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Profile: Deacon Pete Logsdon

 

NAME: DEACON PETE LOGSDONrsz_vb6bdpvnysw-o3778oqabjhz2dlcdvbcml4ayqmfngy

DOB: December 29

HOME PARISH: St. Patrick, Kokomo

SEMINARY: St. Meinrad School of Theology

CLASS: IV Theology

YEAR ENTERED SEMINARY: 2008

ORDINATION YEAR: 2014

DEGREES: B.S. in Psychology, A.A.S. in Physical Therapy, and a Masters in Philosophy

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT:12years as a Physical Therapist Assistant

HOBBIES: Martial Arts, Traveling, Woodworking

TALENT: Teaching

FAVORITE EXPERIENCE: Traveling to Rome

NOTABLE FACTS: From California, educated in North Dakota, have lived in Indiana for 18years

QUOTE: “A Person can justify almost anything if they talk about it long enough!” & “An excuse is just a sugar covered lie!”

FAVORITE SAINT: St. Padre Pio

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FIGURE: G.K. Chesterton

FAVORITE SPORT:Baseball

FAVORITE MOVIE: IP Man (2008)

FAVORITE BOOK: The Inferno Dante

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November 9, 2013 · 6:23 PM

Why Newman Matters

“Why Newman Matters”JHN

A talk given by Seminarian James Baxter

BSU Newman Center

10/11/13

Edited for readers

Is there a relationship between faith and reason? What is the purpose of education? These questions are difficult, no doubt, but they do have answers. And these answers are “Why Newman Matters.”

John Henry Newman lived from 1801-1890 in England. In his day he was a cultural critic, educator, epistemologist, novelist, Oxford scholar, philosopher, playwright, poet, preacher, satirist, theologian, and one of the great Victorians (among Arnold, Carlisle and Dickens)… and in ours, a father of Vatican II and a beatified saint on his way to formal canonization. I would like to focus on three reasons why Newman matters for us: the relationship of faith and reason, the purpose education, and Newman as a model of sacrifice.

First, is there a relationship between faith and reason? Modernity has not merely divided faith from reason and reason from faith, but has placed a chasm between them. Newman saw this occurring in his own day (just over a hundred years ago). He saw that faith was losing its rationality, it was becoming a sentiment, a mere opinion, a matter of taste, as disposable as your last latte cup. And because of this, faith became a private matter. We can talk about ideas rationally held, but there is nothing to talk about when something is just a matter of preference. Unfortunately, this has come to full fruition in our own day. Because of this divide, we are left with three alternatives: rationalism, fideism, and relativism. Don’t be intimidated by the big words, they are all dumb and wrong.

a) Rationalism: Here, reason has an indubitable quality, to know something you must be “certain” about it, there can be no doubts. Anything believed is because there is explicit evidence. Thus, you may hear: “It’s not rational to believe things you can’t see, I can’t see God, so I don’t believe in him.” We encounter this in a sophisticated fashion in academia (especially the sciences), and more simplistically but in the same fashion, by teenagers rebelling against their parents.

b) Fideism: This position holds that any knowledge that we have is based on a revelation from God (e.g. the Bible). Thus, religious beliefs have little or nothing to do with reason. Why do we believe something? Because it’s in the Bible or God says so. As a result, people believe things that are absurd, say, that aliens will come and take us away and we will each have our own planet.

c) Relativism: Relativism holds that truth, knowledge, and belief are matters contingent upon the historical context or to each individual (depending upon its radicality) and is subject to change from culture to culture or person to person. Basically, “you do you, I’ll do me” or “you have your truths, I have mine.”

As young Catholics, we do a good job of seeing the falsehood of the third option. But what is so sad is that we accept the other two alternatives. In so doing, we divide faith from reason in our lives. We don’t actually think that our beliefs are rational. We become fideists thinking that faith is reduced to a blind following (apart from reason). This situation was absolutely unacceptable for Newman. Newman understood, and understood rightly, that faith that is not rational is not true faith. Reason devoid of faith, has stripped man of a capacity for knowledge beyond him. Faith is fundamentally rational. Reason’s greatness is dependent upon faith.

