St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY
The Persians under Xerxes invade Greece, and have some success until Greece expels them. It is during this period that the Book of Esther takes place, a book that has great significance when considering the tensions between the many cultures in the Middle East at the time. After Xerxes, the Persia is ruled by Artaxerxes and Artaxerxes II (among others).

From a more religious perspective, after the return to Israel, Malachi rails against the dullness he sees in the religion as people were practicing it. This should not be surprising, since every generation needs to be evangelized, lest the people fall into a civic religion. It is during this period that the Book of Esther takes place, a book that has great significance when considering the tensions between the many cultures in the Middle East at the time. The prophets and writers of this time period, including Jesus son of Sirach, should remind us that we must refresh our faith today with the same vigor that was demanded by the prophets.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_1b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:32am EST

The Jewish canon ends the Hebrew Scriptures after the return from the Babylonian Exile. While the canon continues for Christians, there is not much Scripture for the 500 years between the return from Babylon and the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. There are many events that occurred in this time, and placing them into a context is important.

The return from exile was did not result in all the Jews returning, nor did they return to a land empty of their kinsmen. Many Jews remained in Babylon, which would remain there for many years after, even compiling the authoritative Babylonian Talmud there. Many lower-class people were allowed to stay in Israel when they were taken into exile, and the influx of that many people posed problems for them. After the conquest of the northern tribes, foreigners came into that land and promoted a form of worship that would become the Samaritans.

The temple had been destroyed, and the rebuilt temple was only a shadow of its original glory. After its completion, Ezra gathered the Jews and read them the Law, which chastened them and convinced them to return to the worship of the true God.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_1a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:24am EST

This was recorded at the 2009 Rochester Chesterton Society Conference.

It is very easy to allow ourselves to experience wonder on a purely intellectual basis, which misses the point, since wonder is too powerful to be experienced merely through the intellect.

We should wonder at some of the amazing things written in the Scriptures and at what they should mean to us: if we are created in God's image, how wondrous must that be!

There is also a hierarchy of wonders. While we can and should regard the things God has created and holy artifacts with wonder, these things are only temporary and we must regard the eternal with a greater wonder, and nothing can be as wondrous of the mystery of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We are commanded to wonder at these things, in part by the Shema Yisrael (Deut 6), which instructs us all to love God with all our heart, soul and might and think on this always and to teach this to our children.
Direct download: HigbeeWonder.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:56am EST

This was recorded at the 2009 Rochester Chesterton Society Conference.

As we grow older, we lose our grasp on a sense of wonder in the world. Wonder is modulated by time and repetition, but there are three cases unaffected by time: youth, art and eternity, and it is by studying these three cases where we may reawaken our sense of wonder.

GK Chesterton, CS Lewis and others have commented on how wonder works in our lives. CS Lewis, for example, writes that angels cannot truly grasp the wonder in such simple acts as breathing, since they lack a corporeal form. There are many things for men to wonder at in the world, if we would only take the time.
Direct download: TomHoward_Wonder.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:33am EST