Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett

The Reverend Andrew Bennett is a deacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada.

What does it mean to be a Catholic? The realities of the Church in the world today make it unfortunately quite complicated to answer this question.

Some readers who, like me, have a fondness for a good English novel, particularly those with a Catholic bent, will be familiar with the works of Fr. Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914). Benson ranks among the great 19th and early 20th century Anglican converts along with Evelyn Waugh, Ronald Knox and St. John Henry Newman. Each of them left behind a significant corpus of writing that continues to delight and inspire us today. 

Have you watched the series The Chosen? If yes, then you like me have been treated to a well-produced and Biblically-faithful, yet embellished account of Our Lord’s earthly ministry. The manner in which Jonathan Roumie portrays Jesus Christ is very human and relatable without diminishing His divine nature, thereby being faithful to the Gospel. Our Lord is shown to delight in beauty. He is joyful, laughs and enjoys a good meal. And He heals and demonstrates the divine insight into people’s lives that only He has.

As we journey through our life as Christians, seeking to grow in faith and wisdom, we discover we are hard-wired as human beings that bear God’s image and likeness to seek truth, beauty and goodness. These are properties of being, of God. He reveals this to Moses in Exodus chapter 3 when Moses asks God what His name is. God tells him, “I AM WHO I AM.”

One of the most deleterious effects of our present culture has been our failure to engage in regular contemplation of what is real, that is to wonder at things. The end of wondering is not to gain complete knowledge, though this is the not-so-implicit goal inquiry in our post-modern world. We contemplate the mystery of God, but we cannot fully understand Him since He is God and we are His creatures. If we claim a full comprehension of who God is, what we comprehend is not God at all, or as St. Augustine wrote in Sermon 117, “Si comprehendis, non est Deus,” if you understand, it isn’t God. To contemplate does not aim at full comprehension. It desires to participate in what is a mystery to us, something hidden or not yet fully revealed.

In the Jan. 21 edition of The Catholic Register, Roderick ‘Rory’ Mckay published the article “Fiducia supplicans a blessing for the Church.” I wish to respond to him and others who assert something that is patently false.

In an article published in the National Post on Dec. 29, columnist Joseph Brean queried the meaning of the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s. It was a curious piece. Brean asked what the week is all about concluding that it is “this least wonderful time of the year (that) is either an under-appreciated winter interlude of nothingness, or a bland calendrical purgatory of suspended animation.”

Is our freedom absolute? If God is perfectly free, and we bear His image and likeness, are we not then perfectly free?

Some months ago in this space, I discussed the relationship between Catholics and Jews. I return to this question in the wake of the brutal, sadistic violence perpetrated by the terrorist organization Hamas against Jewish Israelis on Oct. 7.

What does it mean to be holy? To grow in holiness is to persevere in the life in Christ, to live out our baptism every day. The end goal of the life in Christ is to become a saint, to be divinized, to become like God. In sum, it is to achieve what we Byzantines call theosis: participation in the life of the Most Holy Trinity. This means that we must die to self each day and join ourselves ever more fully to Christ; we must strive to be Christ-like. St. John the Baptist summed this up when he declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This process of decreasing requires repeated acts of the will: to pray daily, to confess regularly, to receive Holy Communion at least weekly, to undertake corporate and spiritual works of mercy, to be disciplined in our lives and to earnestly desire these things.

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