A Reflection on Typhoon Haiyan - Dr. Michel Therrien

A Reflection on Typhoon Haiyan - Dr. Michel Therrien from Augustine Institute on Vimeo.

The recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan has caused many to ask the question, "How can you believe in a loving God when there is such destruction and suffering in the world?" In this short reflection, Dr. Michel Therrien comments on how we can respond to our neighbors in times of trial.

Catholic Relief Services is accepting donations to help in recovery of the Philippines: CRS.org


Advent's Fierce Peace

Taken from Catholic Exchange
By Dr. Mark Giszczak

Advent's Fierce Peace

Every year during Advent, we hear about the “stump of Jesse” and the lion laying down with the lamb, but what does all of this mean? It is easy for biblical prophecies to sound like nice religious language with poetic flourish, but little meat on the bones. However, prophecies like this one from Isaiah 11 are essential our understanding of who Jesus is and what kind of victory he wins by his coming into the world. He is not just a nice religious teacher, but the king who brings justice for the poor and strikes the wicked with “the rod of his mouth.” His coming is a fierce arrival of judgment and the blossoming of a new era of hope and salvation. He conquers injustice and brings us into an age of perfect peace.

We have a lot more to look forward to at Christmas than a bunch of presents under the tree. The Baby of Bethlehem is not just cute and cuddly, but he comes to establish his reign over the universe, and most especially in our very hearts. Isaiah 11 offers us another glimpse into what the reign of this coming Messiah will look like—how it can and will transform us from the inside out if only we open our hearts to the child in the manger.

Continue to full article at Catholic Exchange.

Advent: Fostering Expectation

Taken from Catholic Exchange
By Dr. Jared Staudt

Advent: Fostering Expectation

The Catholic tradition generally extends the celebration of a major Feast long after the principal day. For Christmas this entails an Octave, the traditional 12 days, and even a Season. The period before a major feast is one of preparation, generally penitential in nature. Traditionally the Vigil of major feasts has been a day of abstinence and fasting (including Christmas Eve). Although some questions have emerged recently, there is no doubt that Advent began as a penitential period, originally a fast modeled after Lent. We can see its penitential nature liturgically in the absence of the Gloria and through the use of purple vestments. Advent is clearly a time of expectation, a looking forward to the coming of Christ, both at his birth and at his coming again.

The ever morphing secular celebration of Christmas, however, has created a pre-Christmas season, one in which the celebration begins far in advance. It has even become common for Catholic parishes and schools to have pre-Christmas parties, full of treats and Christmas carols. As this trend becomes more and more common, it is important for Catholics to be deliberate about keeping Advent as a distinct season, one of expectation and preparation, not of celebration. I will seek to provide a few suggestions for how this can be done.

Continue to the full article at CatholicExchange.com.

AI Alumni Series: 10 Lessons from My Mom on How to be a Great Mother

Taken from IntegratedCatholicLife.org
by Katie Peterson Warner

Augustine Institute alumni continue to make their mark in the Catholic world and the New Evangelization.

Just a few short months ago, I became a mother, and now I am just months away from meeting my little one on his birthday in December. The blessings multiply as pregnancy continues—with every little kick and each ultrasound picture of my little boy sucking his thumb or smiling big (just like his mama) in the womb, I thank God for the opportunity to share in new life.

It is amazing how much my pregnancy has given me pause for reflection on my relationship with my own mother, and on the qualities that make her the most remarkable role model in my life. I can honestly say that my mother is the most saintly person I know — an unmatched giving, loving, patient, faithful, prayerful woman who knows her life’s work is to be a wife and mother, and boy does she live out her vocation well.

Continue to full artcile >>


Anger, Vice & Virtue

Taken from To Keep and to Ponder
by Dr. Edward Sri

Anger, Vice & Virtue

For some readers of the Gospels, Jesus might appear to be offering two contradictory messages about anger.

On one hand, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares the punishment for anger with the judgment facing murderers: “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 every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Matt. 6:21-22).

Yet in Jerusalem, He himself seems quite angry at the Pharisees as he pronounces a series of woes on them, even calling them children of hell: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matt 23:15).

What are we to make of these apparently conflicting passages about anger?

