Episode 10 – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce – William Shakespeare
Arguably Shakespeare’s finest and most important play, Hamlet is also one of the most misunderstood masterpieces of world literature. “To be or not to be”, may be the question, but the answer has eluded many generations of critics. What does it mean “to be”? And is everything as it seems to be?
Probably the darkest of all Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth is also one of the most challenging. Is it a work of nihilistic despair, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”, or is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Machiavellianism and relativism? Does it lead to hell and hopelessness, or does it point to a light beyond the darkness?
Based on the Ignatius Critical Edition, this series examines, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, the life, the times, and influence of authors of great works in literature.
Joseph Pearce is currently the Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is co-editor of the Saint Austin Review (or StAR), an international review of Christian culture, literature, and ideas published in England (Family Publications) and the United States (Sapientia Press). He is also the author of many books, including literary biographies of Solzhenitsyn, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Oscar Wilde.
“The thought comes to me now that our good Jesus showed us the weakness of His humanity previous to the trials, and when He was in the abyss of His sufferings showed such great fortitude that He not only did not complain but did nothing that would make it appear He was suffering with weakness. When He went to the garden, He said: My soul is sorrowful even to death. Yet, while on the cross, for He was already suffering death, He did not complain.”
—Meditations on the Song of Songs III.11.
Teresa desired to share her reflections on the Song of Songs, a rather daring act for her time. Her ponderings on Songs 1:2, led her to describe the peace and union granted the soul, opening the person to the possibility of accepting trials in the service of God, opportunities that also bring one’s weaknesses and limitations to the fore. Desiring to encourage her sisters, she looks to Christ’s own experience during his Passion.
Indeed, the humanity of Christ plays a crucial role in her doctrine on prayer. In his Incarnation, he expresses the profundity of God’s love for humanity, and is the perfect mediator between the two. Moreover, his earthly life serves as the example and guide for our spiritual growth. In this way, he leads us to discover our true selves as we
Thus, as we continue to pray through the intercession of the saint, let us recognize that she invites us to be in love with Jesus Christ, Emanuel, “God-with-us.”
St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:
“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.”
O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.
reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/
The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor
Dr. Peter Kreeft brings forward an important work that is inspired by Christ’s high priestly prayer in the Gospel of John “that they may be one,” entitled “Catholics And Protestants: What Can We Learn From Each Other?” Thoughtful, engaging, and paradigm shifting, Dr. Kreeft shows that while there are still significant differences, we are much closer than we think. A highly recommended work!
Peter Kreeft has a remarkable gift for expressing complex issues in lucid, accurate, and pithy ways. He also has the fairness and insight needed to undertake a tractate to bring Catholics and Protestants into closer union. This book will no doubt help understanding and dialog between both. –Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Author, The Soul’ s Upward Yearning
No one has taught me more about what healthy ecumenism looks like than the brilliant and eloquent Peter Kreeft. He is a peerless apologist for truth and has been an inspiration to me for over two decades on the happy and vital connections between serious Catholic and evangelical faith. –Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Bonhoeffer; Host of the Eric Metaxas Show
Readers will expect– and be gratified to find — what we always find in any work by Kreeft: thorough, solid, intelligent work, and agile prose style brought to the service of dependable content. This book should help us to find a real step forward in the mutual understanding of these two sectors of the Ancient Faith. — Thomas Howard, Author, On Being Catholic
Seek—God’s love for us and his plans for us are greater than our minds can conceive. Starting today, acknowledge these realities by undertaking acts of trust in God throughout the day. Ask God to fill you with his love. Share God’s love with everyone.
Knock—Meditate on Romans 13:8–10.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in one sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Are you giving of yourself in a way that builds up the kingdom of God?
Transform Your Life—Imitate Christ or one of your favorite saints as you go about your daily activities. Plead with God to enable you to show charity to all you meet. Listen intently to those who speak to you, asking yourself what God might be saying to you through them. Give everyone, including yourself and God, the benefit of the doubt.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Wednesday, 8 December 2004
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1: 28).
We address the Virgin Mary several times a day with these words of the Archangel Gabriel. Let us repeat them with fervent joy today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, remembering 8 December 1854 when Blessed Pius IX proclaimed this wonderful Dogma of the Catholic faith in this very same Vatican Basilica.
I cordially greet those who are gathered here today, especially the representatives of the National Mariological Societies who have taken part in the International Mariological Congress, organized by the Pontifical Marian Academy.
