- Thursday, 22 October 2009 05:25
stand in awe of people who, like Pope Benedict, can draw my attention to the
essentials of faith, reason and culture. His audience on Wednesday where he
speaks about St. Bernard is one of these instances because he shows me the
beauty of St. Bernard, the purpose of theology study, life with the saints, and why we have to suffer some things for the Kingdom. For example, the Pope
offers a corrective in my work as a seminarian.
Here are a few germane sentences with emphasis added: In one place in the talk Pope says: “Faith is above all an
individual and intimate encounter with Jesus; it means experiencing His
closeness, His friendship and His love.” He continues “St. Bernard, solidly
based on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church, reminds us that without a profound
faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, by a profound relationship
with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries risk becoming a futile
intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility. Theology takes us back to
the “science of the saints,” to their intuitions of the mysteries of
the living God, to their wisdom, gift of the Holy Spirit, which become the
point of reference for theological thought.”
And given that I think there’s much discussion
in a seminary work, sometimes too much discussion, I am leaning St. Bernard as
he says, “but perhaps He can be sought better and found more easily with
prayer than with discussion. We put an end here to the book, but not to the
(Pope Benedict XVI,
Wednesday General Audience, October 21, 2009)
- Saturday, 10 October 2009 07:35
In the mid-1990s when I was in formation at Bellarmine House and a student in St Louis, Missouri, I made the acquaintance of Conventual Franciscan Father Wayne Hellman. Father Wayne was a professor of Theology at Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO. I think he was also the Friar Guardian of the local Conventual Franciscan House (St Bonaventure’s Friary) and one of the nation’s experts in Saint Bonaventure’s theology.
Wayne was frequently perceived as a zaney Franciscan professor but an incredibly bright and sensitive man, one that you can easily approach. I enjoyed his company. Until reading about his encounter with the young Joseph Ratzinger, didn’t I realize the interest and scope of theological formation and how he started off. The pedigree of theologians is always of interest to me because I am interested in history and trajectory.
My friend David Miros sent me and a few others a striking story published in the Saint Louis University News of Father Wayne’s recent encounter with the Holy Father
. Why is this striking to me and why should you read the story? Because it is a realization how the Holy Spirit works at the lowest and yet the most human of levels: the heart.
- Thursday, 01 October 2009 05:25
The general intention
That Sundays may be lived as the day
on which Christians gather to celebrate the Risen Lord in the table of the
The missionary intention
That all the people of God, whom Christ has
commanded to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may diligently fulfill
their missionary responsibility.
- Monday, 27 July 2009 17:18
My first thought goes — it’s obvious — to your
founder Monsignor Luigi Giussani, to whom many memories tie me, since he had
become a true friend to me. Our last meeting, as Father Carrón mentioned, took
place in Milan Cathedral two years ago, when our beloved Pope John Paul II sent
me to preside at his solemn funeral.
Through him the Holy Spirit aroused in the
Church a movement — yours — that would witness the beauty of being Christians
in an epoch in which the opinion was spreading that Christianity was something
tiresome and oppressive to live. Father Giussani, then, set himself to reawaken
in the youth the love for Christ, the way, the truth and the life, repeating
that only he is the road toward the realization of the deepest desires of man’s
heart; and that Christ saves us not despite our humanity, but through it.
- Monday, 27 July 2009 10:15
I don’t think “grandparents day” in the Hallmark manner has hit the pope yet, but he did tell his listeners that grandparents are a central part of the family. The feast of Saints Joachim and Anne is the Church’s way of honoring grandparents seeing in Saints Joachim and Anne great models of what grandparents are to be for children and family systems. Pope Benedict’s remarks came within a reflection of the Sunday gospel where we heard Saint John’s narrative of the Multiplication of the loaves and fish. He asks THAT rather important question which we ask ourselves in front of Christ: who am I?
The Pontiff spoke about yesterday’s Gospel in which
Saint John narrates the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and in doing so
introduces the notion of priestly mediation and the sacrament of the Eucharist.
He said “It is as if the Eucharist were anticipated in the great sign of
the bread of life. In this Year for Priests, … we members of the clergy may
see ourselves reflected in this text of John’s, identifying ourselves with the
Apostles when they say: where are we going to find bread for these people to
eat? And when we read of that anonymous boy with his five barley loaves and two
fish, we too are moved to exclaim: But what are they among so many people? In
other words, who am I? How can I with my limitations help Jesus in His mission?
And it is the Lord Who provides the answer: By putting in his ‘saintly and
venerable’ hands the little they are, priests become instruments of salvation
for many people, for everyone!”
Considering the place of the family in
our society, the Pope mentioned Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed
Virgin Mary and, hence, grandparents of Jesus, whose feast day was yesterday (see the blog entry below).
Since yesterday was Sunday, the Church didn’t observe the liturgical memorial
of these two rather important saints because Sunday ordinarily trumps the feast of saints. Careful observers of Benedict’s work will notice that he comes back to a constant theme with the vital importance his places on education in Church’s pastoral care program. Benedict XVI invited us “to pray for grandparents who, in families, are the depositories
and often witnesses of the fundamental values of life.” The educational
role of grandparents is always important, and it becomes even more important
when, for various reasons, parents are unable to ensure an adequate presence
alongside their children as they are growing”, the Pope added, entrusting
all the grandparents of the world to the protection of Saints Joachim and Anna. He also mentioned “all elderly
people, especially those who are alone or experiencing moments of difficulty.”