Prisms: Advent is a church time of looking forward to new life and especially of our life forever with God. It concludes with Christmas, a celebration of how God, in Christ, enters into our human life, never to let it go. . . . The Review for Religious Advisory Board and Editorial Staff wish all of our readers a most blessed Advent and Christmas season.
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Theology and Life
Christian Existence and Theology's Relevance
Randall S. Rosenberg sketches how the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar challenges us to ask whether theology is not simply about understanding, but about an understanding that includes aesthetic-dramatic encounters. Rosenberg is assistant professor of religion and philosohy at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Excerpts: "Balthasar preserved what he called a 'kneeling theology.' without downplaying the use of reason in Christian life . . . Balthasar never taught academic theology at a university. . . . Balthasar's theology has a contemplative emphasis that prefers to let 'paradox' be the answer."
How You Eat Matters
A. Paul Dominic SJ draws the implications from sacrifice, meals, and human eating in the Hindu, Jewish, and Christian traditions that all human eating is truly meant to be a religious act. Father Dominic wrote for us about dreams in 2008. He lives in Guyana, South America his email is <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Excerpts: "I have grown to believe that eating at table has the character and odor of a true sacrifice. . . .In a matter of sacrifice, the universal belief was that, when humans ate something of the sacrifice, the deity had partaken of it first. . . . Guidance questions have to resonate with the community."
Go to this article to find questions for reflection and discussion
Religious Life Models
Opening a New Window: Fifteen Years after the FORUS Study
Patricia A. Wittberg SC proposes that current religious congregations consider encouraging social-movement organizations (SMOs) as viable versions for future religious life. Sister Patricia writes from the University of Indiana at Indianapolis. Her email is: <email@example.com>.
Excerpt: "A social movement is a wave of beliefs and/or actions that sweeps large numbers of persons into working toward a specific goal. . . . Any given religius congregation will survive only to the extent that its members are passionately devoted to some particular version of their founding charism. . . . A final advantage of religious social-movement organizations is that it is less devasting for the members if they dissolve. . . .Are your community's passionate members interested in leading or organizing a group to assist them in their work?"
To read this article
Revisiting Religious Identity
William P. Clark OMI carefully reflects on how Vatican II presented religious life and brought a freshness once again to the special vocation offered by God to those consecrated by religious profession. Fr. Clark longtime teacher and administrator, lives at St. Henry's Oblate Residence in Belleville, Illinois.
Excerpts: "The call to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity seems so daunting that people often try to evade its challenge. . . .A vocation consists in a person's being called to a certain manner of life."
Exemplars of Faith
Encounters Early and Late: John Bosco and Paul
Leo J. Heriot SDB draws upon the experience of St. Paul and of St. John Bosco to show how God may communicate with us telling us to find him in our contemplative awareness of others and ourselves. Fr. Heriot wrote for us about Margaret Bosco in 2007. His address is Don Bosco House in Suva, Fiji Islands.
Excerpts: "One of the Apostle's boldest and most profound teachings was that of Christian' being incorporated into Christ's mystical body. . . At the age of nine I had a dream that really changed my life and influenced me throughout my life."
On Hilda of Whitby
Sister Hilda Kleiman OSB reflects on the origins and spirituality behind her new religious name, Hilda, which means"Battle Maiden.It
Excerpts: "It was about the profound effect just one person who is living her vocation may have on those around her. . . .Bill's ordination gave me the image of dedicating one's life to God alone, and Noel, bluntly and without pretense, connected that image to me."
World Youth Day and Religious Life
William Prospero SJ describes how World Youth Day promotes consecrated vocations by providing young Catholics with a joyful experience of living the evangelical counsels. Father Propero is pastor of St. Mary's University Parish in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. His email is: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Excerpts: " Trusting God for material needs is a tangible experience of religius poverty. . . Over and over one witnesses pilgrims making sacrifices for the sake of the group."
Marriage and Celibacy: Rivals or Complements?
Benny Phang OCarm works from an insight from John Paul II's Theology of the Body to see the complementarity of the vocations of marriage and celibacy rather than viewing them as rivals. Fr. Phang is studying at the Angelicum for a doctorate in moral theology he has a BLOG at: theouiosoter.blogspot.com
Excerpts: "Marriage and celibacy, are interrelated. To hurt either one by being unfaithful in it also hurts the other. . . .The holy self-giving of their parents makes it easier for young people to give themselves totally to Christ and his church. . . . Celibacy is a reminder or a witness that marriage is temporary and that human beings' destiny is the kingdom of heaven."
Scripture Scope: Praying the Psalms with an Elephant in the Room
Eugene Hensell OSB continues his Scripture essays, a regular feature of each issue of Review for Religious. Fr. Hensell travels about giving retreats and workshops his home is at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. His email is: <email@example.com>.
By Beauty Tethered, by Mary Anne Huddleston IHM – 68.4.352
Gaudete Sunday in Advent, by Patricia Schnapp RSM – 68.4.441
Image Bearer, by Teresa Burleson – 68.4.403
Book • Shelf • Life
Mini reviews by Philip Fischer SJ