Today seems like as a good a day as any…
A few months ago, Cliff from Logos sent along several packages related to Catholic Studies. As a new Protestan who proudly accepts the title of Catholic-lite, I was happy to receive these works due to their theological value as well as, in many cases, their critical value. From Boethius to Pope Benedict XVI, these packages include a wide range of (C)atholic teaching ranging from the beginning of the medieval spirituality to the present theological movements.
We in the more enlightened 21st century tend to view with apprehension anything coming out of the medieval period, even to the point of denying that Christian theological development and even Christian philosophy was alive and well during these so-called dark times. However, to do so would be to miss the great wealth of spirituality and deep theological insight produced by Hugh of St. Victor, St. John the Damascene, and Pope Gregory the Great. What is also essential about these authors and their works — these preachers and their sermons — is the value of learning how the Roman Catholic Church developed such elements as the papacy, such seedbeds as free will and determination, and how love was treated. The 34 volume set of The Medieval Preaching and Spirituality Collection beckons us to consider the great treasure trove that is medieval theological tradition.
Of course, there is something more too. I was able to receive as well the Encyclicals of the two most recent Popes, Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Fourteen and three, respectively, these letters show how the two popes covering most of our lifetimes have develop Catholic doctrine and practical theology in the face of post-modernism, the rise of the vitriolic class, the end of Communism, and all the while exploring what Vatican II means to twentieth and twenty-first century Catholics (and Christians on the whole, if we allows ourselves to willingly found common ground). Likewise, the Apostolic Constitutions, those exhortations of doctrine and piety confessed by these two Popes, provide deep insight into the modern Catholic (and Christian, see the parenthetical just above). These provide three decades worth of decisions, thought processes, and a sincere appreciation both for Catholic tradition (natural law, especially), and the modern human existence. Both of these sets include the English and the Latin, with the latter most helpful in keeping up your Latin reading (as well as reading it in the original language of production).
Below is are several pictures from one of Pope Benedict’s encyclicals:
Perhaps you will can live your Christian life without such works in your library. Others have, but we are given such a short space on this planet, and we must seek to enrich it continuously. These books will enrich and enliven your Christian life, even for the Protestants, because it connects you to the deep and reflective thought over a millennia long. And frankly, you should not count yourself truly living until you have read Boethius.