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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 28

By January 13, 2023May 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

Editor’s note: Due to technical issues on our website, we were unable to publish the January 13 post at the usual time and day.

Fides et Ratio Reflections

While still in the Christmas season and following Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s death on December 31, I re-read portions of his book, “The Blessings of Christmas.”
I have treasured this little gem of a book, and once again enjoyed this compelling analogy regarding technology in light of the two wings of faith and reason. It is in chapter 5, “The New Star,” within the subsection, “Learning to Listen in the Silence.”
“Scientists tell us that the dinosaurs died out because they developed in the wrong direction: a lot of armor plating and not much brain, a lot of muscles and not much understanding. Are not we, too, developing in the wrong direction: a lot of technology, but not much soul? A thick armor plating of material know-how, but a heart that has become empty? Have we not lost the ability to perceive the voice of God in us and to recognize and acknowledge the good, the beautiful, and the true?” (The Blessings of Christmas, pp. 92-93)

It’s About Time

St. Hilary

“Welcome to Hilary term,” I would always say when starting adult education classes after the Christmas season and new year.

That term for term two of the academic year is common at Oxford, where greats such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien taught, and at other universities in the United Kingdom.

It is named “Hilary term” after St. Hilary, the saint we remember each year on this day, January 13, which typically falls after the end of the Christmas season and near the start of the second term.

St. Hilary of Portiers was elected Bishop of that west-central French city in 350. He fought mightily against the Arians (followers of the heretic Arius, who taught that Jesus, though excellent, was merely human, a Son created by God, “made not begotten” to reverse the formula of the Council of Nicea in 325). 

Emeritus Pope Benedict summarized the significance of St. Hilary’s battles: “Hilary devoted his whole life to defending faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Son of God, and God as the Father Who generated Him from eternity.”

St. Hilary’s master work, “On the Trinity,” explained Catholic teaching in a profoundly influential way. For that lasting contribution to Catholic doctrine, Bl. Pope Pius IX declared him a “Doctor” of the Church in 1851.

Though by temperament a mild-mannered peace-maker, St. Hilary knew the stakes if Jesus were a mere creature: our very salvation would be jeopardized. Hence, his willingness to combat the views of the Arians. He lamented about them: “Anyone who fails to see Christ Jesus as at once truly God and truly man is blind to his own life.”

That is yet another reason why our Catholic schools are so important. In teaching the fullness of truth about God, the human person, and all creation, we follow St. Hilary’s example by helping our students see their true identity as beloved, redeemed daughters and sons of God called to eternal beatitude.

Speaking of beatitude, happy Hilary term everyone!

Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 16 will be the annual observance of Martin Luther King Day. Our students have a vacation day, but our staff will have a professional development day with time for worship, prayer, conversations, collaboration, and work time.

Pope Francis has praised the example of Rev. Dr. King and encouraged on-going work for justice, harmony, and peace.

At the heart of his famous “Letter from a Brimingham Jail,” Dr. King referenced two Catholic saints (from memory in the pre-search engine era and with no books in the jail):

“…there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.

“Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Speaking of justice, the theme of the annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” is “Do good; seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17).

Inaugurated in 1907, the annual week of prayer begins on January 18 and concludes on January 25. See the USCCB’s link for more information for this year’s observance: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 | USCCB

Our renewed prayers during that week align with Jesus’ prayer to His Father that “all may be one” (John 17:21).

President’s Proverb

“A nation can be considered great when it…fosters a culture which enables people to ‘dream’ of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do.”

–Pope Francis to a Joint Session of Congress (September 2015)

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (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: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10

Responsorial Refrain: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” (cf. Ps 40:8a, 9a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 40 Cycle A – YouTube

With the superscription, “A Psalm of David,” Psalm 40 includes thanksgiving to the Lord, Who hears and rescues, as well as appeals for help in the midst of on-going affliction and oppression.

This Sunday’s portion of the Psalm is set in the middle of those two movements with the candid resolution to seek and do God’s will. David sings, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do Your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”

The Lord Jesus perfectly fulfills this Psalm, as He did His Father’s will and taught us to pray for and to do the same: “Thy will be done.” In giving that gift of self, He and we know true delight.

With confidence and joy, let us sing this week, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

Mike Hagstrom