“The Virtues We Need Again: 21 Life Lessons from the Great Books of the West” is a gem! I love a good book on the virtues. I love a good book on great books. And when a work comes along which contains both elements and is written with joy and enthusiasm for the subject…well, I can’t help but find myself in a reader’s paradise. What a delight to talk with Dr. Kalpakgian about some of the topics found in this work. Engaging the heart and the mind, this is a must have book for the discerning reader.
“[Mitchell Kalpakgian] always delights the reader with a luminous wisdom and a literary flourish that enlightens even as it entertains.” —Joseph Pearce, author, Tolkien: Man, Myth and Literary Life
“Reading Dr. Kalpakgian is like being served an exquisite new wine made from grapes in your own backyard or uncovering an ancient and mysterious map that happens to be of your own country. It is a discovery, a delight, and an adventure among things that are right in front of you. It is the excitement of tradition, the love of family, the joy of literature, and the realization that this vale of tears has been touched by a good and beautiful God who loves us.” —John M. DeJak, Dean and Latin Teacher, Saint Agnes School, St. Paul MN & Director, The Wanderer Forum Foundation
Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defensive armor.
As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul “used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.” They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.
Each of these virtues, then, and all the others as well, play a vital role in protecting us from enemy assault as the armor we must wear. St. Paul sums it up: “Put on, therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience. Bear with one another, if anyone has a grievance against any other; even as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3: 12– 14). Only with such armor will we be fully covered and protected from the Evil One’s attacks.
Paul Thigpen, Ph.D, is the Editor of TAN Books in Charlotte, North Carolina. An internationally known speaker, best-selling author and award-winning journalist, Paul has published forty-three books in a wide variety of genres and subjects: history and biography, spirituality and apologetics, anthologies and devotionals, family life and children’s books, study guides and reference works, fiction and collections of poetry and prayers.
Paul graduated from Yale University in 1977 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Distinction in the Major of Religious Studies. He was later awarded the George W. Woodruff Fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, where he earned an M.A. (1993) and a Ph.D. (1995) in Historical Theology. In 1993 he was named as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow by the U.S. Department of Education. He has served on the faculty of several universities and colleges.
In 2008 Paul was appointed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to their National Advisory Council for a four-year term. He has served the Church as a theologian, historian, apologist, evangelist, and catechist in a number of settings,speaking frequently in Catholic and secular media broadcasts and at conferences, seminars, parish missions, and scholarly gatherings.
Episode 6 St. Catherine of Siena: Her Life and Teachings with Fr. Thomas McDermott
In this episode, Fr. McDermott aids in our understanding of St. Catherine’s teachings on the “Blood of Christ” and it’s context from Sacred Scripture and Medieval sensibilities. He discusses “The Christ Bridge” as a central image in St. Catherine’s writings and one’s spiritual journey. The flowering of baptismal grace is exemplified in this teaching.
Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP is Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great and is the author of “Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching” (Paulist, 2008) and “Filled with all the Fullness of God: An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality”. He obtained a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Angelicum and taught for several years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He currently serves as pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer, in Chicago, IL.
Archbishop Lucas offers insights on the US Catholic Catechism for Adults Chapter 34:
On the positive side, the Tenth Commandment calls us to practice poverty of spirit and generosity of heart. These virtues liberate us from being slaves to money and possessions. They enable us to have a preferential love for the poor and to be witnesses of justice and peace in the world. They also enable us to adopt a simplicity of life that frees us from consumerism and helps us preserve God’s creation.
Sinful inclinations move us to envy what others have and lead to an unrestrained drive to acquire all that we can. We do have a reasonable need to acquire the means needed to care for our families. Greed is the distortion of this desire. The greedy person will stop at nothing to get all the money and possessions possible.
We need to remember that envy is the companion of greed; it is an attitude that fills us with sadness at the sight of another’s prosperity. Envious people can be consumed with so much desire for what others have that they will even commit crimes to get what they want.
Baptized people should counter envy with humility, thanksgiving to God for his gifts to oneself and to others, goodwill, and surrender to the providence of God (cf. CCC, no. 2554). “Christ’s faithful ‘have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’ (Gal 5:24); they are led by the Spirit and follow his desires” (CCC, no. 2555). Poverty of heart is a way to avoid greed and envy. “Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God” (CCC, no. 2547, citing Mt 6:25-34).
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (2012-04-02). United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (Kindle Locations 6493-6504). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Kindle Edition.
The Most Reverend George J. Lucas leads the Archdiocese of Omaha.
I so enjoyed my conversation with Dr. Lawrence Cunningham. In his book, “The Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor’s Guide“, Dr. Cunningham draws from the wisdom of the mystical desert fathers. He offers us insight on sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, anger, lust and pride – how they were first identified as the “deadly”sins, what they might look like in today’s world, and how corresponding virtues can counter their destructive tendencies. A fascinating read!
“At a time when invective poses as ‘straight talk,’ and the rant replaces reasoned discourse, Lawrence Cunningham’s brilliant new meditation on the Seven Deadly Sins is pure gift. Moral confusion may be the defining weakness of our era, but here is a book that can lead us back to the light.”–Paula Huston, Author of Simplifying the Soul
“Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva” is fantastic book which offers a path to living out holiness in our everyday lives. Eric Sammons breaks open St. Josemaria’s teachings and presents useful steps at the end of each chapter to foster incorporation of those daily disciplines into our spiritual practice. Wonderful food for the journey.
Strive for your own personal holiness as you implement your daily plan to:
–Be a Contemplative in the Midst of a Busy World
–Live a Life of Prayer
–Recognize the Presence of God
–Make a Plan of Life
–Make Your Work a Way to Heaven
Holiness for Everyone will inspire you as it sets your feet on the path to sainthood.
“Eric Sammons shows that St. Josemaria has recovered the most powerful truth of classic Christianity and restated it in a way that is compelling for men and women of our time.”
—From the Foreword by Scott Hahn