I then greet all of you present here, dear brothers and sisters, who have come to pay filial homage to the Immaculate Virgin. I offer a special greeting to Cardinal Camillo Ruini. I renew to him my warmest wishes for the jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood and express to him my deep gratitude for the service that with generous dedication he has and continues to render to the Church as my Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
How great is the mystery of the Immaculate Conception that the Liturgy presents to us today! A mystery that never ceases to invite the contemplation of believers and inspires the reflection of theologians. The theme of the Congress that has just been mentioned: “Mary of Nazareth welcomes the Son of God into history”, has fostered a deep examination of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a presupposition for receiving in her virginal womb the Word of God Incarnate, the Saviour of the human race.
“Full of grace”, “κεχαριτωµευη”: in the original Greek of Luke’s Gospel, the Angel greets Mary with this title. It is the name that God, through his messenger, chose to use to describe the Virgin. This is how he had always seen and thought of her, ab aeterno (from all eternity).
In the hymn of the Letter to the Ephesians just now proclaimed, the Apostle praises God the Father “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1: 3). What a special blessing God addressed to Mary from the beginning of time! Mary was truly blessed among women (cf. Lk 1: 42)!
The Father chose her in Christ before the creation of the world, so that she might be holy and immaculate before him in love, preordaining her as the first fruits of filial adoption through the work of Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1: 4-5).
The predestination of Mary, like that of each one of us, is linked to the predestination of the Son. Christ is that “seed” that was “to bruise the head” of the ancient serpent, according to the Book of Genesis (cf. Gn 3: 15); he is the Lamb “without blemish” (cf. Ex 12: 5; I Pt 1: 19), immolated to redeem humanity from sin.
With a view to the saving death of the Son, Mary, his Mother, was preserved free from original sin and from every other sin. The victory of the new Adam also includes that of the new Eve, Mother of the redeemed. The Immaculate Virgin is thus a sign of hope for all the living who have triumphed over Satan by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Rv 12: 11).
Today let us contemplate the humble young girl of Nazareth, holy and blameless before God in love (cf. Eph 1: 4), in that “love” whose original source is God himself, one and triune.
How sublime an act of the Most Holy Trinity is the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of the Redeemer! Pius IX, in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus, recalls that the Almighty “by one and the same decree had established the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of divine Wisdom” (Pii IX Pontificis Maximi Acta, Pars prima, p. 559).
The Virgin’s “yes” to the announcement of the Angel fits into the reality of our earthly condition, with humble respect for the divine will to save humanity not from history but in history. Indeed, ever preserved free from all taint of original sin, the “new Eve” benefited uniquely from the work of Christ as the most perfect Mediator and Redeemer. The first to be redeemed by her Son, she shares to the full in his holiness; she is already what the entire Church desires and hopes to be. She is the eschatological icon of the Church.
Consequently the Immaculate Virgin, who marks “the very beginning of the Church, Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle, shining with beauty” (Preface), always precedes the People of God in the pilgrimage of faith, bound for the Kingdom of Heaven (cf.Lumen Gentium, n. 58; Redemptoris Mater, n. 2).
In Mary’s Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter.
In the event of the Incarnation the Church encounters Christ and Mary indissolubly united: “he who is the Church’s Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church’s condition as spouse and mother” (Redemptoris Mater, n. 1).
To you, Virgin Immaculate, predestined by God above every other creature to be the advocate of grace and model of holiness for his people, today in a special way I renew the entrustment of the whole Church.
May you guide your children on their pilgrimage of faith, making them ever more obedient and faithful to the Word of God.
May you accompany every Christian on the path of conversion and holiness, in the fight against sin and in the search for true beauty that is always an impression and a reflection of divine Beauty.
May you obtain peace and salvation for all the peoples. May the eternal Father, who desired you to be the immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, also renew in our time through you, the miracles of his merciful love. Amen!
1. Discoveries about the tilma of the Virgin of Guadalupe Empress of America Andre Fernando Garcia click anywhere on page to continue
2. Would you like to read something that will not only surprise you, but change your way of thinking forever? Then, read what science has discovered about the tilma of the Virgin of Guadalupe:
3. 1. Ophthalmalgic studies made on the eyes of Mary detected that when the eye is exposed to light, the retina contracts, and when the light is withdrawn, it returns to a dilated state, just as happens with a living eye.
4. 2. The temperature of Juan Diego’s tilma, made of a material that comes from fibers of the maguey cactus, maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees, the same as that of a living human body.
