As we approach the end of February, I thought it would be helpful to review the education the ICC has provided over the last month. If you’ve missed any of these – visit the event pages (all the titles below are hyperlinked) to watch the videos! Since it’s Lent, what better occasion do you have to sit down and spend some time learning about Our Lord and the Faith he has entrusted to us?
Our major weekend event in February was “Confronting Attila the Hun: the Life of Pope St. Leo the Great.” This was a great event, beginning with a hearty chicken soup supper. The hall at Our Lady of Hope was packed! But once everyone was fed, Chris Check told a powerful story, outlining the life and influence of Pope St. Leo the Great, the world of the 5th century Roman Empire, including the barbarian invasions and Christological controversies occurring at the time.
We also hosted a two-part series with Professor Steve Weidenkopf on “The Baptism of Clovis & the Conversion of Europe.” (A special thanks to Prof. Weidenkopf, who filled in for Dr. McGuire at very late notice!) Prof. Weidenkopf covered an enormous amount of history, outlining the early Roman world and the other major tribes – Goths, Burgundians, Vandals, and Franks, as well as the growing Christian influence over the Roman Empire. Prof. Weidenkopf then led us through Clovis’ baptism (influenced by his wife, St. Clotilda), and how the newly-baptised Clovis led to the conversion of the tribes and the conquest of Gaul (modern-day France). Prof. Weidenkopf concluded with a reflection on why Clovis’ baptism matters – not only for the future of Europe, but for each of us as Catholics baptized into the Body of Christ.
Finally, Msgr. Charles Pope gave a beautiful Lenten retreat this past Sunday – “Carrying Our Cross: An ICC Lenten Retreat.” Msgr. Pope spoke to those present about the Cross – and how we are each called to take up our own cross and follow Christ. Msgr. Pope didn’t mince words, acknowledging the tremendous difficulties of living as a Catholic in our post-modern world, but exhorting all present to live out their faith in the midst of their struggles. Following Msgr. Pope’s remarks, the 200 attendees retired to the Church, where we prayed Compline (a special thanks to members of Chorus Sine Nomine for helping lead Compline!). At the end of the evening, about 50 young adults and Msgr. Pope returned to the hall to have a special Young Adults Reception, where Msgr. Pope answered questions about “Living Lent in a Hostile World.”
Msgr. Pope will be giving the second part of his retreat this coming Sunday at St. Agnes – so please make your plans to attend!
I hope this was a helpful review! Make sure to mark your calendars for all the phenomenal events we have coming up during Lent – please click here to view our upcoming events.
Rorate Caeli posted a translation of a recent commentary by Italian journalist Alessandro Gnocchi, who has some hard words to say regarding the state of our Church today.
Truth, with a capital T, succumbs to expediency. Pilate, who prefers to remain a friend of Caesar, never stops looking for fellow travelers….we are in a battle to preserve the Catholic faith, and all the battles being fought on various fronts, even those that are so important like moral truth, are only the terrain of confrontation in a war that is much deeper, involving metaphysics and religion. The most important thing in play is faith. But faith is preserved whole and intact or it is lost. You cannot preserve just parts of it according to taste or expediency.
As mother and shepherd of our spiritual lives, the Church places before us the holy season of Lent, opening the way for repentance and reform. How our human nature revolts against such ideas! Sitting on our comfortable couches and enjoying the luxuries of modern life, our fleshly nature cringes at the least encroachment or inconvenience. As anyone who has taken the season of Lent seriously knows well, the war between the flesh and spirit is real. In light of this war, our Holy Mother, the Church, takes steps to guide her children toward repentance and restoration of communion with God by little steps, always vigilant that she not lose even one of her little lambs.
Thus, as we enter into the great season of Lent, the Church places before her children what can only be called the “at least” goals. Having not only Saints, but also sinners in her hands, the Church guides her adherents with a gentle hand, being careful not to overwhelm the least among us with a teaching that is too difficult to follow. We must “at least” go to Church on Sundays. We must not eat food for “at least” one hour before communion. And during the Lenten season, we must “at least” abstain from meat on Fridays, and keep the sacred fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. How many of us, hearing these “at least” teachings, take them as our ultimate goal, rather than taking them for what they are? …[Continue Reading]
The ICC is here to help you spend a purposeful Lenten season! In addition to our entire Lenten schedule (click here), please review this list of video and audio resources below to help you on your journey this Lent.
Whether you’re devoted to spending more time learning about the lives of the saints, desire to reading and meditating on Scripture, or simply have questions about how to live a better life, the ICC has something to offer you. This is just a small sampling of our resources – please click here for our entire library.
