Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to everyone! This year I am spending Christmas in Prague. This Advent, I spent some time reflecting on why we celebrate Christmas with such fanfare compared to other major feast of our Lord. For example: the baptism in the Jordan, or the Ascension, or even Pentecost. We do certainly have solemn celebrations for these other feast days, but not like how we do for Christmas.

Continue reading “Merry Christmas”

Filial Fear vs Servile Fear

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    prudent are all who practice it.
    His praise endures forever.
Ps 111:10

A spirit of counsel and of strength,
    a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
    and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
Is 11:2-3

What does it mean to fear the Lord? Aren’t we supposed to love God, and doesn’t he love us? How can we fear he whom we love and who loves us? In moral theology we make a classic distinction between two kinds of fear: servile fear and filial fear. But first, we need to look at how we react to fear.

Continue reading “Filial Fear vs Servile Fear”

He Will Come Again in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

When we think about the return of Christ what do we imagine? Probably striking scenes of battles and strife. Maybe fire raining down from the sky while angels and demons engage in combat. In short we probably imagine the apocalypse. And there is good reason to have such images, the Revelation of John is vivid in end times imagery.

Continue reading “He Will Come Again in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead”

One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

It has been great being home and starting to catch up with everyone. Since returning, people have asked a normal series of questions: How have you been? (Good) You have been away for how long?! (Yes, it was two years) Do you speak Italian? (Sì, ma certo) How is it living in Italy? (Quite a bit different that home) and the list could go one. But, the most interesting question for me to answer is: what is something I have taken away, or someway I’ve grown. During my time abroad, the best experience, and most profound take away is experiencing the Church in her unity and universality (or as we say in the creed on Sundays as One, … , Catholic, … Church).

Continue reading “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church”

Exodus – Moses, Israel, and an Inflamed Mt. Sinai

Throughout lent, the scripture reading in the Office of Reading have been from Exodus. This past Tuesday the reading was Ex 32:1-20, which is the Golden Calf incident. While I was mediating on this scripture passage, something struck me that I hadn’t noticed in the past. Normally when we recount this story we focus on Israel’s infidelity, or the drama of Moses casting down the tablets, or how Aaron allowed the people to act in a way and was himself complicity in the Israel’s act of infidelity. Instead it was verse 17 that caught my attention, “Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”” What was Joshua doing there and not at the camp with everyone else? Well he was Moses’ attendant and was permitted to approach closer to the mountain than the rest. But he also wasn’t aware of what the Israelites were doing, because they had withdrawn to the camp. Continue reading “Exodus – Moses, Israel, and an Inflamed Mt. Sinai”

Reflection on Psalm 46:10-11 “Be Still and Know That I am God”

“10 Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
11 Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth. Psalm 46: 10-11

Psalm 46 is one of my favorite psalms. In particular the imaginary  in the above verses, 10 and 11, are striking to me. And so, I would like to share a small reflection on these two verses. Continue reading “Reflection on Psalm 46:10-11 “Be Still and Know That I am God””

Reflection from My Retreat in Greccio Last Week

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Ez 36:26-27

“I do not reprove you for your sacrifices;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will accept no bull from your house,
nor he-goat from your folds.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High;
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Ps 50:8-9,12,14-15

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:3, 7-8, 13

This past week my class was on a silent retreat in Greccio, the place where St. Francis created the nativity scene. The retreat house is set on a beautiful mountain side with many hiking trails all along the mountain. I though, didn’t get to see many of them because, I was sick most of the retreat. This though turned out to be a grace. For spiritual reading on the retreat, I brought the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and the Rule of St. Benedict. Continue reading “Reflection from My Retreat in Greccio Last Week”

On the Great Gift of the Holy Spirit

In anticipation of Pentecost this Sunday I wanted to share a reflection on the Holy Spirit from my retreat last week. I spent most of my retreat reflecting on John 16:7:

But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

For me this is one of those really challenging passages. Christ is saying that it is better for Him to return to the Father and for us to have the Advocate instead. So I questioned myself, do I believe that? Do I actually think that I would rather have the Holy Spirit as my guide instead of Christ standing before me?

Continue reading “On the Great Gift of the Holy Spirit”

The Subjective Truth of Art

Table of Contents

Forward
Introduction
The Three Parts of Truth
Art and the Three Parts of Truth
Conclusion

Forward

At the start, I must warn those readers who attempt to tackle this paper. Unlike most of my other posts, which are more reflections, this is a paper I wrote for my Theory of Knowledge class this past Spring Semester and expounded upon for further completeness. That means this paper is a bit heavier on technical philosophy terminology. So if after reading there are any questions either contact me directly, or even better post in the comments so I can answer questions that others might have also. I hope to in the next month or so post an introduction to Aristotelian philosophy terminology, however, that doesn’t quite help those who are reading now.

Introduction

In this paper I will look at the subjective aspect of truth in art. Some contemporary notions of art holds that art’s meaning is completely subjective. That is to say, the meaning of art is in the beholder not the artistic piece itself. The truth of what the art is depicting for one person is as equally valid as another, even if they are contradictory. When I say subjective though, I do not mean subject as meant in contemporary art, the one viewing art. Instead, I will look at the subject as the one who creates the art, and how he imparts truth into art. First, we will look at just what do I mean by art. Art will be defined as any skilled, creative work.1 So art includes more activities besides what we normal consider art.2 For example more practical things like carpentry and cooking. Continue reading “The Subjective Truth of Art”