08 July 2013

Ecumenical Exhortation

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. To be steady on all battle fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
Martin Luther

05 July 2013

Stay Thirsty, My Friends

Taking a break from regularly scheduled paper composition to update my readership!

As my fourth week comes to a close, I must say that I am extremely grateful for the chance to be able to take this time away from active ministry to dedicate myself to study.  This past month has proven to be an extremely fruitful enrichment. My studies have taken me far and wide, covering such disparate ground as Martin Luther's theory of justification to Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of language. As a student, I am constantly in awe of the enormous intellectual treasures of our faith, its lively ability to selectively absorb the best that has been thought and said in human history and make it captive to the Gospel.  

Here, I am surrounded by masters of theology, each of whom has made it his life's mission to expound with clarity and consistency the beauty of our tradition. What a gift to sit at their feet. The depth of expertise and learning is truly staggering. As with any discipline, priesthood carries with it a certain level of expertise, and the priest is commonly the one who is generally the best informed about theological matters within the circles of his influence; but the danger there is complacency and entitlement. To be restored to a position of being taught rather than teaching is not only humbling, it's thrilling. It's a reminder that there is far more ahead to learn than the relatively little that's safely behind.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Speaking of "the most interesting man in the world," please keep in your prayers Father Ed Oakes, SJ, one of my teachers who has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. His prospects are not good, but we are praying for the miraculous intercession of Servant of God Augustus Tolton, a priest who ministered here in Chicago and is distinguished on account of being the first black priest ordained in the US Catholic Church. Thank you for your prayers of intercession on Father Oakes' behalf.

Pope Francis Publishes Encyclical Letter "Lumen Fidei"

Check it out on the Vatican's website!

04 July 2013

To My Parish, From Prison

Stone walls do not a prison make,  
  Nor iron bars a cage; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
  That for an hermitage; 
If I have freedom in my love 
  And in my soul am free,  
Angels alone, that soar above, 
  Enjoy such liberty.
Richard Lovelace

02 July 2013

Newman on Pelosi

"The very idea of Christianity in its profession and history, is something more than this; it is a 'Revelatio revelata' [revealed revelation]; it is a definite message from God to man distinctly conveyed by His chosen instruments, and to be received as such a message; and therefore to be positively acknowledged, embraced, and maintained as true, on the ground of its being divine, not as true on intrinsic grounds, not as probably true, or partially true, but as absolutely certain knowledge, certain in a sense in which nothing else can be certain, because it comes from Him who neither can deceive nor be deceived.
"And the whole tenor of Scripture from beginning to end is to this effect: the matter of revelation is not a mere collection of truths, not a philosophical view, not a religious sentiment or spirit, not a special morality,––poured out upon mankind as a stream might pour itself into the sea, miing with the world's thought, modifying, purifying, invigorating it;––but an authoritative teaching, which bears witness to itself and keeps itself together as one, in contrast to the assemblage of opinions on all sides of it, and speaks to all men, as being ever and everywhere one and the same, and claiming to be received intelligently, by all whom it addresses, as one doctrine, discipline, and devotion directly given from above. In consequence, the exhibition of credentials, that is, of evidence, that is what it professes to be, is essential to Christianity, as it comes to us; for we are not left at liberty to pick and choose out of its contents according to our judgment, but must receive it all, as we find it, if we accept it at all. It is a religion in addition to the religion of nature; and as nature has an intrinsic claim upon us to be obeyed and used, so what is over and above nature, or supernatural, must also bring with it valid testimonials of its right to demand our homage.

John Henry Cardinal Newman, in his Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent