4/2022 English Summary – holiness

Poll on holiness, unholiness and saints

The poll approached several diverse personalities from Catholic backgrounds with questions about what they think holiness is; what place it has in human life; what its sources and manifestations are; and whether the world today needs saints. They were also asked to share their view of holiness, their experience of it, or to introduce their favourite saint. The respondents were Mireia Ryšková, Matěj Jirsa, Marcela Koupilová, Zdeněk Jančařík SDB, Francesca Šimuniová OSB, Jaroslav Šubrt, Terezie Eisnerová OP, Miloš Doležal, Dagmar Kopecká and Markéta Dudziková.

David Vopřada
A Biblical and Patristic View of Holiness and its Caricatures

This study by a Czech patrologist explores the concept of holiness in the sources of Christian tradition, namely Scripture and the Church Fathers. It examines the formation and transformation of the concept of holiness in biblical theology and the earliest Christian tradition back to Augustine. What does “holiness” actually mean? Is it something that a person can acquire? And if so, how? How imagine it? Testimonies from ancient times can reveal what the biblical challenge to “be holy” means, but they can also make us think of what is emphasized in various streams of Christian tradition and what, on the contrary, has been lost or remained in the background. It also deals with the caricatures of Christ and holiness in the heresies of the first centuries (Docetism, Monophysitism, Arianism). It calls us not to think of holiness only in terms of the intercessions of the saints, or in terms of a vision of a distant, eschatological future when, perhaps – with God’s grace – we will obtain holiness, but to reconsider this view and to focus our attention on the fact that we have already been joined to the saints by baptism.

Eduardo José Rosaz OP
Holiness and sanctification in the light of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: the contribution of Thomas Aquinas

In his text, the author examines the characteristic features of salvation, namely holiness and sanctification, on the basis of two pair definitions. First, he distinguishes the negative, eliminative aspect from the positive, affirming aspect, then he examines the effects of salvation on both our nature and our person. Next, he discusses an important aspect of our salvation, namely, its trinitarian nature. He presents three viewpoints that allow us to deepen our understanding of holiness based on the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. First, he discusses the definition of holiness in general and explains what it means to be holy when we say this about God, then he interprets how God’s holiness is manifested in the economy of salvation from a Trinitarian viewpoint, and finally he clarifies the impact of the saving action of the Holy Trinity granting its holiness to us, creatures who have received redemption and God’s grace. In this section he discusses the theme of sanctifying grace as participation in the divine nature and the theme of the adoptive sonship of God, that is, our adoption as sons of God, which is realized as a likeness through participation in the natural sonship of the only begotten Son.

Irenej Šiklar OP
The Holiness of Jesus

In his text, the author reflects on some aspects of the holiness of Jesus. In doing so, he relies on Scripture and the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, especially his commentary on Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, where Jesus asks for the sanctification of his disciples. The holiness of Jesus is a source of awe and respect for the fullness of divinity dwells in him, God is holy, and in the presence of his holiness we cannot but humbly and fearfully confess that we are sinners. However, with Jesus, and therefore with the New Testament, it is shown that God’s holiness itself wants to approach a person and transform his life. The Lord comes to sanctify his disciples. The holy God in Jesus bows down to people and gives them a part in his holiness.

Benedikt Mohelník OP
Liturgy is a place of holiness

In his study, the author focuses on how the theme of God’s holiness is reflected in the liturgy, especially in Eucharistic prayer. He draws on the text of the Sanctus hymn, which ends the preface of the Mass canon and which, in form and content, refers to the revelation of God’s holiness in the book of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1–13). He distinguishes between two ways of encountering God’s holiness in the liturgy: while the preface is primarily a celebration of God’s holiness, in the following parts of the canon the celebrating assembly relates to God’s holiness in as much as it is sanctified by it. God’s holiness is the first theme of the celebration of the service, which is throughout it: the liturgy is a confession of God’s holiness. At the same time, it is the space in which God’s holiness touches us and bears its fruit in us: through the liturgy we are purified and sanctified, associated with God’s holiness and placed in the “state of the saints”.

Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole OP
On the spirituality of the Church

The article presents two chapters from a book by the French theologian de La Soujeole OP Elements for the Spirituality of the Church with an editorial introduction. The book is a collection of lectures delivered in the context of spiritual retreat, in which the author addressed the issue of the Church’s role in our spirituality, in our journey towards holiness. His aim was to reflect and clarify more consciously and systematically the role of the Church in the spiritual life of a Christian. In the first chosen chapter “The Church Life and its Temptations” the author discusses negative aspects of church life and offers insights and advice on how to avoid these negative effects and what attitude to take towards them personally. In the second chapter on “The Eucharist in the Church”, he takes a positive view of the role of the Church and points out where in spite of all the difficulties, one can always find the source and strength for one’s own holiness.

Ludvík Grundman OP
“I believe in one, holy… Church”?

We confess in the Creed that the Church is holy. But this truth of the faith can cause a lot of embarrassment among believers today, and in the case of theologians, disputes over its precise interpretation. The 20th century has witnessed all sorts of them, from the maximalist to the minimalist, so minimalist that they virtually invalidate the holiness of the Church. This article provides a basic orientation to some of these interpretations. It also attempts to present a renewed view of the holiness of the Church, which is not conceived negatively as sinlessness but positively, from an Agape perspective, while freeing it from an overly hierarchical conception.

Benedicta Hübnerová OP
Patterns of Holiness in the Czech Congregation of Dominican Sisters 1889–1990

This historical study considers three main questions: what were the models of holiness that appeared before the eyes of the Dominican Sisters at different stages of the Congregation’s history? How were they changing? What was the ideal of a holy religious, and specifically of an apostolically active Dominican woman, between 1889 and 1990? The author examines which saints were present in the Czech Congregation of Dominican Sisters as role models, as patrons of chapels, houses, associated pilgrimage places, etc., in the form of names that sisters received. Then she describes the models of everyday life, that is, the ideal of a holy Dominican, based on the order’s necrologies and ways of describing qualities and characteristics of the deceased sisters.

We’d better stop talking about holiness
An Interview with Ladislav Heryán

An interview with a well-known Salesian looks at the term holiness with a bit of suspicion. He ­notes the great emptiness of the term and its lack of clarity for contemporary people. He deals with the connection between the idea of holiness and the image of God that man carries within himself. Heryan considers other ways of defining holiness, speaks about fullness of life and living out of God’s love.

Líza Faktorová
Podlipnice churches

Legend to the pictorial supplement

Legend to the pictorial supplement presents three unique Gothic churches under the Lipnice Castle in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands and the activities of the Friends of the Podlipnice Churches Association, which has been working for more than 20 years to restore the churches and to revive them. The Friends of the Podlipnice Churches not only help to preserve the material basis of the unique old monuments, but also try to bring a fresh spirit to the churches. In addition to liturgy, the churches also serve as a place for cultural activities, such as an ancient and contemporary music performance in the summer of 2022. Author of the photographs in this issue of Salve is Petr Neubert.

Brother Alexius Zdeněk Vandrovec OSB
(8 May 1975 – 18 May 2022)

This mosaic of texts recalls recently deceased Benedictine Brother Alexius who was part of the editorial council of Salve since 2002 and had a significant role in its direction. Norbert Schmidt’s texts commemorate his personality and overlap. Ondřej Koupil’s text presents his importance for the Pietas benedictina book series, which publishes classic books of monastic spirituality and in which Vandrovec played a role of an organizer, translator and editor. The memoirs highlight his modesty, his kindness, and his monastic sincerity which were combined with his extraordinary scholarship, linguistic erudition, diligence and zeal.