Also, beginning this Wednesday here in our online learning center, Deacon Sabatino will be posting occasional quotations and reflections to aid you this Lent. Make sure to check back each week for his latest post.
PRAYER & FASTING
Fasting & Feasting: Learning to Live the Catholic Tradition, with Dr. John Cuddeback
The Way: An Introduction to Early Christian Prayer, with Fr. Joseph Mary Brown
Not By Bread Alone: A Study of the Ancient Foods of the Bible, with Chef Nikki Haddad
Whatever You Ask In My Name: The Importance of Prayer in the Eastern Tradition, with Fr. Anthony Messeh
Praying Constantly: A Practicum of the Divine Office, with Prof. David Clayton
REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE OF THE SAINTS
St. Dominic & the Preachers: A Crusade for the Kingdom, with Dr. John Cuddeback
St. Athanasius’ Life of St. Antony the Great, with Abbot Joseph Lee
Sts. Cyril & Methodius: The Christening of Eastern Europe, with Dr. Brendan McGuire
From Death to Life: A Study of the Holy Women of the Roman Canon, with Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo
Journey of Faith: A Study of the Life of Abraham, with Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo
Conversion: Walking with God, with Fr. Joseph Mary Brown & Dr. John Cuddeback
Seven Deadly Sins: Lenten Reflections, with Fr. Paul Scalia
Living the Virtuous Life Today: Challenging the Modern Culture, with Fr. Paul Scalia
Human Nature & the Virtuous Life, with Dr. John Cuddeback
Living Catholic: Restoring Catholic Culture in a Post-Christian World, with Dr. John Cuddeback
Eden to Eden: A Study of Salvation History, with Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo
Genesis: In the Beginning, with Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo
The Gospel of Matthew: The Life of the Son of God, with Dr. Timothy O’Donnell
Lamb of God: Understanding the Sacrifice of Christ, with Fr. Paul Schenck
There are two new ICC videos on YouTube – click on these links, send and share with friends!
Jews, Muslims & Christians: Praying to the Same God?, with Robert Reilly
The Passion of the Christ: A Biblical Tour of Jerusalem’s Way of the Cross, with Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo
For those who love to listen to ICC programs via audio, we have just posted two new presentations for your listening pleasure:
Piercing the Darkness: An Introduction to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, a four part series with Dr. John Cuddeback
St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio: The Family Under Attack, with Bishop Robert Morlino
During the month of November, we’ve been asking the question of whether or not all religions – specifically the faiths of Jews, Muslims, and Christians – pray to the same God. We began with Robert Reilly’s great introduction (watch video here), and continued with a study on the life of Abraham (video posted here).
We’re concluding this topic with a two-part series on the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament – we hope you can join us this Thursday! Full details can be found below, and you can watch last week’s presentation here.
Providentially, Pope Benedict XVI issued his first major address since his retirement (H/T Rorate Caeli), and has some amazing insight on this very topic:
Today many have the idea, in effect, that religions should respect each other, and, in dialogue with each other, become a common force for peace. In this way of thinking, most times there is a presupposition that the various religions are variants of one and the same reality; that “religion” is a category common to all, which assumes different forms according to different cultures, but expresses, however, one and the same reality. The question of truth, which at the beginning of Christianity moved Christians more than anything else, in this mode of thinking is placed within parentheses. It presupposes that the authentic truth about God, in the last analysis, is unobtainable, and that at best one can make present what is ineffable only with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems convincing and useful for peace among the religions of the world.
This is, however, lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and seriousness, if everything is reduced to symbols that are at the end interchangeable, capable of referring only from afar to the inaccessible mystery of the divine.
What perfect timing that he is addressing this very issue just as we are studying the exact same question! I would encourage you to read this beautiful address by Pope Benedict XVI – please click here for the link.
One of our star presenters, Dr. John Cuddeback, keeps a blog with his reflections on philosophy, family and the household called Bacon from Acorns. If you haven’t read it yet, you should!
He recently wrote an article for the Front Porch Republic entitled “To Text or Not to Text?” This is great related reading for his upcoming presentations on:
Made for Excellence: Rediscovering our True Identity – this Sunday!
Why Did I Do That? Forming Vice or Virtue in the Human Heart – on November 11 & 18.
David Clayton, a past speaker and friend of the Institute, has a great blog – if you haven’t checked it out, you should: The Way of Beauty.
He wrote a great article last month on “A Model for a Cultural Center for the New Evangelization.” Read it and be inspired by the possibilities for engaging secular culture with the truth and beauty of Catholicism!
