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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 51

By June 23, 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

Blaise Pascal

In this section two weeks ago for Corpus Christi, I quoted Pope John Paul II’s insights about the Eucharist in section no. 13 of Fides et Ratio. There he quoted “the philosopher Pascal,” who echoed one of St. Thomas Aquinas’ insights about the Mystery of the Eucharist.

Interestingly, this week Pope Francis released an Apostolic Letter on the fourth centenary of the birth of the brilliant Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).

The letter’s title, as is generally true for Vatican documents, comes from the first words in Latin,

SUBLIMITAS ET MISERIA HOMINIS, or “The Grandeur and Misery of Man” in English.

About ten pages long, the letter is well worth reading especially if you are interested in learning more about the “Two Wings” of faith and reason as illuminated in Blaise Pascal’s arduous search for the truth.

Apostolic Letter “Sublimitas et Miseria Hominis” of the Holy Father Francis on the Fourth Centenary of the Birth of Blaise Pascal (19 June 2023) | Francis (

It’s About Time


With the Summer Solstice occurring Wednesday, June 21at 9:58 am in Fargo, we officially welcomed summer. With the sunshine, heat, and some high humidity, it’s felt that way for weeks.

Now the reality is that the long hours of daylight will gradually shorten.

Enjoy your summertime and all the unique blessings it offers.

With Azariah (Abednego), we praise the Lord (Daniel 3:62-66):

Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever. Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you winds, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
    praise and exalt him above all forever.

Strategic Plan

Later Wednesday afternoon, our Board of Directors approved our new strategic plan—without much heat or humidity. The members, after all, had been active participants in drafting the plan at our March 18 retreat and have had more than a month to review the final, edited version.

I am grateful for its approval and for all the work on it.

Meanwhile, we’ll be publishing the plan and sharing it later this summer. We’ll also be rolling up our sleeves and creating initial action step details for each of the eight domains and the goals and objectives therein.

Shanley Alumni Reunion Weekend

Since 2015, we have been hosting a consolidated “Reunion Weekend” the last weekend in June for Shanley alumni class reunions.

We coordinate and promote the class gatherings and plan a variety of other events for a full weekend—including a reunion Mass, scavenger hunt, tour of “new” Shanley, street dance, and other family-friendly activities.

This weekend, eight classes will be gathering for reunions: 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013. In a first, the parents of the Class of 2013 will also be gathering for a reunion (they must have had a good time in their years of parenting their Shanley students).

Welcome to our alumni as we roll out the red carpet for you to meet with your old friends and perhaps make some new ones.

“Once a Deacon, always a Deacon.”

President’s Proverb

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

12th 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:  Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 69: 8-10, 14, 17, 33-35

Responsorial Refrain: “Lord, in your great love, answer me.” (Ps 69:14c)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 Psalm 69 – YouTube

After Psalm 22, Psalm 69 is the second most-quoted Psalm in the New Testament, which aligns with the Risen Lord Jesus’ explanation quoted at the beginning of this weekly blog feature—that all that was written of Him in the Old Testament “must be fulfilled.” From Psalm 69:21b, for example, the Evangelists note the prophecy, they “gave me vinegar for my thirst.”

Both these Psalms are Psalms of the Suffering Servant, a typology which Jesus perfectly fulfills. Both articulate the Lord’s cry of distress and anguish in suffering His Passion for our sake. Both Psalms appeal to God for help in time of affliction.

In today’s section of Psalm 69, there rises a spirit of confident trust in the Lord, Who rescues the needy who trust in Him, as well as a spirit of praise which echoes throughout the earth. This week, let us praise the God Who rescues as we sing in confidence, “Lord, in your great love, answer me.”

Mike Hagstrom