Newman writes regarding faith: “[Such is] everyday’s occurrence… we meet [things in the world], not with suspicion and criticism, but with a frank confidence. We do not begin with doubting; we take [things] on trust.” Faith is the ground upon which we stand as we make our way in this chaotic world. We assume things to be probable, we take things for granted, we presume things to be true, and go on applying them. Faith is a principle of action, by faith we act. Newman writes, “Life is for action. If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never come to action: to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith.” Thus, without faith we have no action and we become passive creatures. From this we see that faith has not only a religious character, but is a part of our human nature.

May I give you a relevant example of this natural faith? You are doing it right now. You are reading this article (for the one of you out there that has made it this far), and you believe that I, James Baxter, actually wrote this. You did not see me type it nor did you see me submit it to the Vocations Office. You also believe that I am a seminarian. Why? Well, my picture is on the poster. But have you been to St. Meinrad to ensure that in fact I am here in that seminary the poster says? You believe that this is written by me and you believe that I am a seminarian, and correctly on good and natural faith. You know both of these things to be true, but that does not mean that there are no doubts that can be thought up.

Faith in religious matters is the reasoning of the religious mind (e.g. Trinity, Christ was God, Resurrection) and it is a matter of salvation; Newman writes, “it is the chosen instrument connecting heaven and earth.” It is of the upmost importance, eternal importance. But if faith assumes some things to be probable and goes on advancing, what if you can’t find it probable that Christ is God (or any other Catholic doctrine)? Is that your fault? Yes. Newman writes, “A man is responsible for his faith, b/c he is responsible for his likings and dislikings, his hopes and opinions, on all of which his faith depends.” We form this moral disposition to receive the truths of the faith, by the practice of the virtues and obedience. [Obviously, we must be sensitive to those who find belief difficult because of the scandal of Christians (maybe the greatest evil) as well as those who have never heard the name of Christ (whom we commend to the mercy of God).]

Newman writes regarding reason: “by reason is properly understood any process or act of the mind, ‘a spontaneous energy’ by which knowing one thing, we advance on to know another.” Our five senses isolate us to that which we can directly see, touch, taste, smell, and/or hear. But reason takes us beyond this limitation, it enables us to know things indirectly. For example, I can think of our Cathedral, but I am not currently in Lafayette beholding it. Reason is also reflective, it has the power to criticize and analyze.

Taking all of this into account, how does Newman practically matter for you? Don’t be fideistic with your faith. The Catholic Church does not call you to believe blindly, this would contradict your nature as rational and free, the very qualities of our image and likeness to God that separate us from other creatures. Now, some things we know by revelation and couldn’t have arrived at by reasoning alone, but that does not mean that they are not rational (e.g. the Trinity). You can answer rationally, why you believe in Jesus Christ. You have many reasons, here are a few: you look to things such as the reliability of your parents and grandparents or other who passed on the faith to you; the desires of your heart for the infinite; the anomaly of Jesus Christ as the only religious teacher to declare He was God; you see that the calendar year being 2013— and you ask 2013 years from what?; you are humbled by the fact that the Catholic faith demands more of you, that it doesn’t verify all that you think, that it challenges you; you are inspired by the witness of the Saints, many of whom have died defending their faith; you are assured by the fact that Catholicism is currently the largest religion; you are impressed that it is the only religion to declare infallible authority. All of these things converge on one another and enable you to believe (and rationally so) that some 33 year old Middle Eastern man 2,000 years ago saved everyone who has ever lived by carrying a tree to his tomb, which he also happened to rise from. And from this, you can act and give your entire life for Christ.

On a very different note, what is the purpose of education? Most of you would probably say: “I am paying whatever tens of thousands of dollars to get a job,” “my education is an investment,” or “to acquire the skills I need to get rich, join a country club, and get married to the perfect woman/man.”

