About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Principio

In an attempt to convey some of my experiences while studying last semester in Germany, I intermittently sent emails to some of my family, which found their way around various communities. Some have expressed an interest in receiving more of those email messages. Though I am no longer in Germany, I've still plenty to say, and this blog seems a much more efficient way to effect the dissemination of my thoughts (however few they may or ought to be) to those (however few they may or ought to be) interested in them.
What, then, will fill this blog? It will be, as any good blog is, a presentation of my thoughts and experiences, both quotidian and extraordinary, which have formed themselves into sentences and texts in my mind. Sometimes it will be simple observations; at others full treatises; and again, it may simply record the random events and questions which constitute my interaction with myself and the world.
As its title would indicate, this interaction consists primarily of the experiences of a faithful Christian seeking to understand his Faith and the world in which he exercises that Faith, both the internal world of his soul and the exterior world with which his incorporated soul interacts. The questions of humanity remain as they were in Homer's time: What is justice? How do we enact it? What is the Good? How do we live the good life? My Christian Faith finds these questions both asked and answered in Christ: in the manger, on the Mount, on the Cross, and out of the tomb. Humanity is fully realized in the Incarnation, and so in the Incarnation is found the resolution of humanity's doubts. Anselm proposes in "Cur Deus Homo" that the Incarnation and Christ's Obedience on the Cross were (and are) the necessary satisfaction of humanity's debt of sin against God, a satisfaction through which the Divine Plan for Man - blessedness - can be fulfilled. When God created man, He created us to be blessed; that blessed nature was marred by our sin; and in the Incarnation, the order of blessedness is returned out of the disorder of sin: it befits the true human nature to be perfectly blessed as Christ's human nature was perfectly blessed "by taking of the Manhood into God" (Athanasian Creed). To put it simply, God became Man "Ut Homo Deus": "That Man might become God."
Yet, in the world of practice, in which we men are frail and fallible, this realization of humanity is anything but simple. Paradoxically, my purely simple Faith in the Folly of the Cross has been greatly deepened during my time of study at Boston College and abroad; while my recognition of the greatest complexity of the practice of the Faith in the world has grown ever clearer. As I enter my Senior year, I perceive ever more acutely the chasm between the heights of humanity reached by the grace of God and the depths of depravity into which we fall without Him. I recognize especially that this year, my faith is stronger than it has ever been before; and that the world will test it more than it ever has before. I invite you, reader, to join me then on this journey to what ultimately we might call virtue: at one time to seek the summit of divinity, and at another to pursue the middle road between the vices of pride on the one hand and despair on the other.
Can I promise that such unity of purpose will be found in every post? No. Yet every post will reflect in some way this journey, for as God is omnipresent in and out of this world, within and outside of time, so too is one ever on the road leading either to or away from the realization of one's humanity. I can never leave the journey, even in death; but then, why would I want to?

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