Today is the 51st anniversary of Pope Saint Paul VI’s landmark encyclical, Humanae vitae.
I recently found this admonition by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware on certain connections:
“Once theology forgets the unavoidable limitations of the human understanding; once it overlooks the apophatic dimension of theology; once it replaces the ineffable Word of God with human logic, then, as the Cappadocians assert, it ceases to be theo-logia and sinks to the level of techno-logia.”
It seems that theologians, public thinkers, and the clergy, have already arrived a technologia. The poor state of preaching, writing/speak, and catechesis demonstrates this fact. The disconnect between faith and reason is key in this regard.
I think if you asked many people what it means to “bless God” an adequate answer would be lacking. Probably for no other reason than it is not a subject we hear preached on at Mass, or study in Catechism class. This is a sad thing to say: we don’t have competent or interested priests and lay catechists doing the work of passing on the revealed religion. Sister Vassa Larin, on the other hand, has provided a brief explanation on the meaning of Blessing God.
“Bless (εὐλόγει) the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Ps 102/103: 1-2)
Does God need that I “bless” (εὐ-λόγει, say a good word about) Him? No, of course not. But I need to say “good words” about the Source of Good, the Source of Blessing, lest I forget all His gifts or “benefits,” showered upon me and others every day. I need actively to exercise my God-given capacity for “good words,” even when it is easier to grumble and choose “bad words,” about whatever bad things may cross my path.
The “blessing” (or “good word”) I speak with my mouth, and say in my “soul,” has creative power, because God, my Creator, is the Source of all Blessing. I grow in Him, to be more “like” Him, when I participate or share in His creative energies of “blessing.” Conversely I do damage to my growth, if I choose de-structive, “bad words,” or words that are God-less, outside of God. So let me choose good words today; let me bless, that I may be blessed.
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.”