- Tuesday, 28 February 2017 08:37
The funeral rites were prayed last week for theologian Michael Novak in Washington, DC. The Oratorian Fathers in the District offered and preached the Mass. May God give Michael eternal light, happiness and peace!
It is said the Novak was one of the finest Catholic theologians of the USA, indeed for the Church. A man of great intellect AND charity. This fact comes out in a beautiful homily preached by Father Derek Cross, Orat., giving us a wonderful picture of how grace moved man. I urge your reading the homily.
More and more, as he grew older, Michael gravitated to the theme of caritas. In the Free Society Seminar at Bratislava, he developed a contemporary version of St Augustine’s City of God called Caritapolis. Later, he included a chapter on Caritapolis in The Universal Hunger for Liberty. He introduced the song “Ubi Caritas et Amor” to the daily Masses of the Free Society Seminar. It was his only musical request for today’s Mass, but he asked that it be sung twice. “Little children, love one another,” was said to be the aged Apostle John’s single and constant homily: a simple and profound wisdom that Michael made his own. To those who came to bid farewell before he died, he said repeatedly, “God loves you and you must love one another, that is all that matters.”
- Sunday, 26 February 2017 21:17
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.
- Friday, 27 January 2017 19:02
Robert 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.”
- Tuesday, 09 August 2016 09:54
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (in history she is known as Edith Stein). The Church honors her with the title of Virgin and Martyr due to her vocation as a nun and one killed for belief in Christian faith.
Stein was born on October 12, 1891, in Breslau, Poland. Her family was Jewish. By 1922, after reading the saints, in particular, Saint Teresa of Avila, and on matters in the Catholic faith, she was baptized at the Cologne Cathedral. Eleven years later she entered the Carmelite Order in Cologne before being sent to the Carmel in Echt, Holland. With her sister Rose, Teresa was arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. There she died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one. Stein was beatified in 1987 and canonized on October 11, 1998.
It is said that she made a claim about Husserl that “Whoever seeks truth seeks God, whether he knows it or not.” Professor Husserl was not one to speak about his religious faith because he wanted to maintain a separation between faith and reason. Yet, we know from experience, that faith and reason go hand-in-hand. Catholics ought to take a lesson here: a person who claims Christian faith faith can not be diffident reading the same. One can say with a degree of certainty that Stein’s philosophical research was one of a constant quest for God. Saint Teresa Benedicta’s witness is that whoever seeks truth through philosophy seeks God, because God is Truth. We therefore hold that that whoever seeks truth is, in fact, seeking God. There is a primacy of faith and reason in the Catholic mind.
- Wednesday, 29 June 2016 10:30
Mother Church liturgically remembers today the lives of Saints Peter and Paul. The Apostles Peter and Paul are known as the founders of our Church. As a point of fact, the Church has always considered St. Peter and St. Paul together —they are inseparable. Historically, we know them to born as Jews; each had a personal encounter with Jesus. And each had unique and unrepeatable set of gifts to offer. Both received the mission from Jesus Christ to make the Church a reality in Rome and thus for the world. Their vocation included the sacrifice of their lives in the service of the Gospel: St. Peter was crucified upside down and St. Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded with a sword. The point of drawing our attention to Sts. Peter and Paul is to ask if we follow the experience and teaching of these Holy Apostles who were great founders of our Church? Do we know them? Do we trust that their teaching directs our steps on the path that leads to heaven?
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI preached the following homily to new archbishops, words appropriate for us to reflect upon for our formation of faith:
“‘In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.’ Christian faith is hope. It paves the way to the future. And it is a hope that possesses reasonableness, a hope whose reason we can and must explain. Faith comes from the eternal Reason that entered our world and showed us the true God. Faith surpasses the capacity of our reason, just as love sees more than mere intelligence. But faith speaks to reason and in the dialectic confrontation can be a match for reason. It does not contradict it but keeps up with it and goes beyond it to introduce us into the greater Reason of God. It is our task not to let it remain merely a tradition but to recognize it as a response to our questions. Faith demands our rational participation, which is deepened and purified in a sharing of love. It is one of our duties … to penetrate faith with thought, to be able to show the reason for our hope within the debates of our time. Yet although it is so necessary thought alone does not suffice. Just as speaking alone does not suffice. In his baptismal and Eucharistic catechesis in chapter 2 of his Letter, Peter alludes to the Psalm used by the ancient Church in the context of communion, that is, to the verse which says: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good!’ (Ps 34: 8; 1 Pt 2: 3).
Tasting alone leads to seeing. Let us think of the disciples of Emmaus: it was only in convivial communion with Jesus, only in the breaking of the bread that their eyes were opened. Only in truly experienced communion with the Lord were they able to see. This applies to us all; over and above thinking and speaking, we need the experience of faith, the vital relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith must not remain theory: it must be life. If we encounter the Lord in the Sacrament, if we speak to him in prayer, if in the decisions of daily life we adhere to Christ then ‘we see’ more and more how good he is; then we experience how good it is to be with him. Moreover the capacity to communicate faith to others in a credible way stems from this certainty lived. The Curé d’Ars was not a great thinker; but he ‘tasted’ the Lord. He lived with him even in the details of daily life, as well as in the great demands of his pastoral ministry. In this way he became ‘one who sees.’ He had tasted so he knew that the Lord is good. Let us pray the Lord that he may grant us this ability to taste, and that we may thus become credible witnesses of the hope that is in us.”
(written/edited for the OLOP bulletin, 6/26/2016)