31 December 2008

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve! What can I say? We're in quiet little Gaming, Lisa is very pregnant, and I'm a touch under the weather. We opened a tiny bottle of Sekt, and toasted the New Year 3 hours early. In fact, we didn't stay up until midnight last year either...

Prosit Neujahr!

30 December 2008

Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: Whose government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called the Angel of great counsel. (Psalm) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things.

Another short and belated post because I spent the whole day sick, with the exception of about another hours worth of work for the school, taking out a bunch of recycling.

29 December 2008

Commemoration of St. Thomas of Canterbury

Bishop and Martyr
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festal day in honor of blessed Thomas the Martyr: at whose martyrdom the Angels rejoice, and praise the Son of God. (Psalm) Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright.

A short and belated post because I spent the whole day (10 hours) working for the school to prepare our new location in Trumau, nearer to Vienna. Our two tasks were raking the leaves in the courtyard of the castle, and taking down a whole lots of curtains for the sake of coming electricians who needed them out of the way. It was rather fun, and it is a huge blessing to be able to earn some money over the winter break.

28 December 2008

Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity

While all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course, Thine almighty Word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven from Thy royal throne. (Psalm) The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself.

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings, O God, Thou hast perfected praise, because of Thine enemies. (Psalm) O Lord our God: how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth!

Two travel updates: (1) I have news from Katie that she and her co-adventurer have arrived safely in Florence, and are enjoying themselves greatly. They'll stay there again tonight before heading on to Siena. (2) The Dublin Airport's website reports that Aer Lingus flight 124 from Chicago is delayed, with a new arrival time estimated as 8:46 (Dublin time); and now we see that they have landed safely at 8:55.

27 December 2008

St. John

Apostle and Evangelist
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. (Psalm) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O Most High. Glory be to the Father. In the midst...

Happy feast of St. John. Today is John's name day, and we celebrated by relaxing. There's not much to post about, because we didn't do much today. But that's a good thing, because after the baby arrives I think days like this will be few and far between.

26 December 2008

St. Stephen

First Martyr
Princes sat, and spoke against me: and the wicked persecuted me: help me, O Lord my God, for Thy servant was employed in Thy justifications. (Psalm) Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father. Princes...

I dropped Katie and her friend Jessica off at the train station this morning at 6:30 for the beginning of their Italian vacation. We have news that their flight from Vienna landed safely in Venice early this afternoon, and I'm sure that they are strolling around in Venice right now. They were still adjusting their travel plans even late last night, but it's settled as least that they'll stay tonight in Venice, and then two nights in Florence, two in Siena, and two in Norcia. After that point it's not so clear, but they should be in Rome from about 2 Jan. '09 until their flight back to Bratislava on 9 Jan. '09.

Into the way of peace and prosperity direct them, O almighty and merciful God: and may the Angel Raphael accompany them in the way, and may they return in peace, health and joy unto their own homes.

Christmas Greetings from Maria

25 December 2008

The Nativity of Our Lord

A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: Whose government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called the Angel of great counsel. (Psalm) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. Glory be to the Father... A Child is born...

Frohe Weihnachten! 
Merry Christmas!

Pictures of our Christmas morning are here. Divine Liturgy was at 10:00 and now we are back home preparing a lasagna feast for dinner.

24 December 2008

Christmas Eve

This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and save us: and in the morning you shall see His glory. (Psalm) The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein. Glory be to the Father... This day...

Merry Christmas Eve! We got up today and started cooking. Of course, when I say "we" I really mean "they", as in Lisa and Katie, but as you can see, I did help with the rolling of the pasta dough for the ravioli.

The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Great Vespers was at 3:00, which was very nice, although it meant that we again missed the arrival of the Bethlehem light. After the Liturgy, I went over to the parish church to light our Christmas candle from the above mentioned light, while Lisa got the ravioli cooking. Dinner was delicious, and I insisted on playing Pavarotti's Christmas album to accompany our Italian dinner.

Maria is sleeping now, and is very excited that baby Jesus is coming tomorrow (and that she gets to open her presents tomorrow). Some of her grandparents (which is to say all of them) made sure that there is quite a little pile under the Christmas tree for her.

23 December 2008

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the desire of the nations and the Savior thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God.

Vienna was very nice today, good weather, etc. We wanted to have lunch in the Naschmarkt and to wander around the big Adventmarkts, and we did both. Below is the Christkindlmarkt in front of the Rathous in Vienna.

It only rained on us for about 20 minutes, and we managed to take shelter in the Adventmarkt in the Museum Quarter to wait it out with hot chocolate. Maria enjoyed that idea thoroughly.

22 December 2008

O Rex Gentium

O King of the Gentiles and the desire thereof, Thou cornerstone that makest both one, come and deliver mankind, whom Thou didst form out of clay.

What a day! Wow, this one will live in infamy. It started out innocently enough. We all piled into the Toyota van (yes, it matters that it was the Toyota, keep reading) with the Sinitsins and their two kids, and headed for Wieselburg for Lisa's doctor's appointment (everything is going well on that front) and some shopping in the big (relative only to Gaming) Mall. After that, we would head back toward Gaming, stopping in Purgstall first and then in Scheibbs for groceries. 

Well, first there was poor little Amalia's vomiting in the car on the way to Wieselburg, then, half way through our time there we were told that someone else was coming to trade us the VW van for the Toyota; fine and good. We also learned that the VW was needed back in Gaming by 3:30, latest 4:00, so that the Ave Maria students could head for the airport for their flights home. Well that meant that we really had to hurry. 

So we finished eating lunch in Wieselburg, and headed for Purgstall where we made the van exchange. Lisa and Katie ran into Kik (something like a dollar store, but a pretty good one) for some 5 minute Christmas shopping, and we headed for Scheibbs with about 45 minutes to do serious Christmas grocery shopping for two families. We made it through one store, but on the way through the parking lot toward the next I made a turn too sharply in an excessively large van and hit a curb with the right rear tire.... which blew. 

