The dictionary defines Theology as the study of the nature of God and religious belief. Our guest is Dr. Anthony Lilles, professor of theology (and mystics) at the St. John Vianney Seminary in the Archdiocese of Denver. Sound boring? Hardly. Anthony is a man on fire for the Lord, the Church and the Saints and Holy Ones. Join us for this Catholic Vitamin T Theology podcast.
Dr. Lilles resides in Denver, Colorado. He’s a Catholic husband (Agnes) and father of three. As we said,he teaches at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary where he has been the Academic Dean, a professor and a spiritual formator for men studying to become priests and deacons.
Here’s a segment from a recent column by Dr. Lilles on his blog page http://beginningtopray.blogspot.com
Prayer and Theology (October 17, 2011) by Anthony Lilles
“There are some who believe prayer and theology are opposed undertakings or at least activities that have nothing in common. Those who espouse such a view often reduce prayer to simply an impulse of the will towards God or else a psychic state or a strong feeling produced by spiritual exercises. They also look at theology as a kind of product derived from scholarly inquiry into arcane questions or even a chess game of sophisticated skepticism in which careful and clever observations are proposed without ever committing the pieces. For those who espouse such an approach theology rarely gets to breath in the fresh air of heaven and prayer remains prisoner of the preoccupations of one’s own psyche.
There is a different kind of theology which frees prayer so that it might walk with the Living God and there is a different kind of prayer that breaths life into theology so that it rises up into the very life God. Such prayer and study are filled with the Holy Spirit. They involve putting on the mind of Christ. For both real prayer and true theology are meant to participate by grace won for us on the Cross in the reciprocal gaze of love shared by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – that eternal act of knowing love and loving knowledge that knows no end. The briefest moment of such contemplation in the midst of prayer imbued study or theologically purified prayer flashes with a loving Light, a burning Wisdom in which one can never live the same way again. It is so intimate and personal, immense and cosmic all at the same time – because such is God. When you meet Him in your prayer and study, a deeper conversion, a deeper love, a deeper kind of life opens up – and one simply cannot go back to the way things were before.
Prayer born of study is open to a foretaste of the wedding feast that awaits those who are faithful. Study pregnant with prayer discovers that the deepest yearnings of the heart are raised up and ignited as the highest powers of the mind are captivated and renewed. Such prayer and such study converge in a humble kind of knowing which exceeds all natural modes of knowledge, which is like not knowing – or rather a knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”
How about that — theology as a form of freeing prayer that one might walk with the Living God. Isn’t that beautiful and inspiring? I think so. We certainly urge you to join the ranks of the readers and admirers of Anthony and his work.
And as you may have heard on the podcast, Dr. Lilles happily visits chanceries, monasteries, convents and parishes to give talks and retreats on a wide variety of topics. He has a great love and knowledge of Elisabeth of the Trinity, St. Therese of Lisieux and many other saints and mystics.
Some websites to consider regarding theology
Catholic Theological Society of America: http://www.ctsa-online.org/
St. Thomas Aquinas Forum: http://www.saintaquinas.com/
Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: http://www.salvationhistory.com/
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