And our universities reflect this way of thinking. We pay some absurd amount per credit hour, fulfill course requirements, and get that glorified piece of paper (diploma) that verifies that we “know stuff,” and whose letters (B.S.) bear witness to the futility of it all… Thus, in the modern world, education is reduced to sheer practicality. What happens because of this? We know a lot about very little, we become people of one idea. We claim to be enlightened, as though the past was full of cave men, yet we are no less violent, no more happy, and doubtfully more intelligent. We are specialists, but we fail to see how our disciplines relate to others. All of the sudden, we see theological claims made by biologists and biological claims by theologians, neither of whom have the authority to make them. We do things (say, drop a bomb) because we can, forgetting to ask whether we should.

For Newman, education is not just practical skill equipping, but the formation of a habit of mind; a way of thinking that enables you to see that knowledge is a circle, in which all truths have a home; that shows you that each truth has a direct bearing on every other. A true education expands the mind beyond the mere rote memorization of flashcards to be able to consider new ideas in relation to others already known. All of this is not to deny the importance of specialization (knowledge is advanced this way), but that education is something much fuller than the mere skill equipping exercises found in our universities today.

Again, how does Newman’s understanding matter for you? Practically speaking, get less practical. For you scientists, read a novel. For you Lit majors, read some science. For you business men and women, get a soul (just kidding). Learn how what you study affects other fields. See how the teachings of the Church immediately and directly relate to and inform what you study. All truths in all fields unite in the person of the Truth, Jesus Christ.

We have considered why Newman matters in terms of understanding the relationship of faith and reason and the true purpose of education. But Newman is also a model of heroic sacrifice. To convert to Roman Catholicism in Anglican England in the 19th century, he sacrificed friends, family, wealth, his reputation and his own mental health. He truly became an exile in his own land. The greatest intellect Oxford had ever seen was banished from its premises. At that time, only “dumb, drunk, potato-eatin’ Irishmen” were Catholic. They could not fathom how, without having met a Catholic, Newman converted on the intellectual coherence of Catholic teaching and by following his conscience.

We have a way of being stingy with our faith. We do our own will and hope that it’s God’s. We wait to respond to our vocations until we absolutely have to. There are a few questions worth asking: Have we sacrificed anything to be a Catholic? How different would our lives be if we were not? To conclude, I leave you with a passage of one of his sermons, which so clearly manifests the heart of this great saint:

Consider for an instant. Let every one who hears me ask himself the question, what stake has he in the truth of Christ’s promise? How would he be a whit the worse off, supposing (which is impossible), but, supposing it [Christ’s promise] to fail? We know what it is to have a stake in any venture of this world. We venture our property in plans which promise a return; in plans which we trust, which we have faith in. What have we ventured for Christ? What have we given to Him on a belief of His promise? The Apostle said, that he and his brethren would be of all men most miserable, if the dead were not raised. Can we in any degree apply this to ourselves? We think, perhaps, at present, we have some hope of heaven; well, this we should lose of course; but after all, how should we be worse off as to our present condition?… This is the question, What have we ventured? I really fear, when we come to examine, it will be found that there is nothing we resolve, nothing we do, nothing we do not do, nothing we avoid, nothing we choose, nothing we give up, nothing we pursue, which we should not resolve, and do, and not do, and avoid, and choose, and give up, and pursue, if Christ had not died, and heaven were not promised us. I really fear that most men called Christians, whatever they may profess, whatever they may think they feel, whatever warmth and illumination and love they may claim as their own, yet would go on almost as they do, neither much better nor much worse, if they believed Christianity to be a fable.”

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October 23, 2013 · 11:02 PM

A bit of education on the Faith

As the blog editor, I get to see all the fun (and not-so-fun) comments that people leave. I have received several lately from people who misunderstand the Catholic faith. As a convert myself, I thought I’d share some good resources, just in case you’re interested. I share not only for those opposed to our faith but also for those who wish to deepen their faith and how to answer common objections from people who don’t understand the faith. As Venerable Fulton J. Sheen rightly said: “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Here is the link. (Click here)

Or you can go here.

