Epistles to Ansgar Archive

05 Epistles to Ansgar: On Faith

Posted April 21, 2024 By John C Wright

21 April AD 2024, Good Shepherd Sunday

Dear Godson,

Over these several letters, I mean to discuss the source, the substance, and the spirit of our faith, which is to say, why we believe, what we believe, and how we are to live our belief in practice.

Because myriad confusions surround the matter, let us say what faith is, and what it is not.

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Epistle to Ansgar, Letter 04: God the Holy Ghost

Posted January 30, 2024 By John C Wright

28 January AD 2024, Feast of St Thomas Aquinas

Dear Godson,

This day is the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the schoolman who, for once and all, reconciled faith and philosophy, church and science.

Any man who says there is conflict speaks in ignorance, or in malice, either being too literal in his interpretation of scripture, or too hasty in calling the ever-changing guesswork of science factual. It is to be noted that true Churchmen and true scientists themselves see no such conflict, nor appearance of conflict.

The same Holy Ghost who inspired Moses and the prophets, and inspired the saints and apostles, was He who moved softly across the face of the deep when creation was formless and void, brooding as a dove over her chicks. The Creator will not take amiss any disciplined and honest investigation of the artwork and architecture involved in the making of stars and atoms, sea and sky, microbe and mastodon, the geometry of the leaf, the lifecycle of galaxies, the engineering of the inner amoeba.

Thomas Aquinas would approve of any intellectual approach to these great things that kept its aim and nature in mind: science is meant to topple the idols of false beliefs about nature, not to erect them.

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Epistles to Ansgar Letter 03: God the Son

Posted January 18, 2024 By John C Wright

This letter is two or three weeks late, but Ansgar is a babe in arms as yet, and may not notice the delay. 

25 December AD 2023, Feast of the Nativity

Dear Godson,

This day is Christmas. So holy is this day that all witches curses fail, nor may stars and planets in adverse conjunctions shed malign influences. For this is the day, foretold since Eden, when Our Lord, the Messiah and Savior of the world is born.

Because the tradition to exchange gifts on this day has had so profound an effect on the surrounding culture, among Christians and nonbelievers alike, it is easy to forget the meaning of this central miracle, a miracle beating at the heart of human history, that this great day commemorates.

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Epistle to Ansgar: Letter 02

Posted December 18, 2023 By John C Wright

17 December AD 2023, Gaudete Sunday

Dear Godson,

This day is “Gaudete” Sunday, which is the third Sunday in Advent. Church candles and churchmen are garbed in vestments of rose-red, but everyone calls it pink. It is the Sunday of Joy, for Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoicing.

Advent includes four weeks leading up to Christmas, which is the nativity of Our Lord. On this day the Lord God Almighty came to earth as a helpless baby, small enough to hold in your arms, cradling his little head in your hand. He was prophet, priest and prince from the moment of his birth, and the worldly kings sought his life both then and thereafter. There is nothing worldly powers hate more than heavenly powers.

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Epistles to Ansgar: Letter 01

Posted December 8, 2023 By John C Wright

7 December AD 2023, Feast Day of St. Ambrose

Dear Godson,

To instruct you in the mysteries of the faith is the duty and joy of a godfather. It falls on a godfather to introduce, as best he may, to his godson the God who is to Our Father in Heaven, and tell of His wonders.

This is an auspicious day to begin the task for Saint Ambrose, whose feast today it is, is famed for reconciling the opposite parties when controversy divided the Church.

So might these letters aid you in finding fit words to say to tell of the faith within you, and to explain with those who have ears to hear how the gift from God called reason and the gift from God called faith are not now, and can never be, at odds.

But where to begin?

Were I to teach you geometry, beloved godson, it would be proper to begin at the premises and common notions and definitions, for these are the beginning of that study. But the faith is in all things and informs all things, and so anywhere is a proper beginning: all roads lead to Rome.

So I will start with this letter, this sentence. I am late in writing it. Alas, I take up my pen tardily, but readily. I meant to do this yesterday, but it slipped my mind.

Therefore let me be an example for you: In later years, when you find yourself to have fallen short, perhaps less perfect in charity than you should have been, do not allow this imperfection to hinder the speed at which you will begin to repent and to make amends.

Even in so small as thing as failing to remember to write a letter, we Sons of Adam know what is right, and we do not do it. We are imperfect beings who cannot escape the longing for perfection.

Why is that? What is man?

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