“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
In last week’s post, I once again quoted St. John Paul II and Albert Einstein on the importance of wonder, mentioning the “Day of Wonder” sessions with our Shanley students as an example of enkindling wonder. It was my good fortune to lead one way of wonder in three morning sessions with the students.
I was also delighted to see the topic of wonder navigated on a national scale recently by the Word on Fire Institute and Bishop Robert Barron.
The Word on Fire Institute sponsored a conference on faith and science, entitled “Wonder” in Dallas last month: Wonder Conference 2023 – Word on Fire. There was keen interest, and in-person tickets sold out.
Next week the institute will release a film series, also named “Wonder,” which will explore “The Harmony of Faith and Science.” “Wonder: The Harmony of Faith & Science” Film Series – Word on Fire. One YouTube video will be released each day February 13-17. The series is narrated by Jonathon Roumie of TV’s “The Chosen.”
What wonderful ways to wonder.
It’s About Time
Real Presence Radio
On Monday, February 6, I attended the Real Presence Radio banquet at the Delta Hotel in Fargo. More than 900 of us packed—I mean packed—the largest banquet room there to pray, enjoy a meal, celebrate the good work of this regional Catholic radio network, and hear the keynote address by Dr. Ralph Martin.
I brought my well-worn copy of his spiritual masterpiece, “The Fulfillment of all Desire,” and told him that I like to bring it on mission trips or retreats for its clear, compelling distillation of the witness and wisdom of the saints.
Dr. Martin more than dutifully signed his name after writing the encouraging admonition, “Mike—Keep on!” I also appreciated his cogent commentary on the battle for souls and what is at stake in our salvation.
On Tuesday, February 7, I participated in an interview by guest host, Nathan Sather, on Real Presence Radio. I spoke about our Catholic Schools and all the Catholic Schools Week observances of the previous week. I also gave a preview of the annual Giving Hearts Day.
Giving Hearts Day
Yesterday, February 9, was the sixteenth annual “Giving Hearts Day.” Founded by Dakota Medical Foundation in 2008, it is the single biggest charitable giving day of the year in our region. Dollar by dollar including yesterday, more than $164 million has been raised for charities and non-profits since it began.
Our Catholic school system was among the relatively small number of charities participating that first year. We have been a part of it ever since, and yesterday with more than 700 donors, we raised more than $300,000 in support of the noble mission of St. John Paul II Catholic Schools. Thanks to all the giving hearts of our generous donors and volunteers!
Around the World
Tomorrow, Saturday, February 11, is the 31st Annual World Day of the Sick. Instituted by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1992, he intended it to be observed each year on February 11, “the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, for all believers seeks to be ‘a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.’”
Please consider the invitation to pray for, visit, and serve our brothers and sisters who are sick.
In preparation, Pope Francis offers this year’s reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan:
Sunday, February 12 is “World Marriage Day” (along with some football game, I’m told).
Here are suggestions from the USCCB for celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage as a parish, as a couple, and as a family:
“Thank God ahead of time.”–Bl. Solanus Casey
Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)
Sunday Psalm Sampler
Sixth 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: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Responsorial Refrain: “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!” (Ps 119:1b)
Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 119 – YouTube
Psalm 119 is the ultimate acrostic poem of the Old Testament: eight verses that begin with the same Hebrew letter for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet for a total of 176 verses—the longest Psalm and chapter of the 46 Old Testament books.
The didactic tribute to the Law teaches a lesson in its very structure according to Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. Psalm 119, Reardon notes, “is concerned entirely with the Law of God, the Torah, and its structural use of the alphabet serves here the purpose of asserting that the Law of God is the inner core and essential substance of human language…Language is the gift of God. Its primary function, in the Bible, is the formation of thought in accord with reality, and the world’s deepest created reality according to the rabbis, is the Torah, the eternal Law of God, on which the inner being of all created reality is based.”
That’s everything, “A to Z,” we’d say in English or “Aleph” to “Taw” in Hebrew.
To underscore this ultimate reality, eight terms are used as synonyms for the Law in Psalm 119: commandments, decrees, ordinances, precepts, promises, statutes, ways, words.
Matthew’s Gospel reading this Sunday continues the Sermon on the Mount and begins with Jesus’ solemn teaching on the Law of God: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Mt. 5:17). That echoes the post-Resurrection words of Jesus in the Emmaus account: “Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled”(Luke 24:44b). That quotation on His fulfillment of the Old Testament writings is always at the top of this weekly section.
So, this week, let us sing the joyful reminder, “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”