[Note…this is what I published on January 7, 2015. a little bit revised . Actually, the whole series of the past “12-Days” posts was based (and elaborated on) what I wrote in 2015.]
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 think a dialogue 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 continue to develop something of my own voice now that I’m meaningfully three and a half years into retirement.
Three and a half years! Where has time flown to?
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 (or entomb) their words but not imitate their actions.
I once heard a famous person (I forget who) quoted as saying, “I avoided being liberal in my youth for fear I’d turn conservative in my old age.”
Many saints we cherish died young; St. Therese of Liseaux (24), St. Rose of Lima (31), even St. Thomas Aquinas (49). It is said the only the good die young, but the corollary to that is, only the young die good. However, 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, here’s my homily for today: