Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is by all accounts one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature and an absolute gem of the Catholic tradition. The epic tripartite poem tells the story of our soul’s journey toward God. In this episode Bishop Barron offers a virtual commentary on all three parts, guiding listeners through Dante’s vision of hell, his seven story mountain of purgatory and his ascension into heaven – the joyful ending which classically defines this poem as a “comedy.” Our listener question asks about how and when we should seek a spiritual director.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:22  – Bishop Barron discusses meeting Joseph, the episode host
  • 1:20 – Who was Dante and how has he influenced Bishop Barron?
  • 4:19 – How does the Divine Comedy begin?
  • 6:40 – How does the beginning of the story typical to conversion?
  • 7:28 – What blocks Dante from pursuing his path to God?
  • 8:56 – What is Dante’s vision of hell?
  • 11:01 – How does Dante describe Satan?
  • 17:15 – What spiritual moves does Dante make in purgatory?
  • 19:45 – What literary devices and language does Dante uses?
  • 21:17 – How does Dante act against his sin?
  • 25:25 – How does Dante describe Heaven?
  • 29:14 – What should we takeaway by reading this poem?
  • 31:06 – Listener Question: How and when should we find a spiritual director?

Bonus Resources

“Beige Catholicism” is a phrase Bishop Barron coined early in his career as a way of describing the Church’s lackluster adoption of the post-conciliar movement. Much of Bishop Barron’s evangelical work, including his famous Catholicism book and film series, focuses on bringing Christ’s radical distinctiveness and the Tradition’s beautiful vibrancy back into our understanding of the Church. In this episode Bishop Barron details the problems with beige Catholicism as well as the path to a solution. Finally, a listener asks about the Benedict Option for Catholics struggling to keep the faith alive in contemporary culture.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Bishop Barron discusses the new Word On Fire office and studio
  • 2:32 – What is beige Catholicism?
  • 4:45 – What is the history of beige Catholicism?
  • 6:48 – What is the problem with accommodating the culture?
  • 9:30 – What does it mean to domesticate Jesus?
  • 11:45 – Why should we see Jesus as “dangerous and strange”?
  • 13:55 – How the hit show Vikings illustrates the strangeness of Christianity
  • 15:33 – What does a full sacramental vision of the church look like?
  • 17:36 – What does a vibrantly colorful Catholicism look like?
  • 19:20 – How has Bishop Barron’s work targeted this problem?
  • 20:20 – Question from listener: How about the Benedict Option?

Bonus Resources

How should we go about evangelization? Especially for those of us living in a highly-secularized society, what techniques should we employ and what pitfalls ought we avoid? Bishop Robert Barron shares his advice in Part Two of his popular keynote talk on evangelizing the culture.

Bonus Resources

How should we go about evangelization? Especially for those of us living in a highly-secularized society, what techniques should we employ and what pitfalls ought we avoid? Bishop Robert Barron shares his advice in Part One of his popular keynote talk on evangelizing the culture.

Bonus Resources

 

Whenever there’s a survey asking Christians, “What’s one area in your spiritual life you’d like to improve?”,  the answers almost inevitably center around prayer. In today’s episode, Bishop Barron explains what precisely prayer is and then offers some simple steps as well as some more advanced techniques to help us all grow in intimacy with God. With this goal in mind, Bishop Barron leads listeners down five different avenues of prayer that range from informal dialogue to the Mass itself. A seminarian in Phoenix wonders where Catholics should draw the line when it comes to the teachings of a notable 21st-century Christian writer.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:18  – Bishop Barron discusses his upcoming trip to World Youth Day
  • 4:00 – What is prayer and how does conversational prayer begin?
  • 8:42 – How does God speak to us in prayer?
  • 10:58 – What is lectio divina and how do we pray it?
  • 14:45 – What are some different forms of rote prayers and what is their benefit?
  • 20:40 – What is the Liturgy of the Hours and how do we access it?
  • 24:00 – How is the Liturgy of the Hours a universal prayer?
  • 26:00 – How can enter into the Holy Mass specifically as a prayer?
  • 28:00 – How might we advance through these five forms of prayer?
  • 29:25 –  What does Bishop Barron’s holy hour entail?
  • 35:20 – Listener Question: Where should Catholics draw the line with N.T. Wright?