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October 23, 2013 · 10:52 PM

Seminarian Quick Profile: Jonathan Matthes

NAME: JONATHAN MATTHES rsz_1lmatthes

DOB: September 1

HOME PARISH: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

SEMINARY: St. Meinrad School of Theology

CLASS: II Pre-Theology

YEAR ENTERED SEMINARY: 2012

ORDINATION YEAR: 2018

DEGREES: B.A.in Radio and Television Communication

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Student and Journalist

HOBBIES: Sports, Reading, Writing and more Sports

TALENTS: I am a good writer; I can deliver funny stories and am really good at retaining obscure sports facts

FAVORITE EXPERIENCES: Attending the 2007 AFC Championship game, watching a space shuttle take off, the Mass and the Indianapolis 500

QUOTE: “Trust. No matter what, no matter how many turns the road takes, trust in the Divine Providence of Christ.”

FAVORITE SAINTS: St. Raphael and St. Therese of Lisieux

FAVORITE HISTORICAL FIGURES: John Paul II and George Washington

FAVORITE SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Indy Car Racing and Football. Not necessarily in that order.

FAVORITE MOVIE: Schindler’s List (1993)

FAVORITE BOOKS: Jesus of Nazareth Parts 1 & 2 – Pope Benedict XVI

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October 23, 2013 · 10:16 PM

The importance of silence

FraAngelicoPeterMartyrEnjoinsSilenceWant to know a great secret for success in prayer and discernment? It’s something that we’re often lacking in modern times, thanks to mobile devices, technology in general, as well as our interior hunger and misguided attempts to be filled. You might have figured out that what I’m referring to is silence.

Silence, or stillness, absence of noise, is a tenet in most religions for their prayer or meditation. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in a series on Christian prayer, “…I would like to speak of the importance of silence in our relationship with God. In Christ’s own life and prayer, and especially in his experience of the Cross, we see a constant interplay of word and silence.” We can see this in Christ’s own example. He who lived all but three of his thirty-three years in silence—these years are spent in ordinary life and work, unknown to the world. Mary, too, is our model—she was silent in her Fiat in the face of the world, she who kept all things and pondered them in her heart. Silence is something significant, something to strive after.

There are several ways to incorporate silence into our lives. In prayer, silence allows us space to hear God speak to us. Obviously most of us won’t actually hear audible words from the heavens, but rather in inspirations the Holy Spirit gives us in times of prayer. St. Dorotheus said, “Be on guard against many words, for these extinguish completely the holy and most reasonable thoughts as well as the inspirations coming from heaven.” For example, if you always talk and don’t allow your friend to speak, then you won’t get to know your friend at all. How much more our Friend! “To hear God’s Word requires the cultivation of outward and inward silence, so that his voice can resound within our hearts and shape our lives,” said Benedict XVI. If we allow Him to speak in the silence, He will reveal His plan for our lives, including that of our vocation.

Silence inside of prayer is one thing, but how can we cultivate this outward and inward silence Benedict XVI referred to? We can be diligent and guard silence. Of course we don’t all need to be Desert Fathers and run off to a cave in the wilderness. Most of us need to refine this silence in the midst of our busy work days, inside our homes, both of which can be quite lacking in silence.

