Catholic Scripture Study International was founded in 2003 and has published approximately 30 Bible and faith-related study programs from great Catholic minds like Steve Ray, Fr. Larry Richards, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Mike Aquilina to name a few. The studies comprise both Old and New Testament books, as well as topics like the Mass, the Rapture, and the Second Vatican Council. Today, I will be reviewing A Scriptural Study of Angels, which is actually two programs in one. It comprises Entertaining Angels and Angels Throughout the Ages. The programs are written by Mike Aquilina and Dr. Richard Bulzacchelli, respectively, and both are presented by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.
Entertaining Angels is comprised of the following ten lessons:
1. An Introduction to Angels
2. The Angels' Creation and Fall
3. The Angels and Prophecy
4. Guardian Angels
5. Angels and Worship
6. The Holy Angels and the History of Salvation
7. The Orders of Angels
8. A Confusion of Spirits
9. Spiritual Combat
10. True Devotion to Angels
Angels Throughout the Ages is comprised of the following fifteen lessons:
1. Who are the Angels?
2. Satan in the Book of Job
3. The Dragon in Revelation, Chapter 12
4. The Accuser
5. The Serpent in the Garden
7. Beyond the Bible: Quetzalcoatl and Our Lady of Guadalupe
9. What About Lucifer?
10. Moloch, Hamashhit, the "Destroyer" and Angel of Death
11. The Demon, Asmodai
12. Holy Raphael, the Archangel
13. Holy Gabriel, the Archangel
14. Holy Michael, the Archangel
15. What We Have Learned, and a Few More Angels
You can start with either study, but Entertaining Angels seems to be more introductory to me, so that is the one I would recommend. Each lesson is presented wonderfully by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, but he does take some getting used to if you have never watched him on EWTN. He has a bit of a dry, sarcastic humor that you'll appreciate the more you watch him. Depending on how much you know about angels will dictate how much you learn from each lesson. In addition to a video for each lesson, there's study material which includes Scripture readings, Points to Ponder, Study/Reflection Questions, Catechism References, and a "Rome to Home" section which includes a quote, generally from a past Pope. The leader's manual also contains suggested responses to help facilitate discussion.
When it comes to reviewing Bible studies, you don't pick favorite lessons.You pick the ones that taught you something new or spoke to you. In Entertaining Angels, Lesson Two dealt with the Creation and Fall. The angels were the Light created, and the Light being separated from the Darkness were the angels and fallen angels being separated. I have an icon that reflects this teaching, but it was an enlightening nonetheless. Angels Throughout the Ages Lesson Fifteen discusses angels not found in the Bible, but in apocryphal texts and traditions not generally known in Western Christianity. We learn about Uriel, Jehudiel, Selatiel, and Barachiel. In addition to telling what the angels' names mean, we learn what their responsibility is. For example, Barachiel is in charge of all the guardian angels on earth.
These two studies combined to make the most impressive and comprehensive studies on angels, I have ever encountered. It was in-depth and drew on many different sources to educate the study participant. Whether you are a new small group leader or a veteran, you will find plenty of help to facilitate this study effectively. This was my first experience with Catholic Scripture Study International, and I have nothing but positive recommendations for this program and their company in general. I can't wait to check out other studies from them, especially their new one on Isaiah. If you are in the need of a study, be sure to give this company a shot!