Welcome to The Unsolved Puzzle!
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because I invited you to take a look at it. And if I invited you, it’s probably because you belong to one of these three groups:
- Friends from the UNC Newman Center, who have pestered me about starting a blog for many years now;
- Members of the Adult Faith Formation community of St. Stephen the First Martyr in Sanford, NC, whom I kinda sorta promised a blog about 5 months ago;
- New friends on the graduate-school journey of CUA’s School of Theology and Religious Studies, who haven’t actually asked me about a blog yet, but who hopefully will contribute eagerly to the discussions here.
The name of the blog comes from the Vatican II Constitution Gaudium et spes, “On the Church in the Modern World”. After reviewing the major social and philosophical difficulties facing human persons in the post-war, post-modern era, the Council Fathers observe:
‘Every man remains to himself an unsolved puzzle, however obscurely he may perceive it. For on certain occasions no one can entirely escape the kind of self-questioning mentioned earlier, especially when life’s major events take place. To this questioning only God fully and most certainly provides an answer as He summons man to higher knowledge and humbler probing.
‘…It is the function of the Church, led by the Holy Spirit Who renews and purifies her ceaselessly, to make God the Father and His Incarnate Son present and in a sense visible. This result is achieved chiefly by the witness of a living and mature faith, namely, one trained to see difficulties clearly and to master them….
‘Above all the Church knows that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart when she champions the dignity of the human vocation, restoring hope to those who have already despaired of anything higher than their present lot. Far from diminishing man, her message brings to his development light, life and freedom. Apart from this message nothing will avail to fill up the heart of man: “Thou hast made us for Thyself,” O Lord, “and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”‘
As such, the primary focus of this blog will be to comment and reflect on the foundational questions of human identity, especially concerning the human soul and the right relationship between the soul and God. I’ll often be addressing this second topic in relation to Scripture and the Liturgy, which happen to be the two Adult Faith Formation topics I taught last year and which finally inspired me to get this blog off the ground.
Of course, whenever something noteworthy happens in the Catholic world, I’ll be covering it here too. Since I’m in a Church History program here at CUA focusing on the first 4-5 centuries AD, don’t be surprised if I get inspired to write about my academic work now and then. Once in a while, my wife Christina will be guest-writing here for a change of perspective. And of course, anyone with a blog post request is always welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the idea.
I’ll be posting once each weekend at first, maybe more when the Catholic world gets really exciting, so check back regularly for updates. I haven’t decided on a signoff yet, so for now,
Pax et bonum,
P.S. I’m starting out the blog on a free WordPress platform, so if you see any ads on the blog, I have nothing to do with them. Please don’t harass me about them if you see anything you don’t like.