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“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

Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Letter on Blaise Pascal provides much food for thought regarding the two wings of faith and reason:

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 (

Titled, “The Grandeur and Misery of Man,” the Holy Father explains his rationale for recognizing the 400th anniversary of Pascal’s birth as he emphasizes the timeless benefits of the exercise for everyone in our time:

“I am pleased that on this, the fourth centenary of his birth, God’s providence grants me this opportunity to pay homage to Pascal, and to recall those aspects of his life and thought that I deem helpful to encourage Christians in our day, and their contemporaries of good will, in the pursuit of authentic happiness. For ‘all people seek to be happy. This is true without exception, whatever the different means they employ. All tend to the same goal.’ Four centuries after his birth, Pascal remains our travelling companion, accompanying our quest for true happiness and, through the gift of faith, our humble and joyful recognition of the crucified and risen Lord.”

How similar this desire of Pope Francis is to that of St. John Paul II in Fides et Ratio:

“I ask everyone to look more deeply at man, whom Christ has saved in the mystery of his love, and at the human being’s unceasing search for truth and meaning. Different philosophical systems have lured people into believing that they are their own absolute master, able to decide their own destiny and future in complete autonomy, trusting only in themselves and their own powers. But this can never be the grandeur of the human being, who can find fulfilment only in choosing to enter the truth, to make a home under the shade of Wisdom and dwell there. Only within this horizon of truth will people understand their freedom in its fullness and their call to know and love God as the supreme realization of their true self” (No. 107).

That grandeur is true happiness, indeed.

It’s About Time

Collect for the 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Nano Nagle – Foundress of the Presentation Sisters

I have been struck by the Collect (the opening prayer of Mass) this week, and I share it for further reflection on the grandeur of our common calling:

O God, Who through the grace of adoption

Chose us to be children of light,

Grant, we pray,

that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error

but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever. AMEN.


Just as we need weekly sabbath rest, so, too, do we need the annual rest of vacation. In our schools, July seems to be the peak vacation time for our year-round staff and school calendar.

Our board, advisory council, and finance committee have no scheduled meetings. We observed the Fourth of July for an extended time by also closing our offices last Monday. And, yes, many of our year-round staff have scheduled vacation days or weeks this seventh month of the calendar year.

May that time of rest and leisure renew all who oversee, lead, and work for our schools.

Christopher Brunelle

For the past year of this weekly blog post, the Sunday Psalm Sampler has included a link to the Psalm’s setting sung by Mr. Christopher Brunelle. “Psalms” are literally “melodies of praise” and are meant to be sung.

Director of Music Ministry at Holy Family Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Brunelle also has a YouTube channel which features various Mass responses and acclamations from Oregon Catholic Press as an aid to participation.

I appreciate his good work. If you do as well, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel here:

At his YouTube home page, you can also support his work via Patreon or Venmo, if so inclined.

Thank you, Mr. Brunelle.

President’s Proverb

“You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.”

–St. John Chrysostom

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

14th 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: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145: 1-2, 8-11, 13-14

Responsorial Refrain: “I will praise Your name for ever, my King and my God.” (Ps 145:1)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 145 – YouTube

This is the only Psalm designated “A David Song of Praise,” according to Hebrew scholar Robert Alter. Professor Alter then notes that the singular “praise” becomes “praises”—the name for the entire Psalter.

Psalm 145 is one of seven sets of acrostic Psalms, each verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in succession. The acrostic device certainly aided memorization. In the case of Psalm 145 there is a theological point as well: all creation fittingly gives the Lord praise—and the use of all twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet symbolizes that reality.

In this Sunday’s portion of Psalm 145, David joins all creation in praising the gracious, merciful, and kind God as the compassionate King. This week, may we also praise God and with His Grace imitate His kindness and compassion as we sing: “I will praise Your name for ever, my King and my God.”

Mike Hagstrom