5. 3. One of the doctors who analyzed the tilma placed his stethoscope below the black band at Mary’s waist, and heard rhythmic beats at 115 pulses per minute, the same as that of a baby in the maternal womb.
6. 4. No sign of paint has been discovered on the tilma. From a distance of 3-4 inches from the image, one can see only the maguey cactus fibers of the material: the colors disappear. Scientific studies have not been able to discover the origin of the coloration, nor the way the image was painted. They cannot detect vestiges of brush strokes or any other known painting technique. NASA scientists confirm that the paint material does not belong to any known element on earth.
7. 5. When the material was examined under a laser ray, it was shown that there is no coloration on the front or the back of the cloth, and that the colors hover at a distance of 3/10 th of a millimeter (1/100 th of an inch) over the cloth, without touching it. The colors actually float above the surface of the tilma. Isn’t that amazing?
8. 6. The rough material of the tilma has a lifespan of no more than 20-30 years. Several centuries ago, a replica of the image was painted on an identical piece of maguey cloth, and it disintegrated after several decades. Nonetheless, during the almost 500 years of the miracle, the cloth with the image of Mary remains as strong as it was on the first day. Science cannot explain why the material has not disintegrated.
9. 7. In the year 1791, muriatic acid accidentally spilled on the upper right side of the tilma. During the period of 30 days, without any special treatment, the affected fabric re-constituted itself miraculously.
10. 8. The stars that appear on the Mantle of Mary reflect the exact configuration and positions that could be seen in the sky of Mexico on the day the miracle happened.
11. On the right side of the Virgin’s mantle, the southern constellations are indicated: At the top are four stars that form part of the Orphiuchus constellation. Below it to the left, one finds Libra , and to its right, at what seems an arrow point, is the beginning of Scorpio. In the middle are the constellations of Lupus and to its left, an end point of Hydra . Further down, one can clearly see the Southern Cross ; above it appears the slightly inclined square of the Centaurus constellation.
12. On the left side of the Virgin’s mantle one sees the northern constellations: At her shoulder, a fragment of the stars of the Herdsman constellation; below it and to the left is the Great Bear . To its right is Berenice’s Hair ; below it, Hunting Dogs , and to its left, the Thuban , which is the brightest star of the Draco constellation. Below the two parallel stars (which still form part of the Big Bear), one finds stars from another pair of constellations: the Auriga and at the bottom, three stars of Taurus . Thus, in their totality and proper places, the 46 most brilliant stars that can be seen on the horizon of the Valley of Mexico are identified.
13. 9. In the year 1921, a man concealed a high power bomb in a flower arrangement, and placed it at the feet of the tilma. The explosion destroyed everything around it, except for the tilma, which remained intact.
14. 10. Scientists discovered that the eyes of Mary have the three refractive characteristics of a human eye.
15. 11. In the eyes of Mary (only about 1/3 rd inch in size), miniscule human figures were discovered that no artist could have painted. The same scene is repeated in each eye. Using digital technology, the images in the eyes were enlarged many times, revealing that each eye reflected the figure of the Indian Juan Diego opening his tilma in front of Bishop Zumarraga. Do you know the size of this scene? One fourth of a millimeter (1/100 th of an inch).
16. It is evident that all these unexplainable things were given to us for a reason: To catch our attention. Have they caught yours?
17. To close, let us look at three surprising facts: 1. In the Indian language, “Guadalupe” means to “crush the head of the serpent.” It properly refers to Genesis 3:15: Mary, the conqueror of evil. 2. The image also depicts a detail from Apocalypse 12: “And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.” 3. The Virgin wears a black band at her waist, which symbolizes pregnancy, to indicate that God wanted Jesus to be born in the three Americas, in the heart of each American. “ While I live I will praise the Lord: I will sing praise unto my God while I have any being” (Ps 146:2).
18. This presentation has the single purpose of demonstrating to you that the Virgin will be with you always, whenever you need her, that she will never abandon you, and that you will always be her special son or daughter. Never forget the words she spoke to Juan Diego : My little child, the smallest of all, let nothing afflict you. Do you not know that you are in my lap? Am I not here, I, who am your mother?
“Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family’s Untold Story” is an eloquent telling of a family scattered over three continents by Nazi persecution. A heroic effort is undertaken by the authors, Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey on behalf the children of the generation subjected to the trauma presented in the book, to piece together the collective memory left by the Kaufmann-Steinberg family. Intriguing, as well as disturbing, this is a book that will stay with you for a long time. I came away from the read reminded once again never to take even the most ordinary moments in life for granted.