Sarah Swafford: Emotional Virtue

Dating is hard. In today’s world of social media it’s even harder. How do we deal with the emotional ups and downs of seeking a relationship in the era of social media?

Sarah Swafford, author of “Emotional Virtue: A Guide to Drama-Free Relationships,” quotes one of the best pieces of advice she ever received, “You’re running around looking for someone to be your savior when you already have one,” and explains why a focus on seeking to grow in virtue, rather than being focused on our own happiness, is the key to finding happy and healthy relationships in her talk entitled “Emotional Virtue.” Ms. Swafford’s talk was part of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Listen to the audio:

Sr. Bethany Madonna, S.V.: Receiving the Promise of a New Heart

We all long for an infinite love, a love that is stable, forever, and belongs to us alone. We have a Father who gives us this love, a Father who lavishes gifts upon us out of his overflowing, abundant, infinite love.

Sr. Bethany Madonna, S.V., Vocations Director for the Sisters of Life in Suffern, NY, discusses three gifts we need to learn to receive if we are to be healed from believing we are orphans: the gift of life, the gift of a new heart, and the gift of the kingdom in her talk entitled “Receiving the Promise of a New Heart.” Sr. Madonna’s talk was part of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Sources Sr. Bethany Madonna recommends in her talk:

Audrey Assad testimony at Focus Seek 2015: https://soundcloud.com/udreyssad/personal-witness

Matt Fradd for men: https://youtu.be/xhkRbsmCv1s

Dawn Eden Goldstein book: My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints https://www.amazon.com/My-Peace-Give-You-Healing/dp/1594712905

Documentary: Desire of the Everlasting Hills https://everlastinghills.org/movie/

Listen to the audio:

June 2014 Show: “A Catholic Guide to Depression”

Dr. Aaron KheriatyHow can the saints, the sacraments, and psychiatry help break the grip of depression? What can friends and family members do for those struggling with depression?

Psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, author of The Catholic Guide to Depression, will offer many insights on understanding and overcoming the trial of depression in his discussion with host Michael Hernon, vice president of Advancement, and theology panelists Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn of Franciscan University. Download the free handout: “The Problem of Depression”

The Christmas Miracle

I picture him as a tall Texan, his outsize appearance easily eclipsing everything in sight, save only the immense shrine that he and a busload of tourists have come to Rome to see.  And then, throwing up his hand at the end of an exhausting exploration of the world’s most beautiful basilica, I hear him asking the expert guide the one thing he’s come all this way to know:

How much does it weigh?

I love that story.  In fact, I imagine him wandering endlessly about the Eternal City in witless search of answers to all sorts of endearingly absurd questions.  The Coliseum, for instance, about which he would surely want to know, “Why wasn’t it finished?”  Or the Pantheon, whose opening in the ceiling would have utterly mystified him.  “What’s the point of a dome unless you’re going to close the freaking thing?”

As a species of reductionism, however, revealing the mindset of a man for whom the merit of anything can best be measured by the ton, it is priceless.  One thinks of C.S. Lewis skewering that fellow in one of his books because, in surveying the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, he can only imagine it as raw material for cornering the salt market.  Reductionism, as someone once said, is the sin of seeing the pearl as the oyster’s mistake.

Read more at Crisis Magazine

Rocco Buttiglione — A Note on Phenomenology

Rocco Buttiglione, Professor of Political Science at Saint Pius V University, gives a brief definition of phenomenology in this excerpt from his talk, “Beyond Descartes: Intersubjectivity as Ground of Knowledge of the Self”.  Mr. Buttiglione’s talk was part of the Annual Edith Stein Lecture Series, sponsored by the Philosophy Department at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Rocco Buttiglione—Beyond Descartes: Intersubjectivity as Ground of Knowledge of the Self

Rocco Buttiglione, Professor of Political Science at Saint Pius V University, delivers his talk, “Beyond Descartes: Intersubjectivity as Ground of Knowledge of the Self”.  Mr. Buttiglione’s talk was part of the Annual Edith Stein Lecture Series, sponsored by the Philosophy Department at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Fr. D. Paul Sullins—Gay Parenting and the Conjugal Ideal: Implications for Research

Fr. D. Paul Sullins, Associate Professor of Sociology at Catholic University of America, delivers his talk entitled “Gay Parenting and the Conjugal Ideal: Implications for Research”.  Fr. Sullins’ talk was part of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists Conference.

