Medieval Christians had the habit of referring to our life in this world as in via, “on a journey,” as opposed to Heaven, where we would be in patria, “in the homeland.” Accordingly, they thought of themselves as viatores, “travelers” or “people of the way.” The Lord’s Supper, which to them was the pinnacle of the grace of God, was called viaticum, “waybread,” “that which sustains the journeyer.”
In 2012, British author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson delivered a speech at the Richmond Forum on revolutionizing education in America. After hearing his presentation, a student in the audience asked him a question along these lines: “Do you think it wise for us to integrate our studies across the disciplines?” Sir Robinson’s response was that the world is already integrated—it is we who have disintegrated it.
This post was originally published on The Saint Constantine School blog on September 13, 2023. There’s a passage from The Lord of the Rings that I’ve been contemplating as the 2023-2024 school year has gotten underway. Toward the end of The Return of the King, Merry and Pippin are sitting in the Houses of Healing after the battle […]
What is it about so much contemporary “Christian” art that makes it so bad so often? Even the
complaints have become cliché. To be sure, there are many Christian writers and artists today who strive to defy this stereotype and succeed. Nevertheless, Christian art has a problem.
An old name for Fairyland is the Realm Perilous. The poetry of that name alone makes it a suitable descriptor for Fairyland, but its suitability is not exhausted in the poetry. It is also suitable because the fairy realm is a land of dangers. It is inherently a land of dangers: you could no more have a Fairyland without danger than you could have a universe without energy. But why it should be so is instructive.
Hundreds of years before the birth of Our Lord, Aristotle wrote a treatise on well-formed human
character called the Nicomachean Ethics. In this work, the philosopher reasons systematically
through different virtues, explaining how each one ought to be understood and developed. Then,
in the eighth chapter, he begins exploring what he deems a natural continuation of this topic:
friendship. He dismisses friendships of utility and pleasure as accidental; that is, someone in such
a friendship ultimately seeks his own well-being or pleasure. However, Aristotle then introduces
‘friendships of the good’ as the most desirable and perfect friendships.
All in all, I count eight beautiful ways that we react with perfect love to the presence of Christ in
the crucified poor. These ways are: the services of the Church; noetic prayer; monastic charity;
motherhood; mission work; social or philanthropic work; all the hospitalities of marriage; and our
vocations in the world….
In De Doctrina Christiana (AD 426) Augustine advises readers to learn from human institutions—branches of knowledge—that will aid them in reading Scripture: “This whole area of human institutions which contribute to the necessities of learning should in no way be avoided by the Christian; indeed, within reason, they should be studied and committed to memory.”
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)
Jesus prayed. That is so astounding. It is astounding because of who he was (and is): he was God himself, eternal, there before the foundation of the world, the architect of the foundation of the world. He knew God’s purposes from all eternity, for they were his purposes. He knew them during his human life, as he himself makes clear on many occasions. Why would this person need to pray?