April 2001By David Arias Jr.

Theology as the Road to Holiness in St. Bonaventure.  By Fr. Charles Carpenter. Paulist. 222 pages. $23.95.

At a time when there seems to be a chasm between many theologians and authentic Catholic teaching, Fr. Carpenter’s work is highly significant. He argues, with St. Bonaventure, that “theology, unless it informs and, more importantly, is informed by the spiritual life, cannot be undertaken without serious detriment to its nature as subordinate to and dependent upon Revelation.” This thesis becomes all the more evident as Fr. Carpenter explains that the science of theology, as it exists in the soul of the theologian, is identifiable with the gift of the Holy Spirit known as wisdom. In addition, this supernatural gift of infused wisdom, which stands midway between the speculative and practical orders while embracing both, has as its end both contemplation and personal progress in holiness. Thus, given the nature of the gift of wisdom and given that this gift presupposes sanctifying grace in the soul of the theologian, we can see that the gift of wisdom in the soul of the theologian not only indicates that the true theologian is holy, but also that he will strive to become holier through his theology. This work is not only important for friends of St. Bonaventure but also for those interested in the vocation of a theologian.



The End of Time: A Meditation on the Philosophy of History.  By Josef Pieper. Ignatius. 161 pages. $11.95.

In this brief but illuminating work, Pieper takes up the topic of the philosophy of history. He asks, what is the “end” of time? In other words, what goal is history striving toward, under God’s providence, and what is the divinely ordained purpose of the whole of history from which each moment in time derives its meaning? Pieper argues that questions such as these cannot be answered apart from the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation and the Catholic understanding of eschatology. Indeed, man cannot live a truly human life (i.e., a life befitting a rational being with an immortal soul), unless he sees the world from a truly Catholic perspective. “Without a return to revealed truth, it is impossible not only to philosophize about history but even to live in the area of history as a spiritual being: that is to say, as a being who looks with open eyes upon what really happens in the real world, omitting nothing and glossing over nothing, but also abandoning…nothing of that upon which man…cannot cease to set his hopes.”



Tender Fingerprints: A True Story of Loss and Resolution.  By Brad Stetson. Zondervan. 240 pages. $14.95.

This is a moving autobiographical account about losing and finding. Brad and Nina Stetson were awaiting the birth of their first baby boy when they learned that his heart had stopped and that he was dead in Nina’s womb. Brad describes the confusion, anger, and grief that filled his and Nina’s life. But then a new day dawned for him and his wife, for they realized that God had not abandoned them but had lovingly planned, from all eternity, to bring them comforting gifts and trying tragedies, both of which were designed to draw them ever closer to His fathomless love. This work is thus a testimony to the reality that tragic events can only be properly understood by sharing in God’s infinite wisdom.



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