Maggie Gallagher—Marriages: The Challenges Ahead

Maggie Gallagher, author of the book “Debating Same-Sex Marriage”, discusses the challenges facing the defense of traditional marriage in this excerpt from her talk entitled “Marriages: The Challenges Behind, The Challenges Ahead”.  Ms. Gallagher’s talk was part of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Maggie Gallagher—Marriages: The Challenges Behind, The Challenges Ahead

Maggie Gallagher, author of the book “Debating Same-Sex Marriage”, delivers her talk entitled “Marriages: The Challenges Behind, The Challenges Ahead”.  Ms. Gallagher’s talk was part of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Fr. David Meconi, S. J. — Christian Persecution in Rome

Fr. David Meconi, SJ, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University, makes a distinction about the root of Roman persecution in this excerpt from his talk entitled “Constantine, Christ, and the Cross: The Edict of Milan 1700 Years Later”.  Fr. Meconi’s talk was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Fr. David Meconi, S.J. — Constantine, Christ, and the Cross: The Edict of Milan 1700 Years Later

Fr. David Meconi, SJ, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University, delivers his talk entitled “Constantine, Christ, and the Cross: The Edict of Milan 1700 Years Later”.  Fr. Meconi’s talk was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dr. John Haldane — Challenges to Finding a Common Human Experience

Dr. John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews, discusses the difficulties people have in agreeing on the existence of a common human experience in this excerpt from his talk entitled “Three Perspectives on Human Life”.  Dr. Haldane’s lecture was sponsored by the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dr. Richard Fehring — Motivation and Technology Impacting NFP

Dr. Richard Fehring, Research Director and Professor at the Marquette University College of Nursing, discusses the effects of motivation on the effectiveness of NFP and the use of technology to increase awareness of NFP in this excerpt from his talk entitled “Scientific, Spiritual, and Marital Dynamics of Natural Family Planning.”  Dr. Fehring’s talk was part of the “Humanae Vitae at 45: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Holiness” Conference.

Inaugural Symposium Faculty RoundTable Discussion

This Faculty RoundTable Discussion was a part of the Inaugural Symposium on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization.

Dr. Michael J. Healy — The Value of Time

Dr. Michael J. Healy, Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, discusses Søren Kierkegaard’s view of time in this excerpt from his talk “Time and Oughtness in Kierkegaard.”  Dr. Healy’s talk was part of the “Philosophical Legacy of Søren Kierkegaard Lecture Series”.

Msgr. Paul McPartlan — Christ our Light: Lumen Gentium and the Program of Vatican II

Msgr. Paul McPartlan, the Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at Catholic University of America, delivers his talk entitled “Christ our Light: Lumen Gentium and the Program of Vatican II.”  Msgr. McPartlan’s talk was part of the Year of Faith Symposium on Vatican II.

John Paul II’s 1983 Visit to Poland: Anniversary Reflections

It was sixty years ago that the Hungarian émigré historian, John Lukacs, published his first book, The Great Powers and Eastern Europe, a masterful treatment of the subject, whose conclusion, including an elegy on the lost world he left behind, has haunted me for years.   Surveying the wreckage of that shattered and divided world, he declared that “only the magnetic force of a rejuvenated, remade, and truly united Western Europe, one that has recovered the erstwhile spiritual greatness of that Christian continent, can eventually develop enough attraction to penetrate the steely barriers separating the West from Eastern Europe’s modern police state.”

That was written in 1953, beneath the cloudless skies of the Eisenhower years, which means that thirty-five more years would need to elapse before the world could witness the final and conclusive collapse of the Soviet Empire in Europe.  It all started a quarter century ago, in other words, beginning with the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in November of 1989, which smashed the fist of the single-party Communist state, leaving the rest of us, especially those smugly ensconced amid the flesh pots of the capitalist West, in a state of stunned surprise.

