The Christian in the World lecture series, sponsored by Mount Angel Institute, is an integrated program of study, prayer and discussion for Catholics who want to live their faith more deeply. The program seeks to help participants gain a more profound understanding of the Scriptures and the Church, and to support lay people in exploring how to live their baptismal vocation in everyday life.
On Politics and Love: Learning from Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s plays have held the stage from the time they were written (c. 1590-1610) because people have found that they speak to the heart about topics that concern them deeply.
In Richard III, a history and tragedy, Shakespeare shows how a deeply-flawed man becomes a tyrant and how his conscience – and the consciences of an aroused people – take him down.
In As You Like It, a comedy about people in love, Shakespeare looks beyond clichés and commonplaces to examine how love can hope to avoid the extremes of sentimentality and cynicism in order to survive over time.
In four talks over four months, these talks will focus on what the wisdom of Shakespeare, one of the world’s greatest dramatists and poets, offers to everyone but especially to people who are Christian in the World.
The presentations are held in the Abbey library auditorium on the second Saturday of the month: September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9. The mornings begin with a prayer at 9 am and end at noon, with a break mid-morning.
For more information about Christian in the World, please call Mary Ann Amsberry at 503.769.3844.
Loving the Church, Loving the Liturgy, presented by Deacon Owen Cummings, was a series of presentations intended to lead participants to a deeper understanding of the Eucharistic liturgy. Deacon Cummings invited participants to take a fresh look at the Church’s renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council, which firmly places the liturgy at the heart of our lives as Catholics.
The spring 2022 CITW lecture was a live-streamed panel discussion with four monks of Mount Angel Abbey about faith and beauty. Among the panelists are three monk-artists. Fr. Vincent Trujillo is a master calligrapher; Fr. Teresio Caldwell is a musician and composer; Fr. Novice Jack Shrum writes icons and studied under Br. Claude Lane. Our fourth presenter is Br. Anselm Flores, who works with Fr. Nathan Zodrow, the art curator at Mount Angel, and is part of the monks’ art docent program. Moderating the discussion is Br. Thomas Buttrick.
For Benedictines, art and culture are integral to living a fully human, Christian life. Art is what happens when a person or community faithfully lives the Rule of St. Benedict with intentionality. That’s why, says Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., “a monastery feels like something. To be at Mount Angel feels like something. It’s not indifferent what the architecture is like, what art is placed on the walls, what music is chosen for each liturgy. All that constitutes our environment creates a beautiful cultural environment, a unique Mount Angel monastic environment where arts and culture are accessible and to all who come.”
Dr. Jeff Thompson, a psychotherapist practicing in Yakima, Washington, and an oblate of Mount Angel Abbey, presents the Fall 2021 Christian in the World program in a three-part video series titled, A Handbook of Healing: The Therapeutic Value of Benedictine Spirituality
We are created to be in the image and likeness of God, yet at some point we realize that we somehow are not quite there. Along the way, we have lost our sense of this self, made to be in the image of God. St. Benedict, in his Holy Rule, offers a path to healing. He tells us, “Return to God.” Through his Holy Rule, St. Benedict provides us a process for our return to wholeness in God.
1. How Did We Get Here? St. Benedict and the Origin of Self
2. Where Are We Now? The Disorders of the Self
3. How Do We Get Where We’re Going? The Repair of the Self
The spring 2021 Christian in the World lecture, Developing the Monk Within in a Time of COVID: What Monastic Life Can Teach Us About Coping, is a panel discussion on how living with COVID-19 restrictions has been, for some, a time to discover their inner contemplative, their “monk within.” Br. Israel Sanchez, O.S.B., moderates the panel discussion with Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., Br. Thomas Buttrick, O.S.B., and Mount Angel oblates Suzanne Kaufmann and Maizie Redner.
The fall 2020 Christian in the World series explores Dante’s Divine Comedy, an allegory about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free. The three lectures, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, are presented by Fr. Stephen Rowan, STB, PhD, and are available to view on Mount Angel’s YouTube channel.
Notes from Fr. Stephen Rowan
Dante was a Christian in the World. In his case, it was the world of the 13th-14th century Florence, Tuscany, and northern Italy. His great text, the Divine Comedy, is a window into his world, showing us characters whose actions earned them a place in one of three states of life after their time on earth: Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise.
If that were all it is, the Comedy would be of interest only to antiquarians or curiosity seekers. But the Comedy is also a mirror reflecting into our own times, showing how Christians in the world can find themselves — even now — under conditions that are very much like Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise. Our age, no less than Dante’s, is plagued by avarice, envy, and pride; like Dante, we have seen abuses of power in state and church; we, too, have wondered how we and our society can become “unstuck” from a tangled up state of soul and find a way out.
Dante’s Comedy is a way of speaking — an allegory — about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free; from being lost to finding its true home; from fumbling in the dark to living with love in the light. It is, in the end and all along the way, a hopeful journey.
With a little guidance about Dante’s themes and style of storytelling, the Divine Comedy, which Dante intended to be a saving message for his own time, can serve the same purpose in ours.