Crime and Punishment

Anger is a desire to punish. As a passion, anger itself is neither good nor evil (see CCC, 1767). Anger can be noble if it is directed toward maintaining justice and correcting vice (CCC, 2303). In this case, it is not so much about getting even with the person who hurt us, but about seeking the good of the community and even the good of the person being punished.

This seems to be the kind of anger Jesus has in his confrontation with the Pharisees in Jerusalem. It is his last showdown with his chief opponents who have rejected him as messiah and are about to bring him to his death. In order to show very clearly how dire their situation is, Jesus—out of great love for the Pharisees—sternly warns them of the deadly path they are pursuing. If they persist in their rejection of the Son of God, they will be closing themselves out of the very kingdom Jesus wants to offer to them, and they will lead many of their followers with them. If Jesus did not truly love the Pharisees, he would not warn them of the eternal punishment toward which they are heading. Jesus’ anger, thus, is rooted in love—in desiring what is best for them—as he hopes this clear warning might lead some of them to repent.

Being angry about the right things and in the right way is virtuous. But avoiding anger at all times may be a sign of weakness. St. Thomas Aquinas notes how it is a vice not get angry over things one should. He calls it “unreasonable patience.” A failure to seek punishment of the unjust encourages the wicked to persist in their evil deeds, since there are no reprimands for their actions. It also causes confusion in the community over what is truly right and wrong, and thus may lead even good people to do evil.

Continue reading at To Keep and to Ponder

ANNOUNCING: January 2014 Intensive Courses

ANNOUNCING:  January 2014 Intensive Courses

In observance of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, the Augustine Institute is offering three special courses during the week of January 6-10, 2014.

The New Evangelization in the Life of the Church

Guest professor Dr. Ralph Martin, of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, brings four decades of experience as a leader of Christian renewal to a course on The New Evangelization in the Life of the Church. Together with our own Dr. Edward Sri, Professor Martin will be providing a state-of-the-question overview of the tasks and challenges of evangelization in our day.

The Challenges of Secularism

Augustine Institute Academic Dean Dr. Christopher Blum and fellow-professor Dr. Jared Staudt will be teaching a seminar on The Challenges of Secularism, in which students will consider the origins and nature of contemporary secularism and take a close look at the deformation of our souls threatened by secular habits.

The History and Theology of Christian Discipleship

The History and Theology of Christian Discipleship will be taught by Institute President Dr. Tim Gray and YDisciple founder and director Mr. Jim Beckman. In this course, students will gain a blueprint for discipleship rooted in Biblical practices and nourished by the lived experience of the Church.

The courses may be taken for credit or audited.

For more information, contact the Institute’s Registrar, Kristi Logan: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Archbishop Chaput’s Laity Expertise Is Set to Go Global

Taken from the National Catholic Register

Archbishop Chaput’s Laity Expertise Is Set to Go Global
Pope Francis has called the Philadelphia archbishop to bring his best efforts to a key Vatican office that is responsible for encouraging the Pope’s vision of the laity as ‘missionary disciples.’

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis has tapped Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput to join his council for the laity, the Vatican office responsible not only for the Church’s World Youth Day celebration, but also for promoting lay movements.

Church observers familiar with the archbishop’s legacy say Pope Francis is calling upon a bishop with a second to none reputation when it comes to putting the laity on the front lines of the Church.

Now, Archbishop Chaput will have the opportunity to bring his expertise to a global level.

Pope Francis named the archbishop to the Pontifical Council for the Laity on Feb. 6, making him part of a team that will advise Pope Francis on how the lay faithful can more effectively contribute to the life and mission of the Church.

Archbishop Chaput explained to the Register that getting laymen and women — who are the “overwhelming majority of Catholics” — actively engaged as leaders in the Church’s evangelistic effort is a priority he shares with Pope Francis.

“One of the passions of Pope Francis is evangelization,” he said. “In today’s world, that requires a committed, faithful laity. So I think I share his concern in encouraging laymen and women to see themselves in a new way: not as passive consumers of the Gospel, but as active agents and disciples.”

Pope Francis laid out his evangelism agenda for the Church in his recent apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), which draws heavily from the writings of Benedict XVI, Blessed John Paul II and the Second Vatican Council, to make the case for all the baptized faithful to take on the work of being “missionary disciples” in the modern world.

Archbishop Chaput said the Church is “a family of vocations that depend on each other’s service,” but added that the Church “can’t afford to overlook the skills of laypeople and their experience of the world in pursuing the Church’s mission.”

