“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
Novelist Walker Percy, whom I quoted last week, maintained he would settle for nothing less than infinite mystery and infinite delight (God) in seeking the truth. That led him to the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II in Fides et Ratio confidently confessed the role of the Church in general and her Bishops in particular in helping seekers of the truth. He spoke directly to his brother Bishops:
“Sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon truth. This is why I have decided to address you, my venerable Brother Bishops, with whom I share the mission of ‘proclaiming the truth openly’ (2 Cor 4:2), as also theologians and philosophers whose duty it is to explore the different aspects of truth, and all those who are searching; and I do so in order to offer some reflections on the path which leads to true wisdom, so that those who love truth may take the sure path leading to it and so find rest from their labors and joy for their spirit.
“I feel impelled to undertake this task above all because of the Second Vatican Council’s insistence that the Bishops are ‘witnesses of divine and catholic truth.’ To bear witness to the truth is therefore a task entrusted to us Bishops; we cannot renounce this task without failing in the ministry which we have received. In reaffirming the truth of faith, we can both restore to our contemporaries a genuine trust in their capacity to know and challenge philosophy to recover and develop its own full dignity” (Fides et ratio, No. 6).
Bishop and Martyr St. Polycarp (d. 155) perfectly summarized this witness-role of the Bishop in his reply to the demand that he renounce the truth and curse Jesus Christ. “86 years have I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Officials attempted to burn him at the stake, but “he looked not like flesh that is burnt, but like bread that is baked, or gold and silver glowing in a furnace. And we smelt a sweet scent, like frankincense or some such precious spices,” according to the account of his martyrdom. Eventually he surrendered his spirit as he was pierced by a sword.
Let’s pray for all Bishops to be witnesses to the truth in all they say and do, invoking the great Bishop and Martyr, St. Polycarp: “Pray for us.”
It’s About Time
Yesterday morning, the eighth Bishop of Fargo, John T. Folda, gathered with all staff members of St. John Paul II Catholic Schools in Presentation Chapel to offer Mass. We were grateful to gather for worship and to hear bishop’s message to educators for the coming school year.
As a good shepherd, Bishop Folda has been a robust supporter of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fargo and JPII Schools in particular.
He said recently, “I was fortunate to attend Catholic schools growing up. It was one of the great blessings of my life. Now as your Bishop, I am more convinced than ever of their value for sharing the joy of the Gospel and experiencing faith, excellence, and service.”
Please pray for Bishop Folda:
O Lord, Who for the feeding of Your flock have set your servant John over it as successor to the Apostles, grant him, we pray, a spirit of counsel and fortitude, a spirit of knowledge and piety, so that, by faithfully governing the people entrusted to him, he may build up in the world the sacrament of the Church. 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.
Welcome Back Students!
School begins next Tuesday, August 23 for our students in grades 1-12. Our Little Deacons (ages 3-4), Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten students begin on Thursday, August 25.
Whether a new or returning student, welcome to the new school year! We are excited to begin the new academic year as “a community inspiring excellence through faith, learning , and service.”
Here’s my welcome back video (posted August 15, 2022):
“In God, life is received, not achieved.”–Rev. Mark Strobel
Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)
Sunday Psalm Sampler
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
“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: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117: 1, 2
Responsorial Refrain: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” (Mark 16:15)
Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 21st Sunday Ordinary Time 2022, Psalm 117 Cycle C – YouTube
Short and sweet. Simple and profound. That’s Psalm 117.
Just two verses long, it is the shortest Psalm and the shortest chapter in the entire Bible. Yet it is a joyful invitation to all peoples—not just Israel—to praise the Lord. That universality is embodied and fulfilled in Jesus, true God and true man (Mercy Incarnated and offered for all peoples).
Psalm 117 identifies and acclaims several of those merciful attributes, for He is the One Who is ever steadfast, kind, and faithful. That message is the ultimate “Good News” (the literal meaning of “Gospel”), and it is meant to be shared.
With confidence in the Lord’s goodness, we can sing his week, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”