“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
Recent news about Catholic universities cutting core aspects of traditional liberal arts education is unsettling. My alma mater, for example, is “phasing out” French, German, Latin, and Japanese majors along with Asian, Chinese, and Greek studies. As an administrator, I understand weighing and making choices, and I’m not privy to all the deliberations. But on the face of it, it remains unsettling.
Bishop Robert Barron recently reflected on this “trend” in Catholic Higher Education: Don’t Give Up on the Liberal Arts! – Word on Fire
As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Ex Corde Ecclesia (1990), the Catholic University is “born from the heart of the Church” (No. 1).
The following excerpts from this Apostolic Constitution emphasize the unique contribution and value of the Catholic University in uniting the two wings of faith and reason in seeking the truth.
He noted that “It is the honour and responsibility of a Catholic University to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth. This is its way of serving at one and the same time both the dignity of man and the good of the Church, which has ‘an intimate conviction that truth is (its) real ally … and that knowledge and reason are sure ministers to faith.’ Without in any way neglecting the acquisition of useful knowledge, a Catholic University is distinguished by its free search for the whole truth about nature, man, and God. The present age is in urgent need of this kind of disinterested service, namely of proclaiming the meaning of truth, that fundamental value without which freedom, justice and human dignity are extinguished. By means of a kind of universal humanism a Catholic University is completely dedicated to the research of all aspects of truth in their essential connection with the supreme Truth, who is God. It does this without fear but rather with enthusiasm, dedicating itself to every path of knowledge, aware of being preceded by him who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” the Logos, whose Spirit of intelligence and love enables the human person with his or her own intelligence to find the ultimate reality of which he is the source and end and who alone is capable of giving fully that Wisdom without which the future of the world would be in danger (No.4).
“It is in the context of the impartial search for truth that the relationship between faith and reason is brought to light and meaning. The invitation of Saint Augustine, ‘Intellege ut credas; crede ut intellegas,’ is relevant to Catholic Universities that are called to explore courageously the riches of Revelation and of nature so that the united endeavor of intelligence and faith will enable people to come to the full measure of their humanity, created in the image and likeness of God, renewed even more marvellously, after sin, in Christ, and called to shine forth in the light of the Spirit” (No. 5).
With St. John Paul II and Bishop Barron, I give my cri de coeur: “Don’t give up on the liberal arts!”
It’s About Time
Lent ends this Thursday with as we enter the Sacred Triduum in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Holy Week sharpens our focus. It purifies and elevates our Lenten discipline. It prepares us to enter Jerusalem with the Lord.
Our schools’ two-fold Lenten theme given to us by Pope Francis and drawn from the Transfiguration account in Matthew’s Gospel has guided us in this 40 day journey. We have listened in prayerful pauses and silence, in self-denial, and in charitable outreach. As He has touched us, we can rise without fear.
Have a most blessed Holy Week and Triduum, everyone.
The Diocese of Fargo’s annual Chrism Mass will be held next Tuesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Our 3rd graders, who are in various stages of receiving Confirmation and First Eucharist, typically attend.
“Chrism” is the Sacred Oil with which we are anointed in Baptism and Confirmation. At the Mass Bishop Folda will consecrate the oils of Holy Chrism, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens. So it is fitting that the 3rd graders have the opportunity to see the blessing of the sacramental oils.
Priests of the diocese also renew their commitment to priestly service. Representatives from each parish receive the Holy oils which will be used in the sacramental life of the diocese. The Chrism Mass, then, is a great and joyful celebration of unity in the diocesan Church, gathered around the bishop’s chair (“cathedra” in Latin) at the Cathedral.
Let’s pray for Bishop Folda, the priests, and for all those who will be anointed with these oils throughout the diocese in the year to come.
I learned a delightful new vocabulary word this Winter, and even though it is technically Spring, I’d like to share it—especially given the forecast for a “major snow event” (in the parlance of meterologists) in our area next week.
“Apricity” is the warmth of the sun in Winter. Bask in it, even when surrounded by snowbanks.
“…On Calvary’s hill three men were crucified…for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality…the other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness.”–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)
Sunday Psalm Sampler
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (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: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | USCCB
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Responsorial Refrain: “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?” (Ps 22:2a)
Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm for Palm Sunday 2023 Psalm 22, Cycle A, B, C – YouTube
We solemnly enter Holy Week on this Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion with Psalm 22’s prophetic utterances foreshadowing the Lord Jesus’ suffering and death.
The New Testament affirms this interpretation of the Psalm’s prophetic fulfillment in the Person of Jesus, for no other Psalm is quoted so frequently there.
This Psalm clearly demonstrates what Jesus revealed to the disciples who encountered Him on the Road to Emmaus: “Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44b).
May the Lord’s plaintive plea set the tone for our observance of Holy Week and our participation in the Paschal Mystery: “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?”