“We need a new spirit of energy and mutual support in the Church,” he added. “I hope the council, in a small way, can help promote that.”

Continue reading at National Catholic Register.

Bl. Columba Marmion: A Spiritual Master for Our Time

Taken from Crisis Magazine
by Dr. R. Jared Staudt

Bl. Columba Marmion: A Spiritual Master for Our Time

We just welcomed into the world my son, Colum Patrick Staudt. Colum is short for Columba, the Latin word for dove, the name of two great Irish saints, St. Columba of Iona (d. 597) and St. Columban (d. 615). I first came across the shortened form of Columba through my friend Fr. Colum Power. He is the one that introduced me to a modern Columba, the great spiritual master, Blessed Columba Marmion. I’m proud to initiate my son into the tradition of this great line of Irish saints!

Bl. Marmion, in particular, is striking for a number of reasons. First, he became a widely admired spiritual director, retreat master, and writer, teaching a generation of Catholics, including popes! Second, he is among a small number of modern Benedictine Saints and at the heart of a revival of Benedictine spirituality. I credit Bl. Marmion, in part at least, with my own vocation as a Benedictine oblate. Third, like St. Columban he left his Irish homeland for the European mainland to help re-stimulate monasticism there. St. Columban was generally following in the footsteps of St. Columba the great Abbot and missionary of Scotland. Bl. Marmion draws these strains of renewal together: apostle of spiritual renewal, Benedictine abbot, and Celtic missionary pilgrim (in the line of peregrinatio pro Christo or ‘exile for Christ’).

Joseph Marmion was born in Dublin in 1858 to an Irish father and French mother. He entered diocescan seminary in Dublin and completed his studies at the College for the Propagation for the Faith in Rome. It was in Rome that he first heard the missionary call and actively sought to be sent to Australia. The Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin had already set sights upon him for a prominent role back home and asked him to return to Ireland before a final decision was made. In the meantime, however, Marmion’s plans shifted during a visit in July of 1881 to the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium. During his stay, he heard a voice: “It is here I want you.” It would take some time for this come true, as Marmion began his priestly life outside of Dublin working in parish life, hospital ministry, as a chaplain to sisters, and as a seminary philosopher professor. Eventually, he did receive the necessary permission and entered Maredsous in November of 1886, taking the name Columba.

After a somewhat difficult adjustment in the novitiate, he was settled enough to become assistant novice master himself! This role was not to last for long as he was sent to help found a new monastery as prior of Mont-César Abbey in Louvain. His time there was significant: resuming his teaching duties as a professor of theology, beginning to give his famous retreats, and forming a lifelong friendship with Cardinal Mercier. It was not too long, however, until he was called home to Maredsous, for no less reason than become its next Abbot!

As Abbot, Marmion became one of the most sought after retreat masters in the English and French speaking world and continued writing many important letters of spiritual direction. He oversaw the life of the Abbey during the tumultuous days of the First the World War, founding a temporary refuge for his younger monks in Ireland, and then led the establishment of a new Belgian Congregation of Abbeys after the War. Before his death at Maredsous on January 30, 1923, he had become a world renowned author with his worked translated into 7 languages. When he was beatified in the year 2000 he became one of only a handful of Benedictines to be canonized or beatified since the martyrs of the English Reformation.

Continue reading at Crisis Magazine.

Christmas: let the light of God’s love shine in the darkness

Printed in the Catholic Servant, December 2013
By Douglas G. Bushman

Christmas: let the light of God’s love shine in the darkness

“God so loved the world.” (Jn. 3:16) Christians are so accustomed to hearing this, it is so much a part of the remnant of Christian culture, that it is difficult to appreciate why God had to reveal it. In fact, in the ancient world, to contend that God loves His creatures was considered such an absurdity that simply to point out that this is the Christian claim was considered a sufficient argument against Christianity. Whoever God is, the argument went, He cannot expect us to believe in absurdities, and to say that He actually loves people is the height of absurdity. It is an affront to reason. For its detractors, Christianity’s claim about God’s love for people was an impediment to giving it any serious consideration.

In our age, the scandal of the ancient pagan world over the claim that God loves His creatures takes a new form. Even if the claim may be true, so the worldly-wise reason, what difference does God’s love make? What person of intellectual integrity can take this claim seriously, when there is so much evil and suffering? Did 2,000 years of faith in this love prevent two world wars, the holocaust, countless other wars and genocides, and innumerable crimes against human dignity? Today the claim about God’s love is simply dismissed as irrelevant.