Slawa and I spent the next 40 minutes or so (rusty screws) changing the tire, while the women made record time shopping. We pulled into the Kartause courtyard at 3:50 where we met the surprisingly calm Ave Maria students, who, hopefully, made their flights on time. We, of course, since we had to rush to get them the van, had no choice but to unload our shopping at the Kartause, with far too much to carry the kilometer or so to our homes. I had to borrow the ITI car, which since it was too small for all of us meant that we first loaded it up with the Sinitsins' groceries, and I drove them home and unloaded, and then came back to load up again with our stuff (and ourselves). 

On the bright side, before driving our stuff home, we checked out the abandoned stuff in the Ave Maria common room and made out like bandits. I think we picked up as much there as we did on our entire trip. So, that's my story.

21 December 2008

Fourth Sunday of Advent (O Oriens)

O Day-Spring, Brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

St. Thomas, Apostle (II Class)
St. Thomas doubted the Lord's Resurrection... but invited by our Lord to place his fingers into the Holy Wounds he passed suddenly from incredulity to ardent faith, exclaiming: "My Lord and my God!" He became one of the greatest Apostolic missionaries and died in India in the first century.

For some reason the Divine Liturgy was cancelled this morning, which meant that we went to the Roman Rite Mass in the main Kartause chapel. Although I could have done without the guitars (see Tra le Sollecitudini), it was nice to hear the Gospel of the Annunciation at Mass. In the Tridentine Rite it would have been read last Wednesday for the Golden Mass, while today's would be John the Baptist preaching repentance. Anyways, though, the point is that there is a beautiful connection between Christmas and the Annunciation as the two feast days that highlight above all the Incarnation of our Lord.

At the end of his homily, the priest read an excerpt from St. Bernard of Clairvaux's In laudibus Virginis Matris, homily 4, 8:

The angel awaits your answer, for it is time for him to return to the one who sent him. ... O Lady, answer with the word that earth and hell and, yes, even heaven are waiting for. Just as the Lord and King yearned for your beauty, so equally now he longs for you to respond with your agreement.... Why are you hesitating? Why are you fearful? ... Behold, the one for whom all peoples are longing stands without and knocks on the door. Ah, what if he were to pass on because you hesitated.... Stand up, hasten, open up! Stand up in faith, hasten in your devotion, open up by your assent! 

Text copied from God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life by Joseph Ratzinger, trans. Henry Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2003), p. 19.

20 December 2008

O Clavis David (Ember Saturday)

O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel, that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring the prisoner forth from the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.

I have some nice pictures of Maria sitting at her new little play table, but the webpage won't load them for some reason. I'll try again later.

Okay, here they are:

19 December 2008

O Radix Jesse (Ember Friday)

O Root of Jesse, Which standest for an ensign of the people, before Whom kings shall keep silence, Whom the Gentiles shall beseech: come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Well, it's all over. Another semester in the books. The German exam wasn't too bad this afternoon, although it was long. We did have plans to spend the day tomorrow in Vienna in celebration, but the weather forecast looked like some rain, which is really miserable when it's this cold. If only it were a few degrees colder, then we'd have snow instead, which would be really nice. So, we're going to try for Vienna again on Tuesday (Lisa has an appointment with the doctor on Monday), and the forecast for now is good. We really want to make it there before Christmas because the city is full of great big Adventmarkts. The atmosphere is great, and so is the Glühwein.

So, tomorrow we'll spend the day cleaning the apartment instead (although I doubt it will take all day, it's not that big a place).

18 December 2008

O Adonai

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto him the law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us.

Congratulations to Katie for the successful completion of her first semester of studies here. She is now off at the Kartause having a grand old time with the Ave Maria students (who will sadly soon be leaving), while I've been here studying German for the past three hours. I'm not jealous, though. Nope, not at all. Frankly, there is very little that is more fun than studying German ;-)

Update: I should add, of course, that I've added my last writing assignment of the semester to the sidebar. It's an exegetical exercise on the death scene of Christ in the Gospel according to Matthew (27:45-50), focusing especially upon the words of Christ, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Oh, and one more thing. Katie baked something like 79(!) oatmeal raisin cookies today, some of which she is taking to the Kartause for this evening's end of year bash in the Ave Maria common room.

17 December 2008

O Sapientia (Ember Wednesday)

O Wisdom, Which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.

On the Wednesday of Ember week in Advent, the Mystery of the Annunciation is commemorated by many Churches. The Mass is sung early in the morning. That Mass is sometimes called the Golden Mass, Rorate Mass, or Messias Mass. On that occassion the Church is illuminated, as a token that the world was still in darkness when the Light of the world appeared.

At home Katie and I are still in the midst of exams. She had another one this afternoon, while I spent a good part of the day preparing for tomorrow. Katie has her last exam tomorrow afternoon, but is spending the evening baking cookies at the Kartause instead of studying! What would her mother say?!?

Let's see, what else? Maria is still very cute, but she has been a bit sick of late, which means that the frequency of her total emotional meltdowns has increased proportionally. Lisa is still very cute too, but she is also getting ever more emotional, what with the pregnancy and all that...

16 December 2008

Exam Week

John's Exams

2 completed
Monday 6:00 Moral Theology II: Human Acts and the Final End
Tuesday 11:00 Fundamental Theology: Fides et Ratio

2 remaining
Thursday 2:00 The One God I: Existence and Attributes of God
Friday 3:00 Advanced German

Katie's Exams

3 completed
Friday Natural Philosophy I: Principles of Nature
Monday 3:00 Introduction to Philosophy: Logos and Eros
Tuesday 9:00 Logic

2 remaining
Wednesday 2:40 Introduction to Scripture I: Old Testament
Thursday 4:00 Mysterium Salutis I: Catechism of the Catholic Church

14 December 2008

Gaudete Sunday

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. (Psalm) Lord, Thou hast blest Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. Gloria Patri...

Just as last year, John and I are trying to determine what sort of traditions we want to start for important holidays such as Christmas, incorporating some from each side of our families, and coming up with some of our own. This year, we heard of people setting up their Christmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent, but only decorating it with purple ornaments. Then on Gaudete Sunday, adding pink (or rose, whichever is your preference) to the mix, and finally decorating the tree in all its glory Christmas Eve. We liked the idea, and so up until now we've only had purple ribbon on the tree. To honor my family's tradition, we decided to decorate the tree, without lights, today. We'll wait to light the tree until Christmas Eve night. After all the ornaments were on, we realized that we had a bouquet of pink roses from my shower Friday night. We decided to add them, and from now on, perhaps we'll add pink roses every Gaudete Sunday.

