Catholic Commute S02E40 Stand up straight with your shoulders back

5 areas we all should be more confident in

I’m currently reading Jordan Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life,” and today’s episode is some discussion about Rule 1, “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.” I think this is a fantastic rule, and there are a lot of ways we should take it to heart.

In this episode, I discuss 5 particular aspects that I believe us Catholic Men need to start standing up straight for. We have a lot of things right, but our actions don’t make it look that way. Our highest calling is to follow Christ and show is light to the world, but we cannot do that effectively when we wimp out about our message. Christ most certainly stood tall when he announced his message.

Click on continue reading to see the show notes!

S02E40 Stand up straight with your shoulders back

 

St. Albert the Great: Patron of Scientists and Defender of Faith and Reason

 

Born circa 1193, St. Albert the Great was one of the greatest intellectuals of the Catholic Church; in fact, he’s one of only 35 Saints honored with the title of “Doctor” of the Church.  A German Dominican friar and later a bishop, in his early life he studied at the University of Padua. By some accounts, a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary prompted him to take Holy Orders sometime around 1223. He then began to study theology at Bologna, and later to serve as a lecturer at Cologne, Regensburg, Freiburg, Strasbourg, and Hildesheim.

 

In 1245 he became the first German Dominican to become a master of theology, studying and lecturing under Gueric of Saint-Quentin, successor of St. John Giles.  In his earlier years at the University of Padua he had received instruction in the writings of Aristotle, and during his doctoral studies in Paris, he became increasingly convinced of the importance of Aristotle to the Latin-speaking West.

 

It was during this time that a young Dominican named Thomas Aquinas, who himself would go on to become a Saint and Doctor of the Church, began to study under St. Albert; his meticulous notes on St. Albert’s lectures regarding the Niomachean Ethics of Aristotle are preserved to this day.  This marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship and scholarly collaboration between the two, and in latter years St. Albert would move to defend the orthodoxy and teachings of his friend and pupil.

 

During his time in Cologne his reputation as scientist began to grow.  He carried on a number of experiments in chemistry and physics in a makeshift laboratory, and built an impressive collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds.  Many of his scientific understandings were so advanced for the age in which he was living that he kept many of his experiments and investigations unpublished; even so, many regarded him as some sort of magician or alchemist because of his remarkable insights and theories.

 

In 1899, St. Albert’s writings were gathered together and totaled 38 volumes spanning an astounding array of topics, including logic, theology, zoology, astronomy, botany, physiology, justice, law, and love.  While the intensity of his mind and the depths of his knowledge are impressive, it was his passionate belief that faith and reason don’t simply co-exist, but complement each other by their very natures, that is perhaps the most enduring and relevant.  He was methodical and exacting in his pursuit of knowledge, not simply because of his keen mind and curious nature, but because he understood intuitively that all of God’s creation spoke of Him, and that even the smallest and most seemingly insignificant bit of scientific knowledge could illuminate for us the face God.  It’s perhaps for that reason that he was named the patron Saint of scientists when he was canonized by Pope Pius the XI in 1931.

 

PRAYER TO

SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT

 

God, You made St. Albert great

by enabling him to combine human wisdom and Divine Faith.

Help us so to adhere to his teaching

that we may progress in the sciences

and at the same time come to a deeper understanding

and love of you.

 

Amen.

 

—-

 

Peterson: “To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”

 

Background: Jordan Peterson’s Book, a little bit about Peterson, and about his critique of Christianity.

 

Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a life-changing move.

 

  1. We’re Christian
    1. This is becoming an unpopular label
    2. Christendom transformed the world from barbaric to caring (women, slaves, education, medicine, etc.)
    3. Christianity started Science. Most of the early scientists were religious life
    4. Every time in history mankind chooses values other than Christian ones, things get worse. Period.
  2. We’re Catholic
    1. This is even less popular than Christian.
    2. Story of wife and I in doctor’s office
    3. This is THE church started by Christ Himself.
    4. Ours are the saints, the miracles, the power, the presence – and consistently for 2000 years. Protestantism is still a minor infant by comparison.
    5. Even Protestants go to a Catholic Exorcist when there really is a demonic possession.
    6. We’re guided by the Vicar of Christ. Stand Tall!
  3. We’re Men.
    1. Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin have destroyed the dignity and respectability of the masculine.
    2. We live now in an almost reverse sexism condition. Remember, Men are equal in dignity and equal in value to women.
    3. Men have a unique and powerful calling by God. We’re meant to be GOOD at some things.
    4. Standing tall as a man does NOT mean beating down the dignity of woman. Quite the reverse actually. Failing to recognize the dignity of one gender actually diminishes both!
  4. We Choose Life
    1. Pro-Life is slowly becoming more popular, but still is sometimes hard
    2. Because we’re used to being attacked on this issue, we often start off on the offensive, rather than standing tall and standing for the truth.
    3. Choosing Life is more than just Pro-life, it’s a perspective, a testimony against materialism.
    4. We still subjugate and minimize people all the time! The unborn, yes, but also the poor, the distant, the 3rd world.
    5. St. Ambrose: “If you have two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you and the other to the man with no shirt.”
  5. We value Virtue
    1. Right is Right for a reason.
    2. It’s not popular now to embrace and stand for moral goodness. Just watch our political election process to see the alternative in action.
    3. Right simply works. It’s the answer to the puzzle of the human equation that produces meaning, happiness, and contentment.
    4. As Peterson points out, even if the Bible were not the divinely inspired Word, it’s still the culmination of thousands of years of distilled human wisdom. We abandon it at our own peril!
    5. When you have the right answer in arithmetic class, you stand tall and confidently announce that 2+2=4. Yet in the moral realm, we flinch.

 

Summary

 

  1. We’re Christian.
  2. We’re Catholic
  3. We’re Men.
  4. We Choose Life
  5. We value Virtue

 

Peterson: “To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”

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