The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Jesus, St. Augustine and Politics

Monday, June 18, 2018

There is a distinction we can make between those in ‘public life’ such as politicians and celebrities and ‘the rest of us’ but this can be an unhelpful distinction. It can imply the Christian faith is part of one’s private life rather than one’s public life. Alternatively, we can think it is the duty of Christian politicians to fight our case whilst doing nothing in our personal day-to-day encounters. It implies one’s faith can be put aside for one’s politics. This cannot be so.  Read more

Fruits of Study 6: Suffering and Love in St Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Catherine of Siena (1347-80) was very practical and focused and on how to help people be saved and sanctified in the concrete situation of their lives. For her, suffering was a daily reality and one that can be crushing and an obstacle to a life of faith. She wanted people to see suffering in the light of God’s truth and goodness and then use it positively to produce a life of love and other virtues. As with other themes she relates this to the Crucified Christ, the centre of her thought. Read more

The Life of Virtue - Eutrapelia

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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The Life of Virtue - Studiosity

Sunday, September 27, 2009
Study is one of the central components of Dominican spirituality. To be studious is to be appropriately eager to study. It is having the desire to apply one’s mind to something; to learn about it, to know it, so that one may understand it. To develop, foster and have the virtue of studiosity is a good thing. It is just as natural and proper for humans to desire knowledge, as it is to desire the pleasures of food and drink. Aristotle observes in his Metaphysics “all human beings have a natural desire for knowledge." Apart from this natural inclination, we are commanded by God to: “Study wisdom, my son, and make my heart joyful, that thou mayest give an answer to him that reproacheth." Ultimately we all desire to know that which is true, that which is Truth itself; and that Truth, which is God, wishes us to know him.

Studiosity is a desire; it therefore belongs to temperance. If we have an appetite for study, like all appetitive movements, it will need to be moderated. We can easily fall into the vice of curiosity, when we allow our pride to drive our yearning for knowledge. When we do this we try to put ourselves above God. We also do this when we separate our study from the due end: God. This does not mean that when learning about the Imperial German Armee-Inspektion or Cornish cheese- production, we have to insert God; but we must remember that what we are learning about is not the be all and end all of everything.

Also if we engage in study in order to sin, we put ourselves against God. We must be careful in what we study. This requires an element of humility. We might not intend to sin but we can easily fall into sin by studying things that might be above our intelligence. This can lead us into error. Likewise our natural curiosity can become superstitious. St. Augustine gives the example of many being excommunicated by their interest in studying demonology and witchcraft.

We must also remember that there is a hierarchy of our studies. At times we have an obligation to certain pursuits but also some areas are more important than others. We cannot let our curiosity take us off track. St. Jerome observed: "we see priests forsaking the gospels and the prophets, reading stage-plays, and singing the love songs of pastoral idylls." This is not to say that we can not have other studious interests, outside our primary focus, but they must be subordinate. Read more

The Life of Virtue - Humility

Thursday, September 24, 2009

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The Life of Virtue - Modesty

Monday, September 21, 2009
Modesty, like so many of the Christian virtues, has been largely disregarded by Western liberal societies. In the latter half of the twentieth century, modesty in dress was rejected outright by radicals, particularly radical feminists, who saw it simply as a way for men to oppress women and of determining their self-image according to how they dressed. Any criticism of less than modest dress in women was taken to be a cynical attempt by men to make women feel ashamed of their bodies, and thus their identity, something that would in turn make them to be subservient to men.
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The Life of Virtue - Gentleness

Friday, September 18, 2009

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The Life of Virtue - Clemency

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
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The Life of Virtue - Continence

Sunday, September 13, 2009
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The Life of Virtue - Virginity

Friday, September 11, 2009
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