We sampled the fruits of all our cookie baking after Divine Liturgy this morning. But don't worry, the rest are packed safely away until Christmas!

I think Maria had more fun decorating the tree this year.

If you look very carefully, you can see roses peeking out between the branches.

13 December 2008

St. Lucy

Virgin, Martyr (III Class)
Born at Syracuse in Sicily of noble parents, St. Lucy gave herself to Jesus and chose death rather than lose the incorruptible treasure of her virginity, in 303. Her name occurs in the canon of the Mass.

Today was a busy day for all of us! Lisa made 67 chocolate truffles in four varieties: brandy, amaretto, coconut and rum, and coffee and irish cream. UPDATE (by Lisa): After finishing his paper, John set to work making "Nana cookies," with a total of 89. For an explanation of "Nana cookies," visit the Scavone Family Cookbook.

Katie made 64 chocolate chip cookies, with big chocolate chunks (in which Maria seemed rather interested).

And, least interesting of all, I wrote my last paper of the semester (it's all but finished, I just need to look up a reference for a footnote).

12 December 2008

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Patroness of the Americas (III Class)
O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in these our times the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of thy Divine Son Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly "one fold and one shepherd," with all governments recognizing the reign of thy Son, Jesus Christ the King. This we ask of the Eternal Father through Jesus Christ His Son our Lord and by thy powerful intercession - all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church, and peace in the world. Amen.

In honor of our Lady of Guadalupe, we had a Mexican feast in the ITI common room. Huge burritos of black beans, rice, potates, peppers, etc. Big bowls of homemade salsa. Even a mini keg of beer. Delicious!

Lisa also had a baby shower this evening with a Mexican theme in honor of our Lady. She says that Mexican cheesecake is quite good. We got lots and lots of diapers...

11 December 2008

New Prefect for Liturgy!

The news is a couple of days old now, but it is nonetheless exciting: the retirement of Cardinal Arinze has been accepted by the Holy Father, and Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, has been named as his successor as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. Read about the appointment on the New Liturgical Movement here and here.

If one can judge by the vestments that a Cardinal wears, the sacred Liturgy would appear to be in good hands.

10 December 2008

Principles of Catholic Biblical Interpretation

I turned in my next to last assignment: a synthesized journal of principles of Catholic biblical interpretation. It's linked on the sidebar, but you can also read it here.

My last assignment is a 7-10 page exegetical exercise on the death scene of Christ in Matthew's Gospel (27:45-50). It promises to be rather interesting in light of the atonement on account of Christ's enigmatic cry from the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

09 December 2008

One class laid to rest

One class down, six to go. This morning we had our last session of the thesis tutorial class, which, because there is no final exam, means that it is finished for the semester. Tomorrow, it's Greek's turn (also no final exam).

08 December 2008

The Immaculate Conception

On this day in 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX defined ex cathedra the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, in these words:

"Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own:

"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful" (Ineffabilis Deus, 29).

07 December 2008

Second Sunday of Advent

Numerous allusions appear in the Liturgy of this day to Jerusalem and her people. Let us be filled with sentiments of hope and of joy, for the coming of Jesus is near. Let us prepare the way in our hearts for the Messias, our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

St. Ambrose, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
This Bishop of Milan was one of the four great doctors of the Western Church. As an orator he opposed the heretics, as a writer he enshrined Latin literature with his sacred hymns. He died in 397.

Our little pilgrimage to Milan for the feast of St. Ambrose was quite an up and down experience. We left Saturday morning for Vienna, only to discover upon our arrival there that one of our party had forgotten his passport. We continued on to the airport hoping that he'd be able to board the plane anyways, but no such luck. It was quite disappointing to all of us to leave him behind. The remaining two of us landed uneventfully and proceeded into the city to be greeted by this truly magnificent sight: the Duomo of Milan.

The Duomo is the second largest cathedral in Europe. Beautiful. After wandering through a crowded market in the castle quarter, we headed off to find our hostel. Upon arriving however, we discovered that they had overbooked and were sending us off to stay at another place. Ah, well. We found the place eventually. Sunday morning we awoke early and headed back into the city to visit the Basilica of St. Ambrose (below), wherein his body lies. Ambrose himself had the bodies of the second century martyrs Ss. Gervase and Protase (feast: June 19) placed under the altar of this church, where they still lie with Ambrose now between them. Ambrose himself was vested in white pontificals, with a mitre on his head, while the martyrs were robed in red dalmatics with golden crowns upon their heads and the palm branches of martyrdom in their hands.

After hearning Mass in the traditional Ambrosian rite at the little Church of San Rocco al Gentilino, we had some time before the crypt of St. Charles Borromeo would be opened at the Duomo, and so we went back to the castle of the Sforza family to see it in the daylight, and to walk through its courtyards.

The crypt of St. Charles, as I mentioned, was supposed to open at 1:30, which would give us just time enough to venerate the great cardinal and bishop of Milan before running off to catch a bus to the airport at 2:00. However, stand there as we might, the door to the crypt was not opened for us and we had to leave without seeing St. Charles. Ah, well.

Our adventures were still not over. We landed in Vienna around 6:20 and headed into the city to meet some ITI folks who were there to celebrate the intsallation as Lector and Acolyte of a seminarian-professors of ours. We knew they were near the Votivkirche, but nothing else. And my fellow traveler's cell phone, upon which we were relying heavily, completely failed us. No service in Vienna. We spent the next few hours looking for our ride home. We pumped about 7 euro into a pay phone and only managed to get a message through to the Kartause that if they were able to communicate with our friends to tell them to pick us up at the Votivkirche. Having arrived in the city center around 7:30 we finally found our ride back to Gaming between 9:30 and 10:00. We are back, though, safe and sound, and happy to have paid our respects to the great bishop of Milan.