Outwardly, we can take steps towards greater amounts of silence in our day. Perhaps we can turn off the TV more often. Is it on in the background making noise and we don’t even realize it? Do we watch too many hours in the day? Turn it off for a while. What about the radio? Is it always on with either talk or music? Do you always have it on in the car? Try switching it off sometimes. Allow this silence, even if it’s not comfortable at first—maybe increase the time each time. We can also practice silence in other ways besides sound. One thing I am guilty of is reading on my iPhone as I’m going to bed. This, like the rest, isn’t necessarily bad but one good practice is to guard silence at night to pray, examine our consciences and be with God mentally as we prepare for sleep at night. Reading and other visual tasks or interruptions are not silence. Take note of your day and how often your senses are put to work. Some of these are unavoidable—like billboards on the highway as you drive, calling your attention. Nevertheless, many of them we are in control of and can begin to limit in order to add a few more minutes of silence in our day so as to allow a little more space for God to speak to us. This exterior practice of silence lends itself to interior silence. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.” How often do we do this? If we are always ‘plugged in’, always listening to someone else’s voice, we aren’t allowing ourselves to be still in God’s presence.

The practice of silence has another benefit in that it lends itself to the development of virtue. Take, for instance, the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. For prudence, “the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it,” silence allows us time to seek God’s counsel in our decisions. Exteriorly, it keeps us from speaking too much. Jesus told us that we will be judged for every idle word. If we pause in silence to see if what we say or do is necessary, we will probably make more prudent choices. Justice, “the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor”, is another one that would increase through proper use of silence. On one hand, it is necessary to speak up in the face of injustice or when charity demands it. However, some of the greatest faults against justice: gossip, back-biting, calumny, slander can all be avoided by discreet silence. How many verses in the Bible, how many saints have warned us about our tongue destroying our neighbor!

Fortitude “is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good”. When we are silent about our neighbors’ faults that affront us, when we suffer attacks and misunderstandings and bear it in silence for Christ, we practice fortitude. The “moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods”, temperance, also relates to silence. St. Francis de Sales said, “…silence…does not refer so much to a literal use of few words, as to not using many useless words.” He goes on to warn about extremes—not being excessively stiff or reserved nor incessantly chattering and babbling on frivolously.

St. Josemaría Escrivá wrote, “Silence is the door-keeper of the interior life.” It helps us pray better and be more in touch with God and what He wants to tell us. It seems that it also can be, when applied correctly, the key to greater virtue in our exterior life.

 

For more reading on the topic:

http://www.opusangelorum.org/oa_spirituality/seven_char_docs/Silence.html

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

http://www.news.va/en/news/the-pope-catechesis-jesus-mortal-silence-on-the-cr

http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/devout_life/dev74.php

http://www.josemariaescriva.info/article/opus-dei-founder-st-josemaria-knowing-when-to-keep-silent-and-when-to-speak

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October 6, 2013 · 2:23 PM

Top 10 Ways to Grow Into a Really Great Dad

–reprinted from the Fatherhood magazine, Spring 2010, from the Sisters of Life–fatherhood

1. Say yes to the challenge of fatherhood, each day.

2. Love your wife and treat her with great respect–the model you set will greatly influence your children’s decisions later.

3. Make prayer an essential part of your life. Teach your children to pray, and let them see you pray regularly. Be faithful to the sacraments.

4. Spend time with your children. Play with them. Let them know you enjoy the gift of being their father.

5. Love your children enough to discipline them. Teach them clearly right from wrong.

6. Grow in patience.

7. Forgive your children and allow them to hear you say “I’m sorry”.

8. Tell them “I love you”. Don’t be afraid to be affectionate: let your children feel loved.

9. Talk with your children–especially as they enter teenage years. Be genuinely interested in how they are.

10. Lead by example: Select your friends, your entertainment, your social outings knowing that your choices influence your children more than you will ever know.

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September 29, 2013 · 7:28 PM

Big Man On Campus

photoFather David Hasser has gone back to school! Well, sort of. Now that the universities are back in session, he has returned to making his campus rounds. What does he do on campus? Grab a Purvis burger at TripleXXX, go to football games? Some of that, but with a greater and higher purpose. I recently interviewed him in order to find out what it is that he does and why it is important for the Office for Vocations.

