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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 41

By April 14, 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

Fides et Ratio Reflections

In this Easter Octave and season—and on Divine Mercy Sunday—section 12 of Fides et Ratio has a unique significance in understanding and appreciating the “two wings” of faith and reason.

Reflecting on the Word made flesh and God’s salvific entry in human history, St. John Paul II writes,

“History therefore becomes the arena where we see what God does for humanity. God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves.

“In the Incarnation of the Son of God we see forged the enduring and definitive synthesis which the human mind of itself could not even have imagined: the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face. The truth communicated in Christ’s Revelation is therefore no longer confined to a particular place or culture, but is offered to every man and woman who would welcome it as the word which is the absolutely valid source of meaning for human life. Now, in Christ, all have access to the Father, since by his Death and Resurrection Christ has bestowed the divine life which the first Adam had refused (cf. Rom 5:12-15). Through this Revelation, men and women are offered the ultimate truth about their own life and about the goal of history. As the Constitution Gaudium et Spes puts it, ‘only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.’ Seen in any other terms, the mystery of personal existence remains an insoluble riddle. Where might the human being seek the answer to dramatic questions such as pain, the suffering of the innocent, and death, if not in the light streaming from the mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection?” (No. 12).

May the light streaming from the Paschal Mystery and depicted in the image of the Divine Mercy help humanity solve the apparent riddle of “the mystery of personal existence.”

It’s About Time

Divine Mercy Sunday

St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina Kowalska—a great instrument of Divine Mercy—in the year 2000, the first saint of the new millennium. At the same time, he announced the establishment of the Second Sunday of Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

The USCCB notes that “Pope Benedict XVI called St. John Paul II ‘a great apostle of Divine Mercy’ and echoed his predecessor’s thoughts:

In our time, humanity needs a strong proclamation and witness of God’s mercy. Beloved John Paul II, a great apostle of Divine Mercy, prophetically intuited this urgent pastoral need. He dedicated his second Encyclical to it and throughout his pontificate made himself a missionary of God’s love to all peoples.’”

Pope Francis also has a great devotion to the Divine Mercy and proclaimed a “Holy Year of Mercy” from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016. His papal motto is “Miserando Atque Eligendo,” (“Because He saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him”)— from a homily by St. Bede regarding the calling of St. Matthew by Jesus.    

May we see with “the eyes of mercy” and live mercifully as well.

NCEA Convention

JPII NCEA Attendees

The National Catholic Eduction Association annual convention is held each year Easter Tuesday through Easter Thursday. This year, five of our JPII staff members attended the NCEA 2023 Convention in Dallas, Texas. Convention participants historically bring a great deal of formation and information back to their roles and our schools. We are looking forward to hearing more about this year’s convention and new ideas and best practices for our schools.

National Poetry Month

“For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/In the valley of its saying where executives/Would never want to tamper.” –W. H. Auden

As an executive who is supposed to make things happen, I confess that I am guilty of tampering in the valley of poetry. I make my confession in April, “National Poetry Month.”

Call it a hobby, avocation, or love, it’s always been attractive and central in my life—even now despite my duties as an “executive.”

In his book on the Eucharist, The Hidden Manna, the Rev. James T. O’Connor opens with this claim:“The wisdom of God creates poets.”  He then posits the Blessed Virgin Mary as evidence in her magnificent “Magnificat.” He explains, “When she had given to the Lord of Hosts the flesh that would become our Bread, Wisdom caused her to break into a poem of praise, a song repeated by more people than probably any other composed.”

He next cites the example of St. Thomas Aquinas, for “The Eucharist made this very prosaic man a poet, perhaps the greatest of Eucharistic troubadours after Our Lady.”

As we praise and proclaim the great gift of the Eucharist during this Paschal season of joy, enjoy the poetry of St. Thomas Aquinas (“Adore te Devote”), translated to English (in “Godhead Here in Hiding”) by another great poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J.:

Godhead here in hiding, 
Whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, 
Shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service 
Low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder 
At the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting 
Are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? 
That shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, 
Take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly 
Or there’s nothing true.

On the cross thy godhead 
Made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood 
Steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, 
Both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer 
Of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, 
Wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee 
Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith 
Daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder 
Hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder 
Of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us 
For whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: 
Feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness 
Man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale 
True of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, 
In what thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop 
Has power to win
All the world forgiveness 
Of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me 
What I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee 
Face to face in light
And be blest for ever 
With thy glory’s sight.

President’s Proverb

“Love is a mystery that transforms everything it touches into things beautiful and pleasing to God.”

–St. Faustina Kowalska

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Second Sunday of Easter of Sunday of Divine Mercy (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 of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy) | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Responsorial Refrain: “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, His love is everlasting.” (Ps 118:1)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday), 2023 Psalm 118 – YouTube

Psalm 118 is a part of a series of Psalms of Praise. That series is used in the Jewish Passover ritual, and Psalm 118 concludes it. So it was likely the last Psalm sung by Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper.

For the first Christians and for us, it is the great Psalm of Easter.

Framed with thanksgiving, its prophetic lines in particular helped followers of Christ understand the meaning of the Resurrection in Salvation History: “The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Ps. 118:22-24).

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon summarizes Psalm 118 as “The Canticle of the Empty Tomb” as well as the indicator of every Sunday’s “Paschal joy.”

With the Paschal joy of Divine Mercy Sunday, let us sing this week, “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, His love is everlasting.”

Mike Hagstrom