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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 22

By November 25, 2022May 5th, 2023No Comments

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know Himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

–St. John Paul II Preface to Fides et Ratio

Fides et Ratio Reflections

Since Bishop John Folda announced it in late April of 2021, I have been pinching myself frequently with grateful reassurance that Fr. Kyle Metzger ’00 is indeed the principal of his alma mater, Shanley High School.

He has been a good fit in so many ways, and the pleasant surprises continue in diverse facets of the school.

Last Friday in his parent newsletter, for example, he gave a lengthy description and analysis of a recent classroom observation that perfectly illustrated the two wings of faith and reason in the teacher’s instruction.

Moreover, it dealt with the Galileo case (about which I’ve written in post numbers 16 and 17)!

Fr. Metzger recounts the classroom visit and lesson with this reflection for parents:

“At Shanley, we don’t ignore the contributions of the Catholic faith to the secular disciplines. In fact, we highlight them. Let me offer an illuminating example I witnessed just this week.

“World history. First period. Sophomore class. I sat in the back for one of my formal observations I make for teacher development. Having finished the Renaissance period the week prior, the class was in the early days of a new unit on the scientific revolution. They reviewed some of the elements that allowed for the advent of the revolution such as the technological developments in instruments such as the telescope and printing press. The discussion crescendoed to the great contributions of the famous astronomer Galileo. The astronomer famously proclaimed a heliocentric theory of the solar system, a sun-centered theory as an alternative to the prevailing geocentric theory of the day, the erroneous theory that the Earth is the center of the solar system.

“The teacher then asked students to take out their reading homework from the night before. Brilliantly, the class was assigned to read selections from “Starry Messenger,” the text written by the astronomer himself. Galileo details what he saw through his telescope as he viewed the startling surface of the moon. He muses on his other findings, such as the multiple moons he observed circling Jupiter. I hope parents can appreciate the value of reading this primary text of Galileo himself, rather than another’s summary of Galileo research. This is a hallmark of a Catholic liberal education. We don’t simply read anthologies or summaries; we read the authorities themselves, in their own words. We don’t read about Galileo. We read Galileo.”

That’s a cogent first half. Stay tuned for the second half of Fr. Metzger’s reflection in next week’s Two Wings post.

It’s About Time

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Today, November 25, we remember St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr of the early fourth century. Renowned for her learning and eloquent, persuasive witness, her persecutors attempted to break her body on a wheel of torture, which tradition recounts broke instead, leading to her death by beheading—thus giving the ultimate witness of her very life for her Lord, Jesus Christ. She is the patron saint of philosophers, preachers, librarians, and young, unmarried women. For the courage to be witnesses in our time, St. Catherine of Alexandria: “Pray for us.”

Advent

This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year. In our Catholic schools, we have chosen the last line of the first reading from the prophet Isaiah as our Advent theme: “Let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5b). A most blessed Advent season and happy new year to you and yours.

The Light of the Saints

The Advent theme, “Let us walk in the light of the Lord,” reminds me of this shimmering quotation from Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI on the resplendent light of the saints and how to imitate them:

“The saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light…Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ Himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom His own light becomes visible.”        

President’s Proverb

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

First Sunday of Advent (Year A)

“Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

–Luke 24:44b

Lectionary Readings: First Sunday of Advent | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 122: 1-9

Responsorial Refrain: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” (cf. Psalm 122:1)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Advent Week 1 2022, Psalm 122 Cycle A – YouTube

In a rarity, it’s back-to-back Sunday usage of Psalm 122—the end of the previous liturgical year and the beginning of a new one today—including the same refrain, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

Last Sunday we heard verses 1-5 while this Sunday we hear the entire Psalm, verses 1-9.

Once again, as a Psalm of ascent, the original context is that of pilgrims entering the royal city of David with joyful prayers for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122 echoes the Advent themes of joyful, vigilant expectation for the coming of the Lord and our longing for the light, happiness, and peace which accompany His reign. Thus, the Psalm beautifully resonates with all the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass today.

As we begin this holy season of Advent, strive to kindle those expectations and longings this week as we sing, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

Mike Hagstrom

mike.hagstrom@jp2schools.org