Of course, this dismissal of Christian faith in the God of love is readily countered by historical realities. To take one example: Franciszek Gajowniczek, the prisoner in Auschwitz for whose life St. Maximilian Kolbe exchanged his own, certainly realized that faith in God’s love takes on concrete, historical relevance. In the midst the suffocating darkness of Nazi hatred shone the life-giving light of Christian love. It changed the personal history of Franciszek Gajowniczek as dramatically as Jesus’ healing of the blind, the lame, and lepers, or more a propos, His raising back to life the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, and the brother of Martha and Mary.

A star shone over Nazareth to signify that the light of God’s love had entered a world of darkness, that is, a world of blindness, a world in which men are unable to see how rightly to live, a world ignorant of the truth that God is love. This darkness can neither understand nor extinguish the heavenly light of divine love: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn. 1:5) There was no star shining over Auschwitz, but there was a star shining within it. Conformed to the image of Jesus, St. Maximilian Kolbe witnessed to the divine love that does not withdraw, does not cease to love, even when it is rejected. No darkness can overpower this light.

With a directness that has many reeling, Pope Francis has been challenging every disciple of Christ to make the light of Christmas faith in God’s love shine in the world. While every age will have its abysses of darkness, like Auschwitz, and the extraordinary lights of a St. Maximilian Kolbe, most are called to bring the light of the star of Bethlehem into spheres of life where the night may not be so deep: to act as peacemakers at the first sign of antagonism; to witness to hope when people are ready to give up on life. Pope Francis is especially attentive to the darkness of a world that neglects the poor. Only the absence of the light of God’s love in those who claim to know Him could explain this. If the world should be devoid of such rays of heavenly light, then it is perfectly understandable that the ancient argument should return in our own time: What value does Christmas have, of what significance to us is a God Whose love does not change the human condition? Without the witness of Christian love and solicitude for the poor, it appears that darkness has triumphed over the light.

Christmas is the celebration of the entrance into the world of the inextinguishable light of divine love. Our witness to it depends entirely on having a right understanding of it. It is one thing to light up our houses and our trees in imitation of the star of Bethlehem. It is quite another to have souls aglow with a faith that can become acts of light in a world of darkness. So, let us ask: What does it mean for God to love us? What does it mean for Him to draw close to us by becoming a man?

If we reflect on our own experience, we will realize that we draw close to others for one of two reasons. Either we seek others out because we are in need and we perceive that they can satisfy that need, or we seek them out because we have something to share with them. These are the two loves, the love of need and the love of fullness, about which Pope Benedict catechized us in his first encyclical: Deus caritas est. Corresponding to each of these loves is a loneliness in which one is trapped when no one can be found. There is the solitude of need, when a person’s need to be loved remains unfulfilled. Then there is the solitude of abundance, when a person cannot find someone with whom to share the joy of life.

God loves us out of His love of infinite abundance. What was it that moved the divine freedom in favor of creation? Can we imagine that eternal moment of decision (and of course, if we can imagine it then it must fall far short of the reality itself) when God confronted the implications of His own infinite goodness and beatitude, and acquiesced to the logic of the diffusive power of this goodness, and chose to create us in His own image solely for the purpose that we might participate in His own blessed life? God is “an eternal exchange of love.”(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 221) The only desire the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have for us is that we participate in Their own unending joy. This is Heaven. Only after Jesus reveals this to us can we enter into the prayer He taught us: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

It is clear, then, that out of His superabundant goodness and love, God does not want to be alone. The Nativity confirms for us how serious He is about this. Not only does God not withdraw from us when we sin and reject His self-giving love; sin is the occasion for Him to draw even closer. God does not want to be alone in enjoying His own blessedness. His original decision to share it by creating us in His image is ratified anew by His decision to become incarnate in order to save us from the darkness of life without His love, a life of non-participation in His beatitude. We might be tempted to say that it is as if the infinite perfection of His love of abundance is so great that it becomes in Him a love of need, that He acts as if He needs us.