How, we asked ourselves, could a people divided for more than forty years by such a massive and impregnable symbol of Soviet sanctioned oppression as the Iron Curtain, come suddenly together in spontaneous and joyous fashion to dance atop the ruins of the Berlin Wall?

Read more at Crisis Magazine

Is Anyone Grateful? The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The themes of the Readings for this Sunday focus on the gratitude for God’s salvation.  Gratitude is an important psychological and spiritual disposition.  Dr. Daniel G. Amen, the popular brain researcher and public health spokesman, identifies gratitude as a key character quality of persons with physiologically healthy brains.  That’s right: gratitude affects your physical health, including the shape and functioning of your brain.  This Sunday’s Readings focus particularly on gratitude to God, and how it should be expressed.

Life By Faith: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4 Psalm 95:1-2,6-9 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14 Luke 17:5-10

Because of his faith, the just man shall live. We hear in today’s First Reading the original prophetic line made so central by St. Paul (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

We are to live by faith in Christ who loved us and gave himself on the Cross for us (see Galatians 2:20).

A Great Chasm: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 6:1, 4-7 Psalm 146:7-10 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Luke 16:19-31

The rich and powerful are visited with woe and exile in today’s Liturgy – not for their wealth but for their refusal to share it; not for their power but for their indifference to the suffering at their door.

The complacent leaders in today’s First Reading feast on fine foods and wines, reveling while the house of Joseph, the kingdom of Israel (see Amos 5:6), collapses around them.

Does it Matter How We Treat Others? The 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Does it matter how we treat others?  What does my neighbor’s suffering have to do with me?  Can I continue living in comfort while bypassing those around me who are in misery?

These are questions that the Readings for this Sunday raise, and to which they provide uncomfortable answers.  Let’s read and let the Holy Spirit move us outside our comfort zone.

Dr. Andrew Sodergren — The Roles of Multiple Attachment Figures

Dr. Andrew Sodergren, Clinical Psychologist at Ruah Woods Psychological Services, explains why we need multiple attachments in this excerpt from the 2nd half of his presentation about Attachment Theory and why it matters to the moral development of individuals.  Dr. Sodergren’s appearance was part of the Annual Gemelli Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dr. Andrew Sodergren — Learning How to Love: Attachment, Morality, and Psychotherapy (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Andrew Sodergren, Clinical Psychologist at Ruah Woods Psychological Services, delivers the 2nd half of his presentation about Attachment Theory and why it matters to the moral development of individuals.  Dr. Sodergren’s appearance was part of the Annual Gemelli Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dr. Andrew Sodergren — Love: Our Origin and End

Dr. Andrew Sodergren, Clinical Psychologist at Ruah Woods Psychological Services, discusses the role of love human psychology in this excerpt from the 1st half of his presentation about Attachment Theory and why it matters to the moral development of individuals.  Dr. Sodergren’s appearance was part of the Annual Gemelli Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Prudent Stewards: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-7 Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 1 Timothy 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13

The steward in today’s Gospel confronts the reality that he can’t go on living the way he has been. He is under judgment, must give account for what he has done.

The exploiters of the poor in today’s First Reading are also about to be pulled down, thrust from their stations (see Isaiah 22:19). Servants of mammon or money, they’re so in love with wealth that they reduce the poor to objects, despise the new moons and sabbaths – the observances and holy days of God (see Leviticus 23:24; Exodus 20:8).

Deacon Stephen F. Militec, Ph.D. — How to Approach the Lord in the Eucharist

Deacon Stephen F. Miletic, Ph.D., delivers a homily at the Year of Faith Symposium on Vatican II, hosted by Franciscan University of Steubenville.

God and Mammon: The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As Jesus continues his “death march” to Jerusalem in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 9–19), he challenges us this Sunday to choose, in a clear and conscious way, our goal in life: God or money.  The First Reading reminds us that wealth was a seductive trap for the people of God throughout salvation history.

Curtis Martin — An Encounter with Jesus Christ

Curtis Martin, President of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, talks about the personal side of evangelization in this excerpt from his talk entitled “New Leaders for the New Evangelization” at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Curtis Martin’s appearance was part of the Spring 2013 Distinguished Speakers Series.