If you missed Bishop Morlino’s wonderful presemtation on “Familiaris Consortio: The Family Under Attack,” you’ll want to make sure to take the time to watch the video here.
In addition, we’ve posted a number of related written material for your further education, including this paper: “Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological Assessment.” This is a great (30 page) document written in response to Cardinal Kasper and others’ view of communion for the divorced and remarried.
Know the faith! Love the faith! Live the faith!
For all those who have been patiently waiting for the latest in ICC audio to be posted, your wait is over.
Audio has been posted for:
St. Patrick, Apostle to Ireland, with Fr. Randy Sly
Christ in the Cosmos: St. John’s Book of Signs, with Dr. Timothy O’Donnell
Dies Domini: Learning to Live the Lord’s Day Today, with Msgr. Charles Pope
And there’s more to come! Many thanks to our newest ICC audio volunteers, who do such great work on our audio editing.
As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, please remember not only your own mothers, grandmothers, and friends, but also the Mother of Our God, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have compiled the following ICC lectures which focus on Our Lady, other holy women of our faith, and principles of femininity. Enjoy!
Mary: The New Eve – Untying the Knot of Sin
Body and Soul: A Study of the Feast of the Assumption
My Soul Magnifies the Lord: A Study of the Feast of the Visitation
Shadows of the Rosary: A Pilgrimage Study of the Mysteries of the Rosary
Shadows of the Virgin: Holy Women in the Old Testament
Mulieris Dignitatem: Radical Feminism & the Restoration of the Dignity and Vocation of Women
Papal Visit Lectures: The Family: Key to Peace
If you are taking part in our series on “An Introduction to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica,” Prof. John Cuddeback has asked that you read the following, if you are able, before Tuesday, May 13:
From the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, the following articles:
• Prima Pars: Question 12, Article 1: Can Any Created Intellect See The Essence of God?
• Prima Pars: Question 91, Article 3: Whether the Body of Man Was Given an Apt Disposition?
Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you in person or online for our next class with Dr. John Cuddeback.
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
It has become our annual custom at the ICC to post a well-known and well-loved homily of St. John Chrysostom on Easter. I love to use the sermon below as the paschal blessing at my family Easter table and encourage you to do the same. I hope the power of St. John Chrysostom’s words and the power of the Truth he proclaims speak richly to your hearts. May each of you enjoy this wonderful day full of joy and radiant with grace.
Paschal homily of Saint John Chrysostom:
If any be a devout lover of God, let him partake with gladness from this fair and radiant feast.
If any be a faithful servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord.
If any have wearied himself with fasting, let him now enjoy his reward.
If any have laboured from the first hour, let him receive today his rightful due.
If any have come after the third, let him celebrate the feast with thankfulness.
If any have come after the sixth, let him not be in doubt, for he will suffer no loss.
If any have delayed until the ninth, let him not hesitate but draw near.
If any have arrived only at the eleventh, let him not be afraid because he comes so late.
For the Master is generous and accepts the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour in the same was as him who has laboured from the first. He accepts the deed, and commends the intention.
Enter then, all of you, into the joy of our Lord. First and last, receive alike your reward. Rich and poor, dance together. You who fasted and you who have not fasted, rejoice together.
The table is fully laden: let all enjoy it.
The calf is fatted: let none go away hungry.
Let none lament his poverty; for the universal Kingdom is revealed.
Let none bewail his transgressions; for the light of forgiveness has risen from the tomb.
Let none fear death; for death of the Saviour has set us free.
He has destroyed death by undergoing death. He has despoiled hell by descending into hell. He vexed it even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he cried: Hell was filled with bitterness when it met Thee face to face below;
Hell is angered, for it was brought to nothing;
Hell is angered, for it was mocked;
Hell is angered, for it was overthrown;
Hell is angered, for it was put in chains.
Hell received a body, and encountered God. It received earth, and confronted heaven.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen!
And you, O death, are annihilated!
Christ is risen!
And the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen!
And the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen!
And life is liberated!
Christ is risen!
And the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory and Power, now and forever, and from all ages to all ages.
Something strange is happening: There is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and Hades trembles with fear.
~ St. Epiphanius of Cyprus
As you pray during this silent time of the Easter Triduum, I would encourage you to print out and read a homily from St. Epiphanius of Cyprus as he tells of the Lord’s encounter with Adam in Hades. It is a beautiful telling, and well worth your time.
The entire homily is quite long, but I have an abbreviated section you can print out and read as a PDF.
To access the PDF, please click here: St. Epiphanius, “On Great and Holy Saturday”