06 December 2008

St. Nicholas

Bishop, Confessor (III Class)
The Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor is one of the most popular oriental saints. The spiritual and temporal needs of his flock were the first object of his pastoral care. This worker of miracles died in 342; his body was eventually enshrined at Bari in Italy.

This morning we woke up early, so John could celebrate St. Nicholas Day a little while with Maria before leaving for Milan. She was very excited to find that St. Nicholas had eaten the cookies she left for him, but he had left some for her too! He also left chocolate coins in her shoes (and some in Katie's shoes as well).

Divine Liturgy was in the main church, and was the only Eucharistic celebration today at the Kartause, so that all the students from both the ITI and Franciscan University could participate. St. Nicholas is a major saint in the Eastern Churches. After Liturgy the children were all called up to the front, and told that if they sang for St. Nicholas, maybe he would come visit them. Sure enough, as you can see below, he came and asked them many questions, as well as asking the parents if their children had been good this year, and then he handed out presents to each of them. Then everyone was able to receive a blessing with oil. After we arrived home this afternoon, Maria told us, "St. Nicholas looks like Br. Basil." Indeed he does.

We hope that John is having a great time in Milan with Max and Rob. Please pray for a safe journey home for them!

05 December 2008

Cookie Baking Day

With St. Nicholas' Day coming tomorrow, the family tradition of cookie baking began today. Lisa and Katie (with lots of help from Maria) made 125 sugar cookies (also about 40 truffles).

Some cookies and milk for St. Nicholas, of course!

04 December 2008

St. Peter Chrysologus

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church (III Class)
The holy Bishop of Ravenna was one of the most eloquent preachers of the Church (Chrysologus means "golden speech"). He died at Imola in 450.

This morning the second low Mass of the semester was offered in the traditional Latin Rite of Mass. It was offered in honor of St. Peter Chrysologus, with commemorations both of Advent and of St. Barbara (which made it rather complicated for me to prepare the propers, but I figured out how it all works together eventually - I hope).

03 December 2008

St. Francis Xavier

Confessor (III Class)
One of the first companions of St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, one of the greatest missionaries of all time, preached the Gospel in India and in Japan. He converted innumerable pagans and died in 1552 on his way to China.

02 December 2008

St. Bibiana

Virgin, Martyr (III Class)

St. Bibiana was martyred at Rome under Julian the Apostate in 363.

It seems to be the case that as exams approach, time slips by faster and faster... We have only a week and a half of classes left, I've already received one study sheet for an exam, and I still have one more paper to write!

I don't think I've mentioned, by the way (and I'm very excited about it), that I and a couple of friends are going to spend the coming feast of St. Ambrose in Milan! His feast falls this year on Sunday (Dec 7), and so we are flying into Milan on Saturday afternoon and returning Sunday evening. I am most looking forward to hearing Mass in the traditional Ambrosian Rite.

01 December 2008

Concerning beer

Our favorite Austrian beer maker (Berg König, Mountain King) has introduced a seasonal brew called Festbock. It is quite good, with an excellent deep red coloring. The incredibly sad news, however, is that Berg König's wheat beer, which had heretofore been our staple, has disappeared entirely.

30 November 2008

C. S. Lewis on Modern Biblical Criticism

I was delighted recently to be assigned an essay by C. S. Lewis for my class on Scripture and its interpretation. The essay was originally called "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism," although now it seems that it inexplicably goes under the title "Fern-Seed and Elephants." Thanks to my father-in-law it's an essay that I've read before, yet it certainly bears re-reading. It even merited a mention by Card. Ratzinger in his famous 1988 Erasmus lecture entitled "Biblical Interpretation in Conflict."

In the essay, Lewis makes four points against the (still) prevailing methods of historical-criticism:

1. "They seem to me to lack literary judgment... If he tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavor; not how many years he has spent on that Gospel."

2. "The idea that any man or writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance."

3. "I find in these theologians a constant use of the principle that the miraculous does not occur... Now I do not here want to discuss whether the miraculous is possible. I only want to point out that this is a purely philosophical question. Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more authority than anyone else."

4. "All this sort of criticism attempts to reconstruct the genesis of the texts it studies; what vanished documents each author used, when and where he wrote, with what purposes, under what influences - the whole Sitz im Leben of the text... My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses [made by reviewers in regard to Lewis's own writings] has on any one point been right; that the method shows a record of 100 per cent failure. You would expect that by mere chance they would hit as often as they miss. But it is my impression that they do no such thing. I can't remember a single hit. But as I have not kept a careful record my mere impression may be mistaken. What I think I can say with certainty is that they are usually wrong."

First Sunday of Advent

This first Sunday of Advent or the fourth before Christmas, is the first day of the Liturgical Year. The Mass prepares us this day for the double coming (adventus) of mercy and justice. That is way St. Paul tells us, in the Epistle, to cast off sin in order that, being ready for the coming of Christ as our Savior, we may also be ready for His coming as our Judge, of which we learn in the Gospel. Let us prepare ourselves, by pious aspirations and by the reformation of our lives, for this twofold coming. Jesus our Lord will reward those who yearn for Him and await Him: "Those who trust in Him shall not be confounded."

St. Andrew, Apostle (II Class)
St. Andrew was the first of the disciples to know Jesus. With his brother Peter, he was called by our Lord to follow Him and to become a fisher of men. According to Tradition, he was a missionary in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Russia, with his martyrdom in Greece, where he was hoisted upon a cross to die like his divine Master. He is patron of Russia and Scotland.

Today was spent recovering from last night's dinner, as well as in the enjoyment of the First Sunday of Advent. After Divine Liturgy, the ladies prepared a nice brunch at home while I brought in the tree and worked on setting it up.

You would not believe how much easier it is to set a tree up when you have one of those tree stands with screws that go into the sides of the trunk. Finding such a thing was quite an exciting development this year! After Maria and I took a long nap this afternoon, we decorated it with a simple purple ribbon (barely to be seen in the picture).

29 November 2008

An International Thanksgiving Dinner - American Style

Since we had to attend a lecture on Thursday evening, we moved our Thanksgiving feast to Saturday. Everybody spent all day cooking: Lisa made a turkey (her first!) and stuffing, and Katie made homemade green bean casserole and applesauce. Everybody then brought the food they had made into the beautiful baroque library in the Kartause.

