Tag Archives: faith and reason

Blessing God

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.

As Charity lived in Michael Novak

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.

In part,

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.”

 

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.

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.”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

edith steinSaint 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.

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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