Curtis Martin — What is the New Evangelization?

Curtis Martin, President of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, talks about the New Evangelization in this excerpt from his talk entitled “New Leaders for the New Evangelization” at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Curtis Martin’s appearance was part of the Spring 2013 Distinguished Speakers Series.

Seeking the Lost: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10

The episode in today’s First Reading has been called “Israel’s original sin.” Freed from bondage, born as a people of God in the covenant at Sinai, Israel turned aside from His ways, fell to worshipping a golden calf.

Moses implores God’s mercy, as Jesus will later intercede for the whole human race, as He still pleads for sinners at God’s right hand and through the ministry of the Church.

Dr. John Crosby — Incarnational Humanism and Eschatological Humanism

Dr. John Crosby, Director of the MA Philosophy Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville, discusses incarnational humanism and eschatological humanism in this excerpt from his talk entitled “The Triumph of Incarnational Humanism at Vatican II” delivered at the Year of Faith Symposium on Vatican II at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Prodigal Son Sunday: 24th Sunday in OT

This upcoming Sunday marks one of only two times in the main Lectionary cycle that we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son proclaimed (the other being the 4th Sunday of Lent [C]).  The Readings are marked by the theme of repentance and forgiveness. 

Dr. John Crosby — The Triumph of Incarnational Humanism at Vatican II

Dr. John Crosby, Director of the MA Philosophy Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville, delivers his talk entitled “The Triumph of Incarnational Humanism at Vatican II” at the Year of Faith Symposium on Vatican II at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The Cost of Discipleship: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

One of the most famous German opponents of Adolf Hitler and Nazism was the Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom the Nazis executed by hanging in April 1945 for his involvement in a plot against Hitler himself.  Bonhoeffer’s most famous work was a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount entitled (in English) The Cost of Discipleship.  In it, Bonhoeffer parted ways with a Protestantism that understood “salvation by faith alone” as some kind of easy road to heaven.  Bonhoeffer criticized “easy-believism” as “cheap grace”:

Counting the Cost: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 9:13-18
Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17
Philemon 1:9-10, 12-17
Luke 14:25-33

Like a king making ready for battle or a contractor about to build a tower, we have to count the cost as we set out to follow Jesus.

Our Lord today is telling us upfront the sacrifice it will take. His words aren’t addressed to His chosen few, the Twelve, but rather to the “great crowds” – to “anyone,” to “whoever” wishes to be His disciple.

Dr. Paul Symington — A Response to “Must Morality Be Grounded in God?”

Dr. Paul Symington, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, responds to Dr. John Rist’s keynote address “Must Morality Be Grounded in God?” at the 2013 Annual Conference on Christian Philosophy, hosted by Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Watch the original talk here: Must Morality Be Grounded in God?

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner? The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

In 2005, a quasi-remake of the famous 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner” was released.  Entitled “Guess Who?” it starred Bernie Mac as an African-American father who struggled to deal with his daughter’s Caucasian fiancé (played by Ashton Kutcher).  Much of the comedy of the film revolved around the clash of cultures at the dinner table.  Usually we only share meals with people like us, family members or friends from our own “circle.”  When someone from “outside” comes in, it upsets the our balance. 

To Go Up Higher: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Psalm 68:4-7,10-11
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24
Luke 14:1, 7-14

We come to the wedding banquet of heaven by way of humility and charity. This is the fatherly instruction we hear in today’s First Reading, and the message of today’s Gospel.

Jesus is not talking simply about good table manners. He is revealing the way of the kingdom, in which the one who would be greatest would be the servant of all (see Luke 22:24-27).

“Family Values”: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In recent decades, the term “family values” has almost become a code word for “Christian culture” in American society.  Influential Christian organizations have adopted names like “Focus on the Family” and the “Family Research Council,” and on the Catholic side of things we have “Catholic Family Land” or The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, better known as “C-FAM.”  The natural family unit—based on a husband and wife who have made an exclusive, permanent, public commitment to share a common life and raise children together—has been under such political and social pressure that at times we almost identify Christianity as a social movement to promote family life.

Chris Stefanick — What is Truth?

Chris Stefanick, author of “Absolute Relativism”, challenges Franciscan University of Steubenville students to seek objectivity.