The food was excellent! It was exactly what Thanksgiving dinner should be. We filled our plates a couple of times with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread, etc. Maria especially enjoyed the potatoes. Dessert had more of an international flavor, although it was not lacking in pumpkin and apple pies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

After dinner, we were entertained by music from all different cultures. Above is Katie playing her violin while the kids dance all around her. She kept playing even when little Eli was hanging on her right arm. We took a fair amount of pictures of the evening, which are now in an online album.

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. We, unfortunately, had a full day of classes, right up until 6:00, and then a mandatory lecture from 7:30 to 10:00 in the evening. So, needless to say, we had no Thanksgiving dinner. Very sad. Maria, however, cooked herself a nice Thanksgiving dinner on the window ledge - you can see that she is very thankful for all God's blessings.

In between our last class of the day and the lecture, we did squeeze in a quick dinner: meat loaf and mashed potatoes, followed by an apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream for Maria. The rest of us broke into the apple pie after the lecture.

Speaking of this lecture - it was the first one of the semester, unlike last year when they seemed to occur almost every other week - it was rather interesting. The speaker was the head of some institute for marriage and family. It's the group that organized the demonstration in front of parliament in September that we took part in. Anyways, his ideas for improving conditions for family life here are these: (1) lower the voting age to 0; (2) give pensions to children. In regards to the first, his idea is that parents can exercise their children's voting rights up to a certain age - I think it is 16 here - thus giving the most voting power to those with the biggest families. In regards to the second, his idea is that it is simply unjust to give 22% to retired people (who are not earning money, yet need to eat) and only 4% to children (who are not earning money, yet need to eat). Very interesting.

26 November 2008

St. Sylvester

Abbot (III Class)
St. Sylvester, an Italian nobleman, founded the Congregation of the Sylvestrines, affiliated to the Benedictine Order. He died at the age of ninety in 1267.

Sad to say, it seems that tomorrow morning's Traditional Latin Low Mass has been cancelled in the interest of having everybody attend the same Mass for a community celebration (FUS style) of Thanksgiving. Ah, well...

The domestic news of the day regards Maria's efforts at toilet training: I encountered an epic disaster when I arrived home this evening. We can just say that after many paper towels, wetwipes, and tears (not Maria's), everything was taken care of and we sat down for a nice dinner.

25 November 2008

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Virgin, Martyr (III Class)
St. Catherine, an illustrious virgin of Alexandria in Egypt, was famous for her learning. The emperor Maximian assembled learned men to bring her to the worship of idols, but they were converted to Christianity. Maximian then ordered her to be beheaded after many cruel torments in 305.

Katie turned in her first paper today! It dealt with Plato's dialogues, and touched upon, among other things, arguments for the immortality of the soul.

24 November 2008

St. John of the Cross

Confessor, Doctor of the Church (III Class)
St. John of the Cross was the fellow worker of St. Teresa in the reform of the Order of Mount Carmel, and wrote invaluable treatises on mystical theology. He died in 1591.

Well, the paper on faith is almost done at long last. I should be able to turn it in tomorrow, and then take a break for a few days before starting in on my last writing assignment of the semester: a 7 page biblical exegesis of a text of Matthew's Gospel.

Maria, by the way, has made immense progress in learning how to use the toilet. We've been going through quite a lot of gummy bears these last few days. She's getting to be quite the big girl.

23 November 2008

Last Sunday after Pentecost

St. Clement I, Pope, Martyr (III Class)
St. Clement I was a companion and a disciple of Ss. Peter and Paul, and the third successor of St. Peter. He was exiled by the Emperor Trajan and cast into the sea in 100.

In the Novus Ordo calendar today is the Feast of Christ the King. We actually celebrated this great feast day already some time ago, when we were in Lourdes as a matter of fact. The feast was originally ordered for the Last Sunday of October. The Encyclical Letter Quas Primas (1925), of Pope Pius XI, by which he instituted the feast day, is a great read and not very long.

: there is a plenary indulgence available today in connection with this Feast. The indulgenced work is the pious, public recitation of the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus composed by His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII. All of the usual conditions, of course, must also be met: (1) Communion, (2) Confession, (3) Prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, (4) freedom from attachment to all sin, even venial.

My never-ending quest for a good German grammar book may have come to an end. I just ordered this book at the recommendation of one of my classmates here, and I have high hopes, but we'll have to wait and see what it is like when it arrives. Many thanks, by the way, to my generous parents in-law for the Amazon gift card which fueled the purchase. The title is: German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German by April Wilson.

22 November 2008

St. Cecilia

Virgin, Martyr (III Class)
St. Cecilia, of an illustrious Roman family, converted her husband, Valerianus, and her brother-in-law, Tiburtius, preserved her virginity, and was beheaded during the pontificate of St. Urban I in 230.

When we awoke this morning there was a fresh layer of snow! At least a couple of inches were on the ground, and more fell during the day. It was our first snow of the year, and Maria had a great time playing in it, but even more fun eating it! Here she is all bundled up:

Later this evening, just before heading off to the Kartause to watch the big game:

Final score: Ohio State 42. Michigan 7. Ouch.

21 November 2008

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(III Class)
As soon as she could walk, Mary was brought to the Temple by her holy parents, Joachim and Anne. With what an ecstasy of delight she must have entered into the Temple, crying out: "How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts; my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord." (Psalm 83:1,2) Have I any of the same desire to consecrate my life to the Lord?

Today was bar none the nastiest weather we've seen this semester. You may or may not have noticed that we haven't complained much about the weather since our first few weeks here when it was raining non-stop. It really has been quite pleasant on the whole since then, really quite beautiful actually. Today though, it was raining hard when it should have been snowing. I mean half a degree colder and it would have been snow. Miserable. Now, however, it has finally turned to snow, and it's coming down pretty hard. We'll see if it amounts to anything in the morning, but it looks like it has a chance.

