June 15, 2021
“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,” begins George Herbert’s poem “Love (III).” It’s one of the 26 poems students at Wyoming Catholic College memorize over their four years and one of the most beloved.
George Herbert, an Anglican clergyman, lived a mere 39 years, from 1593 to 1633. Yet the great Puritan pastor and theologian, Richard Baxter said of him, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth in God, and whose business in the world is most with God. Heart-work and heaven-work make up his books.”
Dr. Tiffany Schubert taught the poem this year and began this interview by telling us something about poet George Herbert.
May 11, 2021
As they begin their devotional guide for married couples, 30 Days with Married Saints, Wyoming Catholic College theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski and his wife Cait ask the reader to imagine a beatification ceremony for a married couple. The words they quote are from St. John Paul II’s homily at the beatification of Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, but they add, “One day, God willing, such a homily might be given for you! You may think this possibility highly unrealistic and perhaps it’s true that you and your spouse will never be officially canonized. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot become saints.”
Their book 30 Days with Married Saints is a means to that end.
I began by asking Kent and Cait what inspired them to write the book.
April 27, 2021
In his new book An Introduction to Christian Mysticism: Recovering the Wildness of Spiritual Life, Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Jason Baxter notes that today mysticism makes us more than a little nervous. It seems to have New Age and Eastern connotations. Nonetheless, he notes, “in the premodern age..., ‘mysticism’ wasn’t some bizarre, exotic, cultish, or unusual phenomenon (like it has become), stored on bookshelves dealing with paranormal occurrences; rather it was seen as the lifeblood of prayer and adoration of God in the soul.” Then he goes on, “Ignoring it would be like selling a precious family heirloom at an estate sale because you didn’t know what it was.”
In this podcast, Dr. Baxter begins by explaining what this heirloom—what mysticism is.
For more of Dr. Baxter's books, articles, and lectures go to jasonmbaxter.com
April 20, 2021
In his 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky explores questions of good and evil, alienation and belonging, the existence of God and the nature of morality.
As scholar and author Kenneth Boa writes in his four-volume A Taste of the Classics, “The Brothers Karamazov is a remarkable work that explores the whole human range of behavior, from the depths of depravity to the heights of exultation and from the meanness of the human spirit to the great nobility of which it is capable.”
This semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors have been reading “The Brothers K” under the capable tutelage of Prof. Adam Cooper. I asked Prof. Cooper what attracts him to the novel.
March 30, 2021
Faithful cross, above all other,
One and only noble tree:
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peers may be:
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.
While each time we see a cross or a crucifix and every time we attend Mass we have the opportunity to ponder Christ’s great sacrifice, during Holy Week it becomes almost the exclusive focus of our attention.
Writing about Good Friday in his book Death on a Friday Afternoon, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote, “This is the axis mundi, the center upon which the cosmos turns. In the derelict who cries from the cross is, or so Christians say, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The life of all on this day died. Stay a while with that dying.”
The Gospel of John, chapter 19 tells the story of that dying. In this podcast Dr. Jeremy Holmes discusses John 19 and the death of Jesus.
March 23, 2021
St. Benedict in his Rule wrote concerning prayer, “ ‘Seven times in the day,’ says the Prophet [psalmist], ‘I have rendered praise to you.’ Now that sacred number of seven will be fulfilled by us if we perform the offices of our service at the time of the morning office, of prime, of terce, of sext, of none, of vespers and of compline, since it was of these day hours that he said, ‘Seven times in the day I have rendered praise to you.’ For as to the night office the same Prophet says, ‘In the middle of the night I arose to glorify you.’ ”
Today priests, bishops, religious, and a surprising number of lay Christians pray through the day using the Daily Office. Msgr. Daniel Seiker, Wyoming Catholic College's Latin chaplain, explains what it means to pray the office and why it's important.
March 9, 2021
We Americans are nothing if not activists. In our homes, in our careers, in our parishes we’re the people who want to make things happen. And so it may come as a surprise to read Pope St. John Paul II’s words, “In the consecrated life the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world finds fresh enthusiasm and power.”
In 1996, after a synod about the consecrated life, St. John Paul wrote the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, “On the Consecrated life and its Mission in the Church and in the World.”
The consecrated life—that is, the life led by monks and nuns—“is at the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission, since it ‘manifests the inner nature of the Christian calling’ and the striving of the whole Church as Bride towards union with her one Spouse.”
This past week, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes led our seniors through a discussion of Vita Consecrata and he is our guest on this edition of The After-Dinner Scholar.
January 12, 2021
St. James wrote, “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:13-15)
What with COVID, you’d expect we’d hear rather a lot about the sacrament of anointing the sick or as it has been called in the past Extreme Unction.
We in our day, however, are most likely to call our physician for an appointment or possibly the telehealth line than we are to call our priest asking to be anointed with oil. At least until doctors, hospitals, and the great pharmacopeia fail us and death seems imminent.
Is there still a place for anointing the sick?
Having recently taught about the sacraments, Dr. Kent Lasnoski has been reflecting on the meaning of anointing the sick.
December 22, 2020
C. S. Lewis told the story of his brother's experience on a bus. As they passed a church with a creche outside, a woman remarked “Oh Lor’! They bring religion into everything. Look—they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!”
That was way back in 1959. Even then Lewis found the commercialization and secularization of Christmas revolting contrasting what he called “our feast of the Nativity” with what he referred to as “all this ghastly ‘Xmas’ racket.”
This last week before The Feast of the Nativity many are in full Xmas-rush mode: last-minute shopping, last-minute decorating, another batch of cookies or two, getting ready for family to arrive for the festivities. By Christmas Day we’ll either be slouching toward Bethlehem or we’ll arrive totally wired.
How do we avoid that? Wyoming Catholic College chaplain Fr. David Anderson reflects on his preparation and experience of Christmas.
November 24, 2020
Novelist Fredrick Beuchner wrote, “In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”
As the world around us accelerates into the Christmas holiday season immediately after Thanksgiving—Santa figuring prominently at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—we Christians wait. And waiting is precisely the theme of Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas Day and the twelve days of the Christmas season.
As we prepare for Advent, Msgr. Daniel Seiker, one of the two chaplains at Wyoming Catholic College, shared about Advent and preparing for Christmas.