Category Archives: Teaching & Living the Faith

Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology, NEW book by Father Edward Oakes

Infiniity Dwindled to Infancy cover.jpg

Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology (Eerdmans, 2011) is due to be released in July. If you pre-order now, there is a discount on Amazon.
Father Oakes utilizes a wide range of works taken from Scripture, theology and literature to explore the questions on the lordship of Jesus Christ. He’s attentive to the Magisterium. The concern is to know what the we, as Christians, believe and teach about who Jesus Christ is, and why. In this book the author is wants to answer this question: what does it mean for an infinite God to become man?
The title of this book is taken from a poem of Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe.” There the poet says:
“This air, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race.”
Infinity Dwindled to Infancy has three parts: the data, the history and the teaching on the identity and work of Christ. The work carries an Imprimatur from Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and the Nihil obstat from Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, theologian for the US Conference of Bishops.

Father Edward T. Oakes, SJ, is a professor of systematic theologian teaching at Mundelein Seminary. He is a member of the some time meeting of the Dulles Colloquium (a theological discussion group that was organized by Father Richard J. Neuhaus and Cardinal Avery Dulles) and he is a member of the ecumenical theological discussion group Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Oakes is a frequent writer for First Things and several other periodicals. Oakes is the author of Pattern of Redemption and a co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs Von Balthasar. There are several translations done by Father Oakes of Balthasar to note.

Divine Mercy: Jesus bending over our humanity

Divine Mercy is a not a mere theological datum. It is another way of calling God, of meeting and loving God and living in relation to others. But is Divine Mercy? Blessed  John Paul II spoke of Divine Mercy in his canonization homily for Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. She became a modern mirror for God’s tremendous love for all humanity. Saint Faustina reminds us that Mercy is crucial for everyone, just ask for the grace of Mercy. An excerpt:

St Faustina Kowalska.jpgWhat will the years ahead bring us? What will man’s
future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that
in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful
experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to
return to the world through Sr Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for
the men and women of the third millennium.


However, as the Apostles once did,
today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen
Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats:  Peace be
with you! Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Spirit given
to it by the risen Christ
. It is the Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart,
pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one
another, and at the same time, restores the joy of the Father’s love and of
fraternal unity.

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ExCons need Christian charity for conversion, new life

chained prisoner Goya.jpgPrograms for prisoner reentry into society is crucial in keeping people clean, working, and being a good citizens. “Do-good-ing” is not a Catholic principle. We have plenty of good people doing good all the time. In fact, my heart is really moved by those who don’t have a faith tradition to call their own and are motivated to act charitably toward those in need. Living a life of virtue and prayer are Catholic ways of proceeding. Showing mercy is what we are called to live in concrete ways. Helping the excon get on his or her feet again and walking with them is Jesus-inspired act.

Faith-based community projects, church-based communities of faith, Catholic groups like the Order of Malta and Catholic dioceses are among those who are doing good work to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith-based communities have compassion as part of their mission and many are facing compassion fatigue. Money and red-tape are real obstacles to living the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
“… I was in prison and visited me” (Matthew 25:36)

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Prayer, Doctrine, Life and Evangelization: are we coherent?

In weekly classes on the Catholic I’ve been stressing a few (of many) points:

  • lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi (prayer, doctrine, life): all have to cohere
  • the Incarnation is a fact: in faith we encounter this fact, this Person, experience the exceptionality and the wonder
  • the contemporaneousness of Jesus Christ
  • the witness of the Catholic faith is true and it is true for all people

Turkson.jpg

In November the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Peter Cardinal Turkson, 63, gave an interview to Zenit on his new work as the head of a Roman office after being a pastor of a diocese in Ghana. Cardinal Turkson is a trained biblical scholar.
My point of bringing this matter up is that those of us who make the claim to be faithful Catholics need to live the faith as though Jesus Christ truly mattered and that what we profess at Mass and in prayer is lived according to correct doctrine while sharing the Good News of Salvation coherently. Cardinal Turkson is not the first to say that we don’t always understand social justice, but we need to put a greater effort in doing so. How do we imitate the love of God for other?

Towards a ‘Cybertheology’ — Antonio Spadaro asks the right question

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the literature editor
the Italian bi-weekly journal
La Civiltà Cattolica published an article
“Towards a ‘Cybertheology’?” which will appear in the January 1st issue.
Father Spadaro’s summary: 


Lord of the universe.jpg

The intelligence of faith in the era of the Net – The
Internet has become part of everyday life for many people, and for this reason
it increasingly contributes to the construction of a religious identity of the
people of our time, affecting their ability to understand reality, and
therefore also to understand faith and their way of living it. The Net and the
culture of cyberspace pose new challenges to our ability to formulate and
listen to a symbolic language that speaks of possibility and of signs of
transcendence in our lives.  Perhaps the time has arrived to consider the
possibility of a cybertheology also understood as the intelligence of faith in
the era of the Net. It would be the fruit of faith that releases from itself a
cognitive boost at a time in which the logic of the Net influences the way we
think, learn, communicate and live.

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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