Category Archives: Faith & Reason

Benedictine monk preserves Christian history

The word “rescue” doesn’t always connect in people’s monks with the life and work of a Benedictine monk, but when you read a recent article in The Atlantic, you will have a new appreciation of the connection. It is a fact that Father Columba Stewart, monk of St. John’s Abbey (Collegeville, MN) spends a great deal of time rescuing some of the world’s precious manuscripts from possible human destruction –think of ISIS– and natural decay in a project sponsored by Saint John’s Abbey and University —Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML). The HMML project puts on microfilm and in digital format manuscripts the world has a rarely seen.

This is human project with Divine blessing; a true ecumenical and inter-faith project that reaches into the deep for the sake of something greater: Truth. What else could you expect a monk to do as a fruit of his contemplation? This, for me, is crucial consequence of the Incarnation of the Lord.

Merton’s birthday

Thomas Merton

Today in 1915 Prades, France, Thomas Merton was born. The famous monk of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (the Trappists), was known in his monastery as Father Louis. The Merton genealogy includes an American mother and a father from New Zealand. Artists, both died early; Merton’s mother died of stomach cancer when he was six years old; 10 years later, his father died of a brain tumor. His early life was wild and seemingly of out of control.

Having met the Lord, Thomas Merton converted to Catholicism in 1938, while he was a student at Columbia University, at Corpus Christi Church on 121st, NYC. Perceiving a call to the contemplative life after the Franciscans rejected him, he entered the Trappist Abbey in Kentucky; Thomas initially gave up his writing career yet it was Abbot Frederic Dunne who recognized his talent noting that it was helpful in bringing others to Christ, he missioned Merton to write.

Thomas Merton once wrote: My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton
Thoughts in Solitude, p. 83

Professor Wilken to speak in New Haven

Robert Louis WilkenRobert Louis Wilken, former professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia, will deliver a lecture on Monday, January 30th at 7:00 pm at St. Mary’s Church (5 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven) entitled, “Liberty in the Things of God: Christian Origins of Religious Freedom.”

Another year of life and of work for God: blessed 2017

“Once again you are coming to the close of another year of life and of work for God. Here is one more reason for you to adore and praise his infinite goodness and mercy in having guarded, protected, and preserved you. This year has passed, and in the same way, our life will pass. We will appear before our Lord and God with the fruits and labors we accomplished for him. Our King and Master will not leave unrewarded any effort of ours or any sacrifice…”

Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska)
Founder of the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth

Our Christian Object of Faith

Today gave me the opportunity to read through some things today that I have put on the back burner. You can see why I would post this thinking. One such item includes the following:

“The Christian faith has only one object: the mystery of Christ dead and risen. But this unique mystery subsists under different modes: it is prefigured in the Old Testament, it is accomplished historically in the earthly life of Christ, it is contained in mystery in the sacraments, it is lived mystically in souls, it is accomplished socially in the Church, it is consummated eschatologically in the Heavenly Kingdom. Thus the Christian has at his disposition several registers, a multi-dimensional symbolism, to express this unique reality. The whole of Christian culture consists in grasping the links that exist between Bible and Liturgy, Gospel and Eschatology, Mysticism and Liturgy. The application of this method to Scripture is called spiritual exegesis; applied to liturgy it is called mystagogy. This consists in reading in the rites the mystery of Christ, and in contemplating beneath the symbols the invisible reality.”

Jean Cardinal Danielou, SJ

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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