Third and last in a series
IN HIS BOOK, “Building the Human” (New York: Herder and Herder, 1968, pp. 192), Robert Johann gives an interesting sketch of how hope functions between two persons who are entering a love relationship. I think that Johann’s insight into the mystery of hope is an excellent example of how philosophy can deepen and expand our understanding of theology, and can also help us in our attempts to live out what we believe about the mysteries of Catholicism.
Second in a series
IN PREPARING this series of columns on hope, I recalled a poem that I like very much. I think I first read it when I was a student in the seminary. Entitled “Hope,” it was written by Charles Péguy.
In the poem, Péguy imagines God speaking. The opening lines are the following:
Another advent! My mind immediately turns to thoughts about the virtue of hope. I agree with St. Paul that the greatest virtue is charity, but I suspect that hope comes in a close second.
THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS, who do not usually say grace before meals, did so before their Thanksgiving meal. If many are like me, they might have tried to mention a list of blessings they have received from God such as health, jobs, friends and other gifts and blessings. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. I just hope it does not suggest that the blessings mentioned exhaust the actual blessings and gifts that God has bestowed on us.
BACK IN OCTOBER I had to prepare a Sunday homily on St. Matthew’s Gospel (22: 1-10) about the parable in which the king invites people to a wedding feast for his son but many refuse to come. In my homily, I wanted to help the members of the congregation understand more deeply what we do when we celebrate a Eucharist.
ANYONE WHO READS this column regularly knows that I think it is difficult to be a religious believer in our society. There is little in the secular humanistic culture that supports faith. Because of this, I am often on the lookout for some play, film, novel or television show that might present some Christian values that might support religious faith.
HAVING JUST finished writing the column that appeared in last week’s issue, I am looking at the three large bookshelves I have in my room. Even though I gave away more than a hundred books a few years ago, there are still hundreds of books in this room. Memories of being profoundly influenced by some of these books when I first read them are coming back to me as I type.
The Fall Film Festival at Immaculate Conception Church, Astoria, gets underway this month. The schedule includes three film night, all accredited by the diocesan Faith Formation Office and the Sacred Heart Institute.
I HAVE BEEN reflecting lately on two great mysteries, each from a different perspective: one philosophical and the other theological. The philosophical perspective I use in philosophy classes at St. John’s University; the theological perspective I use in my personal life and in my preaching. I suspect there is something of an overlap in the sense that each type of reflection – to some extent – influences the other even though, for the most part, I may not be aware it.
I CANNOT recall the first time I heard the parable told by Jesus about the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20: 1-16a). My guess is that my initial reaction was that it was not fair that those who spent the entire day working did not receive higher wages than those who were hired at the last hour. I probably thought that those who worked many more hours were not treated justly.