Dialogue concerning the Atonement

Dear Mark,

Very thought provoking, keep it coming.
Your comments will be in the normal font, and mine in bold.

First, regarding the thought experiment that you present. It seems like forgiveness could be involved in either option or not [where is the forgiveness if you kick me back?]; the disjunction is not that sharp. If you wrong me grievously by kicking my shins, it seems that justice demands that both I am revenged on you [clearly not, unless God is unjust for not sending us all to hell] and you pay reparation to me. Now maybe both are accomplished by you washing my car (it needs it) but maybe not. Every evil requires vengeance or punishment, which is penal. But as I say, your one act of washing my car may make reparation and as you say, still involve that penal aspect. [Washing the car, that is, making satisfaction, does involve something penal; but this is still fundamentally different from revenge. It comes down to this: justice may be restored by the sinner offering something sufficiently good to the offended, or by the offended inflicting evil on the sinner.]

In the case of the relationship between God and man, it seems that sin, at least original sin, merits the eternal punishment of damnation [exactly]. Yet God accepts the sacrifice of Christ as satisfaction for our sins [true]: those who become members of Christ, that is, who participate in Him and in His Passion through Baptism, no longer have to undergo this punishment [right; and neither does Christ. So, what has happened to: "justice demands vengeance"? Is God unjust?].

They do have to undergo the punishment of purgative suffering, however. [Yes, they do. God, in His Wisdom, seems to want our cooperation in our salvation. Sin entails both temporal and eternal punishment; once the sin is forgiven, eternal punishment is out of the question – once again I question how forgiveness remains when the full punishment is inflicted – but temporal punishment remains. Now, for those forgiven of their sins, there is a direct correspondance between the amount of satisfaction they make for their sins through penitential works on earth and the amount of punishment that will be inflicted upon them in purgatory. Making satisfaction = not being punished]. Now it is clear that Christ does not undergo eternal damnation (your point 3). So somehow Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for His members not having to undergo the punishment that they justly deserve for sin.

Here is what I would accept about the situation from what you have said: Christ freely offers Himself to the Father. He does this in obedience to the Father. In doing so, He takes upon Himself the deepest level of human suffering [This last depends very much on what you mean. When discussing the fact that Christ endured maximal pain, St. Thomas is very careful to say that this refers to maximal pain in this life: "The pain suffered by a separated soul belongs to a state of future damnation which exceeds every evil in this life, as the glory of the saints exceeds every good of our present existence. When we speak of Christ’s pain as being maximal, we exclude all comparisons with the pain endured by a soul in the next life" (S.Th. IIIa, 46, 6, ad 3)]. He does this so as to offer perfect worship to the Father, to reveal the glory of the self-donative love of the Trinity in a fallen world, to give us a perfect model of charity. He also does this so as to repay the debt which we owe to the Father, but not just repay it but overpay it, so to speak, that He might have an abundance of grace to pour out upon us [also true; it is at least the common opinion (Sent. communis) that Christ’s atonement is superabundant, that is, the positive value of the expiation is greater than the negative value of the sin. Actually, come to think of it, your point about the superabundance of Christ's satisfaction strikes me as an argument in my favor. Pope Clement VI declared that one drop of blood would have sufficed for the redemption of the whole human race on account of its infinite preciousness (is that a word?). Tradition says that the suffering on the Cross was more than enough; it seems to me that von Balthasar wants to say that it wasn't enough - now Holy Saturday must also be a day of suffering, in fact, of even greater suffering than good Friday. If this is the peak of Christ's redemptive work - his alienation from God in hell - why the stress upon the Cross, and specifically upon His Blood in the Bible and the Tradition?]. He furthermore does this so as to reveal His love for us, to be in total solidarity with us in our every suffering [just curious, but this seems like a premise to me, more than a conclusion – a premise which leads to the conclusion that Christ suffered the pains of damnation – and I wonder upon what is this premise based. It strikes me as unnecessarily assumed], even to the point of descending into death and hell [Christ's descent to hell has always been interpreted as a descent to the limbo of the fathers in order to lead them forth – never as a continuation of his suffering, at least until the modern era. His work of redemption was "finished" on the sixth day (Friday) – on the seventh day he rested]. St. Thomas argues that Christ descends into hell to shame the damned, but I think that there is something to what Balthasar says: He goes into hell so that even there His compassion has been manifested, so that no one can say that God was not there for him. [I’m not sure what that means]

So Christ repays our debt freely as a gift—on this we can agree. But this can lead to some problematic results [It shouldn't. It is one, undoubtably true premise. Problematic results could only occur throught the addition of false premises, or through faulty reasoning]. Our debt involves the punishment of suffering, death, and hell, and Christ takes these on Himself (though not so as to go to hell eternally [well, then, does he or doesn’t he take upon him our punishment? I don’t think you can have it both ways.]). Christ is innocent, yet the Father commands Him to suffer and He obeys—is this just of God to do (your point 1)? Christ is not fallen—so how can He pay our debt? How would it be just? For it is not qua human but qua fallen that we need to pay a debt in the first place. And the Fathers pointed out that "that which is not assumed is not redeemed" and Christ did not assume our fallenness. This seems to be an objection to the whole legal justice model that has to be met. [I don’t see the difficulty here – Christ’s innocence (and divinity) is precisely that which allows him to make such a valuable offering to God, and He makes this offering qua human, not just as a man, but as the definitive and last man, as the new Adam, who takes all of humanity up into himself; indeed, this is exactly why we must be incorporated into His body (the Catholic Church) in order to receive the fruits of the redemption. The “debt” cannot be paid by an innocent man if it is understood as the obligation to undergo punishment; it can be “paid” an innocent (representative) man if it is understood as the obligation to make reparation. If my brother breaks your car’s windows, it would be unjust for you to punish me, but it would be perfectly fine for me to pay for your window to be fixed. Re: the Eastern Fathers, and the "not assumed, not redeemed", it is not our "fallenness" that needs to be redeemed it is our nature, our race. This, at least, was clearly what they who said it meant by it. In fine, I see the points you make as an objection to penal substitution specifically, rather than to considerations of justice in general.]


