About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“I still haven’t made up my mind whether I shall publish it all. Some people are so humorless, so uncharitable, and so absurdly wrong-headed, that one would probably do far better to relax and enjoy life than worry oneself to death trying to instruct or entertain a public which will only despise one’s efforts, or at least feel no gratitude for them. Most readers know nothing about canon law. Many regard it with contempt and find everything heavy going that isn’t completely lowbrow. Some are so grimly serious that they disapprove of all humor. Others come to different conclusions every time they stand up or sit down. They seize upon your publications, as a wrestler seizes upon his opponent’s hair, and use them to drag you down, while they themselves remain quite invulnerable, because their barren pates are completely bald, so there’s nothing for you to get hold of.”
— St. Thomas More to Peter Gilles, 1516

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Attitudes toward the Body and Attitudes toward Death
published 4 February 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

HAVE been reading a long biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous Lutheran theologian of Germany during WWII who was part of the plot to kill Hitler.

Reading these words written right before he was hung in retaliation, I had many thoughts.

Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal, death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish the walls of our temporary body, the walls of our souls that are blinded, so that at last we may see that which here remains hidden. Freedom, how long we have sought thee is in discipline, action and suffering; dying, we now may behold thee revealed in the Lord.”

At first I was delighted with the faith revealed by Bonhoeffer at a time of maximum tension. But then I began to wonder:

Do his sentiments manifest a dualism different from our Catholic legacy of Aristotelian/Thomistic hylemorphism where the body and soul are considered a composite rather than the body being like the prison of the soul as Plato thought?

Is Dietrich Von Hildebrand’s idea of death more realistic, as described in his book Jaws of Death: Gates of Heaven? In that treatise, he maintained that fear of death is natural even for strong Christian believers and that we have to pray for grace to trust that Christ will bring us through judgment to purgatory or heaven. Of course we have examples of some martyrs, such as St. Laurence or St. Thomas More, who got such grace at the moment of death that they could joke about it.

Bonhoeffer’s words make it seem as if we would not long for the resurrection of our bodies.

My prayer is “Father, creator of heaven and earth; Jesus redeemer, Holy Spirit, comforter; help us to heave our anxious souls up to You, so that we can hope even as we don’t fully understand.

Shortly, my blogs will no longer be found by clicking on ccwatershed.org but on the same website under “Rondaview.” You can scroll down to blogs and find it or go directly to ccwatershed.org/rondaview.