Watch the full talk here: Absolute Relativism: The New Dictatorship and What to Do About It.

Let Us Not Forget the Wonder of Creation

In his fantastical account of “The Unthinkable Theory of Professor Green,” G.K. Chesterton invites us to imagine an astronomer regaling his audience in great and gorgeous detail about a strange new planet he’s just discovered.  Only gradually do we realize that this utterly amazing place is in fact our very own world, replete with wonders we’d scarcely been aware of before.

Isn’t this the whole point of travel?   Not to poke around places and people of such weirdness that you’d swear you’d wandered onto a sci-fi movie set.  Do we really want to run into a community of pod people while on holiday?   Wasn’t it bad enough watching “The Night of the Living Dead” on television?  Who needs a close encounter with the real thing on a vacation?

Again, Chesterton has the sense of it.  “It is not,” he tells us, “to set foot on foreign land; it is to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”  And isn’t this the challenge that awaits us all?   How to arrest the attention sufficiently to allow us to stand in silent awe before the real world?  When jadedness sets in, we need a sudden jolt to set the circuits going again.  We need to open up the hood and let the wind sweep out all that is sour and stale on the inside.   Indeed, without a sense of wonder, and at least some minimal capacity for surprise and delight, we will never awaken to that “dearest freshness deep down things” (Gerard Manley Hopkins).

Read more at Crisis Magazine.

Chris Stefanick — The Meaning of Life

Chris Stefanick, author of Absolute Relativism, details why relativism fails to give life any meaning.

Watch the full talk here: Absolute Relativism: The New Dictatorship and What to Do About It.

Chris Stefanick — Absolute Relativism: The New Dictatorship and What to Do About It

Chris Stefanick, Author of “Absolute Relativism”, talks about practical ways to challenge relativism and uphold objectivity in everyday life.

Faith of Our Fathers: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 18:6-9
Psalm 33:1,12,18-22
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Luke 12:35-40

We are born of the faith of our fathers, descending from a great cloud of witnesses whose faith is attested to on every page of Scripture (see Hebrews 12:1). We have been made His people, chosen for His own inheritance, as we sing in this Sunday’s Psalm.

Church of the Poor: The 18th Week of OT

“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!”

 

These were some of the first words of Pope Francis’ pontificate, and the Readings this week seem providentially to support our new pontiff’s emphasis on the spiritual value of poverty.  Texts from the Old and New Testaments remind us that human happiness is not to be found in the accumulation of material goods.  Riches are fleeting and empty.  We are called instead to “store up treasure in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroy, where thieves cannot break in and steal.”

The Fool’s Vanity: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

Trust in God – as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus.

Dr. Philip Sutton — Church Documents Addressing Same-Sex Attraction

Dr. Philip Sutton, a practicing psychologist, shares what the Magisterium of the Church has said about same-sex attraction in this excerpt from his talk, “Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care to Persons with Same-Sex Attraction.”

Watch the full talk here: Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care to Persons with Same-Sex Attraction.

Dr. Philip Sutton — How Confessors and Spiritual Directors Can Help Those with Same-Sex Attraction

Dr. Philip Sutton, a practicing psychologist, shares some insights with Franciscan University students in this excerpt from his talk, “Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care to Persons with Same-Sex Attraction”.

Watch the full talk here: Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care to Persons with Same-Sex Attraction.

Dr. Philip Sutton — Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care to Persons with Same-Sex Attraction

Dr. Philip Sutton, a practicing psychologist, addresses the issue of same-sex attraction from the point of view of the Catholic Church.  Why is this compassionate pastoral care needed and how can it be made accessible and effective?  Dr. Sutton explains the role of priests and lay spiritual directors in meeting the needs of people with same-sex attraction.

PODCAST: Download the podcast of this talk here.

Bargaining With God: The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

With the Bible Conference going on at Franciscan this week, I have to offer a shorter reflection on the Readings:
Who has the guts to bargain with the Divinity?  Abraham, our Father in , does.  In the Readings for this Sunday, we find united several themes: persistence in prayer, the justice and mercy of God, the generosity of God.

Franciscan University Presents on EWTN