Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 19, 2006

After the brief “detour” through our Roman pilgrimage, we return to our study of the Fathers of the Church with St. Clement of Alexandria. Before beginning our study, however, I would like to invite you to a few upcoming events at the parish.

On Tuesday, November 28th, at 7:00 pm, local apologist Steve Ray will be at St. John Neumann to offer a presentation about the Holy Land pilgrimage coming up in March. Steve is an amazing speaker with an incredible amount of first-hand experience in the Holy Land. He has published several books and is the host of a DVD series that explores the Scriptures through the lens of the Holy Land. It will be our privilege to hear him in person and pick his brain – so even if you won’t be able to come along on pilgrimage, please join us on Tuesday, November 28th to bolster your faith with Steve Ray.

The following Tuesday, December 5th, at 7:00 pm, we are extremely happy to welcome Leonardo Defilippis and his one-man drama Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz. I have known Leonardo for more than 10 years and thoroughly enjoy his productions. Maximilian, in particular, captures the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe in a very intense, yet spiritual and family-friendly manner. Tickets are free for parishioners; simply stop by the office and pick them up.

Clement of Alexandria was raised in the pagan culture of second century Greece. Most likely born in Athens, he was converted to the Faith of Jesus Christ, and sought deeper instruction. He finally arrived in Alexandria (Egypt), the ancient center of the Greek Academy and pagan philosophy, to study under Pantaenus, the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Eventually, Clement would succeed Pantaenus and lead the famous School; owing, however, to persecutions in the early third century throughout Egypt, he was forced to flee. The details of his death around 215 A.D. are unknown.

Three major works of Clement are extant: the Exhortation to the Greeks, the Tutor, and Miscellanies. Some scholars see in these titles a great trilogy of the Christian life, corresponding to initial conversion, ongoing education in the Faith, and divine illumination. Clement of Alexandria stands as a pioneer in the harmonization of Greek philosophy with the Truth of Jesus Christ. He is also known for another work, “Who is the Rich Man who can be saved?”, a treatise exploring the possibility of salvation for the wealthy.

His teaching is too much to contain in one article, so I will simply present a few of his quotes here, and we can return to Clement next week.

“Man, that had been free by reason of simplicity, was found fettered to sins. The Lord then wished to release him from his bonds, and clothing Himself with flesh – O divine mystery! – vanquished the serpent, and enslaved the tyrant death; and, most marvelous of all, man that had been deceived by pleasure, and bound fast by corruption, had his hands unloosed, and was set free. O mystic wonder! The Lord was laid low, and man rose up; and he that fell from Paradise receives as the reward of obedience something greater – namely, heaven itself” (Exhortation to the Greeks, Ch. XI).

“As therefore the … the pilot steers the vessel, desiring to save the passengers; so also the Instructor [Christ] guides the children to a saving course of conduct, through solicitude for us; and, in general, whatever we ask in accordance with reason from God to be done for us, will happen to those who believe in the Instructor. And just as the helmsman does not always yield to the winds, but sometimes, turning the prow towards them, opposes the whole force of the hurricanes; so the Instructor never yields to the blasts that blow in this world, nor commits the child to them like a vessel to make shipwreck on a wild and licentious course of life; but, wafted on by the favoring breeze of the Spirit of truth, stoutly holds on to the child's helm – his ears, I mean – until He bring him safe to anchor in the haven of heaven” (Tutor, Bk. I, Ch. VII).

Have a blessed week!