Regarding Christ’s alienation from God, I think this is to be understood on an experiential or phenomenological level, not on the level of the actual principles involved. So there is no divide in the Trinity. [What does it mean to experience something that is not true/real? If Christ is not separated from God (remember: He is God), how can He experience this?] Rather, Christ willingly takes on all of our sufferings [I admit only maximal suffering in this life], including the experience of alienation from God [this is the suffering of the damned – this is the necessary conclusion of the penal substitution theory, which is precisely why I think that theory so woefully errant]. This does not preclude that He is actually close to God at the moment of his cry on the Cross. But we could tell the story this way: in the immanent Trinity, the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father involves the total self-donation of each to the other and thus their union. But when the Son becomes man in a fallen world, this total self-donation is experienced in terms of all the uncertainties and divisions that come with our fallen world. Coupled with His choice to experience all of our sufferings [again, only temporal sufferings], this means that the Son, in pouring Himself out to the Father on behalf of humanity reveals the glory of the Trinity (that is, the self-donative, self-emptying love of the Godhead) but this is experienced, in virtue of His humanity, in terms of uncertainty and loneliness. Thus it seems to me that both Balthasar and Ratzinger could be correct to a certain degree. [In regards to the story just told, I think that I can only admit that I don’t speak fluent von Balthasar. What does it all mean? I’m not really sure what you mean especially by kenosis within the Trinity. I’m aware of this word only in Phil. 2. Do you really think that Christ experienced uncertainty? What about the experience of the Beatific Vision that was his from conception unto eternity?]

It seems to me that we must take seriously the fact that our experience of alienation from God is the deepest source of suffering, and thus a 'place' that Christ must go if He is really to be 'God With Us' [I don’t see why. He is "God with us" in everything but sin.]; we must also take seriously the fact that the Son and the Father are one [I think that this actually has to be taken way more seriously than the previous point, since it is the Primary Dogma of the Catholic Faith, whereas the assertion that "God must experience alienation from God in order to be with us" could only be, if granted, a conclusion at some remove from the articles of faith. Theology works from the top downwards – soteriology is to be understood in terms of Christology, not vice versa]. An objection that you could make is that Christ is not fallen and so has no way of having this experience, but I think that this lodges you in the same difficulty I raised earlier about the justice model to begin with [I disagree, but I wrote a few inadequate words there, so I won’t repeat myself]. Part of the merit that Christ earns is that He suffers through this alienation, which is indeed arduous for Him on an experiential level in virtue of His humanity, still trusting in the Father. By taking this on Himself He both fully allows humanity to be assimilated to Himself and offers the perfect and total sacrifice of Himself in a fallen world as a man, and thus reveals to us the sacrifice of Himself which He eternally makes to the Father in His self-donative love in the immanent Trinity.

I look forward to hearing from you re: the weak points in all that I said, and re: which concerns of yours you think that I failed to address.

P.S. I see you've entered a new comment.

It seems to me that the hierarchical notion of truth is a good one, but the Trinity is, to say the least, difficult to understand. All of our understanding is in the form of analogies and metaphors. Thus it seems that it is possible that different models of the Trinity can be correct and thus perhaps different models of the Redemption. It seems to me that there are various paradoxes or aporias involved here, as I mentioned in the above post, and involving various Bible quotes. I'm not sure that there is a "one size fits all" interpretation of them, and it seems that we need to respect these difficulties and not just try to explain them away.

Just two things: (1) I agree that the Trinity (as well as the Hypostatic Union) is difficult to understand. In fact, that's precisely why I favor an interpretation of the atonement based upon this understanding of the Trinity: "The three Persons of the holy Trinity are one in being and yet really distinct in their relations of origin." And for Christology I take this: "Christ is one person in two natures unmixed, untransformed, undivided, unseparated."
What "self-donation" and kenosis mean in the inner life of the Trinity, and how these would be mirrored in the human life and actions of Christ, are far less certain.

(2) The only thing that I am trying to "explain away" is the theory of penal substitution. If it contradicts firmly clearly truths about the Trinity and/or Christ Himself, then its problems must be "explained" so as to make it go "away." If there is something that you think I'm inappropriately explaining away, I'd like to know, but maybe I'd need to hear more specificly what you don't want "away".


20 November 2008

St. Felix of Valois

Confessor (III Class)
St. Felix, of the royal family of France, with St. John of Matha founded the Order of Trinitarians for the ransom of captives. He died in 1212.

Joyous news: this morning at 7:00 was offered for the first time this semester the traditional Latin Low Mass. One of the priests here, never having said or even seen a traditional Latin Mass before, generously agreed to learn how to offer it at our request. This morning was his very first time, and he did a fine job. About a dozen of us were present - enough to completely fill up the small upper chapel, which still has an altar against the East wall. Everything looks promising that this will be a regular Thursday morning offering. Deo gratias!

(Statue of Ss. Felix of Valois and John of Matha on the Charles Bridge, Prague)

19 November 2008

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Widow (III Class)
St. Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew, king of Hungary, was given in marriage to the holy landgrave of Thuringia, Louis IV. After the death of her husband, she entered the Third Order of St. Francis and died in poverty and humiliation, exiled by her brother-in-law, in 1231.

18 November 2008

The Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter and Paul

(III Class)
The two Basilicas, of St. Peter on the Vatican Hill and of St. Paul without the Walls, on the Ostian Way, were erected by Constantine on the site of the martyrdom of these Apostles. They were consecrated by St. Sylvester I on November 18, 325.

Maria likes very much to read her Wörterbilderbuch.

17 November 2008

St. Gregory the Wonderworker

Bishop, Confessor (III Class)
St. Gregory Wonderworker (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus) was Bishop of Neo-Caesarea, his native city, in Pontus. He died famous for his missionary labors in 276.

I just performed an interesting thought exercise. Part of Year IV studies here involves taking a thesis writing tutorial class. The Prof. has been pushing us pretty hard to develop some ideas of what we will write about next year. Tomorrow's assignment: turn in a two page proposal in which you lay out the main lines of your thesis. So, (almost) completely off the cuff, here is what I'm thinking to write about:


The doctrine of the atonement merits close attention for two reasons, one speculative, the other practical. Firstly, the sacrifice of Christ upon the altar of the Cross is at the very center of Revelation and therefore also of theology, and yet the inner working, so to speak, of the atonement remains open to speculation. Secondly, it has great practical consequences: the doctrine of the atonement stands at the heart of the sacred Liturgy, which shapes to a great degree the faith and therefore also the lives of those who participate in it.

The traditional Catholic theory of the atonement was first formulated by St. Anselm (d. 1109). Its basic lines are these: Christ offers to the Father, in the place of sinful mankind, an infinite satisfaction. The value of his sacrifice more than counter-balances the offense of sin. With the order of justice thus restored, and the Father’s wrath appeased, God is pleased to forgive man his sins. Classical Protestantism retained much of the Catholic understanding of the atonement, but with the mistaken tendency to treat Christ’s sacrifice as a case of penal substitution, i.e., as if Christ’s death were a case of our just punishment being reassigned to him – God’s just anger redirected at him. In the modern era this notion of penal substitution has increasingly crept into Catholic theology, especially in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Ratzinger’s theology of the atonement is especially interesting along the same two lines outlined above. In regards to speculation upon the atonement, Ratzinger makes an excellent contribution to the discussion through the example of his hierarchical method, wherein he allows his soteriology to be shaped and guided by Christology, as also through his development of a line of thought taken from Romano Guardini that seeks to understand Christ’s “suffering through” evil as a process of healing mankind’s guilt from within. Secondly, in regards to the practical importance of the doctrine of the atonement, Ratzinger expresses both the importance of the liturgy in shaping the faith and therefore also the lives of the faithful, and the importance of the doctrine of the atonement in shaping one’s approach to the liturgy.

The main lines along which my thesis will develop are these: first, a consideration of the practical importance of the doctrine of the atonement according to the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. Second, a discussion of the method employed (rightly) by Ratzinger in interpreting Christ’s sacrifice. His method, in brief, is to respect the hierarchy of truths: he allows his soteriology to be illumined by Christology, which is illumined in turn by the mystery of the Trinity. Third, then, it will be necessary to turn to the basic datum of Christology that Ratzinger applies to his soteriological speculation, i.e., that Christ is the Son of the Father: an obvious statement with great implications for the doctrine of the atonement.

My fourth task will then be to turn to Ratzinger’s theology of the atonement itself: and in this regard he offers a negative critique of “mechanistic” theories of the atonement (here it will be necessary to counter objections put forward by proponents of the penal substitution theory in regards to Christ’s “cup” of suffering, his cry from the Cross, and especially his descent into hell), positing instead that Christ’s death is a great transformation of death into love. It is here that Ratzinger develops his favorite theme of “suffering through” evil and sin, for if Christ’s suffering is not part of some mechanized legal process in which he is punished for our sins, then why the intensity of his suffering? Ratzinger’s answer is that suffering is simply the form that love takes in a broken world; it is a necessary part of the process of healing guilt from within.

Fifthly, I will be to take stock of Ratzinger’s theology of the atonement within the wider field of Catholic tradition: his interpretation of Christ’s death as essentially an act of love (rather than punishment) fits easily into St. Thomas’ doctrine of the fourfold salvific causality of Christ’s Passion (by way of sacrifice, satisfaction, redemption, and merit). His emphasis on love, however, over and against St. Anselm’s emphasis on justice, must in turn be counter-balanced by the latter. In conclusion, I propose to return to the practical importance of the question of the atonement to see what connections can be drawn between Ratzinger’s soteriology and liturgical theology.

Table of Contents
Introduction: The Importance of the Doctrine of the Atonement
Chapter 1: Hierarchical Theology
Chapter 2: Ratzinger’s Christology
Chapter 3: Ratzinger’s Soteriology
Chapter 4: The Balance between Love and Justice
Conclusion: Liturgical Implications

16 November 2008

27th Sunday after Pentecost

St. Gertrude, Virgin (III Class)
St. Gertrude, born in 1256 in Germany, was a Benedictine abbess celebrated for her revelations concerning the Sacred Heart. Her writings are very important for mystical theology. She died in 1334.

15 November 2008

St. Albert the Great

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church (III Class)
St. Albert was a famous member of the Order of Preachers, noted for his universal learning and his apostolic zeal and devotion. He had for his pupil the celebrated St. Thomas Aquinas of the same Order, and left numerous writings. He became Bishop of Ratisbon, and died in 1280, being canonized and declared Doctor of the Church in 1931.

Happy 25th Birthday, John!

We began the celebrations yesterday. I had a doctor's appointment in a town about 30 minutes away, where there is also a large shopping center. John picked up several new, fun kinds of beer. Last night after dinner he opened his presents, which was a tradition the Joys started for John when he was young. Because John could not decide if he wanted beer food or wine food for dinner, we had spicy chicken wings for lunch with his beer, and wine, cheese and hors d'oeuvres for dinner with three friends, with carrot cake and ice-cream for dessert. I was going to take pictures of the festivities, but the conversation was so riveting I forgot. So this one will have to do, it was taken before we began dinner.

P.S. We opted not to find out if I'm having a boy or girl, but everything looks good so far.

14 November 2008

St. Josaphat

Bishop, Martyr (III Class)
St. Josaphat, a monk of the Order of St. Basil and afterwards Archbishop of Polotsk, labored for the reunion of the schismatic Greek Church with the Church of Rome. He was murdered by the schismatics in 1623.

I finished reading this evening a delightful historical novel about St. Thomas Aquinas. It is by a man named Louis de Wohl, who has written an impressive number of historical novels about various saints and episodes in the history of the Church. Lisa has already finished The Last Crusader (about Don John of Austria and the battle of Lepanto), The Quiet Light (about St. Thomas Aquinas), The Citadel of God (about St. Benedict), The Glorious Folly (about St. Paul), and is now working on Lay Siege to Heaven (about St. Catherine of Siena).

Speaking of books, I also finished a few weeks ago Characters of the Inquisition by William Thomas Walsh, which succeeds quite admirably in refuting "the many lies about the Inquisition raised by the enemies of the Church." It's rather a shame that Torquemada hasn't been canonized.