29 Oct

Erasmus

Five hundred years ago on October 31st, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the cathedral door at Wittenburg, thus commencing the Reformation. The origins of the Reformation can be traced well before this event, however, and an important figure in this movement was a fellow by the name of Erasmus of Rotterdam. Without Erasmus Luther could not have arisen. Erasmus translated the New Testament into Greek and critiqued the sumptuous lifestyle of the clergy, especially of the papacy, in his satire, The Praise of Folly. He wrote about “the philosophy of Christ”, exhorting popes and all Christians, for that matter, to imitate Christ's poverty, tasks, teachings, crosses, and so on. He wrote, “Make Christ the only goal of your life. Dedicate to him all your enthusiasm, all your effort, your leisure as well as your business. And don't look upon Christ as a mere word, as an empty expression, but rather as charity, simplicity, patience, and purity—in short, in terms of everything he has taught us.”

22 Oct

A Beautiful Piece

The musical composition known as the fugue, from the Latin ‘fugare’ meaning ‘to chase’, is centered around one or two themes. These themes are repeated throughout the piece, but as the piece progresses, the themes, while maintaining their fundamental structure, become more elaborate. More voices and pitches enter the composition, mimicking the basic theme, though with slightly altered elements. This middle section of the fugue is referred to as the ‘development.’ The overall piece never strays from the source, yet is always evolving so as not to remain repetitive. It is almost as if the main theme is chasing the subsequent episodes. Or, it could be seen that the episodes are running away from the main theme. Fugue also derives from ‘fugere’ in Latin, meaning ‘to flee.’ The conclusion of the fugue, typically called the ‘final entry’ or sometimes the ‘recapitulation,’ contains a return to the tonic key of the main theme.

15 Oct

Bee Sweet

I was excited when I discovered a SJS teacher helps with the family bee farm, and even more excited when, upon reading into the honeybee, I saw the abundance of Marian analogies. “My son, eat honey for it is good” (Proverbs 24:13).

Abbe Warré, a bee-keeping monk from the early 20th Century, wrote a manual titled, Beekeeping for All. In it he writes, “the overall ruler of the colony is the common interest.” Well, fundamental to the common interest is the presence and health of the queen. Without the queen, worker bees become agitated, work less, and lose their purpose, flying aimlessly. The hive population diminishes and the colony eventually dies. The Church and the world would experience similar consequences without Mary.

08 Oct

Christopher Columbus

Columbus found a world, and had no chart
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul's invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.

—George Santayana

Christopher Columbus was a deeply religious man. He spent time at a Franciscan Friary in Spain when he had all but failed in his career. It was there that he told Father Juan Perez of his vision to explore a route to the Far East. The purpose of his voyage would be “to carry the Name and doctrine of Jesus Christ into regions so distant.” Father Perez had a connection to Queen Isabelle and was able to convince the Queen to fund Columbus' expedition.

01 Oct

I love this bar.

Ecclesiology is the study of the nature of the Church. Whole courses are taught on just this one subject alone. Instead of teaching you a course or synthesizing the material into a short Tassel, I would rather reflect on the country music singer Toby Keith's classic, I Love This Bar. The song speaks to the make of what the Body of Christ is. Just replace ‘bar’ with ‘church’.

We got winners, we got losers,
Chain smokers and boozers.