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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“In all this mediaeval religious poetry there is much that we could not use now. Many of the hymns are quite bad, many are frigid compositions containing futile tricks, puns, misinterpreted quotations of Scripture, and twisted concepts, whose only point is their twist. But there is an amazing amount of beautiful poetry that we could still use. If we are to have vernacular hymns at all, why do we not have translations of the old ones?”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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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.

“Death
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.