Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fr. Barron: Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

From the Word on Fire Blog

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is one of the great patron saints of both Father Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries as a whole. On the blog today, read a short reflection from Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master and watch Fr. Barron's video on his theological hero. 

"No account of the life and spirituality of Aquinas would be complete without a reflection on the events immediately preceding and surrounding his death. In Naples, on the feat of St. Nicholas, December 6, 1273, Thomas was, according to his custom, celebrating Mass in the presence of his friend, Reginald. Something extraordinary happened during that Mass, for afterward Thomas broke the routine that had been his for the previous twenty years. According to one source, he ‘hung up his instruments of writing,’ refusing to work, to dictate, to write. When hissocius encouraged him to continue, Thomas replied very simply that he could not. Afraid that his master had perhaps become mentally unbalanced, the younger man persisted until Thomas, with a mixture of impatience and resignation, finally replied, ‘Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me.’


To many, those are the most eloquent words that Thomas Aquinas ever uttered. After filling tens of thousands of pages with words about God, the great master very abruptly fell silent, convinced that everything he had written amounted to no more than refuse, perhaps persuaded that nothing finally can capture the strangeness and elusiveness of God. Some speculate that Thomas might have suffered a stroke (there is indeed some evidence that he was physically impaired after the December 6 incident) and others that he had what amounted to a psychological breakdown (many of his symptoms are consistent with burn-out, profound depression, or even a midlife crisis). Whatever explanation we offer, the simple fact of his remarkable silence remains.

In January of 1274, Thomas visited his sister but was scarcely able to speak to her. She described him as stupefactus (dazed or out of his senses). According to some sources it was during this visit that Thomas told Reginald that his work seemed like straw ‘compared to what had been revealed to him.’ If this is so, then Thomas’s silence takes on a stranger and more mystical quality.

Summoned to the Council of Lyons in early 1274, the dutiful Aquinas set out for France but fell ill on the way. Anticipating his death, Thomas asked to be taken to the Cistercian monastery of Fassanuova. It was there that he died on March 7, some say after composing a commentary on the Song of Songs.”[1]

For further reading, here is a link to Father Barron's article entitled, America Needs You, Thomas Aquinas




[1] Robert Barron. Thomas Aquinas, Spiritual Master (New York: Crossroads Publishing Company, 1996), 23-24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unity focus of Pope's weekly General Audience

Unity focus of Pope's weekly General Audience

2012-01-25 Vatican Radio

Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall, reflecting on the desire for unity that Christ expressed in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper, as recounted in the 17th chapter of St. John’s Gospel:Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation. He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles.

Thus, said Pope Benedict, Chris’t priestly prayer can be seen as instituting the Church, the community of the disciples who, through faith in him, are made one and share in his saving mission:

In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbours and the whole world. Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him.

Following the main catechesis, the Holy Father had greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English:

I offer a warm welcome to the students of the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Switzerland, and I offer prayerful good wishes for their work. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

This Wednesday’s was the last General Audience of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and came ahead of an ecumenical Vespers service at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls.

Feast of Saints Timothy and Titus

In honor of their feast day...FROM HERE

BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE
Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 13 December 2006


Timothy and Titus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Having spoken at length on the great Apostle Paul, today let us look at his two closest collaborators: Timothy and Titus. Three Letters traditionally attributed to Paul are addressed to them, two to Timothy and one to Titus.

Timothy is a Greek name which means "one who honours God". Whereas Luke mentions him six times in the Acts, Paul in his Letters refers to him at least 17 times (and his name occurs once in the Letter to the Hebrews).

One may deduce from this that Paul held him in high esteem, even if Luke did not consider it worth telling us all about him.

Indeed, the Apostle entrusted Timothy with important missions and saw him almost as an alter ego, as is evident from his great praise of him in his Letter to the Philippians. "I have no one like him (isópsychon) who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare" (2: 20).

Timothy was born at Lystra (about 200 kilometres northwest of Tarsus) of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father (cf. Acts 16: 1).

The fact that his mother had contracted a mixed-marriage and did not have her son circumcised suggests that Timothy grew up in a family that was not strictly observant, although it was said that he was acquainted with the Scriptures from childhood (cf. II Tm 3: 15). The name of his mother, Eunice, has been handed down to us, as well as that of his grandmother, Lois (cf. II Tm 1: 5).

When Paul was passing through Lystra at the beginning of his second missionary journey, he chose Timothy to be his companion because "he was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium" (Acts 16: 2), but he had him circumcised "because of the Jews that were in those places" (Acts 16: 3).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This pretty much sums it all up...

Comment by Joe Heschmeyer over at his blog:

 "...I eventually realized something much more fundamental: either the Holy Spirit guides the Church or He doesn't.

 If He does, then I don't have to worry about false dogmatic definitions. I can just trust the Church and treat her as my Mother. If He doesn't, then the Marian doctrines are the least of my worries. So if we can trust the Church on the Trinity and Christ's Dual Natures, we can trust Her on the Immaculate Conception and Assumption. And if we can't trust her on the Immaculate Conception, we can't trust Her on the more basic Christian doctrines. So I ultimately came to realize that if the Holy Spirit does guide the Church, Catholicism is true. But if He doesn't, it would be much more than Catholicism proven false -- all of Christianity would be untrustworthy. Fortunately, the evidence is rather overwhelming (at least in my opinion) that the Holy Spirit does actively guide and lead the Church."

 Well said, Joe.

The silliest pro-abortion argument ever (is one you hear all the time) | LifeSiteNews.com

"...recently, a postmodern deconstructionist tendency to wipe American law clean of “traditional” morality has created not a sparkling tabula rasa, but a libertine morass. You don’t have to be a Jew or Christian to recognize there is such a thing as right and wrong. Lately, it seems like the only evil people will recognize is believing in evil."

The silliest pro-abortion argument ever (is one you hear all the time) | LifeSiteNews.com