August 20, 2019
And Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.”
Those of us who have brothers or sisters or spouses can take little comfort from those words of Jesus. With those close to us getting angry, hurling insults, and yelling “You fool!” (or more likely “You idiot!” which expresses the Greek better) comes as second nature.
In fact, if we’re honest, the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 to 7) stands as an enormous challenge to the way we do most things most of the time.
This summer at PEAK, Wyoming Catholic College’s high school program, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes taught the Sermon on the Mount.
July 23, 2019
“On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.
“He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, five-storied house and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady who provided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door of which invariably stood open. And each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him scowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.”
Thus begins Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. "He" in this case is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, a college drop-out living in abject poverty in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia. Consumed with misery, anger, and a strange sense of self-importance, Raskolnikov will in the course of the novel commit a double murder plunging him even deeper into despair.
Along the way, he meets Sonia Marmeladov. She is the child of a hopeless drunk who, in order to support her father, his second wife, and his step-children, sells the only thing she possesses: herself in prostitution.
How the friendship between harlot and the murderer becomes the source of redemption is the topic of the novel and was the topic Dr. Virginia Arbery addressed at the 2019 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought. This is what she had to say.
July 16, 2019
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship,” wrote St. Thomas Aquinas. In fact, he went on, “Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.”
Jesus made it clear that while the first and greatest commandment is to love God, the second is love for neighbor. And “neighbor” for Jesus even extends to enemies.
In the second part of the second part of the Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas explored the question of love for God, neighbors, enemies, and friends.
At The Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes led us through Thomas’ thinking. Here, in part, is what he said.
Texts from St. Thomas Aquinas:
- Summa Theologae II.II, Question 23, Article 1; Question 25, Article 1; Question 26, Article 3
- Disputed Questions on the Virtues, Question 2, Article 2
July 2, 2019
“‘My dear Jane,’ exclaimed Elizabeth, ‘you are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve.’”
“Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, and threw back the praise on her sister’s warm affection.”
One of the exemplary friendships we studied at this year’s Wyoming School of Catholic Thought was the friendship between Elizabeth Bennet and her sister Jane in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
What characterized this friendship between women? Why is their relationship so appealing? And what can we learn from it to inform our own friendships.
Wyoming Catholic College Teaching Fellow Dr. Tiffany Schubert has been a Jane Austen fan and scholar for many years. Here is her presentation delivered this past June 10.
June 18, 2019
Jonathan was Crown Prince of Israel, the man next in line to be king. David was, however, the man destined to be king instead--and that by God's sovereign choice. King Saul knew that God had chosen David and Jonathan knew as well. Yet rather than trying to kill David, "Jonathan loved him as his own soul." The two were the dearest of friends.
This lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich about the friendship between Jonathan and David opened the 2019 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought on June 9. The school's theme was: "No Greater Gift: Friendship from The Iliad to Facebook."
This podcast is the first in a series of podcasts this summer featuring lectures from the Wyoming School.
May 28, 2019
Most Catholics know only the Roman or Latin Novus Ordo rite of the Eucharist. That’s not a surprise since it’s that rite that is celebrated almost exclusively in most of our churches. But the Catholic Church has not one, not two, but twenty-three different rites falling into six basic families: Latin, Alexandrian, Antiochian, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan better known as Byzantine.
Our Wyoming Catholic College community is no stranger to the Byzantine rite. A nearby priest has celebrated that rite, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, regularly. Beginning this fall, however, we will all become even more familiar with the Byzantine liturgy as the college welcomes Fr. David Anderson as a second college chaplain. Fr. Anderson is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.
May 7, 2019
In the old cowboy movie, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," once Valance is on the ground with a bullet in him, someone calls for the doctor. The doctor turns the body face up with his boot, looks at the corpse, and says, "Dead." One hundred or more years ago, life and death were relatively simple, but they're not any more.
While there are good reasons to rejoice in modern medical technique and technology, questions of life and death have grow in number and complexity.
Dr. Kent Lasnoski ended his moral theology course with Wyoming Catholic College seniors by moving from the philosophical and the theological to the conundrums force on us by medical and biotechnical advancements. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest on this week's After Dinner Scholar.
April 23, 2019
The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, “Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the ‘"Feast of feasts,’ the ‘Solemnity of solemnities,’ just as the Eucharist is the ‘Sacrament of sacraments’ (the Great Sacrament). St. Athanasius calls Easter ‘the Great Sunday’ and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week ‘the Great Week.’ The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.”
In his Compendium Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas reflected on the meaning of the resurrection. This Easter Week, Dr. Jeremy Holmes explains how Thomas understood the resurrection of Christ and its relationship to our resurrection.
April 9, 2019
March 23 to 30 was Outdoor Week here at Wyoming Catholic College. And while most of our students were out in what we typically think of as the wilderness, one group found themselves in another kind of wilderness: a wilderness of loneliness.
Christ in the City was founded in Denver to address long-term, chronic homelessness. Young missionaries commit one year to live in community, grow in the Faith, and minister to the needy, bridging the regrettable gap that often separates evangelism from service to the poor.
In addition, Christ in the City provides short-term opportunities during the summer and, for our Wyoming Catholic College students, during Outdoor Week.
Theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski and his family were part of the team. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar
March 5, 2019
“Lent,” wrote New Testament scholar Dr. N. T. Wright, “is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.”
And even if we already knew that, well… discipline and sacrifice come hard to most of us. As Pope St. John Paul II noted, “Our age, regrettably, is particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart. …The spirit of the world affects our inner propensity to give ourselves unselfishly to others and drives us to satisfy our own particular interests.”
Lent is the needed antidote and our Wyoming Catholic College community takes Lent very seriously. Guiding us—students, faculty, and staff—through Lent is our college chaplain, Fr. Paul Ward. Fr. Ward is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.