Father generally spends the weekends in Muncie at the St. Francis Newman Center at Ball State. Then, he makes the trek down to Indiana University on Tuesday, sometimes passing through the southern parishes of the diocese, Marian University and/or IUPUI. He stays overnight at the Newman Center Rectory at IU, then travels north again, this time heading to Purdue for the rest of the week. It’s a lot of driving (about 7-8 hours a week) but he uses this time to pray or for formation through audio sources. Before he even gets to campus, he has his work cut out for him.

Making contacts with students and setting up individual and group activities or meetings is the bulk of his “homework” before hitting the campus scene. He does this so that he can build relationships with the students and to be an available presence in order to encourage them and help them in their vocation discernment. Much of this is done around the Newman Centers on campus but isn’t limited to what is available there. In fact, much of his work needs to be done through social media. Students today are very plugged in and it is important that the Office for Vocations is present online as well.

Even though the social media tool is a significant part of reaching out, a personal relationship counts even more. Father is available to the students in order that he can build these friendships to connect and understand them in their daily experiences and discernment processes. These relationships are built through the activities on campus—yes, even grabbing a burger at a local hangout on occasion. Getting out of the office aids to focus on the individual, to break out of the stereotypes or presumptions that people have about religious life or priesthood, to get to real conversation about vocations, beyond what is available in a pamphlet. In fact, many of our current seminarians accredit their personal relationship with the Vocations Director, past and present, and/or other seminarians for their discernment towards beginning seminary. Father aims at being relatable to the students, while always professional in keeping with his priestly office.

While it’s not always possible to meet with each student individually, this time on campus and Father Hasser’s presence at activities at least lends itself to having familiarity with him, “a face with the name”, for when young men and women have questions about their vocation. It seems to be common that the young people often begin to discern when they are away from home and the comforts of their home parish and home activities. Many people don’t go to their childhood pastors with questions of discernment—it seems that this is a relationship that almost has to be rebuilt or re-established to allow breathing room for their discernment and for active discussion. Often the Vocations Director helps with this by his availability and openness, his presence on campus where the person is undergoing a process of self-discovery while away from home. Often Father Hasser encourages the young person discerning to reconnect with the priest at his or her home parish who has known him or her for a longer time.

I asked Father about the short and long-term goals of these campus visits. He said that the short-term goal is to increase the number of students from our Diocese that he can meet and with whom he can build relationships. The long-term goal is to help the priests in our Diocese actively invest in their college-aged parishioners who are away. So far he sees that the visits have borne fruit, in that relationships have been established, seeds are planted and nurtured, discernment is occurring. He is also helping with education, catechesis and awareness about joyful vocations.

A final thought that Father Hasser added was about discernment in general. He said that our human nature desires to understand the reality in which we live: we desire to understand who we are, where we come from, where we are going, what our gifts and talents are and how the Lord invites us to make ourselves a gift for others through words and deeds. Discernment is the activity of asking these questions of the Lord and seeking answers that will enlighten our perspective on life. He says that discernment is deeply personal and revealing of our inmost being. It requires a lot of vulnerability and courage, adventure and stamina, assets and forfeitures. When young people finally want to ask for help and guidance in their discernment, they will first look for a relationship in which they can put their trust. A relationship of virtuous trust isn’t something that is readily available or bought, rather something that is shown and proven through time in tangible ways. The activities and schedule that Father Hasser follows is an attempt to show this to the students, to prove his virtuous trustworthiness to as many of our potential discerners as possible. That is why he does what he does.

As a final note, there is something that YOU can do to aid Father Hasser on his campus visits. Encourage the college students from your parish to be actively involved in the Catholic communities on campus and to even find Father Hasser. It is often easy for the young people to slip through the cracks and become inactive while at college, due to many other academic and social commitments and activities. We, as a community, desire that none be lost. You may give a contact email to Father Hasser so that he can try to meet up with the student and visit with them while on campus, or give Father’s email: frhasser@priestforever.org to students while they are off at the university. And of course, prayer is always helpful too! Thank you in advance for your help in this important ministry!

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September 22, 2013 · 7:12 PM