Thirteenth Day . . . and counting

I finished the Twelve Days of Christmas. What next?

These past twelve blogposts were something of an experiment, just to see if I could actually sustain a daily schedule of blogging. And I’m humbly grateful that I did it. Now that I know that I can, with some possibly interesting but definitely borderline trivia, I’m going to try to keep it up.

I’d love to turn this into a daily commentary, and develop something of a regular readership. I’m very grateful to the dozen or so of you who have read this with some degree of regularity. You know who you are! (After all, you’re the ones who are reading this now.) Many thanks, God bless you, and pray for me as I do for you.

My current intention is to see if I can bring a blend of Catholic culture, saints especially plus a healthy and refreshing dose of Pope Francis, to inspire and nourish a bit of a commentary on current events and contemporary culture. I thonk a dialoge of cultures rather than clash of cultures will be most beneficial in the long run that has ultimate value. “Truth” is not the issue, really; it how we understand and express truth that’s the issue. My hope is that, with time, I can develop something of my own voice that perhaps I can carry meaningfully into retirement – as of today 174 days and counting.

So . . .

Today, January 7, is when we recall and celebrate St. Raymond of Penyafort, a Dominican friar in the generation immediately after St. Dominic, who, in a sense, is to the codification and study of canon law what St. Thomas Aquinas, another Dominican contemporary of his, was to theology. Both of them were rather radical revolutionaries of their own day who in late days became the darlings of traditionalists who wanted to enshrine their words but not imitate their actions.

So many saints we cherish died young. St. André Bessette, yesterday’s saint, died in 1937 at age 91, and Raymond died in 1275 at age 99 (or 95 – the exact date of his birth is not known). There’s still hope for us old guys.

Another interesting saint is on the calendar today, but not universally celebrated.  In fact, he’s pretty much forgotten, and I wasn’t even aware of him until I read the new edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Lucian of Antioch was one of the first theologians to deal seriously with Arius and his misguided denial of the divinity of Christ. Founder of a significant theological school in Antioch, he had the (mis)fortune of surviving until the very end of the decade-long Great (and last) Persecution initiated by Emperor Diocletian, and was put to death in 313, the same year as the Edict of Milan by which Constantine granted freedom to the Christian Church.

As I read his life in conjunction with the other events of his day, I get the clear picture that things were never simple and clear. Orthodoxy (right belief) was never simply a matter of upholding certain truths, but of arduously struggling to make sense of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ in a way that is true to the sources, namely Scripture and faith-tradition as lived and handed on by believers and teachers within the Church.

This is a topic I keep coming back to in my own thinking, and it will probably be reflected as I write more. I invite you to accompany me on this faith-journey.

Speaking of journeys, there are Pilgrimage plans in the works.  Stay tuned for more news, I hope in a few days.

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

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