This is the precise point at which we must catch ourselves, defeat the temptation, and realize that such reasoning is nothing more than a projection onto God of our own deficient experience and understanding of love. In a world of darkness, can there be any such thing as totally other-oriented love? We find it difficult to avoid assuming that there must be some benefit to the one who loves that is driving his love. This is because we are accustomed to being enticed to do good things by the lure of rewards, and we realize that this is a very effective way to get people to engage in acts of love for others.

Underlying this is the inclination to think that the most intense and reliable love is self-love. In the end, is anyone as committed to my happiness as I am? This is precisely the insinuation made by the prince of darkness in the Garden of Eden. He is prince of darkness because he is the father of lies. The lie about God’s love in the garden is the progenitor of every lie, and the result is that men live in darkness because without believing in God’s love they now have no light but their own to illumine the path of life, and this light is not at all bright. The world is made dark because of the absence of faith in God’s love. So, we do not expect to encounter anyone who loves us more than we love ourselves. But this is precisely why the perfection of love must be revealed to us. God does not become man in order to fill any void in His own eternal blessedness. It is exclusively and entirely a love of superabundance. He loves us for our own sake, period. His only intention is that we enter into His overflowing joy.

The logic of divine love is most luminous in the Immaculate Conception, which we celebrate in close proximity to Christmas. For Mary, this unrepeatable grace of being conceived without sin is wholly directed to her divine motherhood; it was given to prepare her for her role of mother of God’s only begotten Son. It is traditional apologetics to say that it is highly fitting that the woman who would carry and give birth to the Son of God, Who is all-holy, should herself be free of sin. What precisely is the nature of this fittingness?

The key lies in the very nature of love, which since Vatican II and thanks largely to Blessed Pope John Paul II we have come to define in terms of the giving of oneself: Made in God’s image, the human person can only “find himself in the sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudium et spes, n. 24) Even at the biological level, motherhood profoundly fulfills this understanding of love, and Pope John Paul invited us to see this physical self-giving as pointing to the corresponding spiritual reality of a mother’s self-giving love. “A lover’s first gift is his own heart.” (John of St. Thomas) The first gift received by every infant should be the heart of the infant’s mother. Being conceived without sin, Mary is able perfectly to fulfill this vocation to self-giving love that defines motherhood.

Precisely this consideration of self-giving love links the mystery of Mary’s Immaculate Conception with the Incarnation of the Son of God. She was conceived without sin. Sin is anti-love. It “sets itself against God’s love for us” (CCC, n. 1850); it is the “rejection of the gift and the love” of God. (Dominum et Vivificantem, nn. 35, 39) Sin is rooted in a distortion of the truth about God, so that rather than to believe that He is entirely committed to our fulfillment and happiness, man, tempted by the devil, comes to doubt God’s love, to be suspicious of it. (CCC, n. 399; Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 37) Thinking that God is not for man, man must be for himself. So he takes his life and his fulfillment into his own hands.

Blessed Pope John Paul II told us that Mary’s faith is the undoing of the dark suspicion about God’s love. She knows Him as the Almighty Who is the source of all gifts and does great things for those He loves. (Redemptoris Mater, n. 36) Mary is the first “to believe in the love God has for us.” (I Jn. 4:16) The integrity and beauty of her very being testifies to this love. She would deny herself if she denied God’s love. For her to be conceived without sin means that she was filled with love, totally receptive to every communication of love from God, and wholly responsive to God’s gift of self with her own gift of self. If her Son is the only One Who “fully satisfies the Father’s love” (Redemptor hominis, n. 9) by receiving everything the Father has to give, His very Self, Mary nonetheless satisfies this same love to the fullest potential of her human nature. By her unique grace Mary participates in the “eternal exchange of love” (CCC, n. 221) that is the mystery of Trinitarian Life. There is nothing in her that can resist God’s approach as He draws near to her. She is pure receptivity to His love; her entire being is an incessant welcome to God’s gift of Himself. She brings to perfection the spirituality of hospitality.

What would life as a man have been like for the eternal Word without Mary’s perfect receptivity to His love? We know that man, made in God’s image and likeness, “cannot live without love” (Redemptor hominis, n. 10), and that he can only “find himself in the sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudium et spes, n. 24) If this is true of all human persons, it is true of the Word Incarnate, the perfect man, in a pre-eminent way. Without Mary, Jesus would be thrust into a condition of solitude, plunged into the loneliness of abundance, because there would be no one to whom He could give Himself fully. The Father willed that His Son should never know such a moment. Mary is the one the Father chose to make it possible for Jesus to be fully human with respect to the vocation to total mutual self-giving love. Without Mary, Jesus could not live and express His divine life of total mutual self-giving love. It was necessary, then, that there be another human person capable of giving herself to Him and receiving His self-gift.

