"The Store With A Servant's Heart"


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    Category: Language Arts

    Language Arts

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    • Hobbit : Discovering Grace And Providence In Bilbos Adventures


      In this companion course to The Hidden Meaning of The Lord of the Rings, Professor Joseph Pearce highlights the fundamentally religious and Catholic nature of Tolkien’s famous novel, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.

      In this course, Joseph Pearce shows that Tolkien’s own words about The Lord of the Rings being a fundamentally religious and Catholic work also apply to The Hobbit. Some readers mistakenly believe that The Hobbit is just a simple children’s story. Tolkien might have written the book for his children’s entertainment, but the best children’s literature always has a deep level of meaning, and The Hobbit is no exception.

      Professor Pearce gives you three keys to a true understanding of The Hobbit’s applicability to everyday life:

      * Bilbo grows in maturity, wisdom, compassion, self-sacrifice, and heroism over the course of his journey to the Lonely Mountain. At the end of the novel, Gandalf proclaims that Bilbo is no longer the hobbit he was, and we know that he is changed for the better. The meaning of life is to grow in virtue and holiness by learning the lessons of our adventures so that we can return home to God in Heaven.

      * In The Hobbit, Bilbo is time and again protected and rewarded by luck or good fortune. The luck present in The Hobbit is nothing other than the hand of providence and grace. In order to survive our life’s journey like Bilbo, we need the supernatural assistance of grace and providence.

      * Over and over again in the book, Tolkien presents characters who have fallen prey to dragon-sickness: pride and lust for gold or other material possessions. The Hobbit serves as a cautionary meditation on Matthew 6:21: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

      Bilbo Baggins of Bag End and his adventures can serve as a mirror for our journey through life. Even though we won’t find ourselves travelling through goblin-infested mountains, chased by spiders, or threatened by trolls, we can see that virtue is only attained through grace by slaying the monsters and demons which try to prevent our passage into eternal glory. Tolkien’s profoundly Catholic worldview allows us to transcend the literal meaning of the story and apply its theological lessons to our own lives.

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    • Dantes Paradise : A Study Of Part III Of The Divine Comedy


      You’ve followed Dante through the dreaded gates of Hell, to the arduous slopes of Mount Purgatory, and now, finally, to the transcendence of the Heavenly Court.

      With Dr. Anthony Esolen, you’ve travelled into the depths of the Inferno. You’ve witnessed the terrible hopelessness of Hell and the bitter punishments for sinners there. You’ve accompanied Dante and Virgil through the mysteries of Mount Purgatory where sinners are purged of all attachment to sin. Finally, together with blessed Beatrice, enter into the indescribable glory of Heaven.

      The Beatific Vision

      Dante imagines that Paradise consists of nine celestial spheres which surround the very Throne of God at the center. It is like a blossoming rose, each petal reveals further splendor and glory the nearer we come to the center. Yet, in a way, Dante’s journey to God reads something like science fiction – after all, he and Beatrice travel through:

      * The Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
      * The Fixed Stars – a region medievals imagined to contain all stars except the Sun
      * And finally, through the Primum Mobile – the sphere which causes the motion of all other spheres within it because it is moved directly by God

      In each astral location, Dante and Beatrice meet the blessed souls who enjoy the bliss of Heaven. Unlike Purgatory and the Inferno, which are arranged by different types of sin, Paradise is structured according to virtue. Each sphere is associated with one of the cardinal virtues – prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance – or one of the theological virtues – faith, hope, and charity.

      Poetry of the Highest Order

      Professor Esolen who has served as your guide through both the Inferno and Purgatory will guide you through the profound and elevated poetry of Paradise. An expert who has taught Dante to college students for more than twenty years, Professor Esolen is also the preeminent modern translator of the entire Divine Comedy from the original Italian.

      Dante can rightly be called the greatest poet who ever lived, because he chose for the subject of his epic poem the greatest subject ever conceived – namely, the whole purpose and end of man. Dante’s imaginative genius gave us both astonishing human and theological insights and perhaps the most beautiful verse describing Heaven ever written.

      Discover the ineffable majesty of Paradise with Professor Esolen and complete the journey of all men who have conquered the self through the suffe

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    • Dantes Purgatory : A Study On Part II Of The Divine Comedy


      We Know What Happens in Hell… But What about Purgatory?

      Dante’s Inferno revealed some titillating details about the punishments inflicted on sinners – but in a way, we already knew what happens to people in Hell. What we don’t know is what happens to people who end up in Purgatory. In this second part of The Divine Comedy, Dante probes the mysteries of that strange and often misunderstood place between earth and Heaven.

