Thursday, July 17, 2008

Productive of benefit: thanks for your support...

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
-Jeremiah 29: 11

I ask for prayers. This year, by God's grace, I finished the prescribed curriculum for the S.T.B. diploma in Rome. Now I must make the decision of how to continue: either to study dogma or Church history full-time.

It goes without saying that learned (= orthodox) instructors of the sacred science are an endangered species. Liberal theologians are a dime a dozen. In the old days if you were such a theologian you got from Rome a decree of "Recedat a cathedra" (Let him leave his chair). Today, the answer is that we just have to take over with team players (the Catholic theologian is to play for one team - the See of Peter).

We novices in theology love the sacred science, but sometimes not all of us are meant to teach it. Those who know me explain that my strength is history and not theology. Now this summer the decision must be made as to which science to study this coming autumn. Please pray for me.

"The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them."
-Lam. 4:4

With watchful and pastoral solicitude I preach to kids each day in the Vatican City all about the sacred mysteries. This summer I have been leading two tours each day. Many of these clients are just kids. For kids as well as for many of the adults, their tour of the Vatican Museums is a first introduction to Christianity. All of the art there is something related to theology. The clients have many questions and even the kids have a great intellectual breadth (thanks in large part to the bits they have already been taught). In the hearts of the youth there is an interior richness: they ask and desire to know. And now for the first time many are getting the assurance of a smile and the guarantee of a quick (and true) answer.

Leading two tours a day have taken a toll on the voice box. I have been losing my voice and at some moments can't even speak until I geat candies. The groups are often large, with between forty and fifty clients. I ask for prayers. Menthos candies help, but my already poor and weak (scratchy-lispy) voice is now dying. May the Lord give me a better voice has been my constant prayer for ages.

"So the poor have hope."
-Job 5:16

Also, soliciting alms for my Christian education is something that I do once each summer. It's not often, but just now that time of the year. I ask for some kind Christian to sponsor my Christian education this coming academic year in Rome. As everyone knows, the weak dollar and poor exchange rate have made studying abroad increasingly difficult. I ask for donations to support me in my academic endeavors here in the Holy City. It costs a lot of money to keep a student afloat each year.

This summer I'm living in a benefice in Italy. But I ask that all donations be kindly sent to this address under the patronage of the holy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul:

J.P. Sonnen
406 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

I thank you all for your beneficence and I carry your private intentions in my heart atop the very soil on which the blessed Apostles trod so many centuries ago!

Let us pray!


Raphaela said...

Prayers coming up.

Also, with regard to the voice issue, would taking a few voice production lessons be a feasible option for you? Becoming hoarse as a result of too much talking is often a matter of incorrect breath support, and that's a technique that can be learned.

BTW, I blogrolled you. :)

JWY said...

J.P., after reading your post, I can't help but think of Augustine in Book IX of the Confessions. He, too, was bothered by a voice ailment from too much teaching. But that malady provided an excellent "excuse" to withdraw to the contemplative life. Of course, he didn't get to enjoy silence long before he was called on to use his voice again, but maybe you'll be luckier and no one will force you out of the contemplative religious life and into the priesthood. :) Are you thinking at all of entering religion?

Anonymous said...

Yes, any thoughts of the priesthood? There are many indications that you would make an excellent priest. And I write as a priest myself!

John Paul Sonnen said...

Raph, yes, you have a strong Austro-Hungarian voice, while I have just a weak German one!-)

Iosephus, interesting comment. Your name reminds me of when in 2005 we first hear the name "Iosephum..." from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica. It was a great day.

And yes, it would be a delight to have the cura animarum! In fact, it would be the greatest delight.