“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
Shanley High School introduced a “Day of Wonder” today as part of its Catholic Schools Week observance.
Three 45 minute sessions were held this morning, intended “to unveil the grandeur and excitement of God’s created world, to marvel at truth, goodness, and beauty that surrounds us.” The seminars were meant “to inspire wonder, awe, surprise, and holy curiosity within the soul of the student”—from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.
I am grateful for this initiative and the new opportunity for our students to cultivate a sense of wonder. Seminars included the musical foundation of the cosmos, the Divine Proportion in creation, irregular beauty, fossils, St. Peter’s Tomb, the five love languages, analysis of suffering, the four temperaments, lie detectors, and St. Ansgar and Scandinavian culture.
I’ll repeat what I said in a previous post about wonder:
“John Paul II in Fides et Ratio, observed that ‘Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal’ (No. 4).
“Albert Einstein famously said, ‘The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.’”
May our students continue kindling their sense of wonder.
It’s About Time
Catholic Schools Week Mass
Yesterday, students from our five Catholic schools and St. Joseph’s School in Moorhead gathered in the Shanley-Sacred Heart gym for the annual Catholic schools Week Mass. St. Joseph’s School had not been able to attend this annual highlight of Catholic Schools Week since 2019, so it was especially good to welcome them.
Presentation Sisters were our guests of honor as our founding religious order. Staff members, parents and grandparents, supporters and benefactors, clergy and religious also attended. Bishop John Folda presided.
“He is with them, and they are with Him,” Bishop Folda noted at the Mass yesterday, repeating the message from his 2023 Catholic Schools Week video: Catholic Schools Week 2023 – YouTube
He was referring to the fact that Jesus’ Real, Substantial Presence in the Blessed Sacrament is among our students daily in our school churches and chapels. He also noted that no other school—even other Christian schools—can make that unique claim.
Our schools are built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, the light of the world. With joy and gratitude for that gift, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord was a perfect opportunity to gather for the Eucharistic Feast.
This morning, I taught three “Day of Wonder” sessions as described above. Here is my class title and description for the Shanley students:
Skol Vikings -Mr. Hagstrom
On this feast of St. Ansgar, “Apostle of the North” and Patron Saint of Scandinavia, we will explore the roots of Catholicism there and its influence on Scandinavian culture. Focal points will include the Norse sagas, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sigrid Undset, and the Hopperstad Stave Replica Church in Moorhead.
I enjoyed the time spent with the students and appreciated their attentiveness, curiosity, and participation. I do indeed pray that they grow in wonder.
Feed My Starving Children
Our students from Trinity Elementary, Sacred Heart Middle School, and Shanley High School joined hundreds of others today in packing meals for the poorest of the poor in our world in the Ninth Annual Feed My Starving Children Event at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Thousands of others are expected to participate in the four day event (February 1-4): FargoPack | We turn Hunger into Hope
Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers of this inspirational work. Thanks to our students for being true “Deacons” (servants). Thanks as well to students from Nativity School who collected alms for St. Ann’s School in Belcourt and to students from Holy Spirit School who collected items for the Women’s Care Center. Well-done, Deacons!
“Run, jump, shout, but do not sin.”–St. John Bosco, Patron Saint of Youth
Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)
Sunday Psalm Sampler
Third 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: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 112: 4-9
Responsorial Refrain: “The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.” (Ps 112:4a)
Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 112 – YouTube
John Milton in Paradise Lost describes Hell as having “no light, but rather darkness visible” (PL, 1:63). Absolute, total, complete darkness—such is the baleful “existence” apart from God.
At the polar opposite of that misery, this Sunday’s readings prescribe for and proclaim of the just one that “your light shall break forth like the dawn” (first reading); that “your light must shine before others” (Gospel); and that “light shines through the darkness for the upright” (responsorial Psalm).
The righteous deeds of the just aid our neighbors in need and give glory to God—making goodness visible. Jesus proclaims “You are the light of the world” immediately after His instruction on the Beatitudes and the image of salt in the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, the blessed life radiates light.
Let’s remember that calling to beatitude this week as we sing, “The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.”