      Climb the Mount

      Purgatory is a place to work through – no one gets stuck there forever. The souls in Dante’s Purgatory must climb up seven terraces on Mount Purgatory before they can reach Heaven. On these terraces, Dante and Virgil find:

      * The prideful, who are forced into humility by heavy loads of stones on their backs
      * The envious, whose eyes are sewn shut to prevent them from seeing the goods of others
      * The wrathful, who climb through choking smoke that represents the blinding nature of anger
      * The slothful, who engage in ceaseless activity to overcome their former laziness
      * The covetous, who must lie face down on the ground for their attachment to earthly goods
      * The gluttonous, who must starve in sight of unreachable fruit hanging from trees above them
      * The lustful, who are purified by running through a wall of flame which represents God’s pure love

      Along the way, they are cleansed from the stains of sin by punishments which are like, and yet unlike, those suffered by the sinners in Hell. Here, the suffering souls glorify God and rejoice in their suffering, because they know it prepares them for the eternal bliss of Heaven.

      A Real Place

      Virgil and Dante discover the astonishing spiritual reality of Purgatory as they climb through the terraces on Mount Purgatory. Dante created a poetic vision which might be the best imaginative representation of Purgatory ever written. While his poem might not reflect the actual nature of Purgatory, his insights can help us understand it better.

      Your Expert Guide

      A celebrated translator and teacher of Dante, Professor Esolen interprets and describes the rich theological insights discovered by Dante on his journey up the mountain. Join Dante, Virgil, and Professor Esolen to continue the journey begun in the Inferno which will culminate in the ineffable beauty of Paradise.

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    • Dantes Inferno : A Study On Part I Of The Divine Comedy


      Dante’s Divine Comedy can rightly be called the greatest poem ever written, praised through the ages by a pantheon of writers and scholars. Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) referred to Dante’s crowned visionary brow. Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941) said Dante is my spiritual food! Pope Benedict XV (1854-1922) called Dante the most eloquent singer of the Christian idea. Even the 20th century literary critic T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) famously wrote that Shakespeare and Dante divide the world between them, there is no third.

      Yet today this great poem is often dismissed by modern scholars for its unabashed Catholic theology and deep spiritual vision. Shrug off the unfounded disdain of these skeptics and discover for yourself the true grandeur, Christian nature, and sheer artistry of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

      Just as Dante needed Virgil to lead him through the bowels of Hell, you also need a true and trustworthy guide. Dr. Anthony Esolen serves as your Virgil in this course on the Inferno, the first canticle of the Divine Comedy. An expert who has taught Dante to college students for more than twenty years, Professor Esolen is also the preeminent modern translator of the entire Divine Comedy from the original Italian.

      With Professor Esolen you will enter the terrible gates of Hell and progress level by infernal level to its diabolical depths. Professor Esolen places a special emphasis on the drama of the poem, leading you through each canto in succession. Along the way, he will highlight Dante’s astonishing human and theological insights and discuss the destiny of man, how to find our way out of the wilderness of sin, the relationship between love and knowledge, and the integral unity between body and soul.

      Professor Esolen will more than satisfy your curiosity about Hell and the fate of the damned. He will reveal in all its starkness the horror of sin, and awaken in your heart a longing for divine love.

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    • Hidden Meaning Of The Lord Of The Rings


      Joseph Pearce offers a fascinating and insightful course on The Lord of the Rings, which is the greatest and most popular work of literature of the twentieth century. The course discusses the book’s phenomenal success and the life of its author, J. R. R. Tolkien, before embarking on a tour of the world and characters of Middle-earth.

      Despite the absence of any direct mention of Christ or the Catholic Church, Tolkien described his work as fundamentally religious and Catholic. He was able to infuse his fictional world with theological orthodoxy through his creation myth and world order. Endowing his protagonists with Christian virtues, he also incorporated themes of grace and mercy.

      Tolkien’s deep faith and creative philosophy emerge from the narrative as an unmistakable Catholic presence. The very foundation of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, from its creation by Iluvatar, the one God, to angel-like Melkor’s sinful rebellion, to the menacing presence of Sauron, the dark lord, supports Professor Pearce’s argument for the Catholicity of the work. You’ll learn how the One Ring symbolizes Original Sin, how the dates Tolkien chose for events in the story are theologically significant, how the Elvish waybread, lembas, figures as the Eucharist, and how Frodo acts as a Christ-like figure.

      Tolkien also describes his work as an allegory of power usurped for domination – a theme which is all the more important to examine in our modern world. Characters throughout The Lord of the Rings are tempted by power and the urge to seize and wield it for personal gain and unlawful control. Throughout the journey of the Fellowship, various characters face the temptation of the One Ring – the wizard Gandalf, through whom the Ring would wield a terrible power; human warrior Boromir, who would use it to save his people; and elf queen Galadriel, weary from fighting the long defeat against evil. Among the characters who do usurp power for domination are Saruman, the white wizard who succumbs to evil, and whose machinations at Isengard only bring more evil to Middle-earth.

      Over the eight lectures in the course, Professor Pearce highlights connections, allegories, and insights which will expand your reading of The Lord of the Rings. It is said that art holds the mirror up to life. This is the reason that art is real and fiction is true. The Lord of the Rings enjoys such fame and popularity because, in a way, it shows us ourselves in the characters. Learn more and disc

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