A Son of Thunder Comes to the Cross
July-August 1997By Raymond T. Gawronski
The Rev. Raymond T. Gawronski, S.J., is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette and a Contributing Editor of the NOR.
Holiness is not dead. In the soil leveled by several bleak decades of triumphantly horizontal Christianity, writings on saints are now sprouting like mushrooms, as are the publishing houses and periodicals that are interested in such things. Holiness is a wonderful thing: full of the wonder of the God Who makes one holy. It is also a terrible thing: full of the terror of a creature coming into contact with a God free, other, and untamable by our attentions. Holiness is the share in the life, passion, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, in the fullness of His Incarnation, revealed the mystery of God. And nowhere more than in the Paschal events.
L. Brent Bozell, a Contributing Editor of the NOR who died on April 15 at the age of 71, was a holy man. Of course, he would laugh at the very thought. Yet his life reveals a mission that can serve as a symbol of hope for the rebirth of the Catholic Faith in our country.
A Nebraskan by birth, Brent was tall and lanky, a red-haired child of the Great American West. His Episcopalian father sent him to the Jesuit high school in Omaha, where Brent was penetrated by the ancestral Faith to which both he and his father returned. A gentleman from the heartland, Brent went on to Yale where his brilliant mind was trained in the law.
Brent married Patricia Buckley (William F. Buckley Jr.s sister), a marriage blessed by fruitfulness in many ways. There were 10 children, one of whom became a Benedictine priest (at Solesmes in France). There was Triumph magazine (1966-76), the only orthodox lay Catholic journal of ideas in those early years of the Churchs great crisis, a journal which turned out to be a seedbed for the flowering of orthodox journals in the U.S. in the last two decades [including the NOR Ed.]. There were many young intellectuals who found a nurturing home in Brent and Trishs friendship and a multitude of simple people who were touched by their amazing humility, kindness, and Christian love. Their marriage witnessed to Christian fidelity and reminded the world that through the greatest storms in life such a commitment can be lived, sharing in Gods very convenantal life. All the way to Golgotha, together.
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