can click here to launch iTunes and subscribe. Alternatively, you should be able to find us in the podcast section of the iTunes Store and Google Play. If you need to setup your podcast feed manually, our feed may be found here.

If you have any feedback or would like to pose a question for an upcoming episode, you can always tweet us at @davidandnessa.

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