Category Archives: Current Events

Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body

Scott Hahn and Emily Stimpson Chapman have written a marvelous and timely book, Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body. It not only explains the Christian meaning of death, and of the afterlife, but also the importance Christianity places on the body. The logic of relics and of the Sacraments makes profound sense when we understand them in this context. They ground their discussion, not only in light of contemporary Church teaching, but also in the teachings of the Church Fathers and of the Bible. Death is a reality we all have to face—it’s the one certitude everyone is prepared to admit, but so few are prepared to embrace. Hope to Die goes a long way in helping us prepare well for that moment, not only by helping us understand it better, but as importantly, in encouraging us to live so as to prepare ourselves for that final moment, which we do not know when will come. Instead of fearing that moment, this book encourages hope, and explains why, in some sense, what comes after death, should be something for which we yearn. They situate Church teaching on death, the body, the resurrection, heaven, etc., in the pages of Scripture, showing the organic growth as the Tradition continues to reflect on these important matters, and apply them in our changing contexts over time. They show how the body itself is a sort of sacrament; it has spiritual significance. They cover a host of related topics including Christian burials, funerals, death, judgement, the bodily resurrection, Catholic devotions including relics, and the Eucharist. My favorite chapter, I think, was chapter 9, on what heaven will be like, and how our lives will finally make sense, as will the lives of others, and all of human history. We should spend our whole lives lovingly preparing for the next, when everything in our life that seemed a mystery will finally make sense as we lovingly contemplate God’s fatherly providence with Him, the author of our lives and of human history. This is a book you will want to read, and reread over and over again during key moments of your life. It is available for pre-order here: https://stpaulcenter.com/product/hope-to-die-the-christian-meaning-of-death-and-the-resurrection-of-the-body/?fbclid=IwAR0eKnf4ZO2FWeLLeS6v7gLzQSyPpHz2uRerNw_6HgMFyW-FUsx_FSqBX8o

One Lesson from Fatima: Things are Never as Inevitable as They May Appear to Be

Our Lady of Fatima and the Three Children

I want to begin with a personal anecdote that is not directly related to Fatima. In the academic year of 1996-1997 a junior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio was running for student president, thinking that he would be able to have the most impact for good on campus by exercising that position his senior year. As a prominent member of the student senate he played a prominent and very public (both on national radio and outside of the U.S.) role in a number of significant changes that took place on campus. Notwithstanding his valiant efforts, he lost the presidential race. Unsure what to do, he turned to an older friend and mentor, and decided to become an R.A. in a dorm and lead a Bible study for freshmen in the dorm. This incoming senior would-be R.A. and Bible study leader, was a student leader in a very large para-church (primarily evangelical Protestant Christian) organization on campus, which, at least for the following two years (if I’m not mistaken), represented the largest para-church organization on any college campus in the world at that time, boasting about 1,000 members at their weekly meeting. His mentor, who happened to be Roman Catholic, was a staff member with that organization (at one point full-time, but by this point, part-time on a volunteer basis). That summer they decided to fast and pray for the future Bible study which together they would co-lead. They studied Scripture and church history together that summer, and they prayed and fasted that the future study would bear fruit for the kingdom of God.