Bonus Resources

 

Normally, in each episode we take one listener question. But we’ve received such a large number of outstanding questions from around the globe that we’ve decided to devote this entire episode to answering a range of questions from listeners like you. Bishop Barron answers several questions, rapid fire, on many different topics.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:24  – Intro: Bishop Barron talks about his recent work and vacation plans
  • 4:17 – How should Catholic school teachers evangelize their pupils?
  • 5:19 – Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?
  • 9:28 – Has the Church ever changed its doctrine?
  • 13:10 – How does one evangelize the culture without becoming corrupted by it?
  • 20:22 – How do we encourage young people to engage in philosophy?
  • 26:00 – What is the difference between faith and belief?
  • 31:30 – What book is Bishop Barron currently reading?

Bonus Resources

Pope Francis recently invited Bishop Barron to speak to hundreds of English-speaking priests at a gathering in Rome for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In today’s episode, Bishop Barron reflects on the talk he shared with his fellow clergymen about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. From this account in John’s gospel, the bishop distills for us four major lessons on the divine mercy. The listener question comes from a practicing Catholic in London who seeks a response to the argument that pursuing a vigorous spiritual life is unnecessary if we are ultimately reconciled to God.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Bishop Barron goes to Rome to talk about divine mercy
  • 3:03 – How is God’s mercy relentless?
  • 5:28 – How does the story of The Woman at the Well dismantle religious mythology?
  • 8:01 – How is God’s mercy divinizing?
  • 11:40 – Connections to Marriage and the Old Testament
  • 13:14 – What does “God became man that man might become God” actually mean?
  • 16:11 – How is God’s mercy demanding?
  • 20:01 – The Vibrant Paradox of Extreme Demand and Extreme Mercy
  • 22:34 – How is God’s mercy a summons to mission?
  • 25:30 – The Highest Life is a summons to Mission
  • 26:42 – Question from listener: Why bother engaging in the spiritual life?

Bonus Resources

 

Find bonus links and resources for this episode at http://WordOnFireShow.com and be sure to submit your questions at http://AskBishopBarron.

Bob Dylan is one of the most spiritually interesting songwriters of our generation. In today’s episode, Bishop Barron reflects on some of Dylan’s best-known hits to show how they subtlety put Biblical themes on display. A listener wonders if Bishop Barron has any tips on how to evangelize in a secular workspace.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Bishop Barron at the Bob Dylan concert last weekend
  • 2:40 – Can Bob Dylan serve as a gateway to God?
  • 4:45 – Who is Bob Dylan?
  • 8:32 – Why Bob Dylan is best read as a spiritual poet
  • 10:11 – Bob Dylan’s religious views
  • 12:17 – Biblical elements of Blowin’ in the Wind
  • 15:39 – Bishop Barron on Like a Rolling Stone
  • 21:41 – Bob Dylan and the Resurrection
  • 22:10 – All Along the Watchtower and the Book of Isaiah
  • 26:41 – Finding Jesus in Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love
  • 28:43 – Question from listener: How can we evangelize in a secular workspace?

Bonus Resources

What is Catholic social teaching and what does it have to say about the economy, business, and our everyday work lives? That’s what Bishop Barron explains in this episode. Surveying the insights of popes and saints, he shows why the Catholic Church rejects socialism and embraces a nuanced, careful endorsement of the market economy.

Venerable Fulton Sheen is remembered as one of the greatest Catholic evangelists of the twentieth century. A master of both television and radio, he shared the Gospel with millions using his unique blend of wit, humor, and insight. Bishop Barron reflects on Sheen’s legacy and the lessons he offers us. A deacon listener asks how Bishop Barron prepares his own homilies each week.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:56  – Bishop Barron’s summary of the New Evangelization Conference in Latrobe, PA
  • 1:45 – Who was Archbishop Fulton Sheen?
  • 4:54 –  One thing we must do before we evangelize
  • 6:42 – The significance of a Catholic priest on primetime, network TV
  • 8:47 –  How Sheen reached 30 million viewers through his TV show
  • 11:02 – Sheen’s strategy for evangelizing a broad audience
  • 13:05 – Would Fulton Sheen be on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram?
  • 14:32 – The importance of Sheen’s book, The Mystical Body of Christ
  • 17:29 – The common thread connecting Ronald Knox, G.K. Chesterton, and Fulton Sheen
  • 18:26 – How Sheen’s “Holy Hour” grounded all his writing and preaching
  • 20:40 – Sheen’s commitment to do a “Holy Hour” every day during his priesthood
  • 22:42 – Bishop Barron’s experience giving the “Tre Ore” talks at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • 24:38 – Question from listener: How does Bishop Barron prepare his homilies?

Bonus Resources