Note that neither Origen nor Augustine nor Jerome was writing for tenure or to impress an academic audience

Quote of the Day for Saturday, October 1st, 2011: Fr. Robert Barron, from the Introduction to his book, Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (Crossroad, 1996), on the pastoral character of pre-Scholastic theology: [P]rior to 1300, that is, from the earliest centuries of the church up until the time of Thomas Aquinas, there was no significant split between theology (talk about God) and spirituality. many of the significant spiritual masters of the patristic period – Origen, Augustine, pseudo-Dionysius, Ambrose – were what we would call theologians. All of the...

I’m going to kill you! HA HA HA!

I find the readings for the Mass of the 5th Sunday of Lent to be among the most exhilarating collections of readings for the Mass, with its recurring promises of resurrection culminating in the Gospel story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the tomb. I reflected quite a bit on them over the weekend of the 5th Sunday, and during the following week, I came across what I guess is by now a well-traveled “sermon jam” drawn from recordings of Ravi Zacharias, which asks what, for Christians, should perhaps be considered the fundamental question that aris...

Revitalizing Catholic Education?

On this feast day of Saint John Neuman, the great champion of Catholic education in America, I want to give a shout-out to St. Jerome’s Catholic Classical School in Hyattsville, Maryland. This school, like so many other modern Catholic parochial schools, was facing almost certain closing not long ago. A recent article from insidecatholic.com tells the story of what happened after the archdiocesan consultation at the parish in consideration of the school’s future: Multiple parishioners approached [school principal] Donoghue and [pastor] Father Stack, arg...

God Did Not Make Us to Remain Within the Limits of Nature

Quote of the Day for January 2nd, 2011: Henri De Lubac, writing on the nature of the Church, in The Splendor of the Church, p. 237 in the 1999 Ignatius edition: God did not make us “to remain within the limits of nature” or for the fulfilling of a solitary destiny; on the contrary, he made us to be brought together into the heart of the life of the Trinity. Christ offered himself in sacrifice so that we might be one in that unity of the divine Persons (Jn 17:19-23). That is to be the “recapitulation”, “regeneration”, and “consummation” of all things, an...

O Rex Gentium

“O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” (O Antiphon for Dec 22nd) Of all the titles of Christ given in these antiphons, I find the notion expressed in today’s antiphon the most difficult to see my way clear to. The others all seem to allow a kind of "religious" perspective to them – “light” and “wisdom” and other even more abstract ideas. I don’t mean by that to contrast the obvious political character of the idea ...

O Clavis David

“O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” (O Antiphon for Dec. 20th) The antiphon today focuses on the authority of Christ: The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens Revelation 3:7 (HCSB) No small part of a genuine faith in Christ must be the hope that His authority is real and actual. ...

O Radix Jesse

“O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” (O Antiphon for Dec. 19th)   The idea of the "root of Jesse" in Scripture is an interesting one, with a meaning that seems a bit fluid. The natural meaning of "root" is, unsurprisingly, a source or foundation. But as imagery, it also beckons to new growth coming forth from a devastated stump – as if that which grow...

Not the Sort of Divinity One Would Sketch

Quote of the Day for Thursday, December 9th, 2010: Mark T. Coppenger, from the article The Perennial Challenge to Inerrancy in the Fall 2010 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine: Whenever I read that someone like Freud or Feuerbach says that God’s a comforting figment or projection of our imagination, I wonder if they’ve ever read the Bible. For our God is not prone to indulge earthly conceits and agendas. Rather, He is insulting, intrusive, inconvenient and insistent – not the sort of divinity one would sketch if left to his own devices. Amen to that! ...

Celebrating Christ’s Redemption and Immortality?

Quote of the Day for Saturday, December 4th, 2010: Handel and Haydn Society Artistic Director Harry Christophers, from the Conductor’s Notes in the program for this season’s performance of Handel’s Messiah: When listening to our performance, take note of [librettist Charles] Jennens’ amazing contribution. We need only look back to mediaeval carols where texts take us from Christ’s nativity through to his crucifixion and resurrection but Jennens takes us further – his is a unique journey which takes us from prophecies of Christ’s coming through the Nativ...

Reconciling the World

Quote of the Day for Tuesday, Nov. 30: Hans Urs von Balthasar, from “The Sacrament of the Brother,” in The God Question & Modern Man, 1958: The opposition between what is profane and what is sacred is indeed fully justified in its place, else there could be no movement. Yet in this openness and this reciprocally flowing movement the opposition is transcended by the unity of him in whom and for whom all things have been created, and who has therefore been charged by the Father to bring them home. Nevertheless, a man will find God in all worldly thing...

American Religion’s Dismissal of Apostolicity

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, November 24th, 2010: Henri de Lubac, from The Splendor of the Church, translated from the 2nd French edition (1953) in 1956, and re-published by Ignatius in 1999 (p.86f): When we recite the Credo we profess our belief in the Church; and if we believe that the Church is both a universal and a visible community, then we cannot – without betrayal of our faith – be content to grant that the universal Church is made visible and concrete to the individual by that particular community which is his, regardless of the separation o...

One Complex Reality

Quote of the Day, from Lumen Gentium, #8 (The Second Vatican Council: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, promulgated Nov. 21, 1964) [T]he [ecclesial] society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element. For this reason, by no weak analogy, [the Church] is compared to the mys...