This is foreshadowed “in the beginning,” when Adam receives the gift of Eve, without whom he cannot fully experience his own being as “image” of Self-Giving Love. From the beginning, God intended this for Adam, and thus from the beginning He intended to create Eve. Similarly, the New Adam is not complete in His experience of human nature without the new Eve, who makes it possible for Him to give Himself as a man and to receive the gift of another human person. The grace of the Immaculate Conception is a redemptive grace won by Christ on the Cross, where the New Adam opened His side to create another with whom He could experience the Trinitarian mutual self-giving of eternal love. That “other,” we know, is the Church, and Mary is her model, type, and personification.

Mary is the Star of the New Evangelization. In her, and in the Church’s faith, in all the acts of love for the poor that have their origin in the birth of our Savior, the light of Bethlehem, the light of the truth that God is love, shines ever anew in a world of darkness.

Douglas G. Bushman, S.T.L., is Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado, where he holds the Blessed John Paul II the Great Chair of Theology for the New Evangelization.

Denver Catholic Register file photo: Our Lady of the New Advent


Christopher Check: The Cristeros and the Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution

Christopher Check: The Cristeros and the Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution

In the early part of the 20th Century a profound evil gripped Mexico. Masonic, Marxist revolutionaries, who were nothing less than the enemies of Jesus Christ, seized control of the government and attempted to destroy the Catholic Church. They very nearly succeeded. In the midst of the terror, courageous priests clandestinely made their way through the countryside dispensing the sacraments and preaching the Gospel to the Mexican faithful. Many received the crown of martyrdom; the most famous is Blessed Miguel Pro. As these holy priests, ever in danger of their lives, fulfilled the duties of their divine vocations, an army of laymen rose up and challenged the godless Mexican government.

They were the Cristeros. Their battle cry was “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” Their tale is one of the great Catholic war stories of all time, and it is one all Christians should know because the brutal persecution of the Church in Mexico may well foreshadow that which is to come in the United States.

Please join us to hear Chris Check present on the Cristeros at the Augustine Institute on March 21 at 7:00. Stations of the Cross will precede the talk in the St. Augustine Chapel at 6:00 p.m., with Holy Mass offered immediately afterwards at 6:30 p.m.

Christopher Check is a Director of Development at Catholic Answers. He served for seven years as a field artillery officer in the Marine Corps in the Far East and the Persian Gulf. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including This Rock, New Oxford Review, the Wanderer, the Chesterton Review, Gilbert! and Angelus. He has lectured extensively on Church history in North America and Europe. He and his wife Jacqueline have four sons. They live outside San Diego, California, where they show and breed Cavalier King Charles Spaniels under the kennel name Top Meadow Cavaliers named for G.K. Chesterton’s Beacosnfield Estate.


Come and See Weekend: February 7-9

Discover our Catholic faith through the Augustine Institute community by attending our Come and See Weekend!

Hear what our students have to say!
  • Discuss Evangelii Gaudium with Augustine Institute faculty.
  • Spend time with current students learning about Augustine Institute culture, courses, and community.
  • Attend a guest lecture on Catholic Environmental Ethics by Scott Powell.

Scott Powell is the Director of Scriptural Theology at the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, an outreach to CU-Boulder, and a co-founder of Camp Wojtyla. He is a graduate of the Augustine Institute.

Schedule of Events

Friday, February 7

  • Frassati Friday: An evening of prayer and socializing with the young adults of the Denver Catholic community.

Saturday, February 8

  • 9:30- Optional tour of Augustine Institute campus
  • 10:00- Mass at St. Augustine Chapel
  • 10:30- Welcome Remarks from Dr. Christopher Blum, Academic Dean
  • 11:00- Discussion on selections from Evangelii Gaudium with Prof. Douglas Bushman
  • 1:00- Lunch at Tolle Lege, Augustine Institute cafe
  • 2:00- Presentation on YDisciple and Symbolon
  • 2:30- Question and Answer with Student Panel
  • 3:30- "Ask a Professor/ Admissions Member"
  • 4:00- "Jesus and the New Creation: A Catholic Environmental Ethic" by Scott Powell

Sunday, February 9

  • Mass at Immaculate Conception, Archdiocese of Denver's Cathedral Brunch to follow (optional)

RSVP: Maggie Smith: (303) 937-4420 x.110, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Creating Catholic Family Culture

Taken from The Catholic Parent
by Dr. R. Jared Staudt

Creating Catholic Family Culture

It is all too common to hear frustrated parents complain that although they sent their children to Catholic school, or had them faithfully attend religious education and youth ministry, they nonetheless fell away from the faith.Pope Paul VI may have said it best: “The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, §20). What does Paul mean? He means that there is a rupture between what we believe, what we’re taught, and how we live our lives. That may be the best explanation for why so many youth do not continue practicing the faith.
They had not lived the faith out fully before they were off on their own.

Living Out our Catholic Faith

What can families do to bridge the gap between faith and culture? The most important thing is for our children to see that the faith is not something that stays at Church but is lived out every single day in the context of family life. Is the faith just an opinion or something done on Sunday, or is it something that truly guides and impacts everything that we do? When the faith is lived out in this way, it will sink down and take roots and become something living in the lives our children, not just an idea or a bunch of rules.

Continue reading at The Catholic Parent.

Dad's Due Respect

Taken from Catholic Exchange
by Dr. Mark Giszczak

Dad's Due Respect

Homer Simpson is the quintessential portrait of the American Dad. He’s fat, bumbling, silly, the butt of every joke. He always loses out in every conversation with his wife or with his kids. He is worthy of derision, never respect. But how does this caricature of fathers and fatherhood measure up against the Word of God? This Sunday’s Old Testament reading reveals a different picture of what fathers are like and how they should be treated by their children.

Readings for December 29, 2013, Feast of the Holy Family. First Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

Sirach and the Ten Commandments

This reading from Sirach gets to the heart of a biblical understanding of wisdom—how to live according to the Lord’s plan, how to walk in the way of wisdom and not in the way of the fool. Sirach is a rather late Old Testament wisdom text, which comments on and expands earlier biblical law and wisdom. Here the author is building upon two earlier texts: the Ten Commandments and Proverbs. The Fourth Commandment is, of course, “Honor your father and mother.” Sirach takes this commandment to the next level, explaining how this principle is foundational for a moral life, a wise life, a life lived in praise of God.

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Did the Wave Offering Make the Sign of the Cross?

Taken from Catholic Bible Student
by Dr. Mark Giszczak

Did the Wave Offering Make the Sign of the Cross?

Wave offerings are prescribed in the Old Testament several times–mainly in Leviticus and Numbers. Normally, the OT sacrificial system leads people to tears of boredom, but something caught my eye in reading about this in Allen P. Ross’s book, Holiness to the Lord. He describes the wave offering ritual thusly:

The wave offering (tenupa) was placed in the offerer’s hands, and then the priest placed his hands beneath those of the offerer, moving them upward and downward, forward and backward, thereby symbolizing the consecration of the gift of God in the sight of all. (p. 192)

Sounds interesting, but what is even more amazing is what he suggests in a footnote:

[R.K.] Harrison ([Leviticus: Introduction and Commentary, IVP 1980] 83) observes the description and interpretation of this ritual and notes that the motion was in the shape of a cross. If this is right, then it is a symbolic foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ.

Interestingly, there is no description of the ritual in the biblical text and some commentators, like Jacob Milgrom, have rejected the wave offering as a “fiction.” Harrison’s description is rooted in later Jewish rabbinic sources. So this may remain a mystery, but if the description of the ritual is accurate, it reminds me of a Catholic priest making the sign of the cross over the gifts on the altar before the sacrifice of the Mass is made. Perhaps this act is foreshadowed by the ancient Israelite wave offering.

See more at the Catholic Bible Student.

Dr. Chris Blum on The Living Eucharist

Taken from RadioMaria.us

Dr. Chris Blum on The Living Eucharist
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On August 12, 2013, the Institute’s Academic Dean, Professor Christopher Blum was interviewed by Kathleen Beckman on her show “The Living Eucharist” about two volumes he edited, both published by Sophia Institute Press: The Sign of the Cross by Saint Francis de Sales and Everyday Meditations by Bl. John Henry Newman.

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