“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
Sunday is Corpus Christi, the “Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ,” celebrated in the United States on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday.
In section 13 of Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II reflects on the extraordinary gift of the Eucharist. The subtitle is “Reason before the mystery”—the mystery of the Revelation of the Wisdom of God in Jesus Christ.
He assesses the character of signs inherent in a sacramental vision of Divine Revelation and especially in the power of signification abiding in the Eucharist.
“To assist reason in its effort to understand the mystery there are the signs which Revelation itself presents. These serve to lead the search for truth to new depths, enabling the mind in its autonomous exploration to penetrate within the mystery by use of reason’s own methods, of which it is rightly jealous. Yet these signs also urge reason to look beyond their status as signs in order to grasp the deeper meaning which they bear. They contain a hidden truth to which the mind is drawn and which it cannot ignore without destroying the very signs which it is given.”
He appeals to the insights of St. Thomas Aquinas and Blaise Pascal regarding these signs in terms of the Eucharist:
“In a sense, then, we return to the sacramental character of Revelation and especially to the sign of the Eucharist, in which the indissoluble unity between the signifier and signified makes it possible to grasp the depths of the mystery. In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present and alive, working through his Spirit; yet, as Saint Thomas said so well, ‘what you neither see nor grasp, faith confirms for you, leaving nature far behind; a sign it is that now appears, hiding in mystery realities sublime.’ He is echoed by the philosopher Pascal: ‘Just as Jesus Christ went unrecognized among men, so does his truth appear without external difference among common modes of thought. So too does the Eucharist remain among common bread.’
“In short, the knowledge proper to faith does not destroy the mystery; it only reveals it the more, showing how necessary it is for people’s lives: Christ the Lord ‘in revealing the mystery of the Father and his love fully reveals man to himself and makes clear his supreme calling,’ which is to share in the divine mystery of the life of the Trinity.”
Here is St. Thomas’ great hymn of praise for the gift of the Eucharist (“Pange, lingua”):
Here is the English text:
Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world’s redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.
On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law’s command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.
Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honor, blessing,
might and endless majesty. Amen.
It’s About Time
Shanley High School’s seventy-five graduates are pictured here with Bishop John Folda and Principal Fr. Kyle Metzger after the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Fargo on Wednesday, May 24. In his homily, Bishop Folda encouraged the students to pursue the lasting joy that comes from selfless love of God and neighbor.
Mr. Brandon Schott ’14, Shanley Religion teacher, spoke afterwards at the Senior luncheon about the renewal at Shanley led by this senior class. Commencement evening speakers Mrs. Amanda Miller and Mrs. Kari Sornsin ‘88, Social Studies teachers, equipped the Class of 2023 with four tools for their future. Graduate Jack Haldis challenged his classmates to continue their zeal for excellence which has been kindled at Shanley.
Congratulations to all our graduates for their accomplishments! Best wishes to them in their next steps of life, with my prayers.
You can see the entire commencement ceremony and related items here:
Priestly Ordination and Anniversaries
Class of 2012 Shanley graduate and member of the Dominican order, Michael Donahue, O.P., was ordained to the priesthood on May 20 at the Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (a familiar refuge and place of worship for our March For Life pilgrims over the years).
I attended his Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday morning, May 28, at Nativity Church in Fargo, in which his uncle (and former Shanley Chaplain), Msgr. Brian Donahue preached the homily. I was delighted to visit Fr. Michael after Mass and receive his blessing. Providentially, one week later, on Sunday, June 4, Msgr. Donahue celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in Hankinson, North Dakota.
Some other notable priestly ordination anniversaries include the 25th anniversaries of Fr. Andrew Jasinski, Pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish in Wild Rice/Horace and Chairman of our Board of Directors, and Fr. James P. Gross, Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Grand Forks and former Shanley Chaplain. Congratulations and prayers, Fathers!
As we approach Corpus Christi, the truth is that without priests, there would be no Eucharist.
Acknowledging the gift of the priesthood, I pray this prayer from the Fargo Diocese Vocations Office daily and invite you to pray it as well:
God our Father, from eternity You appointed Your only begotten Son to be the High Priest of the human race. Pour forth, we beseech You, Your Holy Spirit upon the Diocese of Fargo, that vocations to the holy priesthood may be multiplied.
Lord Jesus, give us holy priests;
To offer up the unceasing sacrifice of the Mass;
To lead the little ones to You;
To strengthen the faith of believers;
To preach the Gospel to all peoples;
To bring forgiveness to repentant sinners;
To give the Bread of Life to starving souls;
To help the dying;
To spread Your Kingdom in our midst;
Mary, Mother of our High Priest, pray for us;
Obtain for us an increase of hold priests. AMEN.
Fr. Scott Sautner, ’92
Last Friday evening, June 2, I was saddened to hear that Fr. Scott Sautner, a priest of the Fargo Diocese, had suffered a massive stroke and was on life support at a hospital in Fargo. Fr. Sautner has been serving as Pastor of St. Aloysius Parish in Lisbon and St. Vincent Church in Gwinner.
Father passed away on Monday, June 5: Father Scott Sautner – Boulger Funeral Home
Fr. Sautner was a member of the Shanley High School Class of 1992 (yes, there he is in several yearbook photos) in a cohort of high school seminarians attending Cardinal Meunch Seminary in Fargo while taking classes at Shanley.
A native of Harvey, North Dakota, he was an excellent student at Shanley and I appreciated his thoughtful presence in the classroom. One of the yearbook photos includes him receiving a Religion Department Award from me as an outstanding Senior student.
He continued his priestly formation after Cardinal Muench-Shanley and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fargo in 2000. Over the years, I saw him at diocesan events including over several years as he taught a Sunday afternoon class on the Gospels for the adult education program “Catholic Collage” at his alma mater, Shanley (albeit in the “new location” on the southside of Fargo).
His gentle, insightful, holy demeanor had not changed over the years.
Thank you, Fr. Sautner, for your priestly witness and service. May your soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. AMEN.
“It is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”–Flannery O’Connor on the substantial reality, the “Real Presence,” of the Eucharist
Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)
Sunday Psalm Sampler
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (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: Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ | USCCB
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 147:12-15, 19-20
Responsorial Refrain: “Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.” (Ps 147:12)
Psalm 147 is set in the context of the return to and rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile (c. 538 ff). It is also set in the context of praise for the Lord’s mighty deeds and faith in His power.
Fittingly, in this portion of it in today’s lectionary for Corpus Christi, there are Eucharistic overtones associated with Jerusalem: “He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat, He fills you” (Ps. 147:14). Just as Jerusalem is built again and restored, so, too, is the Church built again and restored by the Eucharist—as the New Jerusalem.
May we embrace that renewal this week as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, praising God for that sacramental grace as we sing, “Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.”