Posted on 05/24/2019 20:00 PM (Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org)
Saint Bede the Venerable
Saint of the Day for May 25
(c. 672 – May 25, 735)
Saint Bede the Venerable’s Story
Bede is one of the few saints honored as such even during his lifetime. His writings were filled with such faith and learning that even while he was still alive, a Church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches.
At an early age, Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow. The happy combination of genius and the instruction of scholarly, saintly monks, produced a saint and an extraordinary scholar, perhaps the most outstanding one of his day. He was deeply versed in all the sciences of his times: natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history, the lives of the saints and especially, holy Scripture.
From the time of his ordination to the priesthood at 30—he had been ordained a deacon at 19—till his death, Bede was ever occupied with learning, writing, and teaching. Besides the many books that he copied, he composed 45 of his own, including 30 commentaries on books of the Bible.
His Ecclesiastical History of the English People is commonly regarded as of decisive importance in the art and science of writing history. A unique era was coming to an end at the time of Bede’s death: It had fulfilled its purpose of preparing Western Christianity to assimilate the non-Roman barbarian North. Bede recognized the opening to a new day in the life of the Church even as it was happening.
Although eagerly sought by kings and other notables, even Pope Sergius, Bede managed to remain in his own monastery until his death. Only once did he leave for a few months in order to teach in the school of the archbishop of York. Bede died in 735 praying his favorite prayer: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now, and forever.”
Though his History is the greatest legacy Bede has left us, his work in all the sciences, especially in Scripture, should not be overlooked. During his last Lent, Bede worked on a translation of the Gospel of Saint John into English, completing it the day he died. But of this work “to break the word to the poor and unlearned” nothing remains today.
Posted on 05/23/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Easter is one of the most joyful times of the year. Lent is over, it’s open season on the Mini Eggs, and most importantly—Jesus is risen! Nonetheless, to forget Easter long before it’s over is a regretful reality for most. Except for the best of us, many find it far too easy to let the celebratory spirit wain long before we have fully traversed the fifty days to Pentecost. In the Scriptures we are told that Jesus remained with his disciples for forty days after the Resurrection. Then, a few days after the Lord’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples and the Church sprang into action. Those first fifty days of Easter were days of missionary preparation. The same goes for today. How might we take action in these final days of Easter to prepare to evangelize in a post-Christian mission field? One way we can stay…
Posted on 05/22/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Our memories are things that are ours alone—even when we share memories with friends or siblings, we each take away our own perspectives. They tell us that we are alone, yet not alone; vulnerable, yet resilient; much sinned against, yet much more capable of sinning against others than we would like to acknowledge. Personally, when I remember those I have sinned against I am humbled—particularly when I consider how my sins have rippled out to touch the lives of others. Toss a pebble into a pond, and watch the concentric undulations that fan out, until the earthy edge is touched. That’s how our sins work: we are focused on one thing, one need, one appetite we want to satisfy, and we think whatever the consequences, they redound only to ourselves—and yet in truth, they go out in waves. Here is an example: When I was about nine years old and…
Posted on 05/21/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Sermon Podcast)
On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we are coming to the end of the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible. We are approaching, in a word, the climax of the Biblical revelation, the point toward which the entire story had been tending. And we hear of the heavenly Jerusalem, a city with no temple—for the city itself, in its entirety, has become a temple, a place of right praise. Mass Readings Reading 1 – Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 Psalm – Psalm 67:2-8 Reading 2 – Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 Gospel – John 14:23-29…
Posted on 05/21/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
One of our friends loves to scour for bargains at flea markets and antique shops. He’s brought us some fantastic finds, and one of my favorites is this little sign that says, “I wish more people were fluent in silence.” It makes most people laugh, but he brought it to us and said, “This reminds me of you guys.” It’s become an adage in our house: one must learn to be silent. In Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved, he wrote, “The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen.” Isn’t that where the real relationship building takes place—in the silence? In fact, I’d argue that most great dialogues end with an epic, pregnant silence. One of my favorite things about a good concert is when the band ends the night with the song that everyone knows. This is especially poignant when it’s a worship band or…
Posted on 05/20/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
My father once remarked that after years of eye exams, he had memorized the eye chart. This level of mastery of the material would guarantee success on an algebra or biology test, but it is not helpful in an eye exam. Unlike other tests, the goal in an eye exam is not to give the objectively right answers, correctly identifying the blurry letters on the chart, but rather to report how they subjectively appear. As difficult as discerning the tiny letters may be, discerning the proper way to face moral and life decisions can be even more daunting. This is especially true when one has trouble discerning exactly what this word “discernment” means. Some explanations give the impression that discernment is a foolproof process which, by introspectively consulting the conscience, infallibly delivers God’s will for any situation. In this view, like in eye exams, the key is being true to…
Posted on 05/19/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Several years ago, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. While many, including Dylan himself, found it a bit odd to honor a folk singer with the premier prize for literature, there it was. After a curious gap between the committee’s breathless announcement and Dylan’s reluctant acceptance, the seventy-five-year-old artist reflected on just how much his writing was born out of his studied immersion in folk music and the budding progenitors of rock and roll including Buddy Holly, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and the New Lost City Ramblers. Dylan would elaborate, I had all the vernacular down. I knew the rhetoric. None of it went over my head—the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries—and I knew all the deserted roads that it traveled on, too. I could make it all connect and move with the current of the day. When I started writing my own…
Posted on 05/16/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Fr. Connor Danstrom is a Catholic priest who currently serves as the Chaplain and Director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He is also an incredibly talented musician and songwriter. Jared Zimmerer sat down with Fr. Connor to discuss his latest album, Why the Water Came. Fr. Connor will also be playing live at a Newman Center fundraiser in Chicago at the Lagunitas Brewing Company on Monday, May 20. The event is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. If you’re in Chicago, more information about the event can be found at: https://jp2newman.org/event/holy-happy-hour/. Be sure to check out Fr. Connor’s newest album! __________________________________________________________________________ So much of your music is telling a story: stories of loss, redemption, searching. Are these stories from your personal life? How has music allowed you to express these stories? Fr. Connor:…
Posted on 05/15/2019 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Any Benedictine will tell you that the Rule of Saint Benedict is intriguing from the very first word of its prologue, “Listen.” Listen, my son, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. In fact, what most Benedictines will tell you is that it is the very first word of the Rule that encompasses the whole of Benedictine spirituality: to listen. It is a call to listen for the voice of God however it be manifested—whether through the liturgical prayers of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily lectio divina that Benedictines try to incorporate into their meditations—but also beyond those specific settings and into the less-expected, because God speaks to us constantly and is not constrained or limited in how he may communicate with us. God may choose to speak to us through the words of our spouse, our parents, or even our children.