Tag Archives: grace

Oakes on nature and grace

Just finished reading and editing a terrific and challenging book on nature and grace yet to be published by my friend Jesuit Father Ed Oakes. It is  tentatively titled, The Candle Within: A Theology of Grace as Seen Through Six Controversies (expected from CUA Press). Oakes is writing this text as a seminary and university text. The Candle Within is likely to be his last significant work, save an essay, since he is battling pancreatic and liver cancer.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for Edward.

Servant of God Father Augustus Tolten, pray for Edward.

“Reality holds a signature from God … we must seek to decipher”

The transcript for the talk on whether a scientist can be a believer that was given at a lecture hosted by the New York Encounter in January has just been released by the Crossroads Cultural Center. Faith and reason is being explored here. It is a great question to ask if a believer in Christ –or perhaps a Jew or Muslim adherent– can be credible, true to his or her being given a certain intellectual formation. Does belief in God forfeit our true search for the Divine? Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete’s portion of the discussion is the most interesting to me and it is noted below (emphasis mine). A believer sometime has to work overtime to convince him or herself that faith and science are compatible. The other day my attention was drawn to what a little girl said about Lent: her view of life and the simplicity by which we have to look everything realizing that we don’t make ourselves; everything is given. Albacete answers the question of the compatibility of faith and science: The answer, I propose, is not only yes he can, but, in fact, it is faith that will sustain his or her passion for investigating nature, and prevent the process itself and its results from becoming enslaved to political, economic, and religious ideology.Let me know what you think.

In such a case, is awe, wonder, and joy at scientific
discoveries possible? When I was thinking about this, a friend sent me the text
of a speech given by Msgr. Luigi Giussani about the “love of being” that is
remarkably appropriate to this reflection.  Giussani’s argument is that the truth of Christianity can be
verified by a proper consideration of the evidence
for it. Evidence, he says,
is the correct word, even if the evidence for the Christian claim is given to
us through signs
. Signs are things that can be touched, seen, and experienced. The Apostles had Jesus in front of them and this presence was a sign of His
victory over death, and therefore of His mysterious identity. But what about
us? What happens with the passage of time? What signs are there for us as
evidence of the truth of the Christian claim, of the reasonableness of the
Christian claim?


The interpretation of the signs available to us engages our
liberty, he says. In this drama, our liberty is a manifestation of our love for
being. Without this love for being we are not truly free and we will never
grasp the evidence of the signs given to us. At this point, as an example of
this love for being, Giussani invokes the Magi.

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Wisdom and knowledge stimulates virtue

God’s promise to us is to remain with use for ever.

“Wisdom has built herself a house, and she has set up
seven pillars.” To man, who was made in the image of God when the rest of
creation was created, Wisdom gave the seven gifts of the Spirit to enable man
to believe in Christ and to keep His commandments. By means of these gifts, the
spiritual man grows and develops until, through firm faith and the supernatural
graces he receives, he finally reaches maturity. Knowledge stimulates virtue,
and virtue reflections knowledge. The fear of the Lord, understanding, and
knowledge give true orientation to his natural wisdom. Fortitude makes him
eager to seek understanding of the will of God, as revealed in the laws by
which the entire creation is governed. Counsel distinguishes these most sacred
and eternal laws of God from anything opposed to them, for these laws are meant
for man to ponder, to proclaim, and to fulfill. Insight disposes man to embrace
these expressions of God’s will and to reject whatever contravenes them.


Office of Readings
a
commentary on the Book of Proverbs by Procopius of Gaza, bishop

There’s no cheap grace in following Christ & the Church

The 40 days of Lent is leading to a dramatic climax in our
liturgical imagination: the prayer, fasting, almsgiving is pointing us directly
to what we’ve been promised and hoped for–salvation. These days of Lent offered
us an entrée into the Divine Mystery and yet I fear that a great many people,
including myself–may not have heard Jesus’ prophetic rebuke of the Pharisees
and others for their errors and for their self-righteousness and have missed
the essential purpose of our Lord’s sharp words. Certainly hearing Peter deny
Christ three times indicates that same tendency in us to stand back from that
which is life-giving. In the Scriptures we heard at Mass and in the Divine
Office we hear the Lord not condemning the people for love of God’s Law but
calling them to follow him more closely and in doing so enter more deeply into
the spirit of the Law. Christ makes it clear that living in the Kingdom of God
requires us to be sacrificial: to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.
Here is the certainty we have: to follow Christ entails self-denial and the
acceptance of his cross as ours